#SonOfAPitch – ENTRY #8 – ILLUSION

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Title: ILLUSION
Category and Genre: YA Contemporary Fantasy
Word Count: 54,000
Query:
Kate Stillwell has her summer organized into a tidy list of bullet points and subheaders—until she’s abducted by Idina, her best friend. Idina takes Kate to the headquarters of the Celestian Guard, an organization of magicians from another world. Here Kate is told the truth about her abduction: it was, in reality, a rescue from a splinter group of magicians called the Berserkers. Centuries ago, the Berserkers attempted to overthrow the Celestian government in a battle that culminated in the Berserkers’ retreat to Earth and their severing of the interdimensional pathway to Celestus. 

Now the Berserkers are intent on finding a lost sword that could be used to free their leader from his prison in the center of the earth. Only this time, Celestus may not be the only world they wish to overtake. Determined to protect both Earth and creativity, Kate volunteers to join Idina and a secretive boy named Justin on a hunt to find and destroy the sword.

First 250 Words:

 

It just doesn’t stand to reason why my very normal life would have to be interrupted by weirdness on the last day of school. Of course, reason isn’t pervading my thoughts at the moment. Only alarm.

“Stop with this nonsense.” I admonish myself. “You can figure this out.”

The cause of my distress is a ball that up until a few moments ago, I was using to practice a magic disappearing trick.

Until the ball actually vanished.

Footsteps crunch on the sidewalk. “Have a good summer, Kate.” A guy—a senior, like me—heads toward his car.

I stop checking myself for the ball long enough to nod politely to him. “Thanks. And if you need any help with summer homework, just let me know.”

“Will do.” He jogs across the street, right in front of a bus. I shake my head.

A silver pick-up tags along behind the bus.

Wait. Idina? What is she doing here? A cold, heavy weight descends on me, chilling the perfect New Jersey day. Does she have news from the trial?

The truck’s passenger window rolls down and a cheery voice sings out, “Hop in, Kate!”

Something must have happened at court for Idina to pick me up. After all, I haven’t seen her in over a month. She must want to break the news to me before I get home, so we don’t upset Mom.

***Note: Please do not comment on other entrants’ posts, only your own. You can bribe, coax, share, tweet, and do whatever to your entry, but you cannot comment on anyone else’s.***

8 thoughts on “#SonOfAPitch – ENTRY #8 – ILLUSION

  1. Pingback: Son of a Pitch Contest – Week 2: My ten entries | Elsie Elmore

  2. Reading your query left me with questions – that can be a sign of interest and confusion. For me, it was both. I love that Kate’s best friend abducts her, that it’s a rescue not an abduction, and that the world is at stake. But the middle was heavy. Watch sentences and extra words for clarity. Remember the main questions are
    who is the protagonist? what is the conflict/tension? what is are the stakes?
    I tinkered with some phrases to see if I could shed a few layers.

    (How old is your protag?) Kate Stillwell has her summer organized into a tidy list of bullet points and subheaders—until her best friend Idina abducts her. (This start shows Kate’s personality 🙂

    Idina takes Kate to the headquarters of the Celestian Guard, an organization of magicians from another world. Here Kate learns her abduction was actually a rescue. Centuries ago, the splinter group of magicians called Berserkers attempted to overthrow the Celestial government. The Berserkers lost and their leader was delivered to a prison on Earth. The interdimensional pathway to Celestas was severed.

    (Now the Berserkers are intent on finding a lost sword that could be used to free their leader . — Make this stronger – and shorter ) (Only this time) (if they are successful), Celestus may not be the only world they wish to overtake.

    Does Kate somehow get recruited? Moved by…? inspired to…? Determined to protect both Earth (and creativity?), Kate volunteers to join Idina and a secretive boy named Justin on a hunt to find and destroy the sword. 


(this last sentence needs more fire power and a better understanding of Justin would help too. If you condense and streamline the info above, you’ll have room to add here. )

    (Since your category says Contemp/fantasy – are you blending this Celestial Guard into the real world as an alternate but parallel existence? If yes, my suggestion would be to recognize this parallel existence in paragraph 2. If this is totally another world, you may want to introduce that setting as well.)

    First 250
    I added questions and comments below
    It just doesn’t stand to reason why my very normal life would have to be interrupted by weirdness on the last day of school. Of course, reason isn’t pervading my thoughts at the moment. Only alarm. (Tighten the first sentence to add more punch)

    “Stop with this nonsense.” I admonish myself. “You can figure this out.”

    The cause of my distress is a ball that up until a few moments ago, I was using to practice a magic disappearing trick. (offer a little more showing here. For example: I check my pockets again. Where did the ball go? Not that my magic skills are that shabby but I’ve never made anything disappear before, I mean really disappear? Have Kate think through the process of looking and reasoning.)

    Until the ball actually vanished.

    Footsteps crunch on the sidewalk. “Have a good summer, Kate.” A guy—a senior, like me—heads toward his car. ( Identify him – Charles , another senior, heads toward his car. Is there something we should know about Charles or henry or Mikey? Normally, a word from Charles would have turned my head or stopped my heart, but not today. Has she known him for years? Does tutor him because they’ve been buds since they were knee high to grasshoppers? Just a snippet.)

    I stop checking myself for the ball long enough to nod politely to him. (Was she pawing at her pockets or sifting through her bookbag? “Thanks. if you need any help with summer homework, just let me know.”

    “Will do.” He jogs across the street, right in front of a bus. I shake my head. (Why? Because he almost gets hit? Because she said she’d help him?)

    A silver pick-up tags along behind the bus.

    Wait. Was that Idina? What is she doing here? A cold, heavy weight descends on me, chilling the perfect New Jersey day. Does she have news from the trial?

    The truck’s passenger window rolls down and a cheery voice sings out, “Hop in, Kate!”

    Something must have happened at court for Idina to pick me up.(So how does this make Kate feel? Is she nervous for the bad news? Let us see what is happening inside.) After all, I haven’t seen her in over a month. She must want to break the news to me before I get home, so we don’t upset Mom.

    Your first 250 is off to an intriguing start. I had questions that would have compelled me to keep going. Tinker with depth to the POV.

    Best of luck! if you have questions, give me a yell.:)

    Like

  3. Wow, another fantasy with low word count. Maybe I’m just out of the loop? So I’ll refrain from other comment, because I’m not a marketing person and it doesn’t bug me 🙂

    I would tighten query & give more punch.

    Kate Stillwell has her summer organized into a tidy list of bullet points and subheaders—which go out the window when she’s abducted by her best friend and taken to the Celestian Guard, an organization of magicians from another world. They tell her the abduction was actually a rescue from a splinter group of magicians called the Berserkers.

    -stopping here- why did they want her? Or her best friend? I need to know this right now.

    Centuries ago, the Berserkers attempted to overthrow the Celestian government. They lost, and retreated to Earth, severing the interdimensional pathway to Celestus.

    The next paragraph, tell me about the sword, but most importantly, tell me WHY they need Kate to get it (and you should consider not naming the other friends at all. If anything, say “friends”). Also, tell me why “creativity” is at stake.

    250: “A guy” – give me a name. He knows hers. She knows he’s a senior. So she’d know his name. (Very short, like two-word, description wouldn’t hurt either).

    Other than that, this is really cool. Good character development, and plenty to keep me reading.

    Thank you for your entry!

    Like

  4. I was looking for a twist, maybe the abduction isn’t as innocent and the bad magicians are the Idina, but that’s just me. Definitely take the feedback here to make your query and excerpt punchier. Congratulations on your participation in Son of a Pitch – your hard work speaks volumes regarding your courage and willingness to follow your dreams and achieve your goals! Good luck!

    Like

  5. Here’s my revised versions:

    Query:

    Sixteen-year-old Kate Stillwell has her summer organized into a tidy list of bullet points and subheaders—until she’s abducted by Idina, her best friend.

    Idina takes Kate to the headquarters of the Celestian Guard, an organization of magicians from another world. Here Kate learns that her abduction was, in reality, a rescue from a splinter group of magicians called the Berserkers. Centuries ago, the Berserkers attempted to overthrow the Celestian government. They lost and retreated to Earth, severing the interdimensional pathway to Celestus in the process.

    Now the Berserkers are intent on finding a lost sword that could be used to free their leader from his prison. If they’re successful, Celestus may not be the only world they wish to overtake. Determined to protect Earth, Kate volunteers to join Idina and a secretive boy named Justin on a hunt to find and destroy the sword. They set out on a lead that takes them to Russia and there uncover a trail of clues that take them across the globe.

    250:

    It doesn’t stand to reason why my very normal life would be interrupted by weirdness on the last day of school. Of course, reason isn’t pervading my thoughts at the moment.

    “Stop with this nonsense.” I admonish myself. “You can figure this out.”

    The cause of my distress is a ball that up until a few moments ago, I was using to practice a magic disappearing trick.

    Until the ball actually vanished.

    Footsteps crunch on the sidewalk. “Have a good summer, Kate.” Thomas, a fellow senior, heads toward his car, backpack slung over one shoulder.

    I stop fumbling around in my jacket pockets for the ball long enough to nod politely to him. “Thanks. And if you need any help with summer homework, just let me know.”

    “Will do.” He jogs across the street, almost getting himself hit by a bus. I shake my head.

    A silver pick-up tags along behind the bus.

    Wait. What is Idina doing here? A cold, heavy weight descends on me, chilling the perfect New Jersey day. Does she have news from the trial?

    The truck’s passenger window rolls down and a cheery voice sings out, “Hop in, Kate!”

    My stomach twists into a knot. Something must have happened at court for Idina to pick me up. After all, I haven’t seen her in over a month. She must want to break the news to me before I get home, so we don’t upset Mom.

    Like

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