Saturday, December 4, 2010

#30 YA Contemporary Fantasy: The Persephone Paradox (BAKER'S DOZEN AGENT AUCTION)

TITLE: The Persephone Paradox
GENRE: YA Contemporary Fantasy

When seventeen-year-old Zoe learns that an evil Greek god and The Fates have been playing tug-of-war with her life--and that she's a daughter of the goddess of spring, not just some freakish gardening prodigy--she must wield her life-giving powers with deadly force to win her battle for independence or else become a weapon in her enemy's plot against humankind.

"I can tell you've been clenching your teeth," my dentist says, blinding me with her headlamp as she takes a closer look. It's as if she's mining for something worthwhile in my mouth. She obviously doesn't know--there's nothing worthwhile about me.

She continues her excavation while I grip the armrests, anticipating pain.

"How old are you now, Zoe?"

My response is lost in the suctioning of my spit, but the woman is fluent in phlegm.

"Seventeen? Hmm. I've never seen so much gum recession in someone so young before." Dr. Fallon says this not with the sympathetic or scolding tone I'd expect, but with fascination.

I'm a prodigy in all things disturbing.

At least my hair's not receding, but that gives me no comfort. Grey strands weave through my long black hair, making me look like a witch. Wrinkles radiate from the corners of my eyes as if some sadistic crow stomped on my face. And now my gums are shriveling, too? Just what will I look like in ten years?

Then I realize it doesn't matter. I doubt I'll even still be here.


  1. Secret child of a Greek god..hmm..sounds familiar...

  2. Having just been in a dentist's chair just last week (the dentist's assistant, who held the suctioning thing, was watching the TV in front of the reclining chair as avidly as I was. Not a good thing) I'm finding an affinity with your character.

    It also helps that the writing is very smooth and funny. :)

    I find the premature ageing angle that you've taken with your first page really interesting. I'm guessing that she's going to turn into something terrifying very, very soon?

    Oh - your voice is also awesome.

  3. The log line didn't do much for me. Using her 'life-giving' power with 'deadly force' stood out to me. (I'll kill you if you don't allow me to help you live?)

    I really liked the excerpt, particularly 'fluent in phlegm.' It's a unique opening, and you get across that something weird is happening to her. I liked the word choices, the analogies, and the voice. Nicely done!

  4. Re the logline: I can't tell who her enemy is here: The evil Greek god? The Fates? Both?

    I like this although I'm wondering where the dental assistant is (I've never heard of a dentist using their own suction thingy). Otherwise, the final "here" sounds like you mean at the dentist and I would guess she definitely won't be at the dentist in ten years.

  5. Hooked! I'd definitely keep reading.

  6. The plot sounds great ("gardening prodigy" really stood out as a unique character trait), and I loved the writing and voice in the excerpt. I like the contrast of "life-giving powers" and "deadly force."

    Personally, I was a little turned off by the intense negativity in the first paragraph line "there's nothing worthwhile about me." I love the snark in "I'm a prodigy in all things disturbing," but something about the "nothing worthwhile" came across as unlikable (as opposed to sympathetic). But that might be a very personal character pet peeve!

  7. I think the voice is perfect for the pov's age and that beginning in a dentist's office is unique.

    I got the feeling there's a reason for her bad gums other than not flossing--and I want to read on and find out what it is.

    Nicely done.

  8. There's something going on with your MC just below the surface that makes me want to continue reading. I like how this doesn't jump right into the action, but gives the reader a flavor for your character and her plight just the same.

    I'd love to see remakes/new makes on Greek Myths, especially for YA girls.

    Best of luck with this!

  9. I didn't even mind that this was in present tense (and I usually do). I love Greek myths and your logline is great.

  10. Logline:

    Line comments:

    Wow--very interesting. It's neat how you show--rather than tell us--how she's aged. Not sure how it'll fit in your story, but I'm hooked!

    One nitpick: she's a gardening prodigy in the logline, and a prodigy in all things disturbing in the text--one too many prodigies, imo

  11. Do you mean 'an evil Greek god has been playing tug-of-war with The Fates for her life'? Or that Zoe has been playing tug of war with them both? I quite like the first page, the writing's good and I'm intrigued to know why she's ageing - but the premise sounds way too Percy Jackson to me.

  12. I like the logline, although I would like to know who her enemy is. I think the excerpt is engaging - the lightness of the tone makes it sound like a fun read. I'd read on.

  13. I'd like to read the first 10 pages.

    Melissa Jeglinski
    The Knight Agency


  15. Argh, Blogger seems to have eaten my crit on this one. Let's see if I remember anything I said!

    I was hooked by the opening paragraphs. Nice use of an unusual situation, forward action, and character interaction to establish character and setting (i.e., that it's a contemporary setting). Nice way to establish her quirky premature aging, too--though I wonder if the doctor knows her well enough to know that she's not lying about her age, if she looks so much older?

    The concept--a surprise Greek god's kid--isn't that original, but the plant magic is, so that's an intriguing twist on a concept that's growing a tiny bit tired. Wherever you sell it, you'll want to be sure that the flap copy emphasizes what makes it stand out in that genre.