Thursday, January 13, 2011

Novel Pitch #7: THE DEMON VOW

Title: The Demon Vow
Author: Rachel Hert
Genre: YA Fantasy
Word Count: 71,000

The demon within sixteen-year-old Zade was meant to merge with his human half and become one. But when his training goes terribly wrong and he accidentally kills his master it leaves him utterly alone, and his two halves fighting for control.
Riddled with guilt, Zade takes up his masters duties: Protecting the Hindori and the demon gate from Vrieg, the worst demonic criminal in history.
As the battles with Vrieg’s armies intensify Zade finds his hold on the demon within slipping. Terrified it will break free and kill everyone, Zade trains his two best friends to harness their energy and use it. At least if the demon gets loose the Hindori will have a chance. That is if they can keep Vrieg away from the demon gate, because if he gets to that not a soul on either side will survive.

The Good: I like the idea of a human-demon hybrid fighting for control of a shared body, and you've got a good premise for the action in this book. The hook comes in the second line, and I'm intrigued by it. 

Suggestions: The writing is a bit rough. You have some misplaced punctuation throughout, including a misplaced comma in the opening paragraph and a missing apostrophe in "master's duties."  Style problems will kill a pitch's chances with a contest, agent, or publisher no matter how good the story is. There are a bunch of great style guides out there, but the one that's actually a pleasure to read is Eats, Shoots, and Leaves. 

I'm also unsatisfied with the label "criminal" for Vrieg--if he has armies, he's more than just a criminal. I'm a bit confused about Zade's friend's "energy," as well. Is there some way to make this more concrete? Do they have demons, or psychic powers, or something else? Is there a way to bring this information out that either gives a sense of the narrative voice, the characters, or the relationships? 

BOTTOM LINE: I like the story's premise, but polish this up before submitting it. 


Rachel said...

I did send an update on this to your email before you put this up. A lot of the problems were fixed in it. Thanks for the crit though. I'll use what I can.

Deniz Bevan said...

I hear you Rachel - I think I updated mine four times between my first post and yesterday. It's hard to get the hook and the flow just right.
One suggestion that helped me was realising that the query doesn't have to be 100 per cent factual; that was the mistake I kept making. I kept trying to make it a mini synopsis instead of concentrating on the tension and emotion that would draw a reader in.
All that said - I like the human and demon fighting over a body too, sounds interesting!

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