Friday, November 30, 2012

(47) YA Urban Fantasy: The Things That Are

TITLE: The Things That Are
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

After dreaming of her own murder, sixteen-year-old Chloe Hartwel discovers her prophetic dreams are linked to the society of demigods responsible for her father’s death and the boy she loves is one of them.

Somewhere between my poorly executed bob haircut and my obsession with plaid phase, my therapist declared me crazy. Her exact words were, suffers from delusions and her behavior is a clear sign of conduct disorder. Ethically she couldn’t call me a wacko to my face. But I had Google and her fancy psych words simply meant she wanted my mother to spend thousands more on her so-called therapy sessions. I was nine then and seven years later I thought I had finally ditched the crazy until I found myself hiding in the bushes in the middle of the night. The crazy was lurking.

My quads burned and my feet were numb from crouching for an unreasonable amount of time. I peeked over the bushes again. He was still sitting on the wooden porch swing with his legs resting on the railing in front of him and his phone pressed to his ear. If I listened to one more round of I’m sorry baby and you’re right baby, I was going to vomit. I already wanted to gag from just looking at his side swept, Bieber fever hairstyle. He had to be at least seventeen and seriously needed to move past his tween years.

I leaned forward to help balance myself and wrapped my hand around one of the branches, forgetting it was covered in thorns. I yelped and pulled back. He jerked his head in my direction. The planks on the porch creaked and whined. He was on the move.


  1. This is a good opening situation, and an interesting voice. I only have a few critiques.

    I think the second sentence would be clearer if you had either quotes or single quotes around the therapist's words.

    The transition from the first paragraph and the rest felt awkward to me, though that might have been because I wasn't sure if she was referring to herself as 'the crazy' in the last sentence.

    Everything else worked for me.

  2. I don't like "Bieber fever hairstyle" mostly because in five years this reference may be lost. Besides, Beiber wasn't the first, and the first is already forgotten. "Boy band" hairstyle, or something along those lines.

    This is just my personal preference of disliking trendy themes mentioned in books. Only refer to classics.

  3. First off, I agree with the first comment about the quotation marks when quoting the doctor. And I disagree with the second comment about losing the Bieber reference. I get where the commenter was coming from, but I also know that as soon as you compare the character's hair to him, most readers are going to get an instant mental picture of what the guy looks like, without you having to lift a finger.

    As for what *I* think about the excerpt, I loved the humorous, stalker vibe you give this girl, and the comedic value of the stalk-gone-wrong when she falls and gives herself away.LOL Now I just want to know WHY she was stalking him! This was a terrific opening to what sounds like it's going to be a very interesting and engaging story. Best of luck!

  4. LOVE your first line. Agree what the other commenters have said about the Justin Bieber reference.

    The entire first 250 has such fantastic voice, and I would definitely keep reading. Good luck!

  5. I really like the voice and the first line. Quotes definitely needed around the therapists words, and seriously I don't mind the Justin Bieber reference. She sounds quirky and interesting and I'd love to read more.
    Good luck!

  6. Love the first paragraph, it completely drew me in.

    Slightly thrown by the last paragraph--she sees the boy turn his head, but then his movement is described by her auditory sensations, which (to me) would indicate she doesn't have a visual on him. I'm wondering if the head jerk should come before her pulling back. she yelps, he turns his head, she pulls back out of sight, and then she hears him moving. Yeah, that would work :)

    Good luck!

  7. For what it's worth, I liked the Bieber reference. :) Like a previous poster said, it conveys a mental picture instantaneously.

    I agree with the others about the quotations for the therapist's words.

    And now I'm DYING to know why she's fallen back into "the crazy" (hilarious phrase, by the way) and is stalking this boy! I'd definitely keep reading!

    Good luck!

  8. This is a very strong voice. Lots of sass and snark, which I like in a YA protag. I don't think you need the line: The crazy was lurking. Hiding in the bushes at night tells us so much more!

    You might watch passive use of "was":
    Was still sitting could be he still sat
    I was going to vomit could be I would vomit.

    But this is a very strong entry. Best of luck on Tuesday.

  9. Strong beginning. I like the voice of the POV character. She seems smart and self-aware. It's fun that she's hiding in the bushes and you make us wonder why she's spying on this guy.

    "I found myself lurking" doesn't work for me because it gives the impression she didn't know how she got there. Yet, she seems to have a purpose for watching this guy.

    You need to either put it in quotes for the therapist's line or use a colon before it.

    Also, in the first paragraph, I wonder if you could give us an idea why the therapist thinks she's crazy. Bad haircuts and plaid obsessions don't seem like good enough reasons. It would be more intriguing to the reader if her behavior is more outlandish.

    But I would love to read more and spend more time with Chloe.

    Good work.

  10. I think your logline’s interesting. I think your set-up’s interesting. I can’t say that I see the connection between them. At least, not yet.

    Your opening paragraph gives a great taste of Chloe’s voice. But beyond that, I don’t really see the relevance to what follows. Do you really need this whole backstory for a narrative that you’re laying out as quite complicated already? Have you considered just diving right into the stalking and carrying on from there?

    Chloe has quite a distinct voice. Again, I don’t know how it will blend with where you’re going, which sounds decidedly darker. I vote with the anti-Bieberites. The reference to the boy’s hairstyle will date this in a second.

    Actually, I’m pretty troubled by her whole description of the boy she’s staked out. She doesn’t like his physical appearance. She’s sickened by his whipped babbling. So why is she there in the first place? I’m sure you’re going to delve into that further in, but it bugs me all the same.

    I just wish I had more of a sense of where you’re taking this from this opening. If this lighter tone shifts to the dark and twisty, I fear you’ll have readers who feel terribly misled and betrayed. And vice versa.

  11. The Crazy is my favorite. And yes, I think you should capitalize it. Love the voice.

    The stalker situation, not as much. This is already a touchy subject thanks to one particular sparklepire, so she better have a really good reason for being there. I think the tone is humorous (the bob and the plaid made me laugh), so I hope you keep it that way.

    And society of demigods? Yes, please. Brings to mind a certain Supernatural episode, and I think you could have a lot of fun with it.