Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mysteries For Danielle Svetcov #22

TITLE: The Exitor
GENRE: YA Paranormal Mystery

When Phoenix Wack discovers she can manipulate death and send her soul out to spy on the neighbors, she stops worrying about her ridiculous name and starts uncovering the town’s darkest secrets.

Nix hated throwing up. Especially on someone else's front porch. Well, technically she'd leaned over and fertilized the flowers, but it wasn't a proud moment.

What a stupid idea it had been to run six miles uphill. Jordan had better be grateful for what she was going through for him. Nix wiped the sweat from her temples and knocked on the enormous oak door. Somewhere inside, a dog began barking.

Until that moment Nix hadn't realized how quiet it was. The darkened grounds seemed completely deserted. Weird. She'd never actually been to a party, but she'd imagined it with music, and...people. Could this be the wrong mansion? She stepped off the porch and looked around. Maybe it would be best to just slip into the forest and make her way home. But as Nix turned toward the surrounding trees, a dark shape caught her eye. It stood motionless for a moment and then disappeared into the shadows.
Before she'd even had a chance to process what she'd seen, the front door opened and an attractive blonde appeared on the porch. The girl held a tiny dachshund that seemed to be all gums and teeth.
“Can I help you?” she said over the dog's high-pitched yapping.

This must be Sara. Nix had seen her around school, but they'd never really spoken. Why would they?
“I thought I saw...” Nix began, but hesitated. What was the point of telling her about the shadow? It was probably just a raccoon. And anyway, the important thing was to find her best friend.


  1. The logline makes me curious as to how she can manipulate death (and what that means).

    Is it important that she vomits in the bushes? If not, I'd start with - 'What a stupid idea it had been to run...' It's a better first line - is there anyone who LIKES throwing up?

    I'd make the 'until that moment' paragraph into two. I think the shadow by the tree should have it's own paragraph for emphasis.

    I'd read on:)

  2. Logline: I'm confused as to whether or not Phoenix is alive since she is sending her soul somewhere but it sounds like her body is not going along. Aside from that, I don't see a goal. Is she trying to discover something in these secrets or is she just curious? We NEED a something as well as some obstacles to her acquiring that something.

    Good luck!

  3. It sounds like astral projection if Phoenix is alive, which isn't really manipulating death, unless she's dead already. Maybe clarify whether she's alive. Best of luck to you!

  4. The logline is catchy but there's no conflict or goal. Why is she uncovering the secrets? What consequences are there to her actions?

    As for the opening: good, enjoyable read, but the first paragraph on vomitting is a bit nothingy (yes, please, take my advice! My impeccable vocabulary will assure you of my qualification!).

    Ahem. Anyway - nobody likes vomitting, so the first line isn't a grabber, and neither is the rest of the paragraph, which follows in the same vein. The 'fertilising the flowers' didn't work for me either because vomit would probably do more damage than good to those plants.

    All the rest: really good.

  5. Over all, everything was well written and the voice was good.

    The logline confused me a little. Is this astral projection (which doesn't really have anything to do with death), or is she killing herself, letting her soul wander untethered, and then bringing herself back to life? It's interesting that she is uncovering secrets, but which of those secrets causes a problem for her and what is she going to do about it?

    What I didn't quite get about the scene setting was why she ran uphill six miles before a party... that's not the way I arrive at parties (sweating and worn out and puking). Is she a guest or an emergency server?

    The last part about the raccoon seemed odd. If the shadow was raccoon-sized, it probably wasn't all that notable... If it was man-sized and thus, worrisome, then she wouldn't easily dismiss it as a raccoon, would she?

  6. I thought the logline was catchy , but, like the others, I would like to know exactly how she manipulates death.

    I thought the throwing up scene worked well for a YA novel, and showed humor.

    Agree with Heather, the raccoon did seem odd, far too small to be so noticeable. Other than that, enjoyed this and would read on.

  7. I loved your concept, but was a little confused by the excerpt and where you started. I like the shadow in the woods and all the questions you raised. But I agree with others about arriving at a party sweating and vomiting.

    Good luck!

  8. Great first paragraph. I really love the voice of this one.

  9. I like the scene on the front porch. There is humor in the voice (a party should have people!). I'm not sure if the throwing up works unless it was the result of something more pointed than she's just winded. But, I am intrigued enough and comfortable enough with the narrator's voice that I would go on. I like that her 'snark' is more of the self-deprecating kind than aimed at the world around her. That endears her to me. I feel the problems I have with the first 250 would probably be answered in short order so it seems unfair to bring them up. But, I would like to know who Sara is and the reason she has been brought up here. Also, a young girl (or boy for that matter) hiking 6 miles through the woods in the dead of night begs explanation. The logline needs some punch to bring to light the specific story or conflict presented in the book. I would go on, however, so I think your challenge as a writer has been met.

  10. Initially, I didn't care much for the idea of an MC who uses her special ability to pry into other people's private business. It makes her sound bad right from the start. However, after reading your excerpt, I'd definitely withhold that judgement for later--because I like it. Nix's voice is great so far and I would definitely read on.

    Good job!

  11. As others have noted I'm not sure what her specific goal is, or what she gets caught up in, but the premise in the logline is interesting enough that I'd keep reading to find out.

    As for the vomit. I'd vomit if I'd just run six miles. It adds flavor (ew). But why is she running six miles to a party? Why not walk or catch a ride?

    I like your voice. Parties should have people.

    I'd read on.

  12. Sounds like fun and I like the voice. Not sure why she would (or could) realistically run 6 miles uphill. Does she live in an era without cars?

  13. Vomit as an opening gambit is a tough sell, but there are likable aspects to this. Overall it's too busy, traffics in some cliches (haunted house, et. al.), and I wish we could rest a while with the narrator before getting caught up in the activity. But the writer seems in control, sentence by sentence, and I appreciate that.

  14. I'd like an idea of how old Nix is. Running uphill six miles is quite a feat. Where is there even a six mile hill located? Using "it" is a woo (window of opportunity), so go back and expand on this. The story did have suspense and moved along fast. Great start.