Pitch M- Tendril

Dark Contemporary YA Rapunzel Retelling


Opal’s hair feels pain, love, and hate. The family curse decrees that MacBride women born with albinism and magical hair will never find true love. According to the curse these same aberrations will excite uncontrollable lust within MacBride men.

When circumstances force Opal to live with her uncle, his indecent obsession with her sentient hair and alabaster skin drives her to seek refuge at the cemetery where her grandmother is buried. There her spectral appearance attracts a host of lost souls including the ghost Riff. Both Riff and his living brother Dylan fall in love with Opal, and she with them, compelling her to question everything she was told about love, the MacBride curse, and herself.

Soon not even the ocean fog can obscure her uncle’s depraved plot to imprison her in his islandlighthouse forever. Opal makes a plan to foil his plot, break the curse, and exact revenge, with her hair as willing accomplice. But first she must decide if her future happiness lies in this world, or the next, and find a way to save both “princes”.

First 150:

Sporadic blasts of the foghorn heralded our arrival at the lighthouse. The mist enveloping us was thick with the smell of sea creatures, both living and dead.

Aunt Laura and I followed Uncle Ned as he entered the lightkeeper’s cottage and lumbered up the narrow staircase, carrying my suitcase into one of the two bedrooms on the second floor. Laura began to unpack, setting my folded clothes on the narrow white bed.

“Darling, shouldn’t you start making dinner?” Ned asked.  He was slightly out of breath.
“Yes, of course.” Laura scurried away, leaving me alone with him.

Ned stepped towards me. I grabbed an armful of sweaters and held them to my chest, as if their soft wool had the protective properties of an armored breastplate.

“When is the funeral?” The words scraped past the lump in my throat.

“Tomorrow, at ten thirty. Just a private service with the two of us, and your Aunt Laura.

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7 thoughts about "Pitch M- Tendril"

  • Erin Butler says:

    For me, there’s something not quite right about the first paragraph in your query. The first sentence talks about the hair feeling (which I think is awesome, btw), but then it goes on to talk about the curse. There’s kind of a disconnect almost.

    This is just a suggestion, but I think it would read better if you put in this line “Her family calls it a curse.” So, the first few sentences would read, “Opal’s hair feels pain, love, and hate. Her family calls it a curse. The MacBride curse decrees that the women born with albinism and magical hair in their family, will never find true love.” Or something like this.

    Good luck!!

  • Pat Esden says:

    I read an earlier version of this query and I do think it’s stronger with the additional hair details. And I think Erin’s made a great suggestion.

    Good luck!

  • Thanks for the feedback Erin and Pat!

  • Indigo says:

    You need more characterization in the 1st para of your query. Also, you’re missing some important commas. Having said that, there is decent conflict and choice.

    In the 2nd para of your 1st 150 words, the first sentence is too long and cumbersome, and the second uses the same structure, as does the last sentence in the 3rd para. Don’t overuse gerund clauses (present participial or -ing verbs) on any one page. If you’ve done it here, then you’ve probably done it on every page of your ms. That’s a red flag.

  • Writerlicious says:

    You highlight your plot pretty well in the query, but I see several grammar mistakes. Nobody’s perfect . . . just something you want to be aware of! It’s a good idea to set the query/first page aside for a week, then have a fresh pair of eyes look at it for you! Good luck:-)

  • Juliana says:

    Oh man, it seems like you have the same issue I do with mine! I focused so much on trying to get the reader to understand what a ‘Cadaver Dog’ was, I ended up losing the reader (aka, my query did not work like that!) I think you can go ahead and make the assumption that your reader already knows the curse (if your hook is strong enough, they will suspend belief and wait for you to explain later).

    Begin with your inciting incident: She goes to live with her uncle, but he’s crazy about her sentient hair and alabaster skin. And then put a quick sentence about the family curse (but don’t dedicate a whole paragraph to it as backstory makes the query lose momentum).

    Please give me a holler on twitter/email if you want anymore in depth help on your query (I love your hook, btw 🙂 And be sure to stop by for the birthday giveaway today!

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