Friday, November 28, 2014


TITLE: The Memory Thief
GENRE: YA Fantasy

In the city of Craewick, where talents and memories are bought and sold, seventeen-year-old memory thief Etta Lark returns to the world of theft she left behind—the black market of memories—to complete the greatest heist of her life and save her comatose mother’s memories from the auction block.

When I see the letter nailed to my front door, I know something is terribly wrong. The envelope is covered in fancy handwriting and sealed with a wax stamp the color of dried blood. I don’t wonder who it’s from, because only the Blinders use gold ink—and they never send good news.

I shove the letter under my cloak, hoping no one on the crowded streets has seen what the Blinders, the city’s peacekeepers, sent me. My hands tremble so badly that it takes me a few tries to get my key into the lock. Once I’m inside, I twist the iron handle, which is cold as ice in my palm, and shut the door to my apartment. As a chill works its way to my bones, I pull my cloak closer around my body. My throat tightens at the warm scents of honey and lilac buried in the wool. The last time my mother wore this was the day before she entered the asylum, almost four years ago. Somehow, it still smells like her.

A knock on the door jolts me.

“Etta? It’s Klive.”

The door opens slightly, bumping into my back as he slips inside. Even in the dim light, the bruise blooming near his left eye is hard to miss. His lip is cracked and bloody, too. I’m not surprised he’s beaten up. He’s spent the last few hours hauling criminals from the Maze into the city with his regiment.

After all, it’s Auction Day.


  1. I absolutely love your premise. So cool! I'm wondering what anyone would want with someone's memories...secrets, maybe? And if so, what secrets lay in Etta's past that she needs so desperately to stay hidden? I'm willing to keep reading to find out.

    Your opening is good. It flows well, and has enough tension that I'm invested in Etta and want to know what that letter says!

  2. I too, love the premise. In the third paragraph, you might consider trimming the part about "cold as ice" and "chill works its way to my bones." It seemed redundant to me and slowed the suspense about what might be in the letter.
    I'd read on.

  3. Umm, i love this. I love it a lot. The premise hooked me and your opening makes me want to read the entire thing right now.
    I really don't have much to say in regards to constructive criticism. I tripped a bit over this line:

    As a chill works its way to my bones, I pull my cloak closer around my body.

    But that's mostly because i'm not a fan of this kind of sentence structure (I'd rather see it as two sentences) but i know that's just a personal preference on my part.

    Crossing my fingers for you in the auction! Super good luck!

  4. I like this premise, but I think you have a lot going on in the opening. I want to know more about the Blinders. I also want to know more about Etta and her own past. What does a memory thief do? I'd like to see that as an opening more than just telling us they exist. I would like to see Etta in action. And then show Klive getting hurt instead of telling the reader. This story has a lot to offer!

    Good luck!

  5. I agree with most of the other comments. It's a neat premise, selling memories, and I'm intrigued to see what happens. For the 'cold as ice' line, I agree that you could remove it. If you wanted to leave it in, you could say, "...twist the iron handle, cold as ice in my palm, and..."

  6. I love the premise and almost everything feels perfect. I don't like that we hear the word Blinders but then have to get an explanation that they are the peacekeeprs. Clearly the pov character knows that, so who is she telling it to? Herself? I'd rather find out through what they do than be told.

    Other than that, this feels like a nice juicy work.

  7. I think the slow reveal of information in your introduction is really nicely done. sometimes with fantasy people want to just drop new names and ideas at you before we can even catch one, but with this you do it really well.

    I second the chill and cold touch comment someone mentioned above, it feels redundant, otherwise, good job.

  8. A really unique idea, and a letter is always a great way to start to create intrigue. And you have made me very worried about what's in that letter too.

    I'd read more.

  9. *premise flail*

    You had me at MEMORY THIEF ;) What a wonderful concept.

    I was a touch confused with the opening lines at the mention of "dried blood" and then "gold ink" because you didn't actually tell us there was gold ink, only fancy handwriting. I'd clarify.

    I second the comments above on cold/chill and the Blinders/peacekeepers explanation, but otherwise think this is a totally compelling opening!

    Well done! I'd definitely read more.


  10. I thought this worked pretty well. You start immediately with the problem, so I have something that pulls me in right away.

    I did think this could be tightened up. Eliminate the passive, telling sentences and make them active and showing.

    Add some reactions and emotions. How does she feel when she sees the letter? How does wearing her Mom's cloak make her feel? Is she comforted, or reminded of her Mom's situation? When Klive enters and hits her with the door, let her react.

    You don't have to say 'I know' or 'I saw.' She's the POV character so we automatically assume she knows and sees and hears. And don't start sentences, especially your first one, with prepositional phrases (When I, As I, Just as, Suddenly,) They weaken the writing.

    The story is working. Give a bit more attention to the writing.

  11. Um, what a cool concept!! It doesn't sound quite like anything I've read before, which is fantastic. Your pitch has me totally hooked.

    I paused on that same line as Victoria; I would definitely clarify that there's ink on the envelope. The two back-to-back colors (blood red/gold) threw me off a bit.

    I also agree that there might be a little too much happening at once in the first 250. I'm very intrigued by all of the action, but I struggled to keep up with the plot details. I wonder if we learn a bit more about this mysterious letter - and Etta's distressed reaction to it - before moving on to Klive's arrival and the introduction of Auction Day. That will give these various plot threads a little more time to sink in for the reader. And we'll also get to know Etta better before another character arrives.

    I'm in LOVE with this concept, and I would definitely read on... Good luck!

  12. This is really cool! I'd love to see the first 25 pages.

  13. 45 pages. JOAN!


  15. Damn it! Wrong box! Now I am doubly mad.

  16. CLOSED! The full goes to Sally Apokedak.

  17. I was going to bid on this! Darn you all!

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Tricia Lawrence, EMLADecember 2, 2014 at 11:34 AM