Friday, November 29, 2013


TITLE: The Dragon's Pearl
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Fourteen-year-old Misha has always lived in the shadow of her mother, the most powerful mage in South Korea. When she accidentally frees a dragon from his magical slumber, Misha must track him down, now masquerading as a human in the underbelly of Seoul before he wrecks vengeance on the person who sealed him away in the first place: her own mother.

“I have time for one story,” her mother said. She was dressed in an eel-black suit, her phone in her pocket ready to vibrate and whisk her away at a moment’s notice. “Two, if my secretary drove off the bridge and hasn’t called yet.”

“Nothing about waterfalls,” Misha said, feeling toasty under a blanket of goose feathers. She’d hate to go to the bathroom now. “No tidal waves, either.”

“Sure,” her mother said. Then she proceeded to pick the one picture book with the ocean on the cover. Misha only forgave her because it was The Blind Man’s Daughter, her favorite. Her aunt had read it to her many times.

“Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved her blind father very much.” Her mother paused. “She would have done anything in the world for him.”

Every story came with a bad guy and in this folktale, it was the Dragon King, causing trouble for merchants who wanted to sail to China. He thrashed his golden scaly body under the ocean, sinking ship after ship. It was an epic tantrum.

“So he’s like that dragon in the news,” Misha said, eager to show off. Most grownups thought she was too young to understand her mother’s job, but they didn’t know about the encyclopedias she’d read, the Time feature on her mother she’d cut out. “Your nemesis.”

“Do you even know what that word means?” her mother said, with a wry smile.

“It means someone you have to stop.”


  1. A wonderful concept, and I immediately connected with the both the main character and the tone of the overall narration.

    A few comments:

    1) I'm unsure of Misha's age in this opening. The logline says 14, but if her mother is reading picture books to her I assume at this point she's considerably younger. No a big deal, just felt like a discrepancy at first.

    2) The line "Her aunt had read it to her many times." felt out of place to me (as in, why have we suddenly shifted to talking about her aunt?). I had to back up and make sure it was indeed her mother that was actually in the room with her, thinking I had read it wrong.

    3) It took me a couple of reads of the logline to make sure it was the dragon who was "masquerading as a human" and not Misha herself (the wording could perhaps be clearer).

    All in all though, I'd be quite interested in the seeing how this story unfolds.

    Best of luck with it!

  2. Love this concept; totally fresh urban fantasy & I really dig the Korean setting.

    I'm not sure you've started in the right place, however. I'm not pulled into the story until the paragraph about the Dragon King (love "epic tantrum" BTW).

    I also don't have a sense for how old Misha is. You say she's 14 in your logline, but the opening page suggests she's much younger than that, which will be a turn off to YA readers. I think it would be better to start somewhere readers can immediately engage w/ the MC. But that doesn't mean you have to start w/ an action scene.

  3. This does feel fresh and I like the premise, but I want to have a better feel for Misha's age in this first scene. I'd definitely read more, but I think you might be putting too much in this first 250. Maybe it starts in the wrong place? At any rate, I want to learn more about what happens to Misha and her mother. But more importantly, I want to see Misha do something.

  4. I'm excited about the South Korea setting. And dragons? Heck yes!

    From the logline, this sentence: "When she accidentally frees a dragon" isn't clear whether 'she' is Misha or her mother. Her mother is mentioned last, it reads as if it refers to her, but I think you mean that Mish frees the dragon, right?

    I agree what others have said regarding Misha's age. Because she's curled up under blankets and her mother is about to read a picture book to her, I would've guessed much younger if your logline hadn't said 14.

    Also, something about, 'there was a girl who loved her *blind* father very much' feels off, like his blindness relates directly to how much the daughter loves him. Is there another way to slip that info in?

    Best of luck during the auction!

  5. This totally swept me in. The logline is awesome. The contrast of modern phones, eel-like suit & secretaries with the storytelling and bedtime ... all set in Korea and with shape-shifting dragons... I am putty in your hands. :)

  6. I probably should have mentioned somewhere that she's seven in this scene.

    Thanks, guys, for the comments! It's encouraging, exhilarating, and everything. I especially appreciate the helpful feedback.

  7. I'm in agreement with the first commenter on #1 & 2. However, the logline was clear to me and well done.

    My only suggestion on that would be instead of "in the first place" if you could substitute those four words with the setting/situation, which would also give readers a sense of their world right off the bat.

    I love the last bit, when her mother asks her with a wry smile and then her response. It seems like the MC has spunk!

    Best wishes!

  8. The logline sets up something interesting, and the first page lives up to it, I think. I am curious about her mother and what will happen.

  9. The premise is fresh and interesting, and I really like your first page. It sets up the mother-daughter relationship, has some amusing lines, intrigue with the dragons, and really draws me in. I really don't have any crits, I think it's excellent and I'd happily read on.

    The only nitpick is that I presume this is a prologue with her as a little girl. Obviously I don't know what else happens in the prologue, but given how agents often don't like them, do make sure you truly need it.

    Good luck!

  10. first off, I love the modern, Korean setting. That's awesome

    Reading this, I'm assuming this takes place in the past, since her mother's reading her a PB and because her voice sounds much younger than fourteen.

    (oh, just saw your comment about her age. Glad to see my assumption was correct)

    I really liked this one. The only thing I'd say is maybe watch your dialogue tags. You don't need them if they're followed by an action of the speaker.

    Good luck!

  11. Hey there!

    Like many have said before me, I'm immediately attracted to the South Korean setting. It's different and diverse, so three cheers for that!

    I am so intrigued by your logline. The fact that she's tracking down a dragon that was sealed away by her own mother provides a ton of conflict. I wonder if there will be a romance now that he's masquerading as a human? Or is it more action/adventure? A romance angle would sit this more squarely in YA, since I tend to worry that dragon stories are more fit for the middle-grade audience.

    As much as I like this scene, I wonder if it's the right place to start your story. It seems like it could be brought in more organically later on, perhaps as the MC reflects on her childhood. Why not start with her actually waking up the dragon?

    A lot of good stuff here though. Thanks for sharing. Good luck!

  12. I'll go 10 pages on this.

  13. I am in agreement with most of the other comments about this being prologue and should be set up as such as well as being something that you absolutely must include separate from the story itself (as you'd want to start ch. 1 with Misha at 14).

    I find the voice to be very seductive, in the 'enticing/drawing in' sense, there seems to be an old-fashioned poetic/fairy tale heart that I think others were picking up on as well.

    My only really concern (and it's minor) with the 250 words as presented is something I'm not sure is an actual concern (which I guess is a good thing)...mainly, even though the 'you MUST have action immediately' meme is thankfully no longer sacrosanct, what you do have is the reader reading about someone reading to someone else. As I said, a minor concern.

    Best of luck!