Thursday, February 19, 2015


79,000 words
YA High Fantasy


Godlike dragons with stained-glass wings and jewel-like scales protect Ava’s home in the sky. As a human-dragon hybrid, she’s always served them without question. Until she finds one devouring her father, and she ends its life. Panicked and hunted, she flees to the human desert beneath the city.

Except she’s not alone. Vito, the dragon Ava serves, follows. He refuses to abandon Ava, yet doesn’t know her crime. With Vito by her side, Ava can’t surrender to those chasing her without risking his life.

The city controls the desert’s water supply, and the long-suffering ground dwellers want all dragon-kind dead — including Ava and Vito. They offer Ava a deal: if she tells them the secrets of her city, she gets refuge. Ava must choose between her life and the city she once called home—including Vito, the only loved one she has left.


How long is the fall down to earth?

I lean against the fence that marks the drop from the floating city to the desert below, digging my fingernails into the wet wood. The city rests drowsy behind me, golden spires and cobblestone roads cloaked in morning mist. My legs shake underneath me. I fidget with my fingerless, scaled gloves.

It’s morning already.

And the smell of blood is still so strong.

I should have left hours ago, but I couldn’t leave my room, couldn’t stop scrubbing. Hot iron blooms in my nostrils as if the sticky red liquid is still smeared across my face, my clothes, my palms.

But it isn’t on my skin. I’ve washed myself pink. It can’t be there.

Gravel scrapes behind me. I curl my wings snug against me, gripping the fence tighter and looking around.

Once someone finds the corpses, once they know I’m gone, I’m dead. And yet, here I am, not ready to leave the people that would kill me. My fingers itch for the sabre I left behind.

They’re coming this way. They’re going to spot and capture me if I don’t move. Sweat beads on my forehead.


I lean forward, stretching my wings slowly so the soft stained-glass feathers don’t make sound —

Something grabs the collar of my shirt. Hot, moist breath blows across the nape of my neck and through my shorn hair as I’m yanked backwards.

I scream and grab my dagger, but I know it’s useless.


  1. I love your opening line. How could I help but keep reading? You've done a great job of making clear this is fantasy, without overwhelming with too many details. The stakes you've set for Ava are high, and the story sounds thrilling. Nice work.

  2. Your 250 has a great balance of description, action, and backstory--all things necessary and important. My favorite line: "I should have left hours ago, but I couldn’t leave my room, couldn’t stop scrubbing. Hot iron blooms in my nostrils as if the sticky red liquid is still smeared across my face, my clothes, my palms." Oh I loved the tactile imagery there! Yesssssss~! Plus the allusion back to what she did.

    The only thing I might point out in this 250 is it seems to be trying a little too hard to keep us from knowing what's happening. I love the mystery of "what did she do?" even though I have a hint, but nearer the end, I want it said so I can be afraid and confused about what's happening in the moment. My creative writing teachers call this "hiding the ball" when authors hide their mystery longer than necessary. An easy fix for that would be "My fingers itch for the sabre I left behind in the dragon's throat" or something. Then we have new questions, it's not a tacky flashback, etc. :)

    That aside, I love the ramped up energy. You chose a brilliant place to begin, and this one scene already tells us so much about our main character. I love when scenes characterize and set up action! Thank you~! And she has stained-glass wings?

    Dang it, I want stained glass wings.

    Brilliant as always Kazul! Good luck!

  3. Pitch: This sets out the premise and what’s at stake very clearly. Lots of great originality: a city in the sky for dragons, dragon-human hybrids (can’t wait to find out which parts are dragon!), humans in the desert below. Just a couple of comments: The phrase “beneath the city” made me think it was underground. Maybe “on the ground below”? And I love the image of stained-glass wings but wasn’t sure if they were literally made of glass.

    First page: Great place to start and great details. We know so many things right away: where she is, what emotions she’s feeling, what just happened. Economical but exciting.

  4. I like the imagery in this one. I'm with most everyone on their comments; small fixes here and there. My only confusion is a complex one that I am sure the book irons out, but here it is:
    She is a hybrid, and i assume her dad is human?(eaten by a Dragon) Which would mean her mom was dragon? (home-life was probably pretty interesting) but my confusion is if she is part dragon, why is she serving anyone outside of her dragon family? If the boss of a job has an employer who does something wrong they don't usually run off together unless there is either some love interest, or if the story read as the human mother was eaten. Then there would be the twist in the plot similar to that Star Wars scene where Vader tells Luke his paternal history... VITO: Ava I'm your father... search inside: you know it to be true..." (Sorry, there are some terribly structure sentences here, but I have been writing on these most of the day to make sure everyone gets some feedback)
    Other than that... pretty sweet stuff!
    Fellow competitor and writing friend.

  5. Love this! Would love to connect with you so give me a follow on twitter and I'll follow you back :)

  6. Pitch:
    Love the first sentence, though I'd combine sentences 2 and 3. Also, after reading I have a good idea of the world and the character, but I'm not really sure what Ava has to do. Some more actions may help draw the reader in!

    First Page:
    I want to read the rest of this now! Good luck!

    Domenic (#28)

  7. Pitch: Excellent! I would definitely read something like this. The only suggestion might be to clarify the relationship between Vito and Ava a little better. Is she a maid kind of figure or a priestess? And if he doesn't know what's going on, why would he risk going to the human city with her?

    250: Love it. Main suggestion would be to give a more obvious clue to her gender. Good luck! (#38)


Please leave your courteous and professional comments for the writer! We'd love to hear from you! : )