I know I already posted today, but this is for a Twitter query critique exchange. Any comments are welcome and appreciated!

Title: Chrysalis

Genre: New Adult Science Fiction

Word Count: 108,000


Joyel is a weapon: a genetically engineered ten-year-old. When the ruthless faction leader Anson kidnaps the royal Joyel, she is subjected to years of brainwashing. He demands that she view him as father, embrace a new identity, and become his political assassin.

He trains her to kill her family. But Joyel is determined to be subject to no man.

She grasps the illusion of identity by cutting, etching her hatred of Anson into her skin until the time to bring justice upon him has come. Despite her resistance, every year she finds herself more attached to him, struggling to strike out against the man she now calls father. To escape from being his pawn, she must kill Anson and destroy the monster she has become.

CHRYSALIS is a science fiction novel for new adults complete at 108,000 words which asks what is more important: to know who you are, or to whom you belong?

First 250 Words

Joyel pressed back against the cold wall, away from the large men, away from the strange torches. Something jabbed her. A heavily veiled woman stood over her and dug something sharp in her little arm. Pain became warmth. Warmth burned into a fire. The heat made the room spin around her. Even in motion, the room could not pretend to be familiar. The smooth coldness of the wall against her back reminded Joyel of the truth.

She was not at home. She was not at the Arboretum.

Spinning easing into a slower pace, Joyel braved a look at people in the room with her. The three strangers dressed liked citizens from the province of Miaarn. The men wore the open vests, the strange looking pants that ballooned round the cuff, and wide decorative sashes wrapped around their hips that separated Miaarns from the rest of Phandiwe. The woman’s heavy veiling meant she was a Miaarn slave. Joyel must be in that dreaded province. Gripping the rails of the bed and sitting back against the wall kept her from falling onto the floor. But how? She had been traveling with her guardian, Micaah, to visit her friends. It had been warm and bright on the journey, the sun pouring in the carriage. What had gone wrong? Why was it cold and dark, where she was? And where was Micaah?

Joyel glanced around the room for him, but the overpowering furnishings and lush trappings captivated her gaze.



6 thoughts on “#SonofaPitch

  1. Hi! I saw your #sonofapitch comment on Katie’s website and thought I’d hop on over!

    First…I want to let you know that your blurb is very, VERY good. It caught my attention immediately, in a way that most don’t. I instantly want to read the novel. So…I would say that your synopsis/blurb is about as good as you can get it.

    I would venture to say that the first two hundred and fifty words could use a little bit of polishing. I love your style – it’s very artistic and fairly effective – but it could be more effective. There’s points that become a little confusing or hard to read. I feel in places you try to be a little TOO artistic, if that makes any sense, and it becomes hard to follow and overly arch.

    Overall, good job! If you’d like any more detailed help or comments, feel free to connect with me through my blog (aletheakatherine.wordpress.com) or through social media. Happy querying and good luck with this! It looks like a gem!


  2. Hi Sharon! Thanks for looking at mine!

    Feedback on query:

    I love love LOVE your premise. That being said, the first paragraph feels sort of mechanical to me. I think you could really jazz it up by taking out some of the passive voice (“is subjected”) and strengthening your verbs (go straight for “Anson brainwashes Joyel into believing…”)

    “She grasps the illusion of identity” feels a little bit pretentious. I see what you’re aiming for, but it sticks out a bit from the rest of your query language. Maybe there’s another way to say it?

    Feedback on first 250 words:

    The line “She was not at home. She was not at the Arboretum.” is perfect. It encapsulates the danger our heroine finds herself in already at the start of the novel. In fact, I’d almost recommend making that the first line, if you can, because it packs a LOT of punch.

    I would agree with Alethea that your style is confusing in places. The first paragraph, in particular, I had to read three times before it really sat correctly for me. It’s definitely intriguing though, once I got past that – you’re starting in a really great, high-drama place!


  3. The query is very very good. Gets to the point.

    250 words – sets up things well. I think for the size of the chunk, it does the job well. Only suggestion I have to offer is to let the MC feel the effects of the drug (I assume that was a drug). She seems a little too coherent in her thoughts.


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