#SonOfAPitch #TeamDiscord Entry 10: Power Surge

Title: Power Surge

By: Isa Isa Chan

Category and Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Word Count: 78,000

 

Query:

Erin is a cutter. Most days, therapy, meds, and the threat of hospitalization curb the urge to slice her skin with sharp objects, but when she gets stressed, she can’t stop her fingernails from piercing her flesh.

Having to finish senior year without Adderall is stressful. José flirting like he wants to be more than friends makes her skin buzz. A stalker adds anxiety to the mix. She’s on the verge of a breakdown when she realizes her stalker isn’t human. She thinks the demon is a hallucination, but it attacks her friends on the beach, and José promises her it’s real.

Demons are just the tip of the iceberg. José is a hunter in-training, and Erin’s Grandpa is like his Obi-Wan Kenobi. Erin was supposed be a hunter too, but Grandpa feared her ADHD would get her killed. Now, the hunters have become the hunted, and Grandpa needs all the help he can get – including Erin’s. A normal girl would be terrified, but fighting for her life calms the buzzing that makes Erin crave sharp objects. Perhaps, hunting demons will help her kick her cutting habit once and for all.

First 250 Words:

The cold March air made my lungs burn and my legs itch as I ran, determined to not let my cousin beat me again. This was supposed to be a warm up for our weekly sparring match, but I was sprinting just to keep Mel’s short, muscular form in sight. I glanced over my shoulder. I saw a man behind me.  His pale nose peeked out from under the black hoodie that obscured the rest of his face. I hadn’t thought it unusual to see another runner follow us around two turns, but this one had followed me around five.

I sucked icy air into my lungs as I crossed a bridge. Water rushed under it, blanketing brown muck with blue, breathing color and life into the field of dead marsh grass. The road ahead of me was lined with trees and a few scattered beach houses that were still boarded up for the winter.

I glanced at my phone. It was dead. Mel was too far ahead to hear me yell, and there was no one else around. I wasn’t exactly defenseless, but I was tired and hadn’t been in a real fight in almost two years. Still, a small part of me hoped the man would catch up and would want to hurt me.

I imagined myself ducking as he reached out to grab my red ponytail. I would jam my elbow up into his stomach and crush his face with my knee.

 

7 thoughts on “#SonOfAPitch #TeamDiscord Entry 10: Power Surge”

  1. Hi! Kathy from #TeamRarity coming by to read and comment. Please remember, these are my opinions only and can be disregarded if they don’t make sense for your ms.

    Erin is a cutter. Most days, therapy, meds, and the threat of hospitalization curb the urge to slice her skin with sharp objects, but when she gets stressed, she can’t stop her fingernails from piercing her flesh. (Good set up. What is it she wants? To stop cutting? To…what?)

    Having to finish senior year without Adderall is stressful. José flirting like he wants to be more than friends makes her skin buzz. A stalker adds anxiety to the mix. She’s on the verge of a breakdown when she realizes her stalker isn’t human. (OH! How does she realize this? What does she experience? What does she see? Give me a little detail that I won’t be able to forget.) She thinks the demon is a hallucination, but it attacks her friends on the beach, and José promises her it’s real. (Attacks how? Is anyone hurt? Is she there to witness it? And Jose can see it?)

    Demons are just the tip of the iceberg. José is a hunter in-training, and Erin’s Grandpa is like his Obi-Wan Kenobi. (He can be my grandpa! She had no idea that he was super cool?) Erin was supposed be a hunter too, but Grandpa feared her ADHD would get her killed. (Is she mad that they never told her?) Now, the hunters have become the hunted (Why? What is happening with the demons?), and Grandpa needs all the help he can get – including Erin’s. A normal girl would be terrified, but fighting for her life calms the buzzing that makes Erin crave sharp objects. (How does she know? Does she fight the demon?) Perhaps, hunting demons will help her kick her cutting habit once and for all. (Perhaps? Give me more! Stakes! What choice does she face…fight or not? If she fights what could happen? If not what does she risk?)

    This ends as if all the problems will be solved…give me choices and tension, make me need to read it! Give me a big life-changing moment. What drives her?
    Though, with demons…I am VERY likely to read. Lol! Gotta love demons.

    First 250 Words:

    The cold March air made my lungs burn and my legs itch as I ran, determined to not let my cousin beat me again. (Where are they? A track? Any sights, sounds, smells? Let us know the mc by what they react to, what they see and feel.) This was supposed to be a warm up for our weekly sparring match, (sparring how? Boxing? How does she feel about it…excited? Does she like the fight?) but I was sprinting just to keep Mel’s short, muscular form in sight. I glanced over my shoulder. I saw a man behind me. (Sentence too passive. Build tension here. What is this man doing? Running? What feeling does she get from him?) His pale nose peeked out from under the black hoodie that obscured the rest of his face. I hadn’t thought it unusual to see another runner follow us around two turns, but this one had followed me around five. (Turns? Where are they?)

    I sucked icy air into my lungs as I crossed a bridge. (How does it sound? Does the anything up the tension of the guy following her?) Water rushed under it, blanketing brown muck with blue, breathing color and life into the field of dead marsh grass. The road ahead of me was lined with trees (Trees lined the road ahead…)and a few scattered beach houses that were still boarded up for the winter. (This description is slowing the pace…killing the tension I think you want to build with the guy following her.)

    I glanced at my phone. It was dead. Mel was too far ahead to hear me yell, and there was no one else around. (And she’s…scared? Nervous?) I wasn’t exactly defenseless, but I was tired and hadn’t been in a real fight in almost two years (A real fight?). Still, a small part of me hoped the man would catch up and would want to hurt me. (Nice detail here.)

    I imagined myself ducking as he reached out to grab my red ponytail. I would jam my elbow up into his stomach and crush his face with my knee. (So she wants to hurt him? Wants him to hurt her?)

    It could use a bit more tension. A bit more of the mc’s thoughts. Good description in the middle, could use a bit more at the beginning to set the scene. The creepy guy…could be creepier. I like him there…hints at something going to happen. Like the hint that she likes to be hurt…could even add a little more on that. I like your concept, demons are always cool.
    Thanks for sharing your words!

  2. Query:

    Erin is a cutter. Most days, therapy, meds, and the threat of hospitalization curb the urge to slice her skin with sharp objects<>, but when she gets stressed, she can’t stop her fingernails from piercing her flesh.

    Having to finish senior year without Adderall is stressful <>. José flirting like he wants to be more than friends makes her skin buzz. A stalker adds anxiety to the mix. She’s on the verge of a breakdown when she realizes her stalker isn’t human. <> She thinks the demon is a hallucination, but it attacks her friends on the beach, and José promises her it’s real.

    Demons are just the tip of the iceberg. José is a hunter in-training, and Erin’s Grandpa is like his Obi-Wan Kenobi. Erin was supposed be a hunter too, but Grandpa feared her ADHD would get her killed. Now, the hunters have become the hunted, and Grandpa needs all the help he can get – including Erin’s. A normal girl would be terrified, but fighting for her life calms the buzzing that makes Erin crave sharp objects. Perhaps, hunting demons will help her kick her cutting habit once and for all.
    <>

    First 250 Words:

    The cold March air made my lungs burn and my legs itch as I ran, determined to not let my cousin beat me again. This was supposed to be a warm up for our weekly sparring match, but I was sprinting just to keep Mel’s short, muscular form in sight. I glanced over my shoulder. I saw a man behind me. His pale nose peeked out from under the black hoodie that obscured the rest of his face. I hadn’t thought it unusual to see another runner follow us around two turns, but this one had followed me around five.
    <>
    I sucked icy air into my lungs as I crossed a bridge. Water rushed under it, blanketing brown muck with blue, breathing color and life into the field of dead marsh grass. The road ahead of me was lined with trees and a few scattered beach houses that were still boarded up for the winter.

    I glanced at my phone. It was dead. Mel was too far ahead to hear me yell, and there was no one else around. I wasn’t exactly defenseless, but I was tired and hadn’t been in a real fight in almost two years. Still, a small part of me hoped the man would catch up and would want to hurt me. <>

    I imagined myself ducking as he reached out to grab my red ponytail. I would jam my elbow up into his stomach and crush his face with my knee. <>

    <>

  3. Query:
    Erin is a cutter. Most days, therapy, meds, and the threat of hospitalization curb the urge to slice her skin with sharp objects, but when she gets stressed, she can’t stop her fingernails from piercing her flesh. [Good, a ND story]

    Having to finish senior year without Adderall is stressful [why does she have to go without Adderall?]. José flirting like he wants to be more than friends makes her skin buzz. A stalker adds anxiety to the mix. She’s on the verge of a breakdown when she realizes her stalker isn’t human [if there’s a creepier and less-blunt way to state this, that would add intrigue. How does she figure out it’s not human? Create an image if you can]. She thinks the demon is a hallucination, but it attacks her friends on the beach, and José promises her it’s real.

    Demons are just the tip of the iceberg [meaning, it’s just the first thing she realized about a heretofore unknown magical world? If so, I’d make that clear]. José is a hunter in-training [no hyphens, or hyphens all the way through (hunter-in-training)], and Erin’s Grandpa is like his Obi-Wan Kenobi. Erin was supposed be a hunter too, but Grandpa feared her ADHD would get her killed [Oh, good, a rep of ableism…I’d make it clear that this probably pisses Erin off a bit, that she doesn’t accept it as gospel]. Now, the hunters have become the hunted, and Grandpa needs all the help he can get – including Erin’s. A normal girl would be terrified, but fighting for her life calms the buzzing that makes Erin crave sharp objects. Perhaps, hunting demons will help her kick her cutting habit once and for all. [I’d love for this last line to read: “Perhaps her ADHD makes her the most qualified demon-hunter of all.” It feels more empowering to me, but that’s completely your call, because this last line is catchy as it is

    LOVE this concept, and good query.]

    First 250 Words:
    The cold March air made my lungs burn and my legs itch as I ran, determined to not let my cousin beat me again. This was supposed to be a warm up for our weekly sparring match, but I was sprinting just to keep Mel’s short, muscular form in sight. I glanced over my shoulder. A man was behind me [Take out usages of sensory verbs like saw, heard, felt as much as possible, because they separate us from the character.]. His pale nose peeked out from under the black hoodie that obscured the rest of his face. I hadn’t thought it unusual to see another runner follow us around two turns, but this one had followed me around five.

    I sucked icy air into my lungs [This is the second mention of this; you don’t really need to mention it again, as we’re already picturing it] as I crossed a bridge. Water rushed under it, blanketing brown muck with blue, breathing color and life into the field of dead marsh grass. The road ahead of me was lined with trees and a few scattered beach houses that were still boarded up for the winter. [Drive home the point that there’s no one in any of the houses she could run to if this guy’s stalking her – it will keep the tension going]

    I glanced at my phone. It was dead. Mel was too far ahead to hear me yell, and there was no one else around. I wasn’t exactly defenseless, but I was tired and hadn’t been in a real fight in almost two years. Still, a small part of me hoped the man would catch up and would want to hurt me [I love this, because it’s such a realistic feeling sometimes, and people rarely talk about it].

    I imagined myself ducking as he reached out to grab my red ponytail. I would jam my elbow up into his stomach and crush his face with my knee.

    [LOVE this entry.]

  4. Here are my revisions. They include a pronoun change I’ve been too chicken to include in earlier drafts. While the name Erin is more common as a female, there are actually a few hundred boys named it in any given year. Erin is non-binary, and in my latest revision of my MS, I’ve tried to bring this to the surface instead of keeping it between and below the lines.

    Revised Query:

    Erin is a cutter. Most days, therapy, meds, and the threat of hospitalization curb the urge to slice their skin with sharp objects, but when they get stressed, they can’t stop their fingernails from piercing their flesh.

    Having to finish senior year without Adderall is stressful. José flirting like he wants to be more than friends makes their skin buzz. A stalker adds anxiety to the mix. They’re on the verge of a breakdown when the stalker corners them in a hallway, pins them with hands literally as cold and white as snow, and licks their cheek with his forked tongue. They thinks he’s a hallucination, but later, he attacks their friends on the beach. After helping Erin fight him off, José promises them it’s real demon.

    Demons are just the tip of the paranormal iceberg: José is a hunter-in-training, and Erin’s Grandpa is like his Obi-Wan Kenobi. Erin was supposed be a hunter too, but Grandpa feared their ADHD would get them killed. They wants to punch him in the face, but when the demons gain power and start hunting the hunters, Grandpa needs all the help he can get – including Erin’s. A normal person would be terrified, but fighting for their life calms the buzzing that makes Erin crave sharp objects. They’ll either prove that ADHD makes them the most qualified demon-hunter of all, or become demon-food with the rest of the humans.

    Revised first 250:

    The cold March air made my lungs burn and my legs itch as I sprinted by boarded up beach houses. Mel may have turned our warm-up into a race, but she was not going to win it. Grinning, I ran harder in an attempt to close the space between us. Despite my efforts, her footsteps grew softer and the ones behind me grew louder.

    I glanced over my shoulder. The man behind me was closer. Steam rose from his pale nose, which peeked out from under the black hoodie. Shadows obscured the rest of his face. I shuddered. It wasn’t unusual to see another runner follow us around two turns, but this one had followed me around five.

    I sucked icy air into my lungs as I crossed a bridge. The metal grates groaned under my feet and his. Water rushed below, blanketing brown muck with blue, breathing color and life into the field of dead marsh grass. Mel was so far down the windy road that I could barely make out her short, muscular form.
    I glanced at my phone. It was dead. Mel was too far ahead to hear me yell, and there was no one else around. I wasn’t exactly defenseless, but I was tired and hadn’t been in a real fight in almost two years.

    Still, a small part of me hoped the man would catch up and would want to hurt me. I imagined myself ducking as he reached out to grab me. I would jam my elbow up into his stomach and crush his face with my knee.

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