Thursday, October 13, 2016

PitchWars Critique - Heart of A Brave

I LOVE being a mentor for PitchWars. BUT there is one bad part - having to choose just one manuscript to mentor when there are so many ones with so much potential. 

And so, wanting to give something back to those who chose Demitria Lunetta and myself as one of the mentor teams to submit to, we decided to offer first page and query cirtiques on our blogs. Demitria will be hosting critiques on her blog on Tuesdays, while mine will be here on Thursdays. Our decision to do this via our blogs, rather than a private email, is so that (hopefully!) everyone can learn a little bit from this feedback. 

And for anyone out there looking for personalized feedback, I also offer manuscript critique services which you can find more out about here 

Dear Agent,

In 1928, seventeen-year-old Amelie Lecuyer thinks a clandestine romance with her womanizing, alcoholic boyfriend, Jonathan, is her biggest worry. It isn’t until her Native American ancestry comes to light, inciting her brother’s murder, that she discovers her family lineage is a far more dangerous secret. This is a great start and gives us the basic info about Amelie and what her main problem within the story will be. The only thing that gave me pause was the first sentence - I wonder why Amelie is involved with a womanizing alcoholic boyfriend and why she cares to continue her clandestine romance.

Turning to her mother’s long-forgotten tribe for help, Amelie learns that their ancient adversary, Tsinoo—soulless humans, immune to both love and pain, who feed on the hearts of others to extend their survival—have returned. Oh, so this has a paranormal angle and the book seems to be more about this. Hmm, in that case, I would maybe skip that whole first sentence above about the boyfriend and just go straight to brother's murder uncovering her family lineage. 

Pressured by her tribe into training as a Brave—a chosen warrior—to help destroy them, she is thrust into a violent world of fear and death. Why would her tribe want her to do this? Is there something special they believe she can contribute? Can she find the courage to detach herself from Jonathan and the carefree life he provides? But the life you described with Jonathan sounds anything but carefree. Or will the onus of killing Tsinoo lead her to reject this frightening legacy? Under all her doubt and fear, does she have the heart of a Brave? Great final sentence!

Heart of a Brave is a stand-alone Young Adult Historical Horror novel (with a lovely smack of romance). It is complete at 74,000 words and has series potential.

A bio paragraph would be nice here - especially since you are two authors writing together - might be nice to know a bit about you both.

Thank you for your consideration!

Warm Regards,
Laura Poston and Erin Locati

June 1, 1928
Chapter 1

"Jump, Amelie!"
I peer over the twenty-foot drop-off into the Winooski River and can't help but break into a smile. The fifty-four new graduates of Saint Monica's Catholic Academy are swimming in nothing more than their underclothes. They look like a rookery of white seals splashing in the sea.
I cup my hand around my mouth and yell, "I'm not a senior!" The water looks cold.
"You're close enough!" shouts my best friend Lydia. She shakes her short blonde hair, sending a shower of water over her twin brother. He picks her up and throws her in retaliation, making her scream with delight.
Dozens of spectators line the old red brick bridge; most of them are junior classmates like me. Ten minutes ago the last bell of the day rang, signaling the end of prep school for a quarter of the student body. To carry on the long-standing Saint Monica tradition, the enraptured seniors had raced down the back lawn of the school to fulfill their unofficial, yet obligatory farewell bridge jump. 
I step back from the edge and undo the buttons on the front of my navy blue school dress. I slip it off and hang it over the parapet of the bridge as everyone else has done. The wall is littered from end to end with the navy and white uniforms of Vermont's finest school.
I kick off my shoes and climb atop the middle of the bridge's low barrier wall. The deep river flows gently below me and for a dizzying second I feel like I could fly into the cloudless sky. The sun is hot my skin as a breeze blows up, fluttering my pale pink chemise.
Jonathan begins chanting my name and others quickly join in. "A-me-lie! A-me-lie! A-me-lie!"
Butterflies dance in my stomach as I take a big breath and leap into the air.  This is a great first page! This is such a vivid and fun opening scene that immediately draws me in. I really have nothing to critique except that a part of me wonders how historically realistic it is that girls and boys together in 1928 would be swimming in their underthings together and no one would be scandalized by it.

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