Thursday, August 26, 2010

10 Pitch Entry #8: Sarah N. Fisk

Title: MIRANDA’S FIRE


Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Miranda Dakin is the most powerful Fire Mage alive and could win this year’s annual Tournament – if she were three days older. Mages must be at least sixteen to attend The Tournament, the paramount event for the secretive modern-day Mage society. Waiting another year to compete becomes the least of her worries when a horde of supposedly-extinct demons attack The Tournament, killing or kidnapping every adult Mage – including her Psychic Mage mother.

After receiving a message from her mother, Miranda must rescue the surviving Mages from a place she was told doesn't exist. She sets off on a cross-country rescue mission with three others: a strange young Holy Knight, her Witch of a best friend, and a powerful Water Mage she's known since birth.

Miranda grapples with a seductive ancient knowledge while discovering most of what she’s been taught about her magic is a strategic lie. An intimate betrayal, public demon attacks, and an unexpected affection complicate matters when all Miranda wants is her mother safely back at home.

10 comments:

  1. This is very intriguing. I understand the conflict- she'll lose her mom if she can't get to her, but the query leaves me wondering about an "intimate betrayal" is ...

    I think the first sentence (the hook) could use some work. Maybe work more of the plot into it since it doesn't seem like the tournament is the main theme, but her cross country rescue and the things she must face then

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  2. I think this premise is fabulous!

    Like Jennifer, I'm wondering what the intimate betrayal is--I'm assuming it's either her Mom or one of her traveling companions.

    It's interesting that all this is taking place in modern society--I bet the public demon attack scenes are pretty intense.

    The only other thing that caught my eye was the phrase "seductive ancient knowledge"...to me, that indicates that perhaps she's partially lured by it, which introduces some antagonistic force other than the actual demons. It just raised a question with me, and I was hoping the bigger conflict (i.e., with the society/ancient knowledge) would be described.

    I'm babbling now, because I really don't have much to critique--I think the novel sounds awesome!

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  3. Miranda Dakin is the most powerful Fire Mage alive and could win this year’s annual Tournament – if she were three days older. Mages must be at least sixteen to attend The Tournament, the paramount event for the secretive modern-day Mage society. Waiting another year to compete becomes the least of her worries when a horde of supposedly-extinct demons attack The Tournament, killing or kidnapping every adult Mage – including her Psychic Mage mother. (Nice set-up.)

    After receiving a message from her mother, (she wouldn't try without that?) Miranda must rescue the surviving Mages from a place she was told doesn't exist. She sets off on a cross-country rescue mission with three others: a strange young Holy Knight, her Witch of a best friend, and a powerful Water Mage she's known since birth. (do they matter? kind of thrown in here.)

    Miranda grapples with a seductive ancient knowledge (what is it? what makes it seductive?) while discovering most of what she’s been taught about her magic is a strategic lie. An intimate betrayal,(by whom? what is it?) public demon attacks, and an unexpected affection complicate matters when all Miranda wants is her mother safely back at home.

    What does it mean for this secret society that all the adults are missing? is anyone else trying to get them back? you do two lists - the friends and the complications - you could cut the friends and use the extra space to be more concrete about details.

    Good luck!

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  4. Sarah, this sounds exciting and fast paced. I can just imagine Miranda being really annoyed at missing the Tournament by just three days – so unfair!

    The first paragraph: ‘…killing or kidnapping every adult Mage – including her Psychic Mage mother.’ Was her mother killed or kidnapped?

    The second paragraph: This tells me her mother was kidnapped because of the message she got to Miranda. Maybe this is just me, but maybe change ‘Witch of a best friend’ to ‘her best friend who’s a witch’? (or something better than my attempt.) For a moment I thought she was calling her best friend a witch – as in a horrible person.

    The third paragraph: ‘seductive ancient knowledge’ I love this phrase. Is it like the ring in Lord of the Rings, does it suck people in? An intimate betrayal – oh who? Unexpected affection – the young knight?

    I would read this, and read it fast. So many things I’m dying to find out.

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  5. I read a blog entry recently--I think it was from Query Shark, but don’t quote me on that--where the critique made a comment on the list of characters as sounding like the intro to a joke, a la: “A psychic, a mermaid, and a zombie witch doctor walk into a bar…” Now, I’m not saying you’ve got that here at all, but I think the point was to be wary about introducing too many characters (or species, or character types) in a query. I think that extends to concepts unique to your book, too, basically the things that are special enough to be capitalized. You’ve got Miranda, her mother, the Tournament, a Holy Knight, a Witch, and a Water Mage. That’s a lot for someone to handle in a 175-word pitch. I think it’s tempting to include them all because you want to show everything that makes your story unique, but it’s one of those situations where you just have to trust that your main character and your story is compelling enough to be unique without the supporting cast. (Which, I think, it definitely is. So just trust that!)

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  6. Ooh! This is exactly the kind of book I love to read! Great premise. And I was completely sucked in. Most of the time I stop mid-query to figure something out, but this was very straightforward but also enticing.
    I really like the first line, but when I found out that it wasn't really the hook of the story, or the plot, I wondered if it should be the first thing we read.
    The last paragraph is a little vague--some nice word choices, but I kind of glossed over because it doesn't really mean anything.
    But, like I said, this query as a whole would definitely sell me. Good work!

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  7. This has possibilities. Definitely fits the fantasy YA genre. My general comment is that you're telling me too much of the plot and not enough of the story. for example it doesn't sell me that Miranda knew the Water Mage since childhood -- that's backstory. I want to know how they relate to each other now -- do Miranda and her companions fight amongst themselves? are they funny? The pitch isn't the novel -- it's what's supposed to get me to want to read the novel.

    I also think it would be stronger if you said that Miranda is grappling with her teenage feelings (or something like that) as much as demons in her cross country quest.

    Not sure why it's a "strategic" lie. Why not just a lie?

    Hope you find this helpful.

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  8. this is awesome.

    i read through it all the while thinking -- "this makes perfect sense. i get it. i totally get it." there were some bits of awkward phrasing -- like "seductive ancient knowledge" and "intimate betrayal" (i'm not sure if i'm a fan of the last line), but other than that, it sounds like so much fun. i LOVE the "her Witch of a best friend" bit. it's hilarious and makes you wonder if she's a Witch, a witch, or BOTH. haha. i already like Miranda, and love that she's willing to fight to save her mother.

    i'd dive right into this story.

    well done!!

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  9. I'm not normally an urban fantasy girl, but this has my attention. Any issues I have, have already been addressed by others, so I'll just say you've got a great idea here and with work you'll have a great pitch to go with it! Hopefully all this feedback will help you manage that because I really think this is a great premise!

    One thing I'll pick on is your title. The book itself sounds so unique, but the title is just sort of bla and expected. I'd try and come up with something catchier.

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  10. I love the premise. Very much in the line of Graceling. I think the hook could be more compelling than she's just too young to compete.

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