Tuesday, July 20, 2010

7 #73 Angela Ackerman

Query Synopsis:

When the Moirae (The Fates) botch twelve-year-old Lexi’s death by drowning and she’s revived by mistake, it creates a tear in the Tapestry of Life. Alive as Fate never intended, she unknowingly becomes a Borrower, stealing the energy of others to remain alive. As things sicken and die, she struggles to understand she is the cause, and when the Fates’ loom attempts to weave another death to repair the damage Lexi’s non-death caused, her little brother becomes the target.

Chapter One

Not many people look down at a dead goldfish and wonder if that’s how they looked the day they died. Then again, I suppose not many people drown and then come back to life, either.

Only four days after The Accident, I ended up crammed around a toilet with Mom, Dad and my little brother to attend Gingersnap’s funeral. Derek had found his fish floating topside in the bowl just after breakfast, so we decided on a quick morning send off before the bus showed up for school.

Derek leaned against me and I gave him a squeeze. For him, I wished we didn’t have to be here or do this. Behind me, Mom shifted in the tight space. I didn’t need to turn to know her gaze was on me, even though she should have been paying attention to Derek.

Sniffing loudly, my brother sprinkled fish food into the bowl. Multi-colored flakes swirled around Gingersnap’s corpse like street glitter after a Fourth of July parade. There was no way I looked like that the day I died. First of all, it wasn’t like anyone at the public pool had thrown fish food over my body or Maya would have told me about it later. Second, there’s a big difference between a dead goldfish and a twelve-year-old girl, even if her hair was sort of the same rusty orange as its fish scales. And third, Gingersnap had a pretty shocked look on his face, kind of like he hadn’t seen the end coming. Well, maybe we had that in common. I hadn’t seen death coming, either.


  1. What an intriguing concept! I would maybe hint a little more about how she came back to life--was it seemingly miraculous, or was it just a "her heart stopped for a second, but we brought it back" kind of thing?

    But maybe you were just about to get to that :P

  2. I like how you use the Goldfish comparison, but maybe it is a bit too long. I would be much more interested in finding out right away about the almost death itself. I mean you have an automatic inciting incident here. Maybe I'm too impatient. But, I would use the goldfish thing later and start with the BANG!

  3. Love this opening line!! Really drew me in. I saw Goldfish and stopped scanning.

    Great job!


  4. Fun beginning - it brings me in with the voice. Nicely done :)

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  6. I think this is a very strong beginning. It flows very nicely and the imagery is clear and evocative, especially in the last paragraph and the subtle references that the main character makes to her death. I do think, though, that your voice could shine through a little more. I don’t really feel any strong emotions. I think that if she had died, the striking similarity to the death of the goldfish would be a little more unnerving. In the third paragraph, where she comments that she didn’t want to do it for her brother’s sake, maybe you could convey her own dislike/fear of the situation a little more, especially since her mom is watching her closely. I would make the sentence: “There’s no way I looked like that when I died,” the beginning of a new paragraph. It’s a powerful statement and it’s the beginning of a list of comparison where the reader is given a lot of pertinent information. I am intrigued with the story, the beginning definitely pulls me in, and I want to keep reading, but I think it would be even stronger if just convey a little more emotion so we could hear your protagonist’s voice better.

    You query description is very clear and gives us a good summary of the story, but again, maybe make it a little more compelling through the use of your voice.

  7. Thank you all for the great feedback here and I'm glad you enjoyed this piece. Riley your comments about needing a bit more emotion is good to know, because I had made some changes based on Natalie's comments on the first four sentences, and I think perhaps I took out more than I should have and lost something in the process.

    Really appreciate all of your time to offer your feedback, allowing me to benefit from your experiences and viewpoints! Thanks everyone!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse


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