Monday, May 16, 2016

Are You Hooked? Adult Genre Fiction #4

GENRE: Adult - Crossover Fantasy

A nineteen-year-old bootlegger must work alongside a crew of outlaws and a young man she hates to break the curse holding hostage their city of monsters and dark magic.

The reason Tristas preferred the Hinterlands, the barren northern tundra with snow as deep as his shoulders and trees white as the eyes of a startled victim, over the cities and towns to the south could be summed up in a single word: people.

It was why he avoided parties when he had to travel, why he stayed far from parades and dinners and small talk.

And yet, here he was. Standing on a fire-lit street corner, the flames crackling behind the beveled glass of the lantern overhead, the black iron post cool against his shoulder. It seemed a smokeboy had forgotten about this lamp on his morning round.

It had been a long time since Tristas had seen people. Ordinary people, that was, the kind who strolled along with walking canes and parasols, parcels wrapped in brown paper tucked under their arms, with voices and laughter filling the streets. Laughter was a strange sound. In the whole of Tristas’s twenty-one years of life, he’d known only three people whose laughter he could stomach: his mother, his best friend, and the girl whose name he had vowed to never even think again.
He certainly fit in with everyone walking past, what with his black waistcoat buttoned up beneath his overcoat, and trousers over his boots, which gleamed despite their scuffs. His upbringing was ingrained so deeply into him he didn’t know of any other way to dress. Even when doing his job as a Northern Warden, though more often than not he chose to wear a hooded cloak as his alias Gavan Baines.


  1. I like the confident writing -- it kept me interested, even though the character isn't doing anything.
    I was puzzled by "he didn’t know of any other way to dress." Does he dress this way while in solitude? Or just around these people he's so uncomfortable with?

  2. From the logline, it sounded like the protagonist would be female, but here, we're opening with a male viewpoint. Is Tristas not our protagonist? If not, when will she be introduced? Is she the girl he vowed never to think about?

    I like this writing style, very descriptive and evocative. It's a slow burn, but there's enough to make me want to keep reading to find out what's going to happen. And I kind of like the idea of Tristas being a loner - should make for some interesting interactions when he's (presumably) thrown with other people soon.

  3. I really, really liked this. I agree with JKO about the logline, but this is still a great excerpt.

  4. Great opening. I really enjoyed it, although same comment as others about the logline.

    A bit puzzled about time of day. You say he's on a fire-lit street corner (implying it's dark), but the smokeboy had missed the lamp in the morning (not sure why he'd be lighting it in the daytime, surely it would get lit at night?). If it is night, I'm not sure his gleaming boots would be noticed (especially if they are partially covered by trouser legs and are scuffed as well.

  5. Meant to add... haven't heard of crossover fantasy before. Very familiar with fantasy, but not sure how that differs from crossover fantasy.

  6. Lovely. I like the snow bit (having a preference to colder climes myself.)

    The log line might use a bit work, though. (I had a heck of a time writing mine.) I had to read it about six times. It was very run-on. How could you separate those thoughts into two sentences?

    Overall, I'm fairly hooked. I am curious to know more about the culture of the place. This is a fantasy world, I assume since you listed your genre as "crossover fantasy?" One word of caution, I have heard from a few other writer friends that "cross-genre" (A sci-fi with fantasy mixed in, etc.) does not go over well with publishers as it is hard to sell? I won't claim this is what you're doing, but something to consider.

    On that note, you have done a superb job of grabbing my curiosity. Thank you!

  7. @AussieCozy and @JenniferSweet Thank you for the comments! I just wanted to reply to explain the crossover genre. I'm fairly involved in the writing community on Twitter/with agents, and so I've noticed there's a recent influx of crossover fantasy. What this essentially implies is that it bridges the gap between YA and Adult, without being outright New Adult. New Adult is, essentially, a dead category, and those are involved in it write primarily romance. Traditional publishers who buy NA are few and far between. But the crossover genre is growing. Some examples for you are A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J Maas, TRUTHWITCH by Susan Dennard, and A CRIMINAL MAGIC by Lee Kelly. They have a more mature tone, complex world, and larger cast of characters, though the narrators are primarily 18/19 years old. Hopefully that clears it up a bit! :)