Monday, September 10, 2012

Entry #7

Name: Ambiguous_A
Genre: YA fantasy
TAGLINEShe must save the Tainted . . . or burn with them.

1ST 250 WORDS:

Three layers of hand-knit sweaters and my gloves protected my skin. I tweaked the silk over my wrists, ensuring that no portion of my flesh was exposed.
“You’re too cautious, honey,” Jolie said. Her soft, clumsy hand pinned my mother’s old jade brooch to my outermost sweater. “Everyone knows what will happen if they touch you.”
“Accidents happen,” I said firmly. Actually, an accident hadn’t happened in years thanks to my layering, but I didn’t dare risk it. It’s not as though I could overheat, anyway.
I saw Jolie’s lips purse in the silver-framed mirror by my bed. Her full face was fatigued from a morning volunteering in the kitchen. One frizzy knot of hair stuck out of her brittle blonde bun. She’d been my caretaker for a decade, yet I didn’t think I’d ever seen her hair out of that bun.
I smiled, contemplating how much trouble I’d get in for snatching the tie away. Since Jolie was the only person who could touch me without any painful consequence, she’d probably chase me down with the broom.
My grin was all it took to wipe the pout from her expression. Simple, hair-brained Jolie. Her Scar never altered her cheerful view on life.
Her fingers prodded against the back of my neck as she adjusted the sweaters. I experienced no heat, no cold. Just the pressure of her touch on my skin.
Neither of us had felt temperature for ten years.


  1. Why ten years...? Wha--what happened? I've got to know! This idea sounds intriguing. I want to know about the relationship the MC has with her caretaker. Sounds very secretive. And great short tag line.

  2. My first thought was that the title reminds me of George RR Martin's A Song Of Ice And Fire series... Not necessarily of any consequence, but did remind me of it.

    Really neat concept. I think you've done a good job doling out the information on the world/character-building here, showing us what the MC's situation is and how other people view her. Does make me curious about why they're both like that.

    My only tiny nitpick is with the sentence: "Since Jolie was the only person who could touch me without any painful consequence, she’d probably chase me down with the broom." I didn't feel like the second part was necessarily the result of the first - like, if a broom's involved, then anyone could chase her down. And does that mean that if it were anyone else, they'd let her get away with the theft? I do like that you're conveying the information about Jolie's uniqueness within the scene rather than by description from the narrator, though.

  3. WOW, this sounds like such a fantastic premise! I fear the tagline doesn't quite do it justice!!! maybe beef that up a little. Because the first 250 are so incredibly interesting that I'm dying to see more of it in that pitch!

    I loved the first 250. You have such a beautiful way of describing things. It's wonderful. And the way you ended definitely made me want to read more. The only suggestion I have is to pull back on some of the "telling" aspects. There were only a few spots (when we learn Jolie's been her caretaker for years, and the fact that Jolie can touch her w/o consequence). Those particular spots I thought might benefit from being woven in in a different way--maybe through dialogue or body language, rather than just telling the reader those things. You've got such a talent for descriptive prose and the way you describe body movements is great. I think if you weave those facts into those kinds of spots (for example, if we see Jolie touching her w/o hesitating and then commenting that no one else can do it), it might work better and sound less info-dumpy.

    Great job, I'm dying to read more!

  4. I really like the sound of this one. You do a great job of unfolding your world so I'm not overwhelmed with too much action up front, and yet I can feel the adventure thrumming out of the story. Of course now I'm trying to wrap my head around the possible physics of this tainted malady. :)

    I admire your short and sweet tagline, but feel it could deliver a little more information. Is there some reason you can't use the mc's name? Just using "Tainted" doesn't work since the reader has no idea what that is - it isn't clear if they are even people. You wouldn't need more if it were "demon" or something self-explanatory.

    You might consider working on your first line. It initially confused me since I thought the sweaters and gloves protected the mc from the outside world, not the other way around. It also suffers from info dump as Jeanmarie noted above. The second line is better with both description and action.

    Annnd here's my nits. These are my *opinion* as places to improve. You don't need "firmly" as the dialogue communicates that quite well. That overheat line would be even stronger if you deleted "anyway." How could Jolie's face be fatigued by working in the kitchen, unless she is required to smile constantly? - needs a reword. I'm having trouble with the word "brittle" as a adjective for "bun" - can't picture an easily shattered knot of hair. Took me awhile to understand what the "tie" was. Can you be more specific than "painful consequence?" The pout wouldn't be wiped from her expression (that would change), it would be wiped from her face.

    I'd like just a wee bit more of a hint about that scar. If it is physical, Jolie or the mc could rub at it.

  5. I love the title of this - so beautiful. And the premise is really cool. I flew through the first paragraph and was sad there wasn't more to read. The only thing I got hung up on was the broom, as noted above. If she was going to chase her with it, couldn't anyone do it?

  6. I really like this concept. It's interesting and gives me a lot to want to find out about in such a short period of time. I even like the tagline, it's short and to the point. It makes me wonder what the Tainted really are and how she can save them.