Thursday, January 12, 2012

Drop the Needle #18

TITLE: To The Bones
GENRE: YA urban fantasy/paranormal

15-year-old Valleri has just become her community's newest curandera (spiritual warrior) after a smoky shadow seen only in her periphery snatched her Nana's soul. Val's spirit followed this shadow into the Underworld, entering her new body - a jaguar version of herself - in order to resuce her nana's soul from a Demon Lord's fortress.

I wanted to spring from my dark corner, pull her down and go home, but everything inside of me screamed not to. I guess this instinct thing ran both ways and I could listen to my body as well, especially if I wasn’t listening to anyone else. But it wasn’t their nana hung on a cross, it was mine.

As I decided what to do, my body tensed, sensing someone or something nearby. I caught a shape out of the corner of my eye. Again? Really? But it wasn’t that same smoky shadow. It was softer, lighter, and smelled of lavender. Just like my nana. But it couldn’t be; I was looking right at her unconscious body. “That’s not me,” I heard my nana's voice whisper in my ear. It was her! Then who was on the cross? For the first time I was scared, really scared, mostly because neither me nor my body knew what to do. But my nana did. “Run, mija,” her voice said as her lighter shadow disappeared from my periphery.

A whimper, like a wounded cat, escaped my lips and I turned to run. I leapt into the air, my body stretched out, ready to land in a full sprint and get the hell out of there, but it was too late. The trap was sprung. An arrow screamed through the air and buried itself in my side. I fell in a heap on the warm stone floor as half-demons poured out of the walls, cheering in victory. I had been shot.


  1. Interesting concept. Just a few nit picky things. But it wasn't their nana hung on a cross. End your sentence here. The pause should be more dramatic before It was mine.

    Break up the second paragraph. "That's not me," should be a new paragraph. Then It was her should be another new paragraph.

    Also the last line - I had been shot is redundant. We already know she was shot. The demons are cheering in victory. What does she think or feel about it? Who is she worried about if she dies?

  2. I agree with the first commenter so I'll focus on other things.

    In the first paragraph, it is her "body" that is keeping her in place, thus, it would be nice if the descriptions were of the body. ie: My claws gripped the floor as I prepared to leap, but my leg muscles get the idea. "Everything inside me" is vague. As it is you're telling the reader about the tension between body and soul - show us! This is a really interesting concept.

    I really like the concept of the mc's body and soul being at odds. I'm supposing part of her journey is to make them work together.

    You can drop, "As I decided what to do..." since you've already established the mc is in an agony of indecision. Suggest start paragraph with "I caught..."

    The mc knows what the shape is - the again? really? is coy - better to tell the reader what she knows. And if she thinks the thing is dangerous, would she let it get close enough to whisper in her ear? Wouldn't she at least back up into the corner? Some description of what her body is up to would go well here.

    "Disappeared from my periphery" is hard to visualize - what exactly does the mc see?

    "But it was too late. The trap was sprung." is telling before showing. More dramatic to just get into the action.

  3. Interesting idea! I want to read what the pitch for this would be.

    My biggest comment is to make the prose more succinct--it's a tad hard to follow, a little wordy. Also, the emotions are there, but I couldn't quite feel them, especially the confusion and when she gets shot. I felt a bit apart from her.

    I like the cat references, though.

  4. I couldn't figure out where this is supposed to take place, but maybe with the context of the book that would make more sense.

    Also, I think te second paragraph would read stronger if the "As I decided what to do" part was dropped.