HH Com 316

Waterbury Rising is a completed 120,000 word YA fantasy/mystery novel.

It isn't easy being a kid in a tiny, boring, farmtown. Especially if you're an orphaned kid whose only guardian is an adopted older brother, moved in from over the mountains where all of the magic and adventure is happening. But once a teacher is murdered, Paul and his "outsider" brother, Bryan, become prime suspects in a small town that's all too happy to hang anything and anyone that threatens its traditional way of life. Maybe life was better off boring.

(your hook starts here)
Paul knows he didn't do it. He's pretty sure Dani Archer and Liam Linnwood, his best friends, aren't murderers. And Paul would really like to believe that Bryan would never hurt anyone, even if some people in Waterbury think he was responsible for the death of his
fiancé the same night Paul's parents died eight years ago.

Pursued all the while by Constable Shedwick Chambers, the law in Waterbury, Paul and his friends weave their way through the mysteries of a small town where not everything is as it seems. As the clues multiply and suspicions rise, the reader learns of Bryan's doomed love: Caitlyn Tucker, daughter of one of the most affluent farmers in town, of the magic and war taking place over the mountains, and why after eight quiet years people are dying again in little Waterbury.

The form is pretty good here, but it's too distant to be compelling. Start witht "Paul knows he didn't murder the teacher" and build from there.


Inkwolf said...

Sounds like an angsty fantasy with horror elements...cool!

Anonymous said...

120K is long for YA. Few YAs are longer than 80K, and that's a high-end figure. Fantasy can be an exception, but such long books from new writers isn't usual.

Michael Reynolds said...

Skyblue is right, that's a thin premise for 120k. It's not impossible but you are pushing it unless you're in speculative fiction.

McKoala said...


Virginia Miss said...

I agree with the other posters that 120k is too long for YA, unless the author is already a proven success.

I'm still trying to cut my 90k one down to 85. It started out at 113k before I sharpened my paring knife.

Don't start your hook with "It isn't easy being a kid in a tiny boring farmtown." Not compelling. at all.

Anonymous said...

The voice in this hook sounds young to me, more mid-grade than YA.

You've got wrongly accused of murder MC, and an older brother with a suspiciously dead (years before) fiancee. The constable who believes MC is guilty? Some hint that the death toll relates to magic. And the distant mountains.

Sort of interesting, but I'm wondering who is the villain. Is it he constable? Or some nameless, faceless evil/secret? Or is the affluent farmer involved in the plot?

Sounds interesting. Good luck.