Saturday, December 4, 2010

#21 YA Fiction: The Devil You Know (BAKER'S DOZEN AGENT AUCTION)

TITLE: The Devil You Know
GENRE: YA Fiction

Seventeen year old Angie Dawson discovers she's one of the unlucky few born with the ability to see demons, and now she has to make a decision--make a deal with one of them, and be corrupted, or try to resist, and be driven insane. If only it were that easy. A particularly nasty demon isn't taking "No" for an answer, and now Angie must find a way to stop him, without losing her sanity--or her soul--in the process.

I can't have been asleep for more than an hour, maybe two, when my bedroom door swings open with a long, shivering groan. I ignore it--the door never latches right in winter, and our apartment is draftier than a frilly skirt on a windy day.

But then there's a touch on my foot, the barest hint of pressure on the duvet, and I am instantly, fully, awake.

"We've got company, cupcake," a voice says from the chair beside my bed.

"Thank you, Captain Obvious. Why did you let it in?"

"Last I checked, I wasn't a doorman," he says.

Still soundless, the thing continues its path around my bed, moving ever closer to where my head is resting on the pillow. I tuck my chin to my chest, shifting so the blankets cover most of my face, just in case. Ghosts won't try to get physical, usually, not if my oh-so-helpful partner Zeke is around. But it never hurts to be cautious.

"Gross," Zeke says, and even though I know better I open my eyes.

Inches from me, crouched down to be level with my face, is a scorched, peeling thing--nothing but black skin and grimacing mouth, lidless eyes wide and bright in the darkness. The ghost opens its mouth and the skin around it bursts and peels away from the charred lips. "You can see me," it gurgles.


  1. I'm hooked! :D
    I was a little lost in the dialogue, though. Maybe use a dialogue tag on the second line. Plus, who spoke at first? Zeke? Maybe I missed something.
    And btw, I love the first two paragraphs!

  2. Good - you bet I'd keep turning the pages.

  3. I really liked this. The one thing that tripped me up was who the disembodied voice belongs to? (who is he and why is he hanging out on a chair beside her bed). Simple fix could be to insert the introduction to Zeke right after "beside my bed." Something like "It was Zeke my____," (& explain why he is in the room).
    It's a small gripe.
    The ghost description is creepy. And, on the whole, I would definitely keep reading.
    Good luck!

  4. The beginning of the first line is awkward. It would read better as "I haven't been asleep for more than...".

    When you say "a voice says..." it sounds like she has no idea who the voice belongs to but then her reaction shows that she knows the voice and the person it comes from. Because you have an unknown person in the room, this is confusing. It made me think the person who touched her foot also was the voice. This would be much less confusing if you just named Zeke from the start.

  5. I loved this! The voice is amazing, and I love Zeke already. I bet he has lots of amazing snarky lines ^_^

    One thing about the logline... you'd said she wasn't sure if she should make a deal or resist, but then the problem is a demon isn't taking no for an answer. So doesn't that mean that she's made her choice already? Maybe it's just me but I was a little confused by exactly what's at stake.

    But excerpt...amazing! So hooked :)

  6. Zeke needs a bit of an introduction. Other than that, all I can say is hooked.

  7. I like the creepiness, but I also suggest you introduce Zeke when he first speaks. Also, when I read she was fully awake, I assumed her eyes were open so it surprised me when she opened her eyes a few paragraphs later.

    Great opening. Just needs a couple of tweaks.

  8. Log line - Stop him from doing what? was the question that immediately comes to my mind. What does he want with her?

    Excerpt - a long shivering groan implies the door is opened slowly, but swings open implies quickly.

    I wonder why you don't name the person in the chair since she knows who it is. If she knows it's Zeke would she refer to him as 'a voice?'

    Instantly fully awake has me thinking she's sitting up watching this thing approach. She sees it continue around her bed. Then she suddenly opens her eyes. If her eyes had been closed all this time, how did she see it?

    All easy enough fixes. The last sentence was great!

  9. Logline:
    -Too many commas in that first sentence :)
    -What does the nasty demon not want to take no to?

    Line comments:
    -So her conversation with whoever's in the chair doesn't disturb the thing walking around her bed?

    This is interesting. I've got a few questions--what is Zeke, what does the ghost want--and as long as they're answered in the next page or so, I'd definitely keep reading.

  10. As others have said, I definitely think you need to say 'Zeke' and not 'a voice' and tell us briefly who he is, otherwise it's confusing and too vague. Also fix the tenses in the first sentence. Comparing an apartment to a frilly skirt sounded odd to me. But I like the style and would definitely want to read more.

  11. The log line was too long in my opinion and I didn't care for the "If it only it were that easy" part.

    I did like the writing. I agree with the others in that Zeke needs a little better introduction, but I would continue to read based on this excerpt.
    (sorry if this posts twice, having issues w/blogger)

  12. The logline didn't really hook me, but by the end of the excerpt, I really wanted to read on.

    Can Zeke see the creature too? Why doesn't it approach him?

  13. I bid 20 pages.

    Laura Bradford
    Bradford Literary Agency

  14. I really, really love the voice in this one--I'm totally hooked! Good luck to you! :)

  15. Ew, I want to read more about this gross thing. I love the frilly skirt line, too :)

  16. Hooked! :-D

    I had the opportunity to read the entire novel, and it just gets better. Great stakes.


  18. I'm confused--she discovers she can see demons, but we start w/ her talking to ghosts. The logline should have included something about that, I think, to avoid confusion. What is it that allows her to talk to ghosts?

    However, her partner is intriguing and I like that the ghosts she sees are different than the kinds of ghosts we normally see; you also differentiate from Meg Cabot's Mediator series and a few others with the complication of demons that I'm expecting to hear about later in the book.

    So, I'm hooked, but I'd want to be sure it wasn't too much like any of the glut of paranormal already out there, especially the most prominent I-can-talk-to-ghosts/I-help-dead-people-cross-to-the-other-side books out there (and there are a lot of them).