Sunday, July 16, 2017

1st 5 Pages July Workshop - Alyssa C Rev 2

Name: Alyssa C
Genre: YA Fantasy
Title: The Winter King

Sixteen-year-old Katka has always loved stories about her kingdom of Trisestry, particularly of the warring Guilds and her king’s missing heart. Wishing she’d been born with the extraordinary abilities of the Guild of Alchemists, Katka’s ordinary talents lie in linguistics. So when three Royal Alchemists arrive at her uncle’s bookshop in need of a translator, Katka seizes the opportunity to aid them however she can. But when her uncle is taken by members of the rival Guild of Scientists, Katka must work with the alchemists—the surly guild master, his sharp-tongued second, and a charming prodigy apprentice—to free him.

Katka quickly discovers that her uncle’s capture was not a simple matter of guild politics. As she is thrust into a conflict involving the myth of an immortal queen, a burgeoning war with neighboring Peshta, and her own king’s stolen heart, she begins to question which tales she’s been told are actually true. Even as she grows closer to witty apprentice Evzen, Katka begins to uncover secrets that make it difficult to determine who to trust. With war brewing between lands and guilds, Katka must discover the worth of her talents in order to save her uncle—and her kingdom—before it’s too late.


Pages: 

I was just a child when I first heard of the king’s stolen heart.

Gossip often entered the Princess and Ploughman, my uncle’s bookshop where I lived and worked. None had ever been so intriguing as this.

“Is it true that our king has no heart?” I prodded my uncle that night. We’d just closed the shop; I tidied the shelves while he traveled back and forth from the stockroom with armloads of books. “And that’s why he’s going to start a war and why the guilds each want to be his favorite?”

My uncle couldn’t help but laugh, rich and loud. I had been waiting until the shop closed to broach the subject, but it seemed he had noticed my skittishness.

“This is what has got you so agitated, little mouse?”

I nodded, a bit stung by his mirth.

He set down a stack of books and braced himself against the nearest shelf. As time went on, Uncle Dusan grew steadily rounder as I grew more nearsighted and only slightly upward. “Well, it was about ten years ago,” he began, “just after you were born. It was—”

“So then it’s true?” I whispered.

“I never said so,” Uncle Dusan said in a way that assured me it was true. “It was ten or so years ago. Winter, with a thick snow such as we have not seen since. The canals were iced over and frosty snow clung to every spire. From the hills the city’s colors looked like a platter of sugared fruits.”

It was an enchanting image, but I was brimming with anticipation. “What about the king?” I insisted.
Uncle Dusan made a contemplative face. “It was a bone-chilling night when it happened, so it is said. Late in the night while the city slept.”

I found a perch on a tall pile of books and settled in, anticipation fluttering in my chest.

“Someone inside the castle worked a dark enchantment and escaped into the cold with one thing—the very heart of our king.”

I leaned forward and nearly upset the books beneath me. “Who did it, Uncle?”

He only shook his head. “To this day no one is sure. It was the night of the royal masquerade ball, then an annual event, so of course the castle was filled with diplomats and nobility, ambassadors and tradesmen from across the world. The perfect opportunity for anyone cunning enough to claim it.”

The idea was equally intriguing and overwhelming. So many people from so many places—it was little wonder no one had yet uncovered the culprit. I sent my uncle a shrewd look. I knew he was a wise man, for anyone who commits their days to the running of a bookshop can be no fool.  “Who do you think it was? Who stole the king’s heart?”

Uncle Dusan turned his head and looked past the front of the shop, out the wide windows and into the twilit street. “It’s difficult to guess. Of course the Guild of Scientists practically declared war on the Guild of Alchemists the next day, once the news had spread.” He stood and picked up a few more books to be stocked, slotting them haphazardly wherever there was room. “Others thought Peshtan spies were to blame, or their allies...” After sliding a book into the last bit of open shelf space he glanced out the windows again, then suddenly came out of the reverie and met my eye. “And now it is suppertime.” He smiled. “Some stew on this chilly autumn evening?”

***

For some time afterward I entertained childish fantasies of being the one to return the king’s heart. When not working I was left to entertain myself, and spent much of my time reading in the curtained loft that served as my bedroom. Gleaning inspiration from the tales in many languages that I borrowed off the shelves and translated with insatiable hunger, I crafted elaborate scenarios for myself and my friends—the warriors and sorcerers, peasants and princesses of my favorite stories. Once, on a daring mission at twelve years old, I went sneaking into the stockroom where I was not allowed. My imagined adventure dissolved around me as I became distracted by the papers with strange symbols and mysterious maps littering the long wooden table. I set down my candle, climbing onto the table to better peruse the documents.

That was how Uncle Dusan found me asleep hours later, curled on the table like a cat, my spectacles mushed against my face. Language books were strewn about where I’d left them as I attempted to decode the cryptic messages, which turned out to be dry alchemical theory.

“Katka—child!” he sputtered, then collected himself. “What are you doing on that table?”

I nearly cried, ashamed at my blatant disobedience. My uncle was wonderful to me and I dreaded disappointing him. “I saw the papers and wanted to read them,” I explained, adjusting my spectacles and gathering the books into my arms. I expected a reprimand, perhaps a padlock on the storeroom door and a reminder that I should know better at my age.

Uncle Dusan stood in the doorway surveying the scene and then, to my shock, began to laugh. “Voracious. You shouldn’t read everything that is in front of you, child,” he said. “Words have great power, but they hold danger too. Some books are better left closed, yes?”

I nodded and made my way down from the table, balancing the books in my arms.

“Don’t those belong here?” Uncle Dusan asked.

“No,” I said, perplexed. “I brought them in to translate.”

He was very still for a moment. “Translate what?”

I turned back to indicate the documents on the table. “Those. The alchemy essays with the strange recipes.”

He came into the room, shucking off his large overcoat and standing by the table. “Sit,” he commanded, an odd gleam in his eye as he perused the papers and selected one.

I didn’t know whether to feel excitement or dread as I set down the books and clambered back onto the large table.

He handed me the chosen page and lit more candles, positioning them to give me better light. “Can you read this?”

I studied the text as a cat watches an ignorant mouse. It was a long passage broken toward the end by strange symbols that didn’t seem to be letters. The words themselves looked like Zemyan, of the northern mercantile lake country or one of its colonies. I checked the spines of the books beside me, Uncle Dusan watching my every move with childlike wonder, and opened the Zemyan dictionary. After referencing a few unfamiliar words I was able to read the passage aloud without hesitation:

“Research at the University of Zemya has found that the practice of medical alchemy may greatly complement conventional medicine. Most recently, Zemyan alchemists have undertaken such experiments as—”

As I read, Uncle Dusan put his head in his hands.

I set the page down, unaware of my ability’s implications. “Uncle?”

He raised his head, eyes shining. “All these months I have been collecting these works in the hopes of finding a translator… and now I find there has been one in my own home all along?” He reached across the table and seized my shoulders. “Child, your skill will be useful indeed!” Then he sobered. “But heed what I have said—some words are better left unread, and some,” he placed a hand on the Zemyan paper I had put down, “are better left unremembered.”

17 comments:

  1. Hi Alyssa! Your pitch lends so much more understanding to what you are building toward. It's very interesting. I really like the epic feel of it. My only comment would be mentioning the assistant's name. I don't think it is necessary to the pitch. If you feel like it is, perhaps it should be mentioned when he is introduced in the first paragraph. I'm assuming he's the sharp tongued apprentice.

    Your pages are wonderful. The changes you made allow the prose to flow much better. I'm still a little stumped by the transition from "for some time afterward." For me personally, it causes confusion on how much time has passed. If she aged between the opening. This could just be me, I'm not sure I read any other feedback on this.

    Your characters feel much rounder-they have much more personality. There is a much greater understanding/depth to both Katka and her Uncle. The clarification you made on her ability to translate, that she studies it and knows how to find the unfamiliar words/symbols, helps a lot.

    I think you've improved this by leaps and bounds! It has the promise of a really interesting story.

    I've enjoyed reading this through the workshop. Thank you for sharing. Please let me know if you have a question on my comments.

    Good luck with your story!

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    1. Hi Stacy, thanks for your comments. I wasn't sure about naming the apprentice here, but I felt it would be too distant to say "As she grows closer to the apprentice", because he is a main character. It's something I'll consider again.

      Your feedback on the pages is very encouraging, so thanks! As for the "some time afterward" confusion, that's good to know. Her age is mentioned indirectly in the first scene (her uncle says something about ten years ago just after she was born, meaning she'd be ten) and then again a few lines down from the part you're talking about (at age twelve), but I'll see if I need to make it clearer. Thanks again!

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  2. Hi Alyssa! Bouncing off Stacy's comments, I think you could do with taking away some of the proper nouns in the pitch. Ezven doesn't need to be named. It doesn't say what the special abilities of the Guild of Alchemists are, so this tells me nothing. As for Guild of Scientists, I think you could just use "rival guild." I'm not even sure if you need to name Trisestry or Peshta, either. Also, try to use some more active verbs in here, 'cause there's some passive voice going on.

    This line still doesn't ring quite believable to me: “And that’s why he’s going to start a war and why the guilds each want to be his favorite?”

    I think it's something that Uncle Dusan can definitely mention toward the end of the "flashback," but I still find it hard to believe that a ten-year-old would be all that interested in guilds. Maybe you just need to build up the guilds some more? How well known are they, and what purpose do they serve? They must be important enough that a child would know and have even a vague understanding what they do.

    Uncle Dusan's conversation with her bugs me, too. First he starts his story saying that it happened ten years ago (which gives Katka an age, so that's cool), but then he says it's not true, and then goes on to say that the king's heart was stolen after all. So I'm confused as to what he's trying to do.

    The part when she's twelve is probably my favorite part of this passage. I think her speciality in linguistics much more believable this time around. I like Uncle Dusan's reactions to it too.

    Great job on these revision and let me know if you have any questions :)

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    1. Hi Adelle, thanks for your feedback. I went back and forth on some of those proper nouns, but I felt like it was too easy to get lost in the query without giving some kind of names or specifics to hang onto. These are all names/concepts that come up pretty frequently in the story; if they were throwaway details that only pop up once I don't think I would name them. I'll try it without and see how I like it. And yes, passive voice is my consistent downfall! Thanks for pointing that out.

      I was trying to have her conversation with her uncle read as him telling her a story he can see is fascinating to her and so he's messing with her a little bit by saying "I never said it was true". He doesn't exactly deny it, which she picks up on. I can see how that'd be confusing though, thanks!

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    2. Hi Alyssa! Here's just an example of a trimmed down version. I understand that the other members of the guild and the apprentice especially are important in the MS itself, but try to consider Katka's own actions for the query itself.

      Sixteen-year-old Katka has always loved stories, particularly of the kingdom's warring guilds and her king’s missing heart. Wishing she’d been born with the extraordinary abilities of the Guild of Alchemists [I still think you need to clarify WHAT abilities they have because this is vague], Katka’s ordinary talents lie in linguistics. So when three Royal Alchemists arrive at her uncle’s bookshop in need of a translator, Katka seizes the opportunity to aid them however she can. But when the rival guild kidnaps her uncle, Katka must work with the alchemists to free him.

      Katka quickly discovers that her uncle’s capture was not a simple matter of guild politics. As she is thrust into a conflict involving the myth of an immortal queen, a burgeoning war with a neighboring kingdom, and her own king’s stolen heart, she questions which tales are actually true and who to trust. Katka must discover the worth of her talents to save her uncle—and her kingdom—before it’s too late.

      Good luck with your novel!

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  3. Alyssa,

    These pages have come a long way. They’re much more focused — we feel the pulse of the mystery relating to the king’s stolen heart, as well as the pulse of Katka’s insatiable and potentially dangerous curiousity. You’ve stripped down many of the extras in terms of the language, too. I love how some of the phrases now stand out, like the city’s colors “like a platter of sugared fruits.”

    I’ll start with the pitch. I think this is strong overall. We understand the main character and the central story, as well as the importance of stories and storytelling. You might want to insert a “beloved” before uncle to give a sense of his importance. I’d cut out extras that might end up important in the novel but clutter a bit in such a short pitch. For example, maybe cut the immortal queen, the burgening war with Peshta, and the witty apprentice. The uncle and the warring guilds are primary in the first paragraph, and I’d stick with that focus for a short pitch. Focus, too, on her, what she must do to save her uncle and/or how her talents might develop. I’d say you’re close with this, but some of what you have here seems to put her as observor and reactor (discovers, thrust into, begins to question) to large events, rather than a central actor (begins to uncover).

    Most of my comments on your pages relate to cuts or small tweaky things.

    We still learn she’s skittish after she’s been skittish. Can she be skittish as gossip enters the bookshop?

    “As time went on, Uncle Dusan grew steadily rounder...only slightly upward.” The sentence is a bit awkward because you’re depicting a moment as it happens (setting down the books and bracing himself) but “as time went on” isn’t meant to reference that time. Also, it’s all a lot to envision, the steadily rounder, the nearsightedness, the only slightly upward. Strip this down to essentials? Keep only his roundedness, which maybe she can see despite her increasing nearsightedness?

    You sometimes tell us something that’s already clear from your vivid description of action and interaction. I don’t think you need “It was an enchanting image, but I was brimming with anticipation.” Her question and “I insisted” tells us this already.

    I don’t think you need “then an annual event”.

    I don’t think you need “The idea was equally intriguing and overwhelming.” What she says next makes this clear.

    The phrase “Gleaning inspiration...insatiable hunger” is long and hard to follow. It’s an important phrase, too, because here we learn she’s so determined to read these stories that she teaches herself other languages. You could emphasize this by making that point its own sentence. For example: “I borrowed tales in many languages and I was so hungry to learn what they said, I taught myself to translate them. Then I crafted…”

    An ignorant mouse? Do you mean a mouse unaware the cat’s stalking it? Or a mouse that doesn’t know anything? And the language doesn’t know it’s in jeopardy? I’m not certain the simile works.

    You end with great tension!

    It’s been a pleasure watching this draft develop.

    Good luck!
    Laura

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    1. Hi Laura, thanks for your feedback. I'm glad to hear you think I've made some progress! Having the phrases that aren't necessary pointed out is super helpful—these can be tough to see as the writer. The pitch definitely needs some more fine-tuning, and your comments on it are great. Thanks again!

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  4. Your Query:

    In the middle of the first paragraph, you have two sentences that start similarly: So when…and…But when…and you may want to fix that just for the sake of flow. I love the beginning of the second paragraph when you link her love of stories to questioning the truth of those stories. That’s a nice connection.

    Is the charming prodigy apprentice = witty apprentice = Evzen? If so, I would just call him apprentice throughout or designate his name when you first introduce him.

    Is there an enemy in this story? Who is the antagonist? That wasn't clear to me. I'd like to know who she is fighting. Who she must overcome.

    I read your second paragraph a couple of times – it’s worded well and it’s clear, but I’m still left wanting to know more about what she does to free her uncle. I learn about a conflict, she questions her knowledge, there’s some deception going on. When she must discover the worth of her talents – as a translator? – to save her uncle and her kingdom…I don’t understand how the three are related. Those three being her linguistic abilities, the reason for her uncle’s imprisonment, and the kingdom’s conflict.

    A few months ago I went to the bookstore and spent the day reading the inside cover of all the YA fantasy books I could find. So many…I mean, so very many…were about a girl who must save her kingdom, or choose between her kingdom and her heart, or choose between her kingdom and her sister, or save her kingdom and her sister. Now, I have no idea if this works in your favor but it’s a trend I noticed this year.

    OK...pages next.

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  5. Your Pages:

    I like your opening sentence, but your second sentence doesn’t keep up the momentum because you are feeding us information in a way that isn’t unique. I still recommend to play with this and try to work in some voice. It’s the “often entered” that sounds passive. I hear your voice coming out further down on the page…and it’s good.

    Something else I noticed is the blending of present tense words (now, this here) with past tense narrative. I’ve seen published works that do this now and again, but I often wonder if debut writers should deviate and stick to one tense. Just a nit-picky thing I thought to highlight.

    This is awkward dialogue: “This is what has got you so agitated, little mouse?” Maybe keep it simple: “Is this why you’re agitated, little mouse?”

    Have you ever read V.E. Schwab’s first book, The Near Witch? The first chapter starts out very similar to yours with an older sister telling a tale to her curious younger sister. You might want to take a look because it is quite comparable to the look and feel and tone of the scene you set up here, and gives the reader information about the Near Witch without making it sound like backstory. That is not to say yours sounds like backstory. Actually, the improvements each week on this have been huge and you should feel so good about it! It’s just a scene/opening I am remembering that would be good for you to check out.

    There are still places you use filtering phrases and tell instead of show, but I think those are easily fixable, and will close your narrative distance even more. The trick is identifying them.

    In one place you use something I like to call a thesis statement. That is, you tell me what you are about to show me. It’s here: “The idea was equally intriguing and overwhelming. So many people from so many places—it was little wonder no one had yet uncovered the culprit.” The first sentence is telling, the second sentence (and the following sentences) is showing. Once you know what to look for, the thesis statements in your MS will pop out at you! They aren’t usually needed and pull us out of the narrative.

    Another note…past = an event that happened in the past; passed = you physically walk passed something or look passed something.

    Just to be clear…opening paragraphs, Katka is a little girl. Then there’s a scene break and she’s 12 years old. I’m glad that’s in here because it grounds me better, but I am still wondering why you start your opening pages with her looking back on events in her life? Why not start at the age she is throughout the story? I believe a first chapter should have a clear beginning, middle, and end.

    Having said that, though, the scene between Dusan and Katka is very nice and I’m so glad you expanded on her linguistic abilities. Now, she sounds like she has a real talent. Almost like a prodigy. The more you can play up her uniqueness here, the better.

    Hope this helps!
    Thanks,
    Danielle



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    1. Hi Danielle, thanks for the feedback. Haven't read The Near Witch but I'll have to give it a try!

      I know some of those darn telling sentences are still lurking around, and thanks for pointing one out.

      As for past/passed, I'm assuming you saw it misused but as far as I can tell, the sentence I think you're referring to is okay as is. I'll look into it just to make sure.

      I guess I started with Katka at a younger age so that I could, for instance, show how she became a sort of unofficial translator rather than telling the reader once she's older. There are many things in these pages that tie in when she's reached the age she is for the rest of the story, but I'll be careful not to leave in anything superfluous. She does age up for the last time just after these pages end, and since this isn't the complete first chapter here I didn't think too much of her starting out younger. All good food for thought, so thanks!

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  6. Alyssa,

    This has come a long way! I feel like I'm reading a completely new story. You jump right into the scene and setting very quickly, which is a great improvement.

    How old is Katka? Her uncle says "when you were born, about ten years ago," but then she says something about being twelve years old a little later.

    This feels more like middle grade to me, and if Katka is ten or twelve, it IS middle grade. The story has a very lighthearted tone to it that feels like MG . Does it have to be YA?

    Your prose has a nice pace and rhythm to it, so your voice really comes through. Great job.

    As for your query, I have to say, this is one of the better ones I've read in the workshop. It's very clear and precise, gives us an idea of the character and story without too much description or unneeded story beats.

    Fantastic job, overall. Good luck!

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    1. Hi Ronald, thanks for your comments!

      That's interesting about the story feeling middle grade. I hadn't considered that before, because for the majority of the story Katka is 16, and the other main characters are all adults. I think the tone does get a little darker down the road as well, and maybe the tone here in the beginning is misleading. Something to think about.

      I'm glad to hear you've seen improvement overall and that you found the query to be clear. Thanks again for all your feedback!

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  7. Hi there! Thanks for participating, and I hope you've been enjoying the process so far. I thought that this query was so inventive and I loved the concept. Exactly up my alley!

    PITCH:
    The nitpicky:
    "The Winter King" -- So this is just my opinion, but I think that if you're going to have a female protagonist, she should be the object in the title. Granted, it'll be obvious to anyone who reads the sales copy, it may be worth refocusing onto the missing heart aspect instead? It's just so unique!
    "king's missing heart" -- I'm not sure that it's clear that this is literal until the second paragraph.
    "Guild of Alchemists" -- Even though you're up against a word count, can you clarify that their abilities are? I have a pretty good understanding, but are we talking Full Metal Alchemist style? Or something else? Why are they rivals with the Scientists?
    "when her uncle is taken by members of the rival Guild of Scientists" -- Why? What is her uncle's importance to the Alchemists and Scientists?
    "apprentice" -- Include his name up here so you can save yourself the words below if they're the same person. If he's important enough, use his name. It clues me in that he IS a central character.
    "immortal queen...heart" -- I actually didn't mind this list, because it gave me a good idea of what's happening globally. Point us towards the main antagonist somewhere in this second paragraph though. Other than trying to find her uncle, it isn't clear what her final goal is.
    "talents" -- I'm sure this wasn't intended, but as someone who studied Classical Languages in undergrad, I was so suckered in by this. I loved that she wasn't a Chosen One and that she's “average.” But clarify why her talents make her unique to the situation. Why are her linguistic talents central to this story? What can she do that others can't, etc.

    NOTES: This felt very high-concept and almost like a reimagining without falling into commonalities. That being said, I think the action in the pitch could be pumped up. It's often easier to focus a pitch on the action of the plot as opposed to sinking into too much world building, because it opens the pitch up to a lot of questions (WHEN POSSIBLE. It sometimes isn't). If your summary is punchy enough, the world in which you're placing the story can unfold for me in the first couple of pages. Focus the pitch onto the forward momentum of the story and your protagonist's goals/reasoning. [1/2]

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    1. [2/2]
      OVERALL: I really loved this first line; it was exactly the kind of hook that works and immediately draws your audience into your story. Then just a couple paragraphs down, we get great snippets of world-building: "platter of sugared fruits" is such a solid image that you don't need to say so in the next line. There were some stray comments that I didn't follow, one of which being "anyone who commits their days to the running of a bookshop can be no fool" and then later, "slotting them haphazardly wherever there was room" (this just seemed bad form for a bookstore). Further, you introduce the Guilds, but then don't explain their roles either historically or in this specific period of time. They seem like a central tenet to your world, so be sure to define both for your audience. I think it would be great to know why Katka is so inspired and interested in linguistics. What's driving her? Her love of the stories? The thrill of figuring out the foreign languages? Etc. My final note about the pages is why is Katka special in her translation skills? If a 12-year-old can translate the Zemyan pages, why can't her uncle realistically? Most adults can recognize various languages if they can't guess at the meaning, then selecting the correct English-Zemyan dictionary and looking up the words shouldn't be too difficult? I would clarify so the audience understands why she’s so advanced. In short, you have so much here that felt really very solid and well written, but be sure to fully consider each new element you introduce (especially regarding world-building) and where each of your characters, primarily Katka in these pages, are emotionally and mentally. Doing so and integrating throughout as applicable, will only strengthen your draft and further engage your audience.

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    2. Hi Gabrielle, thanks so much for your feedback. All of your comments about the pitch were great points. The title in particular is something I haven't really been happy with, so it's definitely tentative, good suggestion on that.

      The story actually is a reimagining (of a very obscure fairy tale as well as bits of Czech folklore) and I'm glad that came through. I was also very pleased to read your comment about her not being the "Chosen One"—from this story's inception I knew I wanted to see if I could successfully play with that trope! Her talents do prove essential in the end, so I'll work on clarifying how they're unique.

      When I read your comment about the haphazard books being bad form for a bookstore I had to laugh—it's completely true and I hadn't even realized! All of your questions and suggestions here are on the nose. I'm feeling inspired to go and work though them. Thanks again!

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  8. Hi Alyssa, I hope I'm not too late with my post--the week got crazier than planned.

    I love how far you've come with your pages, and I'd like to zero in on your pitch.

    Sixteen-year-old Katka has always loved stories about her kingdom of Trisestry, particularly of the warring Guilds and her king’s missing heart. ***I think the missing heart part is fascinating and an awesome hook. Would you consider making that a front-and-center part of your first sentence? For example: As a child, sixteen-year-old Katka loved the stories about the king of Trisestry and his missing heart; she never dreamed they'd be true.
    I mean, that's just an idea. I think the part about the warring guilds takes a bit of punch away from this uniqueness, and then you mention the threat of war and guilds later. See what you think.***

    Wishing she’d been born with the extraordinary abilities of the Guild of Alchemists, Katka’s ordinary talents lie in linguistics. **this sentence states that her talents wished she'd been born with abilities. I might rework it**

    So when three Royal Alchemists arrive at her uncle’s bookshop in need of a translator, Katka seizes the opportunity to aid them however she can. ***Think about cutting out words that aren't adding much here. "so" and "however she can." ***

    But when her uncle is taken by members of the rival Guild of Scientists, Katka must work with the alchemists—the surly guild master, his sharp-tongued second, and a charming prodigy apprentice—to free him. ***or else, what? Maybe take this moment to drive home the story stakes--because they're big! There's a missing heart and a war brewing. You have great stuff going on here. :) And if you need less words maybe delete the part about all the alchemists except the one you mention by name later. :) ***

    Katka quickly discovers that her uncle’s capture was not a simple matter of guild politics. As she is thrust into a conflict involving the myth of an immortal queen, a burgeoning war with neighboring Peshta, and her own king’s stolen heart, she begins to question which tales she’s been told are actually true. ***wonderful***

    Even as she grows closer to witty apprentice Evzen, Katka begins to uncover secrets that make it difficult to determine who to trust. With war brewing between lands and guilds, Katka must discover the worth of her talents in order to save her uncle—and her kingdom—before it’s too late. ***Your story sounds epic.***

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    1. Hi Sarah, thanks for zeroing in on the pitch. This was super helpful, especially since it reinforced a few things others have commented on, as well as providing new suggestions. I'm glad my story sounds epic overall, and with these points hopefully I can make the pitch epic too! Thanks again!

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