Friday, December 2, 2011

#36 YA Urban Fantasy: Cracked

TITLE: Cracked
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

Charmingly wicked half-demon Meda must hide from hell's army in a school for demon-hunters—who mistakenly believe she's a saint.

There are some people you know you ought not anger because it isn’t right. Like your mum—if she’s the nice sort.

There are other people you know you ought not anger because they have the authority to punish you. Police officers, politicians, insane asylum wardens, your mum—if she’s the bad sort.

But there are some people you ought not anger that you don’t know about, because no one ever survived to warn you.

I’m the third kind.

I eat souls. The packaging can be tricky, but fortunately I am blessed with special skills to pry my meals from their pesky shells. My teeth rip skin, my jaws snap bones. I am fast, lightning-fast, snuff—oh-was-that-your-life?—fast. I try to stick to bad souls, in the memory of my own mom (the nice sort). There were other reasons, reasons I used to understand, but they are reasons for a good person. I am not that.

That might be why I feel so at home here.

Small rooms, thick walls, hushed whispers and ear-grating wails. A symphony of misery set to the beat of beatings. An insane asylum, prison of the cracked and grey.

Cracked windows, cracked walls, cracked minds. Don’t make them angry or there will be cracked skulls.

Grey stone walls, grey stone floors. Once-white nightgowns, now grey. The skin of the inmates. Grey. The metal-framed bed. The bedding. Grey, grey, grey. The bars on the window…

Black. Imagery ruined. Correction—prison of the cracked, grey and black.


  1. I have read this excerpt before in another contest and I was instantly drawn to it then and now. Your anti-heroine is fascinating. I want to know more about her. Why is she in the insane asylum? What exactly is she? I would buy this book in a heartbeat and put it at the top of my TBR pile.

    That being said, I think your log line is a little too sparse. I remember there being more voice and plot in there last time, and I think the lacking info is doing you a disservice here. Not to mention, there's a missing word and a word misspelled in your log line.

    It should read: Charmingly wicked half-demon Meda must hide FROM Hell's army in A school for demon-hunters who mistakenly believe she's a saint.

    Good luck with this!

  2. Oh lord--thanks Elizabeth!!

  3. I remember this, and you've definitely made some good changes. Congrats and good luck!

  4. I absolutely adore the voice in this piece and how the disjointed prose lends to it.

  5. This sounds great. I would have liked more information in your logline, but it drew me in anyway. I'd love to read more!

  6. Wow, the voice here immediately grabbed me. I don't care that the logline is short - love this!

  7. Logline: Give me that book. A half-demon hiding from demon hunters? And they think she's a saint? That screams 'things go wrong', and I both want them to accept her as a demon and a friend and for them to wind up hunting her.

    Excerpt: I keep getting hung up on 'ought not anger'. If it's part of the voice as a whole, fine, maybe I'd get used to it through the whole story. But with packaging, 'snuff-- oh-was-that-your-life?-- fast' and 'symphony of misery', it just doesn't feel like it fits. But everything else? The symphony of misery and cracked and gray? the correction? Really, really good.

    I'd buy this if I saw it in a bookstore, but only after reading five pages to see if it keeps going well. The slightly off-voice bugs me.

  8. I've seen this too, so I already knew I loved the premise.

    Did you know you used "mum" at the start and "mom" when she's reminiscing?

    The others have already pointed out what else I was going to mention, so I'll just say: Good luck!

  9. I won't say much since I'm obviously biased because I've read more, but I just wanted to stop and say that I really love your premise and your heroine! Good luck with this!! <33

  10. LOVE! I love the gritty, dangerous voice of your protag. I love the recurring use of the nice and bad sort of mum--nicely done.

    I got a little bit lost with all the grey. It had a nice sound to it at first, all that grey, but I started to get confused. Where exactly is she and why?

    Also, slightly confused by the logline--who thinks she's a saint, the demon hunters or the army? And I'd love to know why they're after her. What did she do to end up in these circumstances? And if no one's survived to warn anyone about the third type, why is there an entire school of demon-hunters?

    Strong, lovely voice and awesome protag. I'm definitely hooked.

  11. #36 CRACKED
    Logline: Clearly we’re meant to sympathize with our bad-girl mc. I’ll admit to being charmed by the dangerous girl here, even if I’m not sure from this pitch why/if she’s bad – hiding from demons AND demon-hunters seems like a neither-nor scenario. More about what she is and her motivations?

    Also, others have pointed this out, but the typos in the pitch aren’t as endearing to draw in readers!

    Line notes: I see you setting up nice repetition for emphasis with the “some people/other people/third kind” and the “your mum – if she’s the nice/bad sort,” and sighed in disappointment when you didn’t take advantage of it with the third instance of the mum “(_who was_ the nice sort)”.

    The “mums” also made me wonder if this is British – any other reason for the spelling choice? Also, its inconsistency is a bit confusing.

    Overall: Actually, this sample has quite a lot of repetition, like pulsing rhythm. Maybe it’s very effective, if you are trying to invoke a level of poetic madness. Just take care not to carry it too far. I’d be interested to read more.

  12. This is a great premise. I'd love to see more. I bid 5 pages!

  13. Sorry--supposed to be in 20 pp increments--50

  14. I could do 70!

  15. HA HA HA Stealth Attack!!!!!!!!
    Wait, did I break the rules?? That was after 5 bids, right?

  16. No can do! You have to be at 150 first. (I did that earlier too...)

  17. I'll bid 111

  18. I thought 150 or at least 5 bids.

  19. Wait, she needed to post 20 more so that was illegal. Needed to be 151. Sorry Victoria, I think I should win. :)

  20. Wait, crap. Did I make up that 20 page increments rule??? Where did that come from?

    Ok, Authoress. Just tell us who won already.


    Victoria won. You're allowed to bid 150 and then immediately bid on the full. :)

  22. WHAT????
    Where did that 20 page increment thing come from???? *Glares at Josh from earlier comment above*

    Also, I think next year there should be no bidding against yourself. I was sitting there like a jackass waiting for someone to make the next bid. This is an AUCTION. Only in publishing do you have people bidding against themselves.

    I'm storming off in a huff now.

  23. It was in the rules -- you're allowed to bid 150 and then try for the full right away. If it weren't set up that way, no one would ever want to bid 150. :)