Thursday, September 13, 2012

Revised Partizans Query

Please feel free to take a look at this and let me know what you think!


When sixteen-year-old Hannah Slaughtery enrolls in an exclusive boarding school, all she wants is to get into an Ivy League school and finally shed her bullied past. The last think she wants is to stand out. And she definitely doesn’t want to become a witch and fight against monsters she doesn’t believe in.

After an aerial assault by mythical basilisks, Hannah discovers she’s part of the next generation of Partizans, a band of supernatural warriors whose origins date back to the dawn of man.  In order to stand against the Formorians, a ruthless and tyrannical empire of demons, Hannah must make a choice: Either refuse her calling and enter into a supernatural witness protection program to save her adopted family or overcome her fear and accept her battle-filled legacy.

Regardless of her decision, there’s one thing Hannah knows for sure: her chances of surviving until prom are pretty slim.

The Partizans, a YA paranormal is complete at 74,000 words and has series potential and would appeal to fans of the Hex Hall series. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you.

First 150 Words:

Hannah Slaughtery’s courage faltered as the iron gate creaked open. The late afternoon sunlight filtered through the snow-topped pine trees as she steered her car through the fence, the only thing separating Piaculum Academy from the rest of the world. As she inched forward, something in the air sent a shiver down her spine. It was as if the wind was charged with bursts of electricity and her skin tingled from the connection.  She couldn’t explain why, but for the first time in her life, Hannah realized she felt safe. No. She felt like she was coming home.

Up ahead was a security checkpoint with tinted windows. As she pulled up to the window, a guard with a military haircut and aviator sunglasses opened the window and Hannah thought she caught a whiff of coconut sunscreen, which struck her as odd seeing as how it was early January.


  1. Your first line has to be your hook. Leaving home schooling for a private school isn't really hooky, so I'd remove that sentence and start with "Becoming a witch and fighting against monsters wasn't what Hannah had in mind when..."

    Is there a reason for the attack on the school? I'd suggest you start that paragraph with "Hannah is part of the next generation..."

    Also, the love interest might be important to the story but in this query it feels contrived. Either weave it into the query or remove it. You've already given us the MC, her conflict and the consequence, so it seems pointless. I know others will disagree with me though.


    And is the name Slaughtery supposed to be a pun of some kind?

  2. Hey Sarah! You've made a tonne of progress with this! I just have a couple of points.

    I'd say the first two sentences could be condensed into one (as Lauren also mentioned above).

    The phrasing "supposedly mythical winged snake-like creatures" is a bit of a mouthful. I think you should definitely remove 'supposedly' and either use 'mythical winged' or 'snake-like'. Either of those descriptions will give us the hint that these creatures are different and not swallow us with detail.

    Still love the name 'the Partizans' but I'm really not fussed on 'Piaculum' being mentioned in your query. I'm not saying change the name at all! (Good ness knows I have enough tongue-twisters) but I'd say the query doesn't have to have it in there for us to still know what's going on. It might just be me, but when I read a word that I can't pronounce straight away, I try saying it out loud, changing the accents on it, etc. and it really stops the flow of what I'm reading.

    I think you can break this sentence up into two. "In order to stand against the Formorians, a ruthless and tyrannical empire of demons, Hannah must make a choice: refuse her calling and shrink into the background in order to protect everyone she’s loves or swallow her fear and accept her demon-filled legacy."

    And unfortunately for the lovely Finn, I'd have to say cut his paragraph entirely. I had to do that with my MC's love interest and he plays a massive part in the MS. It's hard, but I really don't think it's needed in this context. Most YA have a love interest (I mean, they are teenagers after all) so it's kind of a given.

    Keep this: "When Hannah spontaneously begins her metaphysical transformation, there’s only one thing she knows for sure: the carefree days of her youth have come to a screeching halt." It has good voice and ends on a high note. It's kind of fells like she's forced into this choice and now she just has to deal.

    This is a good pitch. It's structured and gives a clear understanding of what we can expect from your novel.

  3. I love this: "supernatural witness protection program". It's like Neo's choice of pills in Matrix. You get what I'm saying? Sorry if I don't make a lot of sense here but polishing my own pitch took me forever and now I'm practically sleeping on my keyboard. Bottom line: I like it.

    But with this phrase: "When Hannah spontaneously begins her metaphysical transformation..." you sort of take away her choice, don't you think? It's entirely possible I misunderstood, but that's what I gathered from it.

    And where's that Finn part Heather mentioned? Did you cut it already?

    Anyway, good luck tomorrow (or today, from where I'm at)

    Please, I'd love your feedback on my pimped-up pitch. You'll find it here:

    Johana :)

  4. This sounds really interesting, Sarah! You're definitely clear and concise, which is awesome. I know what the story is about with a quick read--great! I do think you can punch it up a little, though. I agree with the sentiment above that the first lines could be hookier--one question I had when reading them was "what's different?" There are other supernatural school books--what's unique about Hannah or the storyline that makes me say "I gotta read THIS one!"?

    I wasn't quite sure what the metaphysical transformation meant, or what implications it had...I could be just kinda dense, but it also seems like a good place to add some texture through well-placed detail. One phrase I wasn't keen on--"carefree days of her youth." I liked the idea, but for some reason this felt very "adult looking back on youth" and out of place for YA. I mean, do teenagers ever feel their days are carefree until well after the fact? :)

    Nitpick--is she standing against the Formorians if she chooses to enter the witness protection program (love this element btw :) )? Or is she avoiding it? It seems to me she can choose to fight or choose to hide and only one is taking a stand--but maybe I missed something.

    Good luck!

  5. This sounds very interesting--one that i'd love to read. I'm traveling here from Writers Therapy Blog Hop. Nice to meet you & your query-LOL!--best of luck into publication!