Thursday, 21 May 2015

The Writer's Voice: Query and first 250 (Treading Water)

Query and first 250 words of my YA novel, Treading Water, for an online competition, The Writer's Voice. (Also good if anyone wants to know how my novel opens and the query I've written!).

QUERY: 

I am writing to you to seek representation for my young adult contemporary novel, TREADING WATER. Treading Water is a story about what happens when everything you know is about to change, as well as family, growing up, and first love. It is complete at 64,000 words.

Eighteen year old Marian Key and her famous artist father have always lived in the same old crumbling farm house. Marian has been looking forward to returning home from school for a summer of swimming and solitude all year, and she can’t wait to shed her winter self.

But when her father announces that he is selling her childhood home and moving to America, everything Marian knows is threatened. Suddenly, the summer is fraught with the prospect of change and losing everything that she loves. She is desperate to hold onto her home, no matter what the cost, but she doesn’t know how. Time is beginning to run out, as the house is invaded by family, including a cousin who she doesn’t see eye to eye with. As Marian finds enemy forces moving in, she struggles to remember what it is she loved about her home.

Then there’s the mysterious boy Marian comes across in the woods. Sebastian Hawk is a student and artist, who is fascinated by fairy tales and finds a magic in Marian’s home that she thought had gone. After an uncertain start, Sebastian and Marian team together, as Marian tries to come to terms with growing up, moving on, and ghosts from the past, as well as falling in love for the first time. Can Marian save her home before it’s too late?

I recently completed a Creative Writing MA at the University of Exeter. I am a member of SCBWI and write for MuggleNet. In 2013 I had a short story, ‘Tide’, published in an eBook, Jam, and another short story, ‘If I Remember’ was a runner up in a YA short story competition. I was also shortlisted for an IdeasTap and Writers Centre Norwich fiction mentoring scheme in 2014 and have been awarded a Young Writer’s scholarship for the Winchester Writers’ Festival this year.


FIRST 250: 

We found the ants in the honey the morning my father made an announcement at breakfast. It was two days into the summer holidays. This seemed important, although the ants stick more in my memory. After all, it wasn’t every day you came across drowned ants in a honey jar. The morning sun bounced off the gold lid, lighting up crumbs that were scattered across the table.
 ‘Marian,’ my father said, the rejected honey pot in front of him. He laid his knife down on his plate. His voice was hesitant and hoarser than usual. His movements were slow. I paused as I buttered my toast.
 I didn’t want to look at him, nor did I want to hear what it was that he had to say. I stared at that honey pot, with the tiny black bodies floating in the thick mix. They were small dots that could have been breadcrumbs or bits of dirt. How had they even got there? They were ants on a suicide mission. It was sad to see that they had all followed one another, like a group of soldiers who trusted their leader implicitly, not realising that they were heading to their death. I shuddered.
‘Marian.’ My father cleared his throat. ‘I’m going to sell the house.’
        

17 comments:

  1. This is screaming SUMMER READ to me. I like this premise. Good Luck!

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    1. Thank you - I'm glad you think so, and yay! :D Thanks!

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  2. I LOVE this premise and your writing is wonderful! Best of luck!

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  3. Great beginning! Leaves me wanting more. Good luck! :)

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  4. Love this! Summer and growing up and moving out and romance. Good luck in the competition! You have a fantastic voice! -- Aminah Mae Safi

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    1. Thank you very much!! :) That's very kind of you!

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  5. I love the ants/honey, it's a nice contrast to how she feels. Good luck!

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  6. I like this :) What's up with dad and his voice? Why selling the house? Oh no! Great first 250. Good luck!

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  7. Wow. Wonderful prose, and I love the way the story begins with a powerful but relevant image. Good luck!
    Connie

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    1. Thank you very much for your kind words! Thanks!

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