Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Writer's Voice Query and First 250


QUERY:


Dear Lovely Mentors and Agents,


Eighteen-year-old bounty hunter Fyr wants revenge.

As children, she and her brother Asaan watched their village burn in a genocide that ruined their lives. Ever since, they’ve plotted against Vladyslav, a responsible politician, until new disaster threatens.

Every five hundred years, a magic army called “the Blue People” sets foot in Sayy and attempts to conquer it in fateful single combat. If the ceremonial duel doesn’t take place, the Blue People will drown the continent in bloodbath. And sickly Asaan is one of a few who meet the sacred qualifications to represent Sayy.

As soon as Fyr and Asaan set out to warn the bickering nations into action, they’re arrested by Vladyslav, the same conservative politician Fyr hoped to kill. He lures the mercenary siblings into his high society, promising not to prosecute them as long as they stay. And against Fyr's will, she slowly starts to fall for him.

Fyr is trapped. If the siblings leave, they’re condemned, and Vladyslav is lost to Fyr. But if they stay, the Blue People will arrive with no one to duel, ready to attack an oblivious land and destroy what little they have left to live for.

THE RED AND THE SCARLET is a YA historical fantasy complete at 84,000 words, set on a fictional Asian continent in the Napoleonic Era. It is LES MISERABLES and MULAN with a mercenary, minority Jo March for a heroine. It may appeal to fans of THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, SHADOW AND BONE, and JONATHAN STRANGE.

I am the winner of multiple Gold Keys in the Scholastic Arts and Writing Contest, as well as a handful of local awards for short plays that were performed live in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I live. Besides writing, I love to study history, especially the Napoleonic Era in which THE RED AND THE SCARLET is set.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



FIRST 250:

Fyr stood under spinning snow, a book and dozing brother in arms. She faced the withered heads piked outside the village. 

For a moment, any enmity between her tribe and the Vlalonnans seemed ridiculous. She wished the head could hear her frosted whisper.

"Thank you." She brushed flakes from her dark lashes and balanced baby Asaan on her hip. "For the book."

But that moment ended.

Bouncing Asaan, she squinted through the shivering distance. Warped shadows galloped across the horizon, shouts on lips and swords in gloved fists. Bugle squawks screeched against the sky.

Vlalonnan cavalry.

Fyr knew.

They came because of the heads. They came for revenge.

The riders broke on the village faster than her people could panic. Gunshots shattered still air, clogging the sky with black smoke and death cries.

She dashed towards the yurts, past flailing horse and angry human. Past the living. Past the dying. She pressed all she had to her pounding heart. Her book. Screaming Asaan. His little fists gripped the shoulders of her handpainted robes.

Fyr had to keep him alive.

Suddenly, she collided headlong with gray uniform and staggered to frostgnawed earth. She yanked a carving knife from her belt, pushed squalling Asaan behind her, and looked up. 

A dismayed white face gawked back.

“Who are you?” She jabbed her knife towards the musket in the soldier’s clenched fingers.

The young man blinked. His accented answer paused as it left his trembling mouth.

“Vladyslav.”

His Vlalonnan sky-shaded eyes flitted to her baby brother and widened.


Thanks for reading!

42 comments:

  1. How are you not published already, woman? Good luck!

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  2. This sounds awesome, Rachel! Best of luck from a fellow #BecomeAnAgent-er :D

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    1. Thanks so much Ashley!! :D Same to you!!

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  3. Already intense and thrown into the story! This is good! Good Luck!

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    1. Thank you so much!! :D As someone who's struggled with this beginning, I'm thrilled to hear it!

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  4. Ahhh so excited to see your entry up Rachel!! I love your comps, and the first 250 was super gripping! Fingers crossed for you!

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    1. Thank you so much, Joan!! Same for you!! :D

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  5. Yay, happy to see you made it in too! I loved your query and 250. good luck :)

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    1. Thanks, Cassandra!! I saw you made it in and I got excited! :D Same to you!!!

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  6. Your book sounds INCREDIBLE! Best of luck to you!!!

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  7. Congrats on making it in! What a compelling query and 250! Good luck to you!!

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  8. Wonderful imagery.I had read this before and loved it then, too. I just love the voice. Nice job. Best of luck :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Suja!! Same to you! :D

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  9. Ah, I really love your characters' names! Best of luck in the contest, btw!

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  10. Napoleonic era is my fave. <3 <3 This sounds great--best of luck!

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  11. Great title! I love the setting too. Best of luck :)

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  12. I'll be honest, the end of the query confused me a little so I might have gotten the stakes wrong.

    When 18yo Fyr's quest for revenge turns to a choice of love or duty, she must choose to save a village or keep the man she loves #PitMad #NA

    If you choose to use it, please pay it forward and retweet as many of your fellow contestants' tweets as possible on June 4th

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  13. I love how your story doesn't sound like the usual YA fantasy set. I was a bit confused by the query, but it sounds really interesting.

    I offer everyone a query crit, and if you're daring, how I would have voted if I were a judge. Just give me a holler at DrFaerieGodmother.blogspot.com with your email (you can use the name (at) server dot com method if you like), and I'll email you a crit with some specifics. if you don't like having your email on the interwebs, just say so in the comment, and I'll delete that before the bots can get it!

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  14. Your first 250 definitely hooked me in, and I want to keep reading! Best of luck!

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  15. Rachel,
    Love you expressive writing...great entry!
    Best of luck.

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  16. Still in love with your ability to paint a picture in my head! Such a special gift.

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    1. Thank you, Bronwyn!! Love yours, too :D

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  17. Great opening! Very intriguing. Good luck in the contest!

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  18. This starts at a gallop and the setting and the character are appealing. good luck with the contest! Connie

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  19. Just stopping by to say I liked your premise! Good luck! :D

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  20. Thanks!! :D I didn't make it in but am going back to the query trenches XD

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