Friday, November 30, 2012

(56) YA Urban Fantasy: The Guardian Lineage

TITLE: The Guardian Lineage
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy

Protect Gargoyles during the daytime? Check. 

Escape from ex-girlfriend trying to kill you? Check.

Figure out if new crush is enemy spy? Um... still pending.

Mike Prior hated it when his girlfriend kicked his butt.
The wind left his lungs as a sharp kick nailed him in the chest. He stumbled backwards, surprised, his bare feet grasping for footing on the carpet. Another roundhouse came, this time aimed at his temple. Mike ducked underneath it. He slipped a hand out of his karategi-sleeve and grabbed Laura’s arm to pin her down, but she was too quick. In one fluid motion, she grasped his arm and flipped him onto his back.
Mike rolled left and handsprang to his feet. Cheering filled his ears. Laura took a shot at his torso, but he knocked it aside and countered with a similar jab. Then, after a few seconds of punch-counterpunch, Mike landed a shot on Laura’s stomach. She lurched forward, eyes squinted and mouth open in a stunned expression of pain.
He hesitated. This was just something she’d goaded him into, so the kids could see some real—
Just like that, he was on the floor. Laura slipped a foot inside Mike’s leg and pushed him backwards, landing Mike right on his back. She crouched down and held a fist-blade at his neck.
“Yield,” she said, breathing heavily.
Mike swore in his head. You filthy, cheating, insanely-gorgeous sleazeball…
The crowd erupted into boisterous applause. Mike glanced at the twenty-odd students who’d stuck around the dojo to watch the fight, all of them clapping and gesturing wildly.
He smirked. There hadn’t been a single eight-year-old pulling for him.


  1. I really like the voice here, and how he reacts to this whole situation. Instead of feeling humiliated and downtrodden, he finds humor in the fact that everyone is rooting for him to get his butt kicked.

    Sure, his reactions may not up the tension/stakes very much, but the voice would be enough for me to read on, and you've already gotten me to like the protagonist, which is essential.

    Only niggling point is: would he really call his girlfriend a sleazeball? It just seems like the wrong term for him to use, even if he is only playfully insulting her.

  2. Mike rolled left and handsprang to his feet.
    This sentence felt odd, maybe handsprang after rolled is odd. Not sure.

    I loved the humor about the eight year olds. I too already and rooting for this protagonist.

  3. Love the logline and the first sentence. This is excellent, great voice, I get a good sense of Mike and like him already - would definitely read more!

    Only niggle, as someone mentioned, is that sleazeball seemed the wrong word, it makes me think of a middle-aged man, not a young girl.

  4. I really like this one. So fun, so funny.

    A couple things. I think it should say:

    "Mike Prior hated it when his girlfriend kicked his ass."

    Butt sounds like MG to me.

    Then, when he ducks the roundhouse, you don't need to say "underneath." Certain verbs don't require directional clarification like that (you can't duck over something).

    The handsprang thing bother me too. Handspring is a noun, and while I'm all for making up words, this just didn't quite work for me. Can't you just write:

    "Mike rolled left and did a handspring to his feet?"


    "Mike rolled left and sprang off his hands up onto his feet."

    Anyway, this is all just picking nits. This is some good writing.

    Best of luck!

  5. I really enjoyed the logline - it grabbed my attention and made me want to read the novel.

    In terms of the first 250 words - great action, but I wasn't sure what the conflict was in that sequence and why I should read on. On the other hand, you may have made that clear in the next few paras. Good job!

  6. I really loved the voice and the contradiction of insanely-gorgeous sleazeball. Obviously, though he wants to win, he's not so competitive that he can't appreciate his girlfriends skills and the humor of the situation.

  7. Even though the girlfriend gets the better of the guy in the fight, there's something a little bit off about a man sparring with a woman. Sorry if that's blunt, but its enough to stop me reading on.
    Men tend to be very reluctant to fight with women anyway. If they win, they are the sleaze bags who beat women, if they lose, they are wusses. No win situation.
    The log line sounded interesting, but I would suggest starting the story elsewhere.

  8. I really enjoyed this. The fight at a dojo, doing it for little kids, it all gives a good picture of exactly the sort of person your character is, especially with his hesitation to hurt her.

    Like the others said, watch your words, but I think this is good.

  9. I like the idea of this, but being dropped right into the middle of the fight was a little disorienting. I would almost start this just a hair earlier, like maybe when they are bowing to each other before the fight, to build a little tension and provide grounding, or even right after the fight, when perhaps she is gloating or teasing him about having kicked his butt.
    But overall I enjoyed the voice of the character and wish I could have gotten more of that. I was just a little distracted trying to follow the play-by-play of the fight in the first 2 para.

    Good luck!

  10. I enjoyed filthy, cheating, insanely-gorgeous sleazeball, because any relationship where two people regularly beat the shizzle out of each other is going to have some stellar wordplay. And hopefully a lot of hot making out, just saying.

    Mike sounds like my kind of hero. I'd most definitely keep reading.

    Also, gargoyles are ALWAYS a win.

  11. Maybe a bit more setup for the fight, as I didn't get the 8-year-old part.

    And Mike might think something like: You filthy, rotten, cheating --gorgeous XXXX (leaving off the sleazeball, which shifts the emotion back). Also, that is not the swearing I know!

    Loved the idea and want to know more about him.

  12. I always wonder why gargoyles don’t get more play. I’ve been reading manuscripts professionally for almost five years now, and I think this is only the fourth gargoyle manuscript I’ve ever come across. That is definitely a point in your favor.

    I like the sense of humor laced in this scene, and what that says about Mike.

    My reservation with this as the opening scene, or a scene in general, is that effective fight scenes are just not that easy to pull off on the page. There’s a cinematic element that’s not easily translated. I often find myself glossing over a fight scene to get to the end rather than trying to visualize the actions that an author lays out for his or her characters, and I’m sorry to say that that’s what I did with your scene, too.

    Still, I like the outcome – that Mike doesn’t really mind that he was beaten. And I like the remark that the little kids wanted him to get knocked around. So there’s definitely something in that.

    I wish I could say that I was sold enough on your logline to keep going, but despite your nice, light touch, I just don’t feel drawn in yet.

  13. I absolutely love the humor in this. It shines, as does the voice. Reads like a potential upper MG/YA crossover to me. Good luck!!!

  14. I'm sorry this didn't get any bids, I really enjoyed this entry. I'm guessing it was the 'starting with a fight scene' that was the problem, as you're funny and you definitely write well. So I'd suggest just changing the beginning and then I'm sure you'll get query bites! Good luck!