Thursday, August 26, 2010

15 Pitch Entry #7: Jen Armentrout

Title: Half-Blood


Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

There’s nothing like crushing on the hot and totally forbidden Daemon to take Alexandria’s mind off training to kill her mother.

In a world controlled by pure-blooded demigods, seventeen-year-old half-blood Alex must defy her growing attraction to her Instructor and commit her life to killing those who have turned into murderous Furies. Falling for Daemon is not a complication Alex needs right now. Relationships between halfs and pures are strictly forbidden. Why? The Gods forbid it. Yeah, even Alex thinks that’s a crap excuse. The more time she spends with him, the more she is willing to take that risk. One perfect night with Daemon could be worth a lifetime of servitude, the only other option suitable for a half-blood. But when she discovers that her mother has become what Alex hates most – a Furie, she faces a heartbreaking choice: kill her mother or risk becoming a Furie herself.

15 comments:

  1. Okay, the first sentence grabbed me. I'm all thinking, why the heck does she have to kill her mother? Intriguing. Great voice.

    I think all the parts of the second paragraph are good, it gives me plot and conflict. I think you should rearrange it a bit to put the higher stakes in the foreground. What's more important? Defying her growing attraction for her instructor or committing her life to killing Furies?

    Also, I haven't a clue what a Furie is, so maybe a little mention of it up front.

    Love the premise and I would totally pick this book up!

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  2. I love the line "Yeah, even Alex thinks that's a crap excuse." I don't see anything that needs changing. I know what a Furie is, but I can see Brenda's point. You may want to give a quick explanation for those who don't know what they are. Other than that, great job! I want to read this book! :)

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  3. There’s nothing like crushing on the hot and totally forbidden Daemon to take Alexandria’s mind off training to kill her mother. (nice. why's Daemon forbidden?)

    In a world controlled by pure-blooded demigods,(HUH? a demigod is by definition NOT pureblood. do you mean minor gods? godlings? I don't know.) seventeen-year-old half-blood Alex (half human half what? god?) must defy her growing attraction to her Instructor (he's her teacher?! EW) and commit her life to killing those who have turned into murderous Furies.(how does someone turn into a murderous Furie? My mythology's pretty good and that just doesn't make sense.)

    Falling for Daemon is not a complication Alex needs right now. Relationships between halfs and pures are strictly forbidden. Why? The Gods forbid it. Yeah, even Alex thinks that’s a crap excuse. (nice. but you gave us that kicky hook and now there's no mention of mom.)

    The more time she spends with him, the more she is willing to take that risk. One perfect night with Daemon could be worth a lifetime of servitude,(REALLY? EW. Not my kind of heroine, then.) the only other option suitable for a half-blood. (that sucks)

    But when she discovers that her mother has become what Alex hates most – a Furie, she faces a heartbreaking choice: kill her mother or risk becoming a Furie herself. (I repeat: how do you BECOME a Fury, and why could Alex become one? You need to put this higher instead of all the stuff about Daemon, or take out your kicky hook - it makes the book watery - is it about her mom and having to kill her or is it about the forbidden relationship with Daemon? I get that one is a major subplot, but you need to give us which is the focus better.)

    Good luck!

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  5. Thanks for feedback guys. Really appreciate it!

    Jess - I am playing off Greek mythology and in my little world of make believe ... what's in Greek lore is not as it seems. =)

    Also, Daemon is not a teacher. (even though I do not find hot teachers Ew ... lol), but as it states, an Instructor ie the training part.

    Thanks again guys. This contest is awesome!

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  6. I like your voice here! Nicely done.
    I'd like to know a bit more of her mother... why exactly will she need to kill her not to become a Fury herself? And I second Brenda... what is a Fury? Also I think like you have sort of 2 plots going on here... maybe focus on one (love vs mother) Because when I started to read the line:"But when she discovers that her mother has become what Alex hates most..." I thought you were going to wrap the pitch up with something about Daemon... I hope I'm making sense here :P

    Anyhow, I would read this one! :D Good luck!

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  7. I got completely hung up on a technicality while reading this pitch, and I feel bad about it, but I think it’d be helpful to share it anyway, because it might just be a matter of phrasing that’s easily changed. You talk about pure-blooded demigods and Alex, the half-blood demigod--but the very definition of a demigod is a deity that is part god, part human (or sometimes a deified mortal, but that’s another story, I guess). So I spent the entire pitch trying to figure out what was going on there, whether she was somehow part god, part human, part… extra human. A quarter god, maybe? I ended up deciding that maybe it just means lesser god, in some way.

    Anyway, the first sentence is great, and definitely grabs you, but the rest of the pitch felt a little muddled chronologically. She doesn’t discover that her mother’s a Furie until the end, and yet the first sentence is about training to kill her mother. She’s crushing on Daemon in the first sentence, but then the rest of the pitch is all about that same crush, to varying degrees. There’s a departure from the story to talk about the gods’ decrees being a crap excuse, and yet the rest of the pitch is all about her devotion to her task, which I assume has something to do with serving at the gods’ whims, although this is just my assumption.

    I’m also not sure where or when this takes place. Alex is a modern nickname, and yet the Furies are from ancient Greek mythology, and you’re dealing with gods. The genre is described as urban fantasy, so I can assume it’s modern, but I’d definitely love to see some explanation of that in the text of the pitch! (Sorry for the looong comment, but I love anything to do with Greek mythology, so I definitely wanted to comment on this one! It's great!)

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  8. Let me see if I can clear this up. I took some basic Greek myths and twisted it into some (hopefully) new.

    Demigods are the original ones, born of a god and mortal. Since my book takes place in modern day (org, demigods are all long gone) Children of two demigods are called pure-bloods. A child of a mortal and a demigod, is called a half-blood. Simple, huh?

    Now, in my novel, a Furie is not a female spirit thirsting for hatred. A Furie is a pure-blood that has turned bad (Not going into anymore detail on that because it goes into the story too much)

    Maybe I should just take the demigod part of the query.

    There are two plots running (like most books, I would assume) One being her falling for Daemon and the other, has to do with her mother. Alex is 'devoted' to what she is supposed to do, but that doesn't mean she isn't willing to bend the rules here and there.

    Hope that clears it up

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  9. So guys I've worked on rewording the query, combining the two elements more. I also took out the demigod part so there is not too much confusion.

    ***

    There’s nothing like crushing on the hot and totally forbidden Daemon to take Alexandria’s mind off training to kill her mother.

    In a world controlled by pure-bloods, seventeen-year-old half-blood Alex must defy her growing attraction to her Instructor and commit her life to killing the pure-bloods who have turned into murderous Furies intent on draining whatever God juice they got in them.

    Falling for Daemon is not a complication Alex needs right now. Relationships between halfs and pures are strictly forbidden. Why? The Gods forbid it. Yeah, even Alex thinks that’s a crap excuse. And besides that, a horrifying attack turns her mother into the one thing Alex hates most - a Furie. She needs to focus on the nearly impossible task of facing her mom in battle, not how sexy Daemon looks in his work-out clothes.

    In the end, if Alex fails to stop her mother, she may end up becoming nothing more than a servant to the pure-bloods or worst yet, a Furie like her mom.

    ***

    Better?

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  10. okay -- i suppose i'll comment on the updated version?

    the story sounds interesting, and it's obvious there's a fun voice involved, but i had a bit of a problem with the opening line. it's good, but it's too wordy -- i had to read it a few times to understand exactly what was happening. maybe change it to: "There's nothing like crushing on the totally forbidden Daemon to take Alexandria's mind off of killing her mother." ...or something.

    but most importantly, you need to tell us what is so horrible about her mother.

    the Killing of The Mother seems to be an important plot point here, but your query focuses almost entirely on the romantic element -- which is confusing. what's happening? does she have to kill her mom because she's been turned into a Furie? or was she training to kill her before that? what is a Furie, anyway? (I can't stop picturing those Furby toys in my head.)

    there's a lot of potential here, but i need some clarification in order to understand the story as a whole. (it would also help to know that there's more to Daemon than just a hot body.)

    you've got something really good here -- hopefully you can flesh it out and make the plot pop off the page.

    best of luck with everything!

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  11. Thanks Tahereh!

    I like your tweaking of the hook. Flows much better.

    I am working on cutting down Daemon's role in the query. I think I have something that may get to the point a bit better. I also did some name changing due to the feedback.

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  13. How does this sound?

    There’s nothing like crushing on the totally forbidden Aiden to take Alexandria’s mind off training to kill her mother.

    When Alex’s mother tasted the first drop of aether, the essence of the Gods, she lost her humanity and became a “daimon”. Now she desires her half-blood, teenage daughter to become just like her.

    Aiden is a pure-blooded instructor at Covenant Academy—a school for training Halfs to kill daimons. Falling for him will severely hurt Alex’s chances of being readmitted besides being strictly forbidden. Why? The Gods forbid it. Yeah, even Alex thinks that’s a crap excuse. But even if she can resist her hormones and gain admittance, she's not sure if she can fulfill the duty expected of her.

    Killing her mom, daimon or not, is some deep stuff. If Alex can’t face that possibility, she may never see Aiden again and she’ll be forced into a life servitude—the only alternative for Academy drop-outs. Or worse, she could get turned into a daimon and be hunted by Aiden. And that would suck too.

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  14. Okay, I'll comment on your last post. Hope this helps.

    There’s nothing like crushing on the totally forbidden Aiden to take Alexandria’s mind off training to kill her mother. (She wishes she didn't have to, but since her mother lost her humanity by drinking aether, the essence of the Gods, she has tried [how?] to make her half-blood daughter just like her--a daimon. Alex can't live with that.)

    (Killing her mom, daimon or not, is some deep stuff. It's good to have Aiden to take her mind off it. - ? -- I feel like you need more of a transition to 2nd paragraph.) Aiden is a pure-blooded instructor at Covenant Academy—a school for training Halfs to kill daimons. [Is he training her? Does he know what she's training for? Has he fallen for her too?] Falling for him will severely hurt Alex’s chances of being readmitted [was she kicked out before? Why? Perhaps you don't need both reasons -- main reason of not being allowed in to train for her mission is a stronger reason even though the "strictly forbidden" part is funny.) besides being strictly forbidden. Why? The Gods forbid it. Yeah, even Alex thinks that’s a crap excuse. But even if she can resist her hormones and gain admittance, she's not sure if she can fulfill the duty expected of her. [To kill her mother? Do others expect it of her? Or is it a personal reason? What is her mother doing to try and change her? Conflict and tension could be heightened.)

(If Alex can’t kill her mom / or get back into school - ?), she may never see Aiden again and she’ll be forced into a life (of) servitude—the only alternative for Academy drop-outs. (But the problem in previous paragraph of not getting in was not being able to be trained properly to kill her mother. Or maybe I'm reading this wrong.) Or worse, she could get turned into a daimon and be hunted by Aiden. [It might help to know earlier what being a daimon would mean. Why it's something she doesn't want? Something bad enough to feel she must kill her mother. Or are all daimons hunted and killed?] And that would suck too.

    Intriguing idea. Sounds like an interesting read.

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  15. I'll take a little different slant on this (I think). The goal is not to sysnopsize the story. It's to get an agent/editor to want to read your manuscript. With that in mind, here are my comments.

    >> First, I love the first sentence. Its voice is awsome and raises a question that I want answered (why is she training to kill her mom). Kudos. The only tweak is use mom instead of mother. It's more personal.

    >> Do you have to say why she has to kill her mom? If you're going to say in the first few pages of your ms., I think the answer is no. I don't think you have to answer that question to get a request for pages.

    >> Contrary to what others have been saying, I think you're trying to tell too many details now. Pare back a little. You can't explain the minutae between Halfs, Daimons, Daemons, Furies, etc and get someone interested in the essence of your story. The details are important to your story, but it's not what drives people to read it. The relationships, feelings and the tasks are.

    >>Don't talk about the life of servitude possibility. First, I doubt its in this girls conscious decision criteria. Second, it cheapens the big emotive puch, which is choosing between the boy she loves (lusts?) and killing her mom.

    So, I know I'm going to stink at re-creating your voice for this query, but I'm going to give you what I think you should be trying for.

    ----------------

    There’s nothing like crushing on the totally forbidden Aiden to take Alex’s mind off training to kill her mom.

    Aiden is her pure-blooded instructor at Covenant Academy, a school for training Halfs like Alex to kill daimons. A relationship with him is strictly forbidden. Why? Because the Gods said so. Yeah, Alex thinks that’s a crap excuse.

    But even if she can resist her hormones, she's not sure if she can fulfill the duty expected of her. Killing her mom is some deep stuff. If Alex can’t face that possibility, she may never see Aiden again. Or worse, she could turn into a daimon and be hunted by Aiden.

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