Thursday, May 3, 2012

In Which I Participate

So Today is the day for the Writer's Voice competition. I'm participating because it's different than any other contest I've seen on the blogosphere and it sounds like a lot of fun. Here's hoping I get picked.


Anyhoo, here's my entry (my query and my first 250 words) for my YA fantasy Break Free



Seventeen-year-old courier Kiel Reaux has one goal: pay off the debt chaining him to the Baron of Old Town and earn his freedom. After a failed delivery, the Baron reminds Kiel how bloody the consequences will be if he doesn’t agree to run one final package. When the job goes balls up and he stumbles into the hands of slavers, the Baron’s bloody promise drops to bottom of Kiel’s list of priorities.

Kiel is sold to Izzy, a young priestess na├»ve enough to trust him. On the run from her own problems, Izzy needs to travel through the Wild, a jungle of untamed magic. What’s more, she’s decided Kiel will be her guide. Only he’s not playing nice.

Assassins trail Izzy’s every step and in the Wild the trees can kill and flowers resurrect the dead. Even if Kiel’s forgotten about the Baron, the Baron hasn’t forgotten about him. But while Kiel manages to keep everything under control, he fails to guard himself against the most dangerous power yet: Izzy herself. Her beauty and kind nature chain Kiel so tightly he starts to forget about his dream of being free. Now Kiel has a choice: forget Izzy in an attempt to save face with the Baron, or trust in Izzy and her promise to free him if he helps her. But he’ll have to choose quickly, because unless Kiel can find a way to save them both, he won’t have to worry about his liberty. You can’t enjoy freedom if you’re dead.



250 words:


I lost the package.

It should’ve been the final job for the Baron. The last delivery, and then I’d be done with him forever. But I lost the package and here I found myself, back at the Baron’s, ready to beg forgiveness. To ask for a final chance to pay off my debt – a final chance to be free.

I hesitated in front of the wrought-iron gates and scratched the stubble on my jaw. The Baron’s white manor gleamed in the sun. It almost looked pretty. It always looked rich.

My stomach twisted and dropped into my groin. What was that feeling called? Dread? Yeah… definitely dread.

The setting sun turned the dust from the road red. Jal stepped beside me and stared at me out of the corner of his eye, brushing a lock of brown hair off his forehead. “Why’d we stop?”

I shook myself and contained my worry. “No reason. Just thought maybe you needed a rest.”

His face flushed and his eyes widened. “Shut up, Kiel! You’re just saying that to make me mad.”

 “Prove it, Kid.” I shrugged. “Now come on. I want to get through this as fast as possible.”

“You’re the one who stopped in the first place,” the kid mumbled. I ignored him. When Jal sulked, he looked even younger than his thirteen years. Too young and he’d attract the Baron’s attention, something I’d managed to prevent for a long time.




Bam! Good luck to everyone participating!!

38 comments:

Matthew MacNish said...

I see you there, at number 38. Best of luck Sarah!

Anne Gallagher said...

This is GREAT!!! Best of luck as always.

Jamie Gibbs said...

Awesome sauce :) Good luck Sarah. The first paragraph of your query reminded me a lot of Firefly, though I don't know why.

Kyra Lennon said...

Good luck with the competition!!

Krysten Hill said...

Best of luck...competition! ;)

Nicole Zoltack said...

Good luck!

Leah (aka Mary_not_Martha) said...

Loved it !

Jamie Grey said...

This sounds amazing - I love the slight sense of dread in the opening and the query rocks!

Good luck in the contest!

Adam Oster said...

Good Luck!

Marieke said...

Always nice to see a familiar face in a contest! ^_^ Yay, Break Free! Best of luck with it! :D

lexcade said...

Good luck, Sarah! This sounds awesome.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

Best of luck Sarah. On the prose, it is beautiful. Some of the best I've read. Specifically, I like the powerful verbs you use. "My stomach twisted and dropped into my groin". Wow...I can feel that. I also love the line "The setting sun turned the dust from the road red." That's awesome description. I can't wait to read your fantasy.

On the query, I think it could use a little sprucing. These are just suggestions, but you have a ton of back story. Is it all necessary to understand Kiel and Izzy which is the focus of the plot.

In other words, I almost think the nuts and bolts of the story part of the query begin in paragraph three with "Assassins trail Izzy's step..." I think all the stuff about the Baron, him being sold to Izzy, and that Izzy is on the run from her own problems, and even about the Wild being a jungle of untamed magic should be omitted or reworked into paragraph three which should then be split up into multiple paragraphs.

Anyway...that's just my two cents. I love the prose sample and the query you have here in my opinion works more as a great blurb for the back of a novel or the inside of a book jacket.

Summer Frey said...

Yay! Good luck! Love the first 250!

Talli Roland said...

Loved it! Best of luck! :)

Kelley Lynn said...

Congrats on getting in!!! Good luck!

Elizabeth Twist said...

Lovely. I want to know what got Kiel indebted to the Baron in the first place. Like Michael said, I wonder if that level of detail on the Baron is a bit of a dodge, since the main focus of the story is the deal with Izzy. I guess you do need to introduce the concept of the debt to explain your first 250, though? Maybe just in a more compact way?

Good luck.

Elizabeth Twist: Writer, Plague Enthusiast

Ninja Girl said...

Just wanted to pop by and say GOOD LUCK!!! You have an awesome story, and I hope the coaches are savvy enough to see that ;)
Ninja Girl

T. Drecker said...

See you made it in :) - Good luck!

Eliza Tilton said...

nice. Lots of great worldbuilding. I think the whole first paragraph could be trimmed to a sentenec or two. It's important to have the bad deal in there, beacsue I;m guessing that's what pushed him into the deal with Izzy.

First 250 are great. The stubble threw me for a second, until I remembered my HS boyfreind was shaving in 12th grade, so you're good!

Maria Zannini said...

the narrative is solid. I think you nailed it.

But the query needs a little tightening to make it as strong as the copy.

beccaweston said...

Fellow entrant stopping by to say hi and wish you good luck!

Love the entry - the last line of your query is a kicker.

Krysten Hill said...

I am here to send the luck vibes.

I love Kiel's voice. Oh dear, I may be screwed =.=

Jennie Bailey said...

Love it Sarah! Good luck!!

RaeChell Garrett said...

I love this first paragraph. Great tension. Good luck!

Ryan said...

Now I know your LAST name too! HA!
I loved your entry. (Especially the part about trees killing and flowers resurrecting the dead. *shiver*)
But your cat vids and harry potter posters made me laugh out loud! Hilarious. Good luck.
-Ryan
(#122)

C.G.Ayling said...

You have a great writing voice, your humor really shines through.

Good luck!

A. E. Welch said...

Good luck from one contestant to another!

Adam Oster said...

Good stuff. There's a lot of world building going on here that I think can bring about a fantastic story. Here's hoping to read it all one day.
Once again, good luck.

Kimberly Gabriel said...

Stopping in to wish you luck in the contest. I enjoyed reading your query and first 250. Great voice and I love Kiel's name. ;) WVC #28

Carrie Butler said...

Plenty of tension in your 250! :) Good luck!

Mia K Rose said...

Stopping by to wish you good luck in TWV. :)

Carla Luna Cullen said...

Looks good - I'd love to read more! BTW, I love the humor on your blog, especially the Friday Fun pictures.
- Carla #152

TYHatch said...

Could be an exciting story. :)

Good luck!

Tina (#194)

aberthot said...

I remember reading this 250 in the April Secret Agent contest. I loved it then and I love it now (even more now that I have read the query too!) I would totally read it! Good luck!

Andrea #32

Carolyn Abiad said...

Best of luck!
Carolyn, #157

Monica B.W. said...

I SO WANT YOU!!!!!!!
I love the premise and this hooked me right away!!!

I really felt for the MC when he lost the package and from then on, things got really interesting!!

I might have some nitpicks, but it’s just that--nothing huge at all.

I really want BREAK FREE on my team!!

erica m. chapman said...

HA! I love that you used "balls up" What a cool premise and your writing is stellar!! SO glad we're teammates!! Good luck in the agent games, fellow initiate ;o)

#TeamMonicaFTW

Heather Clark Books said...

You can't enjoy freedom if you're dead. High stakes, my friend. Glad to be on your team. :)Awesome query.

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