Saturday Slash

The Saturday Slash & Book A Day Giveaway Winners

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Book A Day Giveaway! Winners are below, if you’re listed  please email me – bigblackcat97(at)gmail(dot)com – with your mailing address and I’ll get your books out to you pronto!

Day #1 – TWILIGHT – Marin McGinnis
Day #2 – FAT KID RULES THE WORLD – Carole Anne
Day #3 – DOLORES: 7 STORIES ABOUT HER – Matt Sinclair
Day #5 – WHO THE MAN – M Fantalis
Day #6 – THE WARRIOR HEIR – Myrna Foster

Meet the BBC Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description RC Lewis and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet, shoot us an email.

Art by Lynn Phillips Nelson
We all know the first line of a query is your “hook.” I call the last line the “sinker.” You want it to punch  them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox.
Also, for my brave Saturday Slash volunteers I will gladly do follow-up slashes (each more kindly than the next) on your query if you post them on the Query Critique board over on AgentQuery Connect. You’ll get advice from me, and also people who are smarter than me. If you do post on AQ, be sure to follow the guidelines and let me know you posted so that I can follow up!
And now for the next brave volunteer. For clarity, my comments are in yellow.
When a nearby supernova blasts away life on Earth with waves of radiation, a shield of magic shelters one farm. In that isolated fortress of life, a lonely boy yearns for a friend and a rabbit transforms. Nice hook. I like it, although it leaves me wondering where the magic comes form? Is the child magic, or the farm? Has it always been this way or is this an impromptu thing? The hook definitely has my interest, but I feel like these things need to be addressed in order for  reader to get a feel for the book.

Nine years later, seventeen-year-old Little Bit weeds the garden barefoot to feel the grass while her heart questions what’s on the other side of the wall. What kind of wall? Physical? Magical? Can she see through it? Memories of her past and how she got there are nonexistent. The magic anklet fastened on her by the young mage, Garrett, keeps her in the compound—keeps her from knowing why cows outnumber humans. So where did Little Bit come from? Is she the rabbit? Is Garret the boy from the first paragraph? When you say “compound” it feels more like a community than just the two of them, even though I know you’re referring to the area itself. 

Garrett turns aside her questions with jests. Infuriated, Little Bit decides Garrett can fetch his own tea. Was she his servant? She outwits the anklet to escape into a world corrupted by magic Again, the question is raised of where all this magic is coming from? A supernova scorching “our” earth isn’t that far outside the limits of reality, but where does the magic come in? A side effect of the blast? It almost feels like it was there before that, the way this is reading, which wouldn’t be “our” world as we know it. and scorched by the unfiltered fury of the sun. Traveling by night, she evades Garrett to stumble upon mutated beetles and mega-sized possums. Worse, predatory survivalists skulk in the shadows as Little Bit follows rumors to a human colony in New Chicago.

When Garrett catches her, she learns the truth about herself. Only the renewal of his magic keeps her on two legs instead of four. So she is the rabbit – I think that needs to be clearer, sooner. Also, if she needs him to remain human, does she start transforming back as she travels? New Chicago wants Garrett’s magic Why is his magic so great? It sounds like there’s magic everywhere; they’ll exploit his affection Hmm… it hasn’t felt much like affection so far, more like he was using her to do his bidding and bring him stuff. for Little Bit to get it. Now she has to free them both and discover what sacrifice it takes to stay human all while dodging the sun’s deadly rays. I wasn’t clear that the sun was still deadly. I thought she was traveling at night to stay undercover from Garrett. 

I think the idea here is fascinating and really cool, but I need more clarification on the elements of magic. How did it get here? Was it on Earth before the supernova blast? Or did it come after? Was Garrett magical before the rays? Why is he special? And is there a love story between the two, or is it just friendship? I definitely need their relationship explained a little better, as I wasn’t getting “affection” out of his treatment of Little Bit at all. 

The query is well-written, and the premise is catchy. You just need to get the elements I addressed above in there and I think you’ll be looking good.

DODGE THE SUN is a YA fantasy novel in a dystopian setting, complete at 75,000 words. My epic fantasy, Kindar’s Cure, will be released by Divertir Publishing spring 2013.

4 thoughts on “The Saturday Slash & Book A Day Giveaway Winners

  1. I knew it! My original first sentence detailed how the magic worked and everyone suggested I cut it.

    It's always hard decided what's necessary and what isn't.

    Thanks, BBC. Back to the tweaking board.

  2. I think you need to work on being more generous with your time and energy:)
    A book a day giveaway looks amazing – I'm sad I missed it! Great books.
    And another fine Saturday Slash. I so enjoy reading these!

  3. Michelle – Yeah, I think you need to get a nice economical explanation in there and it will really bring clarity to what otherwise sounds like an interesting premise.

    Terry – Don't let the nice exterior fool you, my heart is a rusty old tin can. I'm so pleased you enjoy the Slashes, I love doing them!

    Susan – isn't though? This could really pop, with a few tweaks!

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