Thursday, August 26, 2010

7 Pitch Entry #14: Suzie Musin

Title: Time Will Tell


Genre: Young Adult

Since age three, Vera’s lived within a secret time traveling guild. When an agent rushes up to her in the ancient Roman market, he claims they’re good friends in her future. Problem one: whether to trust him. Problem two: Ethan’s on the run from a murderer who opposes everything the Guild represents.

When they’re attacked, her traveling powers activate without warning. She’s flung into the driver’s seat for the first time at an age too young to handle it. Because of her inexperience, something terrible happens to Ethan. She’s only starting to cope with it when she meets a confrontational boy with sharp intelligence...named Ethan. This time he’s her age and he can tell she’s hiding something. As Vera tries to figures out what she owes him, besides his Guild-mandated right to live without knowledge of his own future, she searches for answers on what sparked her premature abilities. She uncovers family secrets which force her to question everything she knows about her identity and the Guild which runs her entire life.

7 comments:

  1. Ooooo time travel. Love it. There's a lot of great stuff in this query and yet, some confusing ones as well.

    First, what's Vera's age now? What exactly is this secret society? What kind of agent? Why is Ethan running from a murderer? Did he witness a crime? Who attacks them?


    Maybe some clarifying about her powers? "...her traveling powers activate without warning." -- her ability to travel activates without warning--or something like it.

    "She’s flung into the driver’s seat for the first time at an age too young to handle it." This reads clunky -- how about something like this -- She's tossed into the future and dumped into the driver's seat without a license to drive.--not this of course, but something better.

    And then this "Because of her inexperience, something terrible happens to Ethan" could be better explained like -- She wrecks and Ethan is killed (or whatever actually happens to Ethan)--I'm just thinking this part needs to be clearer to make the next lines zing.

    I love that she met the younger Ethan and that she knows what happens to him in her past.

    Is the only stake that her life will be ruined? Is there something else happening with the family secrets. What is the plot? Is the murderer going to destroy the world? How? You mention the murderer at first, but then nothing else about him. What is the major stake in your story?

    This sounds like a fun story and the query just needs a bit of tweaking to make it clearer. Good luck! :D

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  2. The story sounds great! Just a few things..

    First of all you do need her age. Maybe something like, "Sixteen-year-old Vera's lived within a secret time traveling guild for most of her life." Then, please introduce Ethan's name earlier. It made me have to stop and think, 'oh is that the agent?' which you don't want. You want me sucked in. That's a simple fix. When an agent named Ethan runs...

    I want clarification as to what horrible thing happens to Ethan. I loved that she met the boy "... named Ethan" as a teen. That was great. I'd like for her to discover something interesting about this future murderer as well, so we don't lose that thread.

    I love that you put her in turmoil, not only external (murderer, etc) but internally as well. I want to get to know her. Nice job!

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  3. Since age three, Vera’s lived within a secret time traveling guild. (Cool.) When an agent rushes up to her in the ancient Roman market, he claims they’re good friends in her future. Problem one: whether to trust him. (why wouldn't she trust him? how many people would know about a secret time traveling guild?) Problem two: Ethan’s on the run from a murderer who opposes everything the Guild represents. (eep.)

    When they’re attacked, her traveling powers activate without warning. She’s flung into the driver’s seat for the first time at an age too young to handle it. (I take it this is the first time she's done the time traveling herself? this is wordy and kinda confusing as is.) Because of her inexperience, something terrible happens to Ethan. She’s only starting to cope with it when she meets a confrontational boy with sharp intelligence...named Ethan. This time he’s her age and he can tell she’s hiding something.(POV headhop - you're giving us Vera's story, don't jump to Ethan)

    As Vera tries to figures out what she owes him, besides his Guild-mandated right to live without knowledge of his own future, she searches for answers on what sparked her premature abilities. (Hm.)

    She uncovers family secrets which force her to question everything she knows about her identity and the Guild which runs her entire life. (this last sentence is vague and cliche. cut.)

    I like this, but what happened to the guild-opposed murderer?! it seemed like a cool action adventure story at first but then when you got into what she owes him and family secrets it felt like it slowed down a lot.

    Good luck!

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  4. Random confusion: we don’t know how old Vera is now, so my brain is stuck with “age three,” which led to a very bemused reader for the next couple of sentences. I figured it out, obviously, but I think you could clear that up pretty easily and save the reader time spent in confusion.

    Because this is young adult, I particularly noticed the phrase “at an age too young to handle it.” You’re meant to appeal to readers who ARE that age (because I’m assuming Vera is appropriately a teenager, b/c of the genre) and it ends up coming off as a bit condescending. I think you could change it easily by saying instead “without any of the training she’d need to handle it.” Just make it about experience rather than age.

    Didn’t connect Ethan with the agent in the Roman market. My brain just sort of inserted a random character she knew named Ethan. Then, I got confused because I didn’t realize Vera was alone after her traveling powers activate. I assumed there was a grown-up Ethan and a young Ethan there at the same time, and that there was going to be hella paradox going on.

    In what time does this story take place at its start? Is Vera a contemporary character? The agent approaches her in the “ancient Roman market” but we don’t know if that’s ancient ruins, or actually a market set in ancient times.


    Why does Vera think she owes Ethan anything when she encounters him as a teenager?

    Oof... lots of questions. If nothing else, I was definitely REALLY intrigued by this pitch, clearly!

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  5. This sounds like a great story, and I love the voice. Below are my observations I made as I read through it the first time. I haven’t read the other comments, so sorry for any repetition.

    Agent? What kind of agent? Literary, music, real estate?

    This isn’t just YA (which usually means contemporary). What is the subgenre? SF?

    Why is # 2 a problem for Vera? She doesn’t have to go with him, does she?

    Who attacked them?

    What terrible thing happened? You need to be specific. Did he explode? ;)

    Um, I thought you already introduced us to Ethan in the first paragraph. Why are you introducing him again in the second one, too? Okay, I think I know what you’re getting at with the middle of the second paragraph, but it’s still confusing. How old was he in the first paragraph and how old is he in the second one? (note: I had to read the query two times to grasp the the plot.)

    In the last sentence, you need to either but a comma after Guild. Also, why isn’t the first guild capitalized when the rest are?
    How old is Vera?

    Good luck with it!!!! :D

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  6. Just a note to say I'm loving these critiques! So much helpful stuff. Thank you!

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  7. I think this blog is possessed... my comment was here, and now it's gone.

    *sigh* I'm sure I did something wrong... (face/palm)

    Anyway, all my comment really said is that I love the idea and premise and that most of my own quibbles were already listed. :)

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