#20-Flirting With Fire

>Dear Secret Agent,

Flirting With Fire ~ A Pyromance is a first person YA book with alternating male and female POV.  It’s 82, 000 words and a paranormal romance.

Sidra has always enjoyed playing with fire, but things at school are a little more flammable than she is used to.  This new guy, Asher, for example, is smoking hot but also strange and mysterious.  Everyone knows her nickname is Scorch because of her pyromania, but they don’t know she is painting the local fires before they happen.  If they did, all hell might break loose, and they’d come looking for her.  Speaking of hell, there is a whole different world out there that Asher fights.  Pyrodemons and hunters and a dog that hides in shadows.  There are secrets he just doesn’t share… even if Scorch does light his heart on fire.  When fire strikes too close, Sidra has to trust someone.  She might get burnt, but with how hot Asher is, perhaps it’s time to play with fire.  With any luck, she’ll get scorched.

I’m an insomniac, and I write for crazy amounts of time instead of sleeping, so I’ve also written other manuscripts in other genres both for adults and young adults.  I have a supportive but geeky husband, and I’m blessed with two wonderful Special Needs children.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Regards,

*****

My father says I’m a classic introvert.  He claims the damage my mother did to my ego by forcing me to live out her glory days has created an unrealistic expectation for success that has made me feel like a failure.  No matter what I do—no matter what I say—I’ve already lost—according to my father, I mean.  He ran off with his secretary—no, excuse me—his administrative assistant, Bliss, a year ago, so what does he know about failing?  Actually, it seems like he’s a professional at failing.  And, yes, her name really is Bliss.  I’m to call her mother now.

I won’t, of course.  I’d just as soon staple my own tongue.  Plus, it would kill my mom—my actual mom—the one who gave birth to me—not the one screwing my father.

My father also says I have anger issues.  He’s right, but it has nothing to do with my mother.  I just like to be angry.  If I keep it to myself, it doesn’t bother anyone else, so what’s the big deal?  Nothing.  I’ve been working on channeling it into things—mostly painting.

I paint almost entirely in reds and oranges.  I like to paint fire and things on fire.  This bothers some people at school.  My mom understands, so I do most of my painting at home.  My friends call me “Scorch.”  It started in junior high, and I haven’t been able to drop the name.


12 Responses to “#20-Flirting With Fire”

  1. Kelly Hashway says:

    >Query: Is "A Pyromance" part of your title or are you calling it that to distinguish that it's about fire and romance? I guess the ~ is confusing me here. I don't think you need to say what POV it's written in. I'd condense your first sentence to read, "Flirting with Fire is an 82,000-word young adult paranormal romance."

    In your second paragraph, I'd change the beginning of the third sentence to read "Everyone knows Sidra's nickname…" Since you just talked about Asher, you need to use Sidra's name again here.

    I think your author bio part may be too personal. Stick to info that's relevant to the story and finding an agent.

    First 250:
    You use a lot of dashes and they get overwhelming. In the sentence "No matter what I do…" I'd change the dashes to commas. It would have the same effect but be easier on the eyes.

    The voice in the second paragraph is great. Very strong!

    Okay, by the third and fourth paragraphs, you are info dumping. Too much too soon. I'm wondering what the MC is actually doing. Can you have her painting and let us find out some of this info as the story progresses, instead of right up front?

  2. Ebyss says:

    >I'm not sure if Pyromance is a play on two words of pyromancy and romance? If it is…I like it.

    But the second sentence needs to be something more along the lines of…Flirting With Fire ~ A Pyromance is a young-adult, paranormal romance complete at 82,000 words. Where you combine them together.

    I also don't think you need to mention what POV it is in, but maybe that is something of an agent preference.

    Your second paragraph needs to be broken up. It is way to long and runs all together. Plus it goes from one thing to the next all random-like. ie: your talking about the girl..then a guy…then back to her nickname.

    Break it up..tighten it up..and try sticking to one point that naturally flows to the next.

    Usually, in queries…you don't need to describe your family or yourself. I'd cut the last paragraph all together.

    Your 250…I like your voice, but it is somewhat confusing. At first I thought your MC lived with her father…then come to find out she lives with her mother. I think.

    I'd possibly try working in the back story of her father and secretary and stuff a little later on. Maybe cut to the chase of how she likes to paint with red and oranges, and her nickname.

    Good luck.

  3. Mermaid says:

    >I love the idea of this nonconventional paranormal romance. It's also really cool that she's seeing the fires before they happen. Although, I was confused on whether she's the one setting the fire since she's a pyromaniac.

    The idea is very interesting but I don't think your query is quite featuring the story to the best of its ability.

    There are alot of cliches like playing with fire, light his heart on fire. I get that you're trying to include the pyro references but they need to be unique.

    Also, the last paragraph is too personal. Replace this paragraph with your education, writing credits, professional memberships.

    Story critique: You start out telling alot of information about the character instead of showing us. I also didn't get what you meant by living out her glory days regarding the mom. This is just my opinion but I think you should start the story with "My friends call me Scorch". That simple statement says so much. All the parent issues will probably reveal themselves throughout the story so I don't think you should start out there.

    Good Luck. Your story sounds really cool and interesting.

  4. Tuuli says:

    >I had to read the opening line several times to figure it out. Write it as: FLIRTING WITH FIRE—A PYROMANCE is an 82,000-word paranormal romance. (You don’t need to mention the pov, so don’t.)

    Great job incorporating voice in your query.

    Who’d come looking for her? The police? Your query’s a little confusing because you’re trying to write it in two povs. DON’T. Pick Sidra and stick with it. Someone taught me a cool trick. Write it in first person present to make sure it’s in one pov, then change it into third person. It really does work.

    Okay, so the query starts out fine, but then you get to ‘Speaking of hell,’ and it gets confusing. Tell me what your mc wants, what does she have to do to get it, and what happens if she fails. (That came from the Query Shark) Oh, and include 3-4 conflicts.

    You last paragraph is too personal and not necessary. It’s the kind of stuff agents hate to see in queries. I suggest you start following some agents blogs to see what their pet peeves are. They’re universal by the way.

    As for your 250 words—it’s all backstory. A big no-no. You’ve shown me nothing. You’ve spent the whole time telling. Makes me wonder if something’s going to happen soon, or if your mc’s going to rambling on for a few more pages. You should start with something happening and weave the backstory in. And there should be minimal backstory (if any) in the first chapter. You want to hook the reader. So far you haven’t. But this story has great potential—you just need to work on the beginning some more.

    Good luck!

  5. Jen Duffey says:

    >Query:
    I think you have a good start with your query. First I would split your second paragraph into two. One for Scorch's POV and one for Asher's. They run together too much when combined.

    I'm curious why she is painting the fires and why the town would get upset. Are people getting hurt? Can she help stop the fires? Where does Asher come into her story? Sure, he's hot and all but does she like him? Want him? Why mention him in her POV?

    I would take out your last paragraph. If you don't have anything as far as credentials then don't say anything at all. Just leave the agent wanting more with the story.

    Opening:
    Your first paragraph was hard for me to read with all of the hyphens and commas. I would suggest breaking up some of the sentences.

    Your first 250 jump from one subject to the next too quick for me. You talk about the way her dad feels then the way her mom feels and back to her dad. Cover all of one then the other.

    You could probably start the whole story with the last two sentences and add the rest of this in throughout your story. As the previous poster said, you have a lot of back story and no action to start with.

    This story definitely has potential.

    Best of luck.

  6. Kelly Hashway says:

    >My comment is hidden for some reason, so I'll try this again.

    Query: Is "A Pyromance" part of your title? The ~ confused me. I wasn't sure if you were using the term to categorize the novel or if it was part of the title. I don't think you need to mention the alternating POV or the first person narration. Just simply say "Flirting with Fire is an 82,000-word paranormal romance." Also, I'm move this after your synopsis. Let the story start.

    In your synopsis, I'd say "Everyone knows Sidra's nickname is…" because you were just talking about Asher. You need to say Sidra's name again here to clarify.

    I think your bio paragraph might be too personal. I'd stick to the info that is important to the story and to writing.

    First 250:
    You use a lot of dashes and I think they get overwhelming. I'd change the dashes in the sentences beginning "No matter what I do…" to commas. It has the same effect and is easier on the eyes.
    I love the voice in the second paragraph. That really got my attention!
    OK, I like this a lot but by the last paragraph I felt like there was too much telling. Can't she be painting and that's how we find out some of the info about her–like using mostly reds and oranges? Someone could call her Scorch and she can explain how she got the name. Things like that. There's a lot of good stuff here and it would be better shown instead of letting the MC tell it to us.

  7. Kelly Hashway says:

    >My comment is hidden for some reason, so I'll try this again.

    Query: Is "A Pyromance" part of your title? The ~ confused me. I wasn't sure if you were using the term to categorize the novel or if it was part of the title. I don't think you need to mention the alternating POV or the first person narration. Just simply say "Flirting with Fire is an 82,000-word paranormal romance." Also, I'm move this after your synopsis. Let the story start.

    In your synopsis, I'd say "Everyone knows Sidra's nickname is…" because you were just talking about Asher. You need to say Sidra's name again here to clarify.

    I think your bio paragraph might be too personal. I'd stick to the info that is important to the story and to writing.

    First 250:
    You use a lot of dashes and I think they get overwhelming. I'd change the dashes in the sentences beginning "No matter what I do…" to commas. It has the same effect and is easier on the eyes.
    I love the voice in the second paragraph. That really got my attention!
    OK, I like this a lot but by the last paragraph I felt like there was too much telling. Can't she be painting and that's how we find out some of the info about her–like using mostly reds and oranges? Someone could call her Scorch and she can explain how she got the name. Things like that. There's a lot of good stuff here and it would be better shown instead of letting the MC tell it to us.

  8. Kelly Hashway says:

    >My comment is hidden for some reason, so I'll try this again.

    Query: Is "A Pyromance" part of your title? The ~ confused me. I wasn't sure if you were using the term to categorize the novel or if it was part of the title. I don't think you need to mention the alternating POV or the first person narration. Just simply say "Flirting with Fire is an 82,000-word paranormal romance." Also, I'm move this after your synopsis. Let the story start.

    In your synopsis, I'd say "Everyone knows Sidra's nickname is…" because you were just talking about Asher. You need to say Sidra's name again here to clarify.

    I think your bio paragraph might be too personal. I'd stick to the info that is important to the story and to writing.

    First 250:
    You use a lot of dashes and I think they get overwhelming. I'd change the dashes in the sentences beginning "No matter what I do…" to commas. It has the same effect and is easier on the eyes.
    I love the voice in the second paragraph. That really got my attention!
    OK, I like this a lot but by the last paragraph I felt like there was too much telling. Can't she be painting and that's how we find out some of the info about her–like using mostly reds and oranges? Someone could call her Scorch and she can explain how she got the name. Things like that. There's a lot of good stuff here and it would be better shown instead of letting the MC tell it to us.

  9. Kelly Hashway says:

    >My comment is hidden for some reason, so I'll try this again.

    Query: Is "A Pyromance" part of your title? The ~ confused me. I wasn't sure if you were using the term to categorize the novel or if it was part of the title. I don't think you need to mention the alternating POV or the first person narration. Just simply say "Flirting with Fire is an 82,000-word paranormal romance." Also, I'm move this after your synopsis. Let the story start.

    In your synopsis, I'd say "Everyone knows Sidra's nickname is…" because you were just talking about Asher. You need to say Sidra's name again here to clarify.

    I think your bio paragraph might be too personal. I'd stick to the info that is important to the story and to writing.

    First 250:
    You use a lot of dashes and I think they get overwhelming. I'd change the dashes in the sentences beginning "No matter what I do…" to commas. It has the same effect and is easier on the eyes.
    I love the voice in the second paragraph. That really got my attention!
    OK, I like this a lot but by the last paragraph I felt like there was too much telling. Can't she be painting and that's how we find out some of the info about her–like using mostly reds and oranges? Someone could call her Scorch and she can explain how she got the name. Things like that. There's a lot of good stuff here and it would be better shown instead of letting the MC tell it to us.

  10. Dorothy Dreyer says:

    >I like the premise a lot but I think you could set up your query better. I like the voice in the opening, but I think you should switch the sentences around and start with, "I paint almost entirely in reds and oranges."

  11. Tangynt says:

    >Query:
    I don't want to touch on the same things everyone else has already mentioned, so I'll only say that I agree with the previous points made and move on. Does Sidra play with fire still or has she channeled it into the painting? And the mention of hell, I start to lose track of what's going on, is she fighting against the forces of hell actually or does she just equate what's going on around her to a hellish experience? And yes, the third paragraph is a bit much. The biography section is supposed to pertain to the industry, if you've been published before or something like that.

    250 words:
    This is a lot of telling and now showing, and a whole lot of backstory. Backstory should be avoided at the very beginning in most cases. I read a book called Hooked by Les Edgerton that was phenomenal in saying what does or does not make a good beginning. While things are different for each writer, it's still an amazing read to help you get there.

  12. Annie McElfresh says:

    >I really enjoyed Sorch's voice. I have a soft spot for the snarky chicks!