An unselfish wish made on the horn of a unicorn will come true. Our wish? To support the writing community by giving constructive tips and criticism through submissions. Check out the submissions tab for more information. We can survive the crucible of fire together.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Workshop #18 No Place in Heaven

Dear Agent,

In a peacekeeping guild above the clouds where students are Blessed with supernatural abilities, seventeen-year-old Quinton Petronis remains Unhallowed. And it's no wonder, what with his mother being the only traitor in history: a madwoman who tried to kill the immortal Father of the Guild himself. Quinton's mere existence is blasphemy.
Why the Guild still keeps him around is anyone's guess.

When he's assigned his first undercover mission (five years later than anyone else, but better late than never), Quinton thinks his luck has finally changed. He joins the Guild's best Silencer – assassin is such an unpleasant word – on a trip to the Deadlands below the clouds, where a rebel organization against the Father has taken root. Here's Quinton's chance to prove treason isn't hereditary. He just hopes he's granted some kickass abilities in time to help nip the rebellion in the bud.

Too bad the people down here aren't terrorists at all, the Father's not the magnanimous leader the Guild paints him to be, and Quinton's “Blessing” is actually the worst curse he could have imagined. A curse that, left unbroken, will turn him into the very tool the Father uses to destroy Quinton's friends in the rebellion.

Looks like treason will have to run in the family, or the Father's reign will overtake heaven and earth – not to mention Quinton's identity – forever.

Complete at 94,000 words, NO PLACE IN HEAVEN is a YA fantasy with crossover potential into the adult market. I believe it will appeal to fans of hybrid fantasies like Brandon Sanderson's MISTBORN trilogy and Brent Weeks' NIGHT ANGEL series.

4 comments:

Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

hm. I can't find much wrong. It might be a bit too long or possibly too much going on but that is a subjective opine.

Followers?

Charity Bradford said...

I think the first paragraph is perfect--or pretty close to it. The next two paragraphs get wordy. The hard part is figuring out what you can cut. Here's a suggestion--

"When he's assigned his first undercover mission, Quinton thinks his luck has finally changed. He joins the Guild's best Silencer – assassin is such an unpleasant word – on a trip to the Deadlands below the clouds, where a rebel organization has taken root. Here's his chance to prove treason isn't hereditary.

Too bad the people in the Deadlands aren't terrorists at all, the Father's not the magnanimous leader the Guild paints him to be, and Quinton's “Blessing” is actually the worst curse he could have imagined."

I have questions about his "Blessing". We don't know what that is and if/when he got it. Unless it's REALLY important you can leave it out of the query. Also, when did the people in the rebellion become his friends? That seems like it needs a better lead in or just be left out of the query.

My other question is that you hint Quinton will lose his identity--to the Father?--if his curse isn't broken. All of that is very vague but sounds like it might be your big stakes.

Great start though and it sounds like a great story. Good luck!

mshatch said...

My suggestions:

1. Cut this:(five years later than anyone else, but better late than never) to make it shorter.

2. Too bad the people down here aren't terrorists AFTER all,

That's about it! Darn good query.

Liz Blocker said...

Awesome query, awesome premise. I agree; it could be a little shorter. Just some trims here and there. But it's well-written, and I would absolutely request pages for this one.

Small note - and I'm not a YA author, so I might be missing the tone - I think starting the third paragraph with 'too bad' feels a little weak. Some other way to lead in - to show us that everything Quinton thought was true, isn't - would be stronger and more enticing.

Good stuff. I agree with the note about the Blessing - we either need a little more info, or it should maybe be cut.