Entry #29: The Writers Voice: Peculiar Dark

Note: So it may border on a bit excessive, but I couldn’t quite stand the thought of not replying to all your generous comments individually. I really appreciate it. You guys rock.

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Five things Angela James never thought she’d do:

  1. Throw a birthday party for a supernatural creature.
  2. Break into a police officer’s apartment.
  3. Wield an axe.
  4. Burn a house down.
  5. Kill a monster. Scratch that – kill anything, period.

Let’s just say Angela’s sophomore year isn’t exactly panning out. A week after moving to the town of Peculiar, a violent fever racks her body for days, and even after she comes out of it, she doesn’t feel right. Headaches, body aches, weird visions, strange songs on the air… And she’s not alone. Her classmate, Zee Morales, and his sister Izzy are having the exact same trouble. Angela thinks they must be going crazy, but the real answer is far less comforting. They have become vessels for magic – magic that their human bodies can barely contain – and there are creatures hunting them who would rip them to shreds to get at it.

Enter Wy, a blue-skinned, winged boy who literally drops from the sky with a sword and a bad attitude. He claims to be their protector and ally, but he’s got an agenda of his own that doesn’t always seem to include their best interests. Wy the Blue Wonder – and the magic secrets that come with him – throw Angela’s whole life out of whack. She worries her parents and her brother, flakes out at school, breaks the law – and those aren’t even the worst parts. Because the creatures lurking in the dark are shapeshifters. They can look like anyone at anytime, so you may not even know you’re in danger until it’s too late.

A Buffy the Vampire Slayer-type thriller – but with 60% more magic and zero vampires – PECULIAR DARK is a young adult urban fantasy following Angela, Zee and Izzy in their attempts to stay not-dead. It is complete at 91,000 words.

The wind woke Angela before the fever did.

Back home, surrounded by New Jersey’s dense woods and thick greenery, the treetops had caught every breeze, tossing them around far overhead, but it was different here. The wind bowled over the plains like a brute. It wrapped around the house, rooted out cracks and corners, and lodged itself there, howling and whistling.

Angela lay beneath her comforter, listening to the roof and walls shudder under gusty slaps. All of her skin ached, and the insides of her body felt molten with heat, but whenever she kicked her blankets off, she shivered violently. Pain throbbed from her temples up to the crown of her skull and back down into her jaw. Her limbs were weak and heavy, and the backs of her eyes were boiling.

She felt like hell.

It crossed her mind to go downstairs – wake her parents, get a thermometer, park it on the couch nestled in the slightly ratty old comforter that she wouldn’t let her mom throw out – but her body burned all over, brain spinning like a planet.

Angela tried to be still – still and quiet so sleep could come claim her – but she couldn’t. Every inch of her skin was hot and tight and painful, and she writhed around, getting her legs twisted up in the sheets. Flailing aggressively, she kicked herself free.

Without the blankets, she shook with violent tremors, curled on the bare mattress.

154 thoughts on “Entry #29: The Writers Voice: Peculiar Dark

  1. Really like how you structured your query! Number 5 made me laugh. Best of luck in the contest!

  2. This very happy Jersey girl loves, loves, loves the tree-d NJ reference. *hugs*

    On a non-NJ note, this looks great and I’m wishing you a lot of luck!

    1. Ha! Thanks! The fiance is from NJ actually, and the way he talks about all the trees and greenery there – I just had to use it.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. The query sounds really promising! The opening sounds contemporary, which is nice because you start the m.c. in the “real world”, but hint that things are not normal for her. She’s not home in normal surroundings, and she’s not feeling like herself. Nice job. Good luck! And thanks for stopping by my blog.

  4. This is so depressing! As in – how is a mediocre hack like me going to slide in sideways when there is so much talent in this contest!!!!

    I hate to say this but your entry is really good! There I did it, I spoke the truth, and it doesn’t make me feel any better :(. (I always suspected my parents lied to me about that, but since I’ve never told the truth before I never confirmed it till now!) Oh well, I guess my tears will take the edge off my herb tea…

    Nice entry. Good luck (I’m saying that in a low pitched growl that tells you instantly I don’t “really” mean it, while looking down and refusing to meet your eyes – which I hope are smiling right now…)
    Great entry – and I do mean that – said the man who has just admitted to never telling the truth 🙂

    1. Oh, Charles – no self-disparagement allowed! I think your worlds sound rich and wonderfully imaginative! I wish you all the best!

  5. I’m pretty sure Angela’s list of things she didn’t think she’d ever do matches my bucket list 🙂
    Honestly though, I think you’ve done a wonderful job of describing how I feel every time I get sick. And I can see that will only lead to a wonderfully described read for your very interesting plot summary.

    1. Ha! I’m sure she’d love to turn over her opportunities to you to help you with that bucket list. 🙂

      Thanks so much, Adam – and for stopping by! Good luck to you! 🙂

    1. Aw, yay! You know I totally ❤ you, but I will maintain a strict poker face for a few more days. O.O

      (Seriously, though, ❤ ❤ <3)

  6. Gah! I thought I had already commented on yours?? Anyhoo. CONGRATS on Brenda picking you ;o) She’s awesome, but I may be a bit biased. LOL

    I LOVE this. Your opening with the list, the writing, your voice. Awesome!! Good luck ;o)

  7. This one is definitely moving forward. Awesome hook. The writing sells it for me. The query could be tightened to make the main plot shine. I love this entry! Best of luck to you, Becca. And, thank you for commenting on #142, THE PACKING HOUSE.

    1. Thanks, Donald – you’re probably right about the query. I’ll take another look at it and see if there are any ways to tighten it. Appreciate you stopping by! Good luck to you!

  8. Dear Becca,
    You had me way before you mentioned the Buff-meister.
    I really felt for Angela’s sleepless, fever-induced nightmare – it all felt so real and so familiar. Nice one.
    Good Luck and thanks for the comment.
    Jacky (#130)

  9. Cool idea. I love that they’re trying to stay “not-dead”. Congrats on being chosen.

    -Leslie #116

  10. Congrats on being picked by Brenda!!! The query is great – especially the list. 🙂 Good luck.

  11. You have a great query. And the story is off to a gripping start. Love all the descriptive details! Good luck in the contest! From the looks of your entry, it sounds like your book is going to do fine, with or without this contest.

  12. all of a sudden i feel like i have a raging fever! GREAT query and awesome first page! great work with ALL of it, and good luck! ferris #175 (i love those fangs! perfect!)

  13. Hey Becca,

    Just dropping by to say hi as well! I loved your query – very to the point and your (shall I say tongue-in-cheek?) writing style is displayed in full force. The way you positioned it – “A Buffy the Vampire Slayer-type thriller – but with 60% more magic and zero vampires” – is also very effective. I could learn from that!

    Have fun in the contest!

    John Krissilas

  14. Stopping by to wish you luck from another member of #TeamBrenda! I like the way you’ve set up the relationships between these three. I always love a good group dynamic!

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