Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Public Slushpile #23

TITLE: SUNCHILD
GENRE: YA High Fantasy

Dear Brilliant Agent,

Since you are seeking YA high fantasy with a gothic twist, I hope you'll consider my novel SUNCHILD, which contains quite a lot of ensorcelled darkness, some mullioned windows and sweeping moors, and of course, a romance.

Sixteen year-old Siria Nightingale has never seen the sun.

In the gothic kingdom of Terra Volat, the queen’s enchanted Darkness has reigned supreme for over fifteen years, covering the land in clouds and shadow every day and night. But never having known anything different, Siria has had no reason to question it... until now.

When her ordinary physical appearance changes to reflect the vivid characteristics of the sun she has never seen--freckles, hair like fire, eyes that burn with gemstone brightness--Siria is forced to accept an impossible truth: that she is a sunchild, a creature whose power comes through sunlight, and whose existence is irrevocably tied to the sun. But Queen Iyzabel has made it clear that the sun is unwelcome in Terra-Volat, and that anyone linked to it is a threat to the kingdom that must be removed at all costs.

And so Siria flees.

Pursued by soldiers with a price on her head, Siria journeys into the wilderness with her best friend Linden and a group of renegade companions. As they make for the safety of the rebel camp in the north, she must cobble together the tenuous fragments of her identity to make something that will endure. Because there is more now at stake than just her own life, and if she cannot summon the strength to defy the force that has shut the world in the dark and claim her powers as a sunchild, she may lose the people she loves most, and condemn an entire kingdom to a darkness without hope of redemption.

SUNCHILD is complete at a few dollops under 93,000 words.

50 comments:

Becky Mahoney said...

Yes - the glimpses of worldbuilding alone were enough to hook me.

Jennifer said...

Yes, I liked the setup here and am curious to read more about this world and Siria.

Elizabeth Light said...

Yes. I love the concept and the world seems really interesting.

A Little Push said...

NO. Why hasn't she ever seen the sun, and how has she survived this long as a sunchild without it?

Anonymous said...

Yes. The image of a sunchild in a world of darkness grabbed me.

Loralie Hall said...

No. For me, the time spent on world-building in the query detracted from the core conflict.

Jean Davis said...

Yes. The story is conveyed in a way that makes me want to know more.

Nicole said...

No. While I like the idea of this, I have no idea how Siria discovers she's a sunchild--if she lives in a place where the sun never shines. Did she go on vacation? Get a UV lamp? There's also such a focus on backstory, your plot description suffers.

Adam Heine said...

NO. I felt like the story didn't really get started until the final paragraph, but that's also where the query gets the most vague.

Lanette said...

Yes. The first graph is all tell, but the story picks up intrigue after that.

Rick said...

No. The personalizations are over-the-top and gimmicky, and the plot points seem interesting in places but don't appear to logically follow.

If she flees the kingdom, the threat is gone. Why is there a price on her head? Why is banishment not enough? This needs to be explained.

Also, what rebels? What else is at stake besides her life, and why wasn't that enough?

This needs to be more specific.

Rachel Menard said...

No. There are some interesting aspects to this, but the story seems cliche. So many YA stories have a protaganist who discovers unique powers and has to hide them from a tyrant. I don't think this one is special enough to stand out above the others.

Patti said...

No, I felt like the stakes weren't high enough and too much of it was back story.

Angela said...

No. I felt as if it lacked voice and didn't pull me in.

Sarah Nego(vetich) said...

No, I want to like this one, but the good parts weren't enough to overcome the problems. Too much gimmick (dollops?)

Tina Moss said...

YES, the world building drew me in, but the first line hook works better as "Sixteen year old..." instead of the "Since you are seeking".

Sarah Ahiers said...

YES
I think the query needs work, but i'd give it a shot based on the worldbuilding

Holly Bodger said...

No. Too many confusing details.

Anonymous said...

NO. Too much time describing what a Sunchild is, not enough emphasis (and too far into query) on stakes.

A.C. Turcotte said...

No. I really like the idea and some of the world building I see, but the query seems bogged down in back story, generalities, and cliches; I'd really like to see more specific details about what she has to do and why, and what's at stake.

Krista V. said...

No, although I wanted to say yes. The world building caught my attention, but the plot points felt too familiar to be really unique.

Amber said...

Yes. It hooked me, but I was confused as to why her appearance changed. The rest was good.

Lori M. Lee said...

Yes, b/c I'm intrigued by the world and would hope the plot holds up.

Stephanie G said...

No. I really liked the first part of the query, but the last paragraph seemed too vague and cliched.

Megan C. said...

No. It does sound like an interesting premise, but I thought too much world building for me. It left too many questions to the point that it was off-putting instead of bringing me into the action.

Stephsco said...

No - But Almost! I liked the conversational aspects in the first paragraph, but for brevity sake, I think the whole query should be shortened to just the main plot and to highlight the stakes.

Stephen said...

No. You lost me at "ensorcelled."

Yttar said...

Yes. This reads like a back cover blurb with a good amount of world building and character details to intrigue me.

Heather said...

No.

The world seems interesting, but there's too much backstory and the primary conflict, stakes, and what she needs to do about it don't seem to be the focus.

Leah Petersen said...

No.

I was waffling but you lost me at "cobble together the tenuous fragments of her identity to make something that will endure" which is one of those vague, means-anything-and-therefore-nothing sentences. From there I was left with no feeling of the stakes. Stay away from the bad lady, sure, but that last sentence, do you mean that if she fails at [whatever] things will just stay exactly as they've been for the past fifteen years and that no one's seemed to have minded?

Mary Vettel said...

NO. Too much telling of backstory and too many questions unanswered

Anonymous said...

No. I agree with everything the other naysayers said and would also like to add one more thing...you are telling us too much instead of showing us. I would get rid of the first paragraph and start with the main character as well.

Anonymous said...

No. I agree with everything the other naysayers said and would also like to add one more thing...you are telling us too much instead of showing us. I would get rid of the first paragraph and start with the main character as well.

SMKrafty said...

Yes- the pique of an excellent premise and otherworld is there, but it needs focus to be a real grabber.

Aldrea Alien said...

No. For the above reasons of it sounding cliche and vague.

Dale said...

Yes. Strong world and unique premise.

Mia K Rose said...

No. The first sentence 'sixteen etc' works then your sentences become too long and wordy, which make the query drag.

S L Jenan said...

NO, for a reason no more deep or noble than I got tired of the repetition of the word 'sun', and if the writing is giving me a headache in the query...

skywriter said...

Yes! Great voice and world building.

Celesta said...

No. But you almost had me. The writing in the query is too wordy and makes me think the manuscript will be as well.

MittensMorgul said...

No, but I hate to say no. It sounds like a great concept, but the world seems to contradict itself (a Sunchild can't survive without the sun, but she's never seen it and still lives?), and I'm confused as to what the wider stakes are here (beyond her running from the tyrant to save her own life).

Lisa said...

Yes, because it's a cool premise. Ensorcelled really bugged me though. :)

Alexa said...

Yes.

High fantasy isn't generally my thing, but the writing was strong enough to hook me. Not sure I'd describe it as "gothic," but that's a small quibble.

macaronipants said...

No. Interesting idea, but the lopsided query (heavy on worldbuilding, light on actual story) makes me worry the novel will be the same.

Jo-Ann said...

No. For all the reasons listed above. If you change eternal night to eternal winter, the queen sounds one heckuva lot like the White Witch in Narnia.
Even if you do nothing else, at least drop the first para, it's unneccesary.

Beth H said...

Yes. Interesting world. I'd emphasize the stakes more, though.

CM said...

No - premise is interesting, but the query needs tightening. Start with the character (not agent waffle), less backstory, more conflict, less use of "dollop" to describe a number of words.

sarahwedgbrow said...

No. The stakes were not clear, and what was clear did not seem unique.

callmebecks said...

No. The writing is very pretty, but so many sentences are vague and overwritten to the point of not really meaning anything.

BuffySquirrel said...

No, because I can't suspend disbelief.