Monday, September 10, 2012

Entry #20

Name: Nicole Zoltack
Genre: YA Paranormal

Tagline: Learning that she's magic incarnate turns fifteen-year-old Crystal's faith upside down but she has more to deal with than question about faith and her soul when her boyfriend is kidnapped by a witch hunter and shamans snatch her aunt.

First 250 words:

I never saw the attics stairs down before.
The attic door was always secured and padlocked, but now the stairs hang out into the hallway like a lolling tongue in a particularly dark and dusty mouth.
Something heavy bangs above my head, and I jump. What on earth is Mom doing up there?
Eager to learn what secrets the attic contains, I ascend the steps until blackness clouds my vision as a trash bag plowed into me. Thankfully, despite its large size, the bag is rather light.
"Crystal! What are you doing up here?" Mom asks.
I blink, surprised by Mom's sharp tone. After picking up the trash bag, I descend the steps. "I wanted to see—"
"Since you're here, can you take these bags down to the living room for me?" Mom's smile looks forced as she climbs down to stand beside me.
Mom hands me another bag, then lifts the steps, closes up the attic and padlocks it before I can even glimpse inside it.
Shrugging half-heartedly, I do as she asked and drop the bags near the living room desk. Wonder what's inside them.
Rubbing my eyes, I can feel a headache coming on. I sit down in front of the computer, ready to get back to my homework.
"I'm sorry for snapping at you, dear. You just caught me by surprise," Mom says as she comes into the room. Dust colors her dyed hair, covering her strawberry blonde strands with gray.
"What were you doing up there?"


  1. Interesting tagline! I especially like the part about her faith and reconciling that with the fact that she can do magic. That's super appealing to me, and would be the hook if I was reading the back cover of this story.

    In terms of the 250, there are some really great pieces of imagery that make it come alive, like the tongue hanging out of a dusty mouth.

    But there are parts that are a bit difficult to read. I see "heavy bangs above my head" and my brain instantly goes to "this is a description of hair" but it's actually about noise, which means I have to stop and reread. "Dust colors her dyed hair" and I think you're describing her hair as "dust-colored" and realize I'm wrong and have to reread again.

    And something about the rhythm of it feels repetitive. Many of the sentences seem to be on the long side with a "one action, then another related action" structure.

    I like the concept—it totally hooked me!—and I think you've got a really great start. ^_^ Cheers!

  2. I love the title and the logline.

    Your first 250 are great and I would read more.

  3. Tagline reads clearly (and without any pauses on my part), nice job!

    I like your 1st 250, but was disappointed when it was just her mom in the attic and she still didn't get to see anything.

    I think you could drop your 1st line and start with the stronger 2nd one (so good!)

  4. Your first line confused me. I'm not really sure why I found it awkward, but I just didn't get it on first read. I had to read it twice before I got it. Perhaps try changing it: I never saw the attic open before today.

    Or maybe drop the first line altogether? Start right in?

    Also, Why all of a sudden is she "eager to learn what secrets the attic contains"? Did she ever wonder about the attic before? Or did seeing the attic open for the first time pique her interest? As it reads right now, that line seems out of place for me.

    Is she going to snoop in the bags? I wonder! I hope so! I want to know what mom was up to :)

    Thanks for sharing!

    (entry #21)

  5. Your tagline was great. It pitched the book perfectly, setting up the MC, the conflict and the consequences. Really good job with that!

    i liked the mystery within the first 250. Right off the bat you've created a conflict and posed some questions for the reader to worry over. The only suggestion I have (aside from what others have said above) is to double-check for tense changes. There were a few spots where you flipped from present to past and it jarred me. (For example, "...I ascend the steps until blackness clouds my vision as a trash bag plowed into me." I think it would be "PLOWS" in that phrase. Also, "Shrugging half-heartedly, I do as she asked..." I think it would sound better as "ASKS.")

    I'm definitely intrigued by the idea of secrets up in that attic. I had the same feelings when I was a kid. Great start!