Friday, December 2, 2011

#49 YA Fantasy: Folktale

TITLE: Folktale
GENRE: YA Fantasy

After being mistaken for her older sister by a rampaging kelpie, eighteen-year-old Nadine Sullivan is transported to a world full of other mythical Celtic creatures. Nadine learns of a plot to destroy this world and that the leader of the resistance was supposed to be her sister. Feeling spiteful, Nadine decides to take her sister’s place, but proving herself to a bunch of freaky creatures who just want to mess with her turns out to be much harder than she expected.

Who says I even want to be an adult?

Better question. Who decided that being alive for eighteen years qualified a person as a mature, functioning member of society? The same people who thought eighteen-year-olds should be allowed to get tattoos and order things from infomercials? Probably.

I wasn’t enticed by any of my so-called adult privileges. I had been dreading this birthday for a long time. Not because I was afraid of aging, or anything like that. In fact, there were plenty of reasons I should have looked forward to December seventeenth. It had been the last school day before winter break. Christmas was only a few weeks away. I ought to have been ecstatic.

But I wasn’t. Not even close.

By one of the cruelest twists of fate that Life has ever thrown at me, this year, this day, my birthday, was also the day of Miriam’s glorious return.

Miriam. My older sister. Everyone in the whole world complains about their siblings. They usually don’t even mean it, because deep down, under all the show, siblings are supposed to love each other.
I’m different. I can say, beyond the faintest shadow of doubt, that I hold no love for Miriam.

The four year difference between us ensured that I trailed behind her reputation no matter what school I attended. Miriam was everyone’s favorite. She beat me academically, socially, even alphabetically. At home, she was the golden child, a perfect genetic blend with Mom’s dark brown hair and Dad’s bright brown eyes, while I was the dirty blonde, hazel eyed freak of the gene pool.


  1. First, I just went to Ireland in June so this is totally cool :)

    Love the voice. I get it in the logline as well as the first 250.

    One thing that bugs me is that in the first 250 words you try and make a case for Nadine hating her older sister, but everything you give is superficial. Looks, grades, social life. This doesn't make me want to agree with Nadine. It makes me think she's a jealous little sister and she can't possible hate Miriam as much as she thinks she does. As long as you want us to think Nadine's just being a jealous little sister, then this is good.

  2. Great start, but I wouldn't lump people who get tattoos with people who order from infomercials, lol. I also agree about the older sister hate-- could dial it down or give some more unique reasons to dislike her. Still, I'd read on!

  3. I like the premise a lot. Fun to have some new paranormal creatures running around. :)

    The voice seemed a little young for 18, probably for the sister-hate issues mentioned above but I thought it sounded a little youngish even before you got to that part. I probably would have put it closer to 16.

    I'd definitely keep reading, though.

  4. "Rampaging kelpie" in the log line has me smiling. And I'm really feeling for Nadine, that her hated sister is returning on Nadine's birthday! So unfair. I'd read on to see what happens, and to see what other reasons she has for disliking her sister so much.

  5. I loved your logline and your excerpt. It's paced really well for me, I like Nadine a lot. Here's my question: is her age significant to the rest of the story, or is it possible for you to bump her down a few years, since she does sound not quite 18? The age thing wasn't that big of an issue for me, actually, but that's just a suggestion based on other's comments. It sounds cute, and I really felt her dislike of her sister. I would read on!

  6. I like your concept, but I am a little bit on the fence about starting with a series of rhetorical questions. This is just personal preference, but I also have to agree with the others. I loved the "even alphabetically" part, and I think your last paragraph was the part that really sold the right voice to me. I'm a teen myself, and I feel like the first few paragraphs sounds a bit younger than eighteen to me, but, again, that's just me! I also completely understand the Miriam-I-hate-you issue, and I think you handled that part well. Emotional instability often makes teens become rapid-fire haters, and so I could relate to your last paragraph. But I didn't get a sense of stakes and whatnot in your first three paragraphs (which is why I was a bit iffy about the questions, because your readers might not think of the answer you want them to think of), so maybe you could start with Miriam?

    Great job, and good luck! :D

  7. This has really great voice, and I like the logline. I agree with the other commenters, though, more of/a better reason for her to hate Miriam would help us connect better.

    Best of luck!

  8. WHOA. Okay, if the rest of your writing wasn't even here, the paragraph ending in "...I hold no love for Miriam." made me shiver. I'm totally delighted at the characterization and foreshadowing in that.

    I'm also a sucker for names and symbolism, and I am freaking out with "Miriam" being the name of a kelpie-related person. That right there tells me you're a GENIUS.

    Also, kelpies are freaky. I'm sold.

    So so SO much luck to you!

  9. I like the writing, and you have an interesting premise, but I'm not sold yet. All I've seen so far is a girl kvetching about her older sister. You don't have to come out swinging in the first sentence, but I would want to see Nadine do something soon.

    Also, I have trouble feeling sympathy for the character. As several people already pointed out, her comments seem whiny and superficial rather than grounded in any real basis for dislike. Again, I wouldn't stop reading yet, but I'd really want to see something about this character that I could relate to, and soon.

  10. There's a lot that I LOVE about this (especially that zinger about being beaten alphabetically), but as a reader I do not feel grounded in a scene. This feels like talking head syndrome to me, since we don't have a place or anything but a vague time and information. It's great, voice driven information, but I think a quick line or two about what the MC is doing while she tells us this (driving home from school, fighting a kelpie, etc) would really make this shine.

    Or it could just be me because it's a HUGE pet peeve of mine, so take or leave my advice as you will :) The voice is awesome and the premise sounds fantastic!

    Good luck!

  11. Just read Carrier of the Mark so I'm loving the Celtic angle! Having kelpies and other mythical creatures feels fresh and exciting.

    That said, I'm sorry but I'm not really connecting with the main character here. Her opening questions gave me pause because they don't seem to have anything to do with what I expected from the logline. If someone is picking this book up at the bookstore, they'll read the back copy and then flip open, and hope to see that exciting tension on page one. I'm worried they might also feel confused about this starting place. It also makes the character sound rather old when she complains about tattoos, etc. It's like she thinks she's better than "teens these days." I also don't believe her that she doesn't like her sister, and if she doesn't, then I don't think much of her reasons.

    Is there a way to maybe tie in her dislike of Miriam to the Celtic situation? Or some sort of action that Nadine could be up to on this first page? I want to connect with Nadine because I'm excited about this premise. I'm sure there are fantastic and exciting things like rampaging kelpies that could get this opening going!

    Good luck!

  12. Just one comment: Yay! A MC with my birthday!

    But the 17th is exactly a week before Christmas - not two, not a few... Sorry, that was a bit snarky for this early in the morning.

  13. I had the same thought as Anonymous about the birthday/Christmas comment - the 17th is too close to the 25th for her to say 'a few week's. Really really minor but something that stood out to me.

    As for the piece, I'd prefer you show us Nadine's dislike for Miriam, rather than have your MC tell us. Why not start with Nadine's birthday, and Miriam stealing the spotlight? That should engender more sympathy than your MC whining.

    It does sound like an interesting concept though, and congrats on the bid!

  14. #49 FOLKTALE

    Logline: I’m not getting heroine vibe at all from this pitch. Nadine is the mistake, AND she only persists because she’s spiteful of her older sister? No positive motivations?

    Line notes: I struggled a bit with when this narrative is taking place. Is today the 17th, Nadine’s birthday? The tense/perspective goes back and forth a bit.
    There’s an old-fashioned flair to some of the voice, and I wonder if that’s intentional. Is Nadine different from a typical contemporary teen girl?

    Overall: I’m afraid I didn’t find Nadia very compelling a main character. She has some interesting, powerful lines, but in general she’s complaining about things that don’t seem terribly bad – but Nadine calls these things “the cruelest twist of fate”. Come on, Nadine. Get over it! : )
    Unfortunately, I worry that a character whose concerns are so trivial isn’t likely to hold my interest and compel me to read the rest of her story. As I said about the logline, I’m not convinced being “spiteful” is the best motivator for a heroine. I hope she finds positive personal motivations soon, so that we can invest in her and her story. I’d read on a bit further to see if I could find something to connect with in Nadine and her situation.

    Best of success.