Thursday, May 17, 2012

Team Mónica #5 -- UNANSWERED


UNANSWERED
YA urban fantasy
83,000 words

Query:

When Sophie helps new-boy-at-school Hugh Kedoa, the last thing she expects is for him to claim he’s a Reddo, a being with infinite knowledge who can answer any question in the world. He offers her five answers in return for her kindness, but when Sophie finally takes his offer and asks her dearest question—does she have a true love?—Hugh can’t answer. So much for infinite knowledge.

Sure, the Kedoas believe something about Sophie’s phrasing stumped Hugh, but none of them can explain the strange connection that suddenly forms between her and Hugh. It doesn’t help that the more Sophie gets tangled in the Reddos’ world, the more guarded Hugh becomes around her. After she befriends the rest of the Kedoas, she learns that a power-hungry businessman with a vendetta is hunting them. He discovered how to kill Reddos and take their most dangerous ability for himself. Caught between a family she can’t help but care about and their merciless hunter, Sophie makes choices that expose secrets, start fires (literally), and put her in the path of the man who can destroy both her and the Reddos’ world.


First page:

The shadow in the forest flinched. At least Sophie thought it did.
She edged to her left to get a better look at it, ignoring the squelch that arose when she wrenched her boot from the mud. For a full two minutes she had scrutinized this shadow, the human-like shape that had appeared off this trail at Ellery Wildlife Preserve. If it ended up being a tree, she’d feel like an idiot for lingering in the woods so late in the evening, inspecting illusions. Her boss was probably going to skin her alive for taking so long already.
But if this shadow was a person, something about its stance made Sophie think its eyes were on her. Watching her.
She tilted her head to blink away the downpour. Her gaze froze on a trail of boot prints.
They originated at the edge of the path and disappeared into the green-tinged fog that had consumed the forest.
Sophie’s eyes traced the zigzag tread stamped into the mud. Her breath seized in her chest. Footprints couldn’t start at the edge of the trail, unless someone had dropped out of the sky into the preserve. And Ellery had closed to everyone except the preservation crew half an hour ago. 
Sophie peered up at the shadow—or, more likely, trespasser—again.
“Who’s there?” she called out, grateful that the wind muffled the quaver in her voice. “Uh, the preserve is closed!”
That sounded especially pitiful, even for her.

21 comments:

  1. Infinite knowledge? Wow, what an awesome concept. This sounds brilliant. Go Team Monica!!!

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  2. Woo hoo! I'm with Kimberly, great concept

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  3. The voice and opening is awesome. I'd definitely read on.

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  4. Hello, I just totally visualized this entire first page like a movie in my mind. Great imagery!

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  5. "infinite knowledge who can answer any question in the world." Um, yeah. How cool is that? Great job!!

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  6. *makes grabby hands for more* Great voice! Good luck!

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  7. Love the title! And lots of suspense in the first page makes me want to read more!

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  8. Really cool concept - and great imagery! Good luck!

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  9. Oooh, I love the line about "inspecting illusions." Just enough to make us feel like they are DEFINITELY not illusions. :D VERY nice work!

    Good luck!

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  10. Really love the revisions you made - everything looks really tight and polished!

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  11. Two words: Infinite knowledge. Enough said! Good luck!

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  12. Such a cool premise! And I love the last line of your excerpt. I can totally relate to that!

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  13. This sounds great! What an intriguing premise!

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  14. Enjoyed the suspense in the opening. False bravado - I can relate to that. lol

    Good luck!

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  15. Great opening lines! I also love the idea concept - a race with infinite knowledge. The question she asks is also perfect for a teenage girl. Well done! Good luck to you!

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  16. What a great first sentence! Very engaging idea - good job!!

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  17. Really like your first line! A very unique concept too. Good luck!

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  18. I vote for you!

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  19. #5 UNANSWERED

    Query:

    I think that you may be trying to cram too much info into your first sentence. Consider breaking it into two and slowing it down—in the first sentence, tell us Sophie’s first impression of Hugh and how she helps him (I assume the he appears to be just a normal, hapless new student), then in a second one, drop the Reddo bomb.

    In the 2nd paragraph, I found the “her and Hugh” construction awkward, since you’ve already used both of their names in that sentence. You can just say “that suddenly forms between the two of them.” And to keep everything in the present tense, “He discovered” should probably be “He’s discovered.”

    Last suggestion: I’d start a new, 3rd paragraph with “Caught between…”

    First page:

    I enjoyed the humor of the last couple of lines here. That said, this opening feels a bit clichéd to me, with shadows and footprints in the woods, and with the glut of paranormal books out these days, I’m not sure how much this would stand out. I wonder whether there’s a different place in your manuscript where you could start the story—where the originality of your characters and premise are better displayed. The premise of infinite knowledge IS a cool one!

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  20. Thanks for the advice, Tara!

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