Saturday, December 4, 2010

#19 YA Urban Fantasy: Urban Mythos (BAKER'S DOZEN AGENT AUCTION)

TITLE: Urban Mythos
GENRE: Young Adult Urban Fantasy

Zydeco Cashcan, an erstwhile griffin transformed into a human teenager, discovers a plot to capture exiled mythological creatures and expel them to a barren world filled with ravenous hellions. When the conspiracy, which goes all the way up to the mayor's office, results in the kidnapping of both his stepmother and best friend, it falls on Zydeco to rescue everyone before they're served up as chimera chow.

"My name is Zydeco, and I am a recovering mythological creature." I stood at the makeshift podium and looked out over the musty, high ceilinged room, my fingers clutching the stone hanging on the black rope around my neck.

For the first time in three months, tonight was my turn to kick off the meeting. Moments ago, the regulars had finished up their conversations and hunkered down into the rows of folding chairs with stale donuts in hand. Some newbies continued to mill about the cramped YMCA gymnasium, their eyes darting around nervously. This was the most popular group of its kind in the city, and as a result everyone sat in rows instead of a circle.

As one out of tune voice, they answered, "Hello, Zydeco."

The canned response didn't always make me crack up, but after hearing it about eight hundred times, I couldn't help but chuckle a little. I swear, sometimes I thought they were sheep -- the weird, legendary kind that flies and craps rubies. Don't get me wrong, these guys were great and everything. They had done the human thing for a heck of a lot longer than I had.

Octavio, the support group organizer, bustled to the front row, shushing everyone and motioning the stragglers to their seats. As usual, when he parked himself, coffee slopped over the edge of the
styrofoam cup and onto his yellow tie. He jerked his head down, which made the bad smelling stuff spill onto the ample belly of his white shirt.


  1. I remember reading this one before, and I liked it then and now I think it's even better! The voice grabbed me and even the name Zydeco was nice :)
    Good luck!

  2. I like this a lot. One of my favorites so far. Good luck with it.

  3. Interesting concept. Nice to see something new in this genre. Love the Mythological Creatures Anonymous meeting!

  4. What an original concept! Love the voice too. It's a perfect mix of cynical teenager and worldweary ancient.

    Would love to read more.

  5. "the weird, legendary kind that flies and craps rubies" should be plural as you are referring to sheep in the plural, not a sheep.

    I'm not sure I understand why Octavio is shushing people. They just said "Hello, Zydeco." As far as we know, they are quiet already.

    Otherwise, I think this is fine. I've seen you post this first line before and still love it.

  6. I was hooked by this before, and I'm still hooked. Love the voice.

  7. I love the visual of the Creatures Anon meeting! This seems really fresh to me, although I have to admit it was a bit too much description for me. It's probably just me, but I didn't want to read so much about the regulars finishing their donuts, etc... I wanted to hear more about Zydeco and so I started to skim because I wanted answers to that very startling admission of being a mythological creature. ^_^

    On top of that, I love the Zydeco name, but I'm not sure if I will still love it by the end of the book. I'm hoping he'll get a nickname along the way, because Zydeco is a mouthful!

    Really fresh idea. Love it!

  8. I remember this one, too, and still love it! You've done a great job with the logline.

    I agree there might be a bit too much description here. Nitpick: not crazy about the "canned responses" line and think it could be shortened.

    Otherwise, great job!

  9. I agree with people who said the description is a bit too long. I like the voice, but you can definitely skip over the general stuff and get to the rest of the meeting. Otherwise, good start, I like this story, it's sounds unique and fun to read.

  10. I guess I'm the odd person out here.

    The logline was unclear to me. Someone wants to take 'exiled' mythological creatures and 'expel' them. If they're already exiled, why do they need to be hunted down and expelled? Is it the people in the world they were exiled to who now want to catch them and banish them? If so, why? And why would they be served up as chimera chow? Aren't chimera also mythological creatures? Why aren't they being expelled too?

    Excerpt - I'm wondering what Zydeco is recovering from. Is he still a teenager trying to return to being a griffin, or has he already reverted back (recovered) to being a griffin? Or is it something in between or something else altogether? What's he recovering from? I thought that needed to be made evident somewhere.

    This is erally vague. Without the logline, I'd assume he's a mythical creature and I'd be wondering what kind of mythical creature. All you've given us is a recovering mythical creature standing at a podium, and I don't know what 'recovering mythical creature' means.

    It's a unique idea but I don't think it's presented as well as it could be.

  11. Logline:
    -This feels like MG to me. As someone who had HUGE issues with what MG/YA was in my own work, perhaps I'm overly sensitive--but the logline's stakes (against the mayor, saving family) imply MG to me.

    Line comments:
    -Cute opening
    -A rope around his neck? Perhaps something smaller--chain, cord, etc.

    -The voice does still feel a little MG to me, but this story is intriguing and the writing solid; I would definitely read on!

  12. I like this a lot. I'm always pleased to hear a strong authors voice that adds a real depth to a character. Right from the start, I have a clear idea of what this character is like from this cleverly written excerpt. I can only imaging the rest of the novel will have this same appeal. This story stood out to me above the rest. Thumbs up from me!

  13. Hilarious and original, but I think you can cut to the chase a little quicker on the first page. Oh and I think it should be 'As one out-of-tune voice' for clarity. Only one major problem for me - I read 'Zydeco Cashcan' and nearly stopped reading. Does he have to have such a weird name? But overall I'd love to read more.

  14. This is a fun concept -- and I absolutely love that first line. The attention to detail and word choice highlighted the great first-person voice.

    My nitpicky comment would be that the second sentence, in my opinion, is a bit long. I might cut it right after "room."

    But overall, I think this is a really strong submission and with a unique concept.

  15. I love the voice! Very unique and intriguing. I would definitely be interested in reading more.

  16. I'm sorry, I can't get past the name. I'm from Louisiana and grew up listening to zydeco (it's a type of music--sort of like Cajun polka, for the unfamiliar), so it's pretty much impossible for me to take a character with that name seriously. That might be a real stumbling block for other people who are familiar with the music, as well.

  17. I found this entry to be a unique approach in YA fiction writing. The author's voice is quite strong, and I believe it can (and will) appeal to a YA audience as well as adults.

    I, for one, LOVE Zydeco's Cajun music, and I found this name suited the author's character perfectly. No stumbling block here. *smiles*

    By far, my favorite.

  18. This is a unique concept with a standout voice, which reminds me of the witty Percy Jackson character, and would suit a similar reading audience.

    I agree with the previous comment that the name Zydeco Cashcan is clearly a play on words, and tongue in cheek like the protagonist's POV.

    I diasgree with earlier comments and think the excerpt balances the right amount of character's POV with setting. The loglines intrigues me and I want to know more. Great entry.

  19. I had to re-read the end of the second sentence--at first I thought he was somehow hanging from the rope. Maybe just cut the word hanging--I don't think you need it.

    In the last sentence, is 'bad smelling stuff' referring to the coffee? Seems odd since your MC wouldn't be able to smell it from a distance and I don't see how it would spill from the tie to the shirt.

  20. Okay, I just have to say I can't believe no one has bid on this entry yet. It's so original and funny. Hang in there, author!!!

  21. I wonder if the problem with this is that it doesn't really "read" as YA. Besides the mention in the logline that Zydeco is a human teenager nothing else in this would make me think it wasn't adult. AA-style meetings aren't something the average American teenager is going to identify with and the only other character mentioned seems much older.

    Maybe considering starting the novel in a more obviously teenage place. Just my two cents.

  22. Both your logline and your exerpt had me laughing hysterically. I'm afraid the humor might be lost on some, though. "All the way up to the mayor's office". That killed me. You might want to clarify a little as well as the logline makes the story seem a bit one-note.

  23. Nice feel for the YA voice. Certainly an original concept. I was a little trepidatious about the idea in the logline--a little *too* weird, it seemed. But with the right execution, (nearly) every idea can be pulled off. I'm hooked enough to want to read more and see if it continues successfully.

    My only question is: how old is the character, really? If he's a centuries-old mythological creature, is he that old but in the form of a teen boy, or does he have the maturity level of a teen boy? What makes this story YA?

  24. Another question, so make that two, which isn't answered in the logline: why would mythological creatures feel a need to live in human form, and why do they need to "recover" from being a mythological creature? It's unclear from the context here in both the sample and the logline.