Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Writer's Voice blogfest #23

I've never entered an agent contest like this before, and I'm so excited! I'm supposed to post my query and the first 250 words. Oh, and the contest is hosted by Cupid, Monica, Krista, and Brenda! All their blogs are awesome, and I'm glad I finally edited my intro to include all four. :)

Anyway, on to the query!


When Ashley tells her famous lunchroom anecdotes to the new high school senior, Thorn, she’s hoping to distract herself from her grief over her older brother’s “accidental” death. 

But then she finds out Thorn’s a Taker who feeds off of stories—or human lives. And she’s a newly-awakened Storyteller who can spark magic with her words. Thorn offers her a bargain: if she gives him a story every night, he’ll protect her family and friends from things like him. Ashley agrees, but when she doesn’t come up with a satisfactory story one evening, Thorn sends her younger brother to the hospital.

Ashley is furious, even after Thorn explains he only took enough life to survive when other Takers would have killed. Her rage fuels her nightly stories so that a tale about a boy who can control the weather causes a snowstorm in Arizona autumn, and an anecdote about her brother’s pet creates a zombie cat.

All that loose magic draws Takers who do seem more homicidal than Thorn. He tries to protect her family, as promised, but he’s losing. Thorn claims Ashley can send all the Takers away forever if she tells him her most powerful story. Ashley knows the right story, but breaking the silence surrounding her older brother’s death would devastate her family—and if Thorn’s lying, she may be giving him the strength to threaten her loved ones for the rest of her life.

Storyteller is a 65,000-word YA contemporary fantasy loosely based off of The Arabian Nights. Thank you for your time!


And now, on to the first 250-ish words from my manuscript:


            In the beginning, I chose you.
            He could see his thoughts etching into the surface of the shark's tooth. The tooth looked mundane, but when he paced over to the window his thoughts kept twisting onto its flat surface.
            I can see you, the light of thunder gleaming overhead, the rain dripping down your face. You run, but you're not blinded by storm or speed--you notice the brown grass, the paint flakes on the fire hydrant, the crack on the sidewalk overflowing with water.
            I watch you now, and wait for your power to wake.
            His fingers closed.
           And if you find my gift, and take it, you may live through the waking.
Chapter 1
Ashley could see Ryan in the lane next to her—a flash of dark hair, tan arms gliding through the water, smooth and swift. She kicked faster, shutting her eyes, trying not to think about the way he would have changed by now, the skin hanging off his bones, the empty sockets of his eyes filled with chlorine and shadow.
She grabbed the edge of the pool near the bathrooms, breathing hard, her whole body shaking. She didn’t think she could finish the mile, which was just as well. It was past the end of high school swim practice anyway, and she was sure her teacher-coach wanted to go home.
Ashley kept her eyes closed while she pulled off her goggles. She never used to see him. Sure, there were the mornings when she’d wake up and call for Ryan, and the nights she’d wander into his room and look for him, but that felt different. It made sense that if she’d lived with someone her whole life she’d expect them in unguarded moments; that was okay, as long as she didn’t see anything.

Hooray for Storytellers!

59 comments:

  1. Wow, good luck! I absolutely love your concept!

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    1. Thanks, Becky! And I hope to be reading about Secret Agent stuff on your blog soon...:)

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  2. WEll, *that's* creepy as all get-out! Very cool twist on a classic story - wishing you so much luck.

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    1. Yay! I'm excited to read other people's cool stories, too--just as soon as this baby on my lap is ready for a nap... :)

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  3. Hi Brenda! Just stopping by to wish you best of luck in the contest.

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    1. Thanks! I'll have to send my query your way (I haven't actually started submitting to agents yet) if this contest shows it still needs work. Oh! And my four-year-old thinks you are awesome because you have Yoda in your avatar.

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  4. Fellow Writers Voice entrant checking in - howdy!

    Nice entry - this is a great concept and a sweet new twist on Arabian nights! Good luck!

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    1. Howdy, and thanks! Good luck to you, too!

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  5. Very intriguing! I like this idea--good luck to you!

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    1. Thanks! And I love the word intriguing when it pops into my head while reading others' entries--I want to read a lot of these books!

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  6. Stopped by to wish you luck -- and on your first contest, how exciting!

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    1. I'm super excited! I haven't started querying this novel yet, so that makes everything even more crazy-shiny-fun!

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  7. I love cool new twist on classic literature (as you can probably tell!) Good luck!

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    1. Me, too. And hey, you took on Shakespeare!

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  8. Great concept! Best of luck to you in the contest! I really like your first paragraph especially!

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad you like my first line! I struggle with those...:)

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  9. Very meta! I love stories about stories, best of luck from TWV #30!

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    1. I love stories about stories, too--and anyone who is an Alaskan Ninja must be awesome. I am going to your blog to read your entry right now!

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  10. This whole concept is great! Really clever. I hope you forgive me for skipping over the intro (everyone has a preference or not for those), but the scene in the pool is really compelling!

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    1. Thanks, Sarah! I debated the frame, but couldn't resist--because it's the retelling of a frame story and all that. But it's short enough to skip, and I have a sort of weakness for them...

      I love knowing the pool scene can stand alone. Also, I am reading the NY Times article by Krugman that you linked to, and am enjoying it. Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  11. LOOOVE this concept!! I'm such a sucker for retellings. Good luck!
    Nazarea~ (WVC Entry #86

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    1. Thanks! I love retellings, too, especially if they're different enough that you don't know what will happen. Yours sounds like a dystopia/Beauty and the Beast hybrid, which is awesome. Yay!

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  12. Spark magic with words! I loved that! I've seen this somewhere before, but I don't know where!
    Good job and good luck from #69!

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    1. Probably you saw it on Query Letter Hell? Hopefully! Thanks--and best of luck to you, too!

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  13. Ooh, I love the Arabian Nights. Cool premise!

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    1. Yay, and thank you! I like that there IS a hook premise--it makes explaining the book a little bit easier. :)

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  14. This is pretty epic and definitely sparked my interest. Good luck in the contest!

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    1. Thank you! No one has ever called my work epic before. Not even my family. This is...a nice word in application to one's writing. I am pleased!

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  15. I am a fan!!! This sounds awesome! Good luck in the contest! :)

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  16. Completely hooked by this. Congratulations on making the list, best of luck with your fantastic entry ^_^

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    1. Yay! You are kind--thanks for stopping by!

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  17. Wow. Just, wow. Great concept & well executed in the first page! Good luck - this will take you far!

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    1. Your comment made my day. I love yours too--it's still haunting me with its awesomeness. We must have similar taste! :)

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  18. This is a really fun concept and a great opener. Good luck with the contest!

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    1. Thanks! I want to read yours, too (if you have one), but I can't seem to go anywhere when I click on your name. Well, maybe I can find you going through the list! :)

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  19. Seems like this could be a fun take on Arabian Nights. Once again, good luck!

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    1. Thank you (again), and good luck to you as well!

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  20. Good luck from one contestant to another!

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  21. I loved your 250, Brenda! :) Best of luck!

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    1. Thank you so much, Carrie! I find compliments of my 250 super exciting, since that's where most of my work went. I love my manuscript, but I'm still hammering out the query. :)

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  22. Hi Brenda, just a quick note from a fellow entrant to wish you luck. With the quality of writing in this contest I think we’ll all need it!

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    1. It's true--and exciting, since I was a reader way before I was a writer. Best of luck to you, too!

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  23. Cool premise! You had me with "The 1001 Nights" premise. And your first 250 words really hooked me in.
    Best of luck from WV #152!

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    1. Thanks, Caria! I'm so glad to meet other talented, encouraging writers--it makes me happy! :D

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  24. Just stopping by to wish you luck!!

    Entry #31

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  25. Thanks! And even though your avatar is masked (which is cool), I hope you're lucky, too!

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  26. A nice twist on a classic.

    Good luck!

    Tina (#194)

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    1. I was reading The Arabian Nights, and I started thinking "How could you put this in a contemporary setting, if there's no sultan who has the power of life and death over the storyteller?" It's kind of fun to get initial inspiration like that! :)

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  27. I'm a fan of Arabian Nights, and any retelling of it.
    Best of luck!
    Carolyn, #157

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    1. Thanks! I actually found the original Arabian Nights a little hard to read, what with all the sexism and all, but it is certainly creative and wonderous and good for inspiration!

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  28. Wow. What an opening! I love your concept, too. Good luck!

    Brandi #199

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    1. Thank you! I shall go and read yours right now--I'm almost done, but I'll treat myself and skip ahead to 199. :D

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  29. Only just saw this - GOOD LUCK!!! I loved it when I read it :0)

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