Pitch W- The Spark

YA Contemporary


When you’re sixteen, wishing for a life filled with adventure and romance, like the kind found on the inky
pages of fantasy fiction, makes living in a small town almost bearable. When your name is Neeve and you’re tall, gawky and feel awkward in your own skin, an escape into books feels like your only hope.

After mysterious Rhythe arrives in town looking for you, followed by your favorite author who penned the novel Under Clouded Sky and intriguingexchange student Elan, you think just for an instant maybe you’re living in a dream.

The love and danger unfolding in your suddenly very drama-filled life point to the truth that perhaps your the novel isn’t a work of fiction after all. Maybe the Celestial Pantheon, the secret society revealed in the book’s pages is real, Rhythe’s interest in you is sinister and you and Elan have to save the world from power hungry House of Cruxis, led by Rhythe, who threaten to cause a supernova.

You quickly realize getting what you wished for comes with a price and the perils of adventure are more than you bargained for. If you fail it means the end of love, the end of the world, the end of existence, but if you succeed the fantasy can live on.

First 150 Words:

The phone rang, pulling me from a particularly juicy chapter. I emerged from the insulating cocoon of fantasy fiction and answered dreamily.

“Good morning,” said Lily, my chipper best friend. The sliver of light seeping in through the dusty window did little to invite my enthusiasm. She got right to the point. “So last night while you were tucked in with three hundred and fifty pages of inky fantasy, I was at a party on the riverbank.” I wondered when did she get a pass to go to parties. We were the nerds.

Her voice bounced back to me, “We were hanging around the fire and a black sports car came flying down the dirt road. It came to a sudden stop and this wicked hot guy, who I’d never seen before, got out,” she paused for effect, “he asked if any of us knew Neeve Hawkins.” Never mind the party, who’d be looking for me and why?

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11 thoughts about "Pitch W- The Spark"

  • I’m not sure I like the query written in second person when the 150 is written in first. If the MS was written in second person (a bold choice) I could see a reason for writing the query that way, but as it is, the query is distracting because it addresses the reader like they’re a part of the story, and they’re not.

  • Pat Esden says:

    The story sounds interesting. But the use of second person in the query turned me off. It may be meant to be like fantasy fiction, but it made me want to disagree with what the query was telling me I should feel or do. Sorry.

  • Writerlicious says:

    I was also thrown off by the query written in second person. I like the sound of your story. Reminds me of Inkheart a bit. I just think you crammed way too much in your query. Remember, you don’t need to tell your whole story in the query. Take out all the unnecessary facts/timelines and just highlight the main plot. I loved your first page though!

  • Indigo says:

    There’s some good characterization in your query’s first paragraph. But the POV is off. You always want to write a query in present tense, third person. Always. This isn’t about the agent who is reading it, but about your character, so you really need to change the POV from second to third person. You also clutter up the conflict with things that make no sense to the reader at this point. After the characterization of the first paragraph, give a short but clear idea of who the villain is (Rythe) and how he threatens Neeve’s world, but be concise. Don’t throw everything in at once. It’s too much detail while being simultaneously vague. The last paragraph is better, but the choice is still too vague.

    For your first 150 words, tone down the adjectives and adverbs and rely more on active verbs. Also, set the scene briefly using emotion to connect it the MC. We have to know who is there before you jump into dialogue. That’s how you get the reader to care and therefore relate.

  • Deirdre says:

    Thank you all for your input. I think I had a case of brain flatulence when I wrote the query. Of course the POV is third- so embarassing.

    If anyone is interested in continuing to offer feedback I’ve added a reworked query below, aside from a contest this is also a valuable learning experience. Thank you all again!


    Sixteen year old Neeve wishes for a life filled with adventure and romance, like the kind found on the inky pages of fantasy fiction. She reasons it’s the only thing that would make living in a small town bearable. With a name like Neeve, being tall, freckly and feeling awkward in her own skin, an escape into books feels like her only hope.

    After mysterious Rhythe arrives in town looking for her, followed by intriguing exchange student Elan, Neeve begins to believe fiction has been brought to life. She discovers the Celestial Pantheon, the secret society revealed in her favorite book’s pages, is real, Elan is a central part of a prophecy that pits rival celestial houses, Polaris and Cruxis against each other and Rhythe, the power-hungry leader of Cruxis threatens to cause a supernova. Most alarmingly Neeve learns it is up to her and Elan to save the world prompting her to decide who she is and what she believes in as she travels half-way around the world while trying to hang on to a semblance of being a normal teenager.

    Neeve realizes getting what she wishes for comes with a price and the perils of adventure are more than she bargained for. If she fails it means the end of love, the end of the world, the end of existence, but if she succeeds the fantasy can live on.

    • karen says:

      WOW! I Really like the revised version. The premise intrigues me. One question–isn’t the end of the world, and the end of existence, the same?

    • Juliana says:

      Your revised query is much better. My suggestion- dump us right into the inciting incident, don’t worry about the backstory. Feel free do give us one sentence to place us in the setting (Neeve escapes from life into books) and then give us another sentence with your hook (but when Neeve realizes fantasy has come to life…)

      Try to keep things simple- use general terms instead of specific names so things are easy to follow (referring to: Celestial Pantheon, Polaris, and Cruxis). You may know your story, but we don’t, so strange names added in will confuse your reader (taking away from the focus on how awesome your book is!) Feel free to call them the bad dudes (but, you know, not really! lol)

      Please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email if you want more in depth help on your pitch! And don’t forget to stop by the blog for the birthday giveaway today :)

  • Deirdre says:

    Yes, yes it is. Mostly.

    *If she fails it means the end of love and the end of existence, but if she succeeds they fantasy can live on.

    Does anyone else get “writer’s goggles?” As in it is hard to discern what you’ve written and what you think you’re reading?

    Thanks for your comments Karen!

  • Deirdre says:

    Oh good grief. The not they…darn auto-correct.

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