Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Grab My Heart #5

TITLE: Before the Flames
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasty

When Savannah opens a tomb and triggers a curse that kills her dad and unleashes the gods of the underworld, it’s up to her and her mom to use the seven heavenly virtues to stop the gods from turning the world to hell and find a way to resurrect her father.

Mist rolls onto the island in thick cold waves. I pull my jacket tighter against my arms and rub the gooseflesh forming across my skin. Water laps the shores around us, the sound a steady roar on the quiet island. Standing in the entry way of the tomb I can’t see the emerald green landscape that surrounds us. I can’t see more than two or three feet in front of my own hand past the swirling fog. Or the most covered gray stones that almost disappear into the green landscape outside. Moss and a musty stench flow through the dark entry way before us. It smells old and stale, like it hasn’t been open in centuries.

Maybe it hasn’t.

“I can’t believe we found the lost Isle of the Druids,” Dad says, holding up a lamp. There’s excitement in his voice, the tones of a child running wild in a candy store. The light casts eerie shadows along the tunnel. Symbols are etched along the walls, things I can’t read, and I wonder if Dad can. They remind me of Celtic knots or circular mazes. “After all these years. It’s real.” His voice is almost a gasp, quiet and breathy.

We make our way down the tunnel, me, Dad, Decland, and a couple of local archaeologists that actually believed Dad when he said he knew where the Isle of the Druids was located. Most hadn’t even heard of the legend. I hadn’t heard the legend.


  1. The setting here could have a few more details. "Green landscape" and "mist" is exactly what I would expect of the ancient home of the druids, but doesn't really distinguish it at all from other fantasy books. This is more important because it's your very first paragraph, otherwise I wouldn't be so nit-picky.

    Her dad's first line also drops the exposition really obviously, like in a movie where the main character has to verbally explain what's going on in the first five minutes. The nice thing about a book is that you can use the main character's thoughts to tell us this; you don't need to force it into the dialogue.

    I like how you've picked a really exciting place to start. Got my attention right off the bat. And from the pitch, this sounds like a really fun story.

    Note to Authoress: My screenname on my submission form doesn't match, it was katydid, entry #2.

  2. If you're looking for a beta-reader, I'm your gal!

    This sounds right up my alley and I would definitely read on!

  3. This pitch is perfect. I'd read this in a heartbeat.

    The opening descriptions put me right in the boat, and I could hear the water lapping the boat and feel the mist on my skin

    My only criticism would be to try and get the MC's name on the page.
    Good luck!

  4. I liked the pitch. It lets me know what the story's about. There's a problem, a goal, and stakes. And it sounds interesting. Nicely done!

    The page itself could use some reworking. The direction you've taken is a good way to go. (creating setting, as well as mood and tone.) The problem is, a lot of it doesn't work.

    She pulls her coat tighter against her arms and rubs the gooseflesh on her skin. If she's wearing a coat, how does she know her arms are pimpled, and how does she rub her skin? Wouldn't the coat prohibit that?

    Water laps the shores around us, the sound a steady roar on the quiet Island. The sound of lapping water is soft, and your're telling us it created a roaring sound. And if it were roaring, the island wouldn't be quiet. And wouldn't there only be one shore?

    Standing in the entryway of the tomb
    I can't see the emerald green landscape that surrounds us. Then how does she know it's there? And standing in the entryway wouldn't stop her from seeing what was right before her outside the entryway. But the mist could. Perhaps mention the mist first, so we know that's what is obstructing her vision. As is, the entryway is blocking it.

    Or the most covered gray stones that almost disappear in the green landscape outside. If she can't see the green landscape outside, how can she the gray stones that are in that green landscape? And if she can't see the gray stones, how does she know they almost disappear? If they almost disappear, that means they are still somewhat visible, and yet ahe says she can't see them. And if the gray stones are covered in moss, how does she know they are gray. All she can see is the moss. I am assuming 'most' should be moss.

    Moss and a musty stench flow etc. Moss doesn't flow. It grows on things. It's attached and can't flow.

    It smells old and stale as though it hasn't been opened etc. 'It' refers back to the smells, and smells can't be opened. If you mean the tomb, say the tomb instead of 'it.'

    In all these cases, I know perfectly well what you mean, but your words aren't saying what you mean. Try to be more precise.

    And considering the story at this point will take place inside the tomb, perhaps use the description scene to describe what's inside instead of what's outside, especially when you're describing what she can't see. It might work beter to show whan she can see inside the tomb.

    You're doing the right things here, so your instincts are good. Just keep in mind the logic of it all, and be sure your words mean what you intend.