Monday, December 17, 2012

Hangover Round 1 Entry #48

TITLE: Chrysalis
GENRE: YA Fantasy

Seventeen year-old Ivy Chapel, an archangel with amnesia, unknowingly possesses the healing power for all mankind. While trying to remember her past, Ivy must guard her heart and soul against the enemies standing in her way.

I shifted my gaze to the window.  Pale light from the moon filtered through the white lace curtains, a flowery labyrinth upon the shadowed walls.
The clock on the nightstand read 9:18.  Reluctantly, I picked up the sad-looking pen, its end riddled with teeth marks, chewed flat.  How do you say goodbye to your loved ones? How do you convey all the love you hold in your heart onto a single sheet of lined paper?  I thought it would be easy but now that I had to do it I found that the words just wouldn’t come.
I’ve been told that we all have a destiny.  But what is destiny?  Maybe destiny is the result of random acts of kindness, like pay it forward.  Or maybe it’s just the accidental twisting of fate.  But just how much of our own decisions really made a difference?  If destiny is the result of choice, not a manipulation of chance, then my life is a runaway train on the tracks of Plan B
I close my eyes, take a deep breath and inhale through my nose, holding it a few seconds before slowly exhaling through my mouth.  I repeated this a few times before opening my eyes to stare down at the open notebook in front of me, my mangled pen resting in its crease.
Sitting low in my sturdy desk chair, I relaxed my head against the backrest.  I studied the spackle patterns in the ceiling while sifting through my memories. 


  1. This is an interesting and ambitious premise. The logline is precise and easy to understand - well done.

    I'm a little confused about Ivy - is she human and about to die and become an archangel? Either way I think something dramatic is about to happen in her life but without anything clear cut it's hard to get a grip on what.

    Internalizing is fine for me but it has to be immediately clear and rack up tension, another person - problematic or otherwise - needs to be introduced.

  2. I feel like the details are bogging down this opening. We know more about her room than about Ivy. If the details all gave more insights into her character (such as the chewed pen), then there would be a useful point to them. Instead of knowing the time, I'd rather have something happen.

    Also the hesitant manner of her actions might make Ivy seem wishy-washy to a reader. Probably not the image you want to convey of your mc.

    On the other side, you have a very good pitch.

  3. Your logline is intriguing and is precise as far as it goes, BUT you only hint at what is at stake instead of coming out and presenting it. There's no tension to grab the reader other than the 'hope' of healing power for all mankind. What if she can't remember her past, and even if she does, what does that do?

    The first page sets a beautiful scene, but there's really no tension, nothing that tugs at us emotionally. The wonderful details are distracting because you're missing the framework that organizes them into draws us into really becoming emotionally invested in your wonderful main character.

  4. I feel like the logline is lacking specific details that would make it really stand out. Even just naming the enemies would be a plus.

    And the first page felt a little lackluster. Too much internalization for me and not enough emotional connection. Since I don't know the character yet it's hard to empathize with her ruminating about destiny. I need to know why it's important before I spend so much time with her mulling it over.

  5. I had a long, detailed response, but lost power and zap.
    I like the premise. Since I am on a rampage to cut all useless words from my ms, a couple things jumped out at me. There are phrases you could cut/streamline so that you might move faster to the action.

    "light from the moon" -- "moonlight"
    "all the love you hold in your heart" -- "all the love in your heart"
    you could definitely tighten the inhale/exhale paragraph

    That sort of thing. Like I said, I'm in the middle of this myself!

  6. The log line is fine and gives a clear idea of the premise of the novel which I think is a really interesting one. If you're going to internalize early on I feel it should be more about how she intends to solve a problem. I'm not sure this is the beginning of the story. You write beautifully, but a little more info about why she's doing what she's doing would ramp up the tension and lead the reader further in.

  7. I'm sorry, but you lost me at the very first sentence. Shifted her gaze from where?? You've started like you're in the middle of a story, not at the very important beginning. Taking the advice of GSMarlene above, this could be simplified to 'I watched the moonlight filter through the lace curtains, creating a flowery labyrinth upon the shadowed walls' This creates the image you are after and doesn't bog the reader down right at the start.

    'Sad-looking pen' is a tell that you then go ahead and show with the description of the teeth marks and chewed flat. I know it is tempting to try and force the reader to see what you mean, but the description creates the image, without you needing to explain what you mean.

    Everything after that is just too deep and introspective when I have no emotional connection to the character and no idea of why Ivy is having this internalization.

  8. I agree that the logline works. I liked the entry itself and I think it's important to build the character before jumping into the action. For me, the most distracting part of the entry was her asking herself questions. If you eliminate the questions, then you have more room to give us more information. With the last line with her "sifting through" her memories, I worry that it leads to a big info dump. I'm personally not crazy about books that start at a point where a lot has already happened, and then the character spends a lot of time telling us about past events, etc. Then again, I think this worked in "Twilight," so what do I know? Without reading the rest of the story, it's difficult to tell if this starts in the right spot. I love the premise though...