So, I’m wondering what your thoughts were on this, and why you listed Superuncanny instead of Ambiguous?
And, what is Superuncanny?
If I can base my past experience with your amazing writing advice, I’m sure your reasons for this will also be helpful.
Thanks for all the help you give us new writers.
Thank you so much for pointing out that discrepancy!
Super uncanny is Robert McKee’s word for the sub-genre Shawn Coyne calls ambiguous. In the ambiguous/super uncanny subgenera, the reader isn’t sure whether the supernatural is at work or if the protagonist is losing their mind.
I prefer the term ambiguous, because to me, the term super uncanny indicates to the reader that the plot is both supernatural and uncanny not that the audience is guessing between supernatural and uncanny. But from a writing standpoint, you would need to hit both sub-plot conventions to keep the audience truly guessing, so either name can work.
I hope that helped clear things up, but please let me know if there’s anything further I can clarify.
Fall 2020 is here. That means it’s time to introduce your YA Scavenger Hunt teams! As some of you might already know, this season, sadly, will be our last. Though we might reinstate the hunt at some point in the future, we will be putting it on hold at least for the time being.
That means the time to win these fabulous YA Scavenger Hunt prizes is now! For those of you who have never joined the YA Scavenger Hunt before, it’s not too late. Here’s a sneak peek of the prizes that await.
Fall 2020 YASH Prizes
That’s a total of sixty YA Scavenger Hunt book prizes. Not only can you win a bunch of great new reads but authors will be giving away multiple prizes on their websites during the hunt as well and there will be a $50 Amazon gift card up for grabs too.
Which 2020 Fall YASH team are you the most excited about?
New to the YA Scavenger Hunt?
That’s totally fine. We have a YouTube video that explains the process and we will be checking in on the YASH website during the hunt to answer any and all questions you might have.
Is Your Curiosity Piqued?
Excellent. Now all you have to do is wait for the hunt to start. You can begin hunting on my blog on September 29th, or to make sure you don’t miss out, you can head over to the YA Scavenger Hunt page, scroll down, and sign up for notifications with your email on the right.
What About the Secrets This Season?
This final season of the Scavenger Hunt needs to be special so because of that, I think I’ll write something new as a gift to my readers. It will be a special little scene of something. I don’t know what it will be yet but it will be a fun surprise.
Did You Miss Out on The Last Hunt?
Not to worry. There are links to all the fun launch party events I did around my last publication, TERRAFORMER, which you can check out on this blog post.
Becky asked a fantastic question using the “Ask Me Anything” submission form. Her question does contain a spoiler for Blood and Other Matter, so continue at your own risk.
You have been warned. On to the question.
How does Tess come back to life at the end of “Blood and Other Matter”? I just finished the book and don’t know if I understand how she came back. Her body was cremated, so she shouldn’t have a physical form. Does the demon still have control over her in some way? What did the Estrie mean by; ‘that forms a powerful connection that, for obvious reasons, doesn’t often get explored’? Please help me understand because I love she’s back, but just don’t understand the how. Thank you!
First of all, Becky, thank you for reading Blood and Other Matter. That’s a great question, and I’ll do my best to answer it. 🙂
The ending was intended to be a bit open ended, but the happiest interpretation is by far that Tess is back, alive and kicking. There’s a few key things in the scene and the story that allow that to be possible within the rules of the ritual, in-world magic, and the timing in the story.
Let’s start with that connection. According to the Estrie, there’s a connection that forms between a person who dies and the last person they think of. Typically, one half of that party stays dead, so it doesn’t much matter, but in Tess’s case, she thought of Derrick before being made a host for the Estrie. That link allowed the Estrie to pull on Derrick’s life-force when Tess’s wasn’t enough to fuel all the murder and mayhem. That’s why Derrick kept getting nosebleeds and passing out every time the Estrie used more of her powers than Tess could handle. It also allowed for two-way teleportation. The Estrie could always teleport to the people marked as sacrifices, but the link allowed her to return Tess to a safe, alibied location. Teleportation is specifically described by Derrick as being ripped apart and pieced back together. Both of those facts are about to matter, but first…
There are two rule of the ritual that come into play in the ending. The first is that the victims can’t be killed by the Estrie unless they consent. Tess never did. There were injuries outside of the Estrie that could have killed Tess, but up until that final night, the Estrie healed Tess before they could be fatal. So in the interpretation that Tess dies and Derrick is dreaming, the bonfire and/or pencil are her cause of death. In any other interpretation, re-inflicting the wounds was an action taken by the Estrie, so technically, Tess couldn’t die from them.
The last major detail is the timing of the ritual. The ritual didn’t start with the lighting of the match, it started with the drawing of symbols and chanting the right words at the right time. The match lighting was just a sign it worked. In order to complete the ritual, each sacrifice had to die on the first night of the lunar phase they were marked for. Though Josh was killed early ensuring the ritual couldn’t be completed, Matt was killed on time. By the rules of the ritual, that meant that the Estrie technically had possession of Tess until the first night of the full moon, when Josh was due to be killed.
Dorian’s alarm clock goes off at moonrise on the full moon. Since Josh is unable to be sacrificed, the ritual ends. Since Tess can’t be killed by the Estrie, and the connection dictates she be teleported back to Derrick when the Estrie is done with her, it’s entirely possible that when she pops up on his porch dripping wet from the ocean where Dorian scattered her ashes, that she’s in the exact same shape she was in since before the ritual began.
Or maybe by killing Josh, Derrick took his place and the Estrie is there, using Tess’s form because she knows it will get to Derrick and it’ll be that much easier to guilt him into consenting to be sacrificed.
“I’m loving The Persephone Trilogy. I started reading it because I enjoy retellings of Greek mythology and actually have a WIP involving Demeter, so it’s perfect for me.
Here’s my question:
What advice would you give to an aspiring author on how to write an amazing query letter/synopsis and find an agent?
That’s the point I’m at right now with my completed YA fantasy novel, so any advice you have would be great. I appreciate how you open your site up to questions. I have a journalism background, but fiction writing is a whole new world for me.
Feel free to answer on the blog, or email me. Thanks, and I look forward to connecting!
Thanks so much for the question Lauren! And I’m glad you’re enjoying the Persephone trilogy :).
I actually have a template for a query letter that I’ll share below. Beyond that template, I’d highly suggest joining a writer’s group and asking for their help editing your query letter. It is so much easier to summarize someone else’s book than your own.
My second suggestion probably comes too late to help you. Write a summary before you write your story. I try tosnowflakemy stories so when the time comes to query, I have a one sentence, one paragraph, one page, and five page summary ready for my query package. It’s really hard for me to summarize my story once it’s written.
Of course that five page summary almost never gets used for my extended synopsis because I have a pathological inability to follow an outline, but I digress.
Regarding finding an agent, you’ll want to check out manuscript wishlist, or #mswl on twitter, keep an eye out on pitch contests, look at agents coming to conventions or conferences (trickier this year), or look up the agents of similar books and see if they, or anyone at their agency is accepting submissions. Make sure to research their guidelines, what they’re interested in, and how they’ve treated their authors using absolute write or query tracker.
Best of Luck!
Awesome Query Template:
Dear Awesome Agent whose name I have learned how to spell,
If you interacted with me in some fashion, thank you. Here’s a sentence or two about your bio/twitter account/interview/recent conference/manuscript wish list/or books comparable to mine that you represent to show that I didn’t just pick your name out of a hat. Because of above reasons, I’d like you to represent my ALL CAPS BOOK TITLE, a x-thousand word, genre, similar to this story and that story. ALL CAPS BOOK TITLE pitch.
Here’s my one paragraph snowflake summary about my book, including the ending.
Now I’m going to tell you a little bit about myself. Here’s my publication credits if I have any and some relatable interesting fact, haha, aren’t I funny?
I’ve attached my one-page synopsis and first x pages of my story along with whatever else you might have requested. Thank you for your time,
Sorry I know I’m 3 years late on this lol, your books about the daughters of Zeus and are insightful and wonderfully written,
I really couldn’t put them down and wolfed though both trilogies. the plot twists kept me awake and leaping to the next page, I cant seem to figure something out though, how did Hades get kidnapped. Tantalus couldn’t seem to have done it as he went to the ship after he escaped the underworld, I’m thinking that was because he can just port in and out of places ? and not Medea, as she wasnt even aware of his presence in the hidden wing of the hospital so she couldn’t have summoned him
Also, mercy ask, but do Hades and Persephone work through, I was such a fan of their love, was a bummer to see him die, did they fix it somehow or we wait till Artemis’s trilogy
I’m so glad you enjoyed the books!
Thank you for your question. The demigods got to Hades the same way they got to Ares and Artemis. Teleportation and Steele. Hades was already missing before Tantalus was taken to the Underworld, which is why Ares wasn’t around to help out when Tantalus charmed Aphrodite at the campfire. Tantalus would have communicated to the island to have them drop the shield long enough to deposit Hades, but the shield casters wouldn’t have necesserily known what was brought through.
Hades and Persephone are going to be just fine. For humans, the line between the living and the dead would be an insurmountable obstacle. But for gods, particularly powerful gods, especially gods who rule the underworld, the divide isn’t as sharp. As a goddess fully vested in her powers, Persephone can interact with souls. Hypnos and Hera are both dead, too, and they’ve interacted with other characters. The biggest change for them is that he can’t leave the Underworld and as the goddess of spring, she has to spend a chunk of time there. I wrote that outcome as a callback to the original myth where the two live apart half the time. But at the end of the day, they’re just like any other couple that doesn’t spend their working hours together, albeit a couple who work in fields that require travel. Spring may bring longer business trips, but she’ll have more time off in the winter to make up for it.
I’ll definitely be exploring more of those obstacles in the Artemis trilogy, but I can promise you, relationship wise, they’re in a good place.
Hope this answered your questions. Feel free to reach back out any time.
Every summer, I teach creative writing camps at UGA. This year, my camp will be available online, which means you don’t have to be in Athens to go! There’s only a few spots left. Interested? Check out the description below:
Whether your story is set out of this world or closer to home, learning to create a vibrant setting, filling it with three dimensional characters, and creating rational laws for magic or far future technology will set your work apart. Join us for a week of creative writing, where you’ll learn how to world build like a pro. Each day will include a combination of hands-on activities that help us develop details, learning strategies from best-selling authors like Brandon Sanderson and Orson Scott Card, workshops with fellow writers, and of course, time to write. We will also be spending time editing and revising our pieces in one-on-one and group writing workshops, so that by the end of the week everyone in the program will have a vibrant world for their stories. No prior writing or camp experience required, but students are encouraged to come in with an outline or a story idea to expand.
When: Monday, June 15, 2020 to Friday, June 19, 2020
Where: UGA Virtual Academy
How: Sign up here!
“I stumbled across one of your older posts where you listed Laurana from Dragonlance as one of your favorite heroines. Laurana is my favorite fictional character, and I’m always interested in other’s people’s thoughts on her, so my questions to you are: 1) is she still one of your favorite heroines and if so 2) what is it about her that made her stand out to you?
Great question Brendan!
I grew up on the Dragonlance series. Twelve year old me latched on to her character because she resonated with me on more levels than, say Kit could. But she remained one of my favorite characters because she embodies so many contradictions. She’s a pretty elf, but she wasn’t hyper-sexualized like Tika. She was basically a princess, but she was treated like an inconvenience by pretty much everyone for book one. She’s an elf, which symbolically has always stood for this kind of unchangeable, old-guard mentality (particularly by Tanis, but also every other fantasy novel at the time), but she has one of the most drastic character arcs of the series.
She’s also very flawed, which is something I craved in my heroines when I was younger, and appreciate as an adult. She gets to be a hero despite being a bit desperate for attention, naive, and clingy, because she’s also brave and passionate and smart. Her strengths mirror her weaknesses in a way that make it clear one wouldn’t exist without the other. Yes, she’s a bit desperate and clingy and wants to be loved, but she’s also incredibly loyal to the friends she has and won’t leave them no matter the danger to her. Not many stories do the strengths = weaknesses as well.
She grows up on the page, and I related to the persons he was and love the person she became. And she never became one of those untouchable, unflawed, perfect strong female characters ™ in the process.
Are you ready to finish the series? Venus Rising is .99 cents until the end of May. Also available on Whispersync
Aphrodite is in big trouble this time. She’s stranded on the island of the DAMNED–without powers and without her beloved Ares. Worse, she knows it’s only a matter of time before the demigods figure out she’s a goddess. If that happens, she’ll wish she were dead.
Help arrives in the form of an unlikely ally. But Medea has her own demands, and if Aphrodite wants to survive–not to mention find Hades and the weapons cache–she has to meet them.
But all their plans take a back seat when they find themselves in even more pressing danger. When Medea moved the island, she rendered it unstable. Now it’s breaking apart and sinking. In the chaos, the demigods have risen up, blaming the gods for their misfortune. Nobody is safe from the demigods . . . especially a Pantheon sympathizer like Aphrodite. And they’ve come up with a deadly test to uncover any imposters.
Aphrodite knows she can’t do this alone. It will take the whole Pantheon to get her out of this mess. Unfortunately, they’ll have to find her first . . .
Kaitlin Bevis spent her childhood curled up with a book and a pen. If the ending didn’t agree with her, she rewrote it. Because she’s always wanted to be a writer, she spent high school and college learning everything she could to achieve that goal. After graduating college with a BFA and Masters in English, Kaitlin went on to write The Daughters of Zeus series.
Hello, this isn’t a question, but I wasn’t sure how best to reach out to you. I have been reading your books during this quarantine, and I just wanted to let you know that they have been a lifeline. I hope you and your loved ones are safe, and thank you for your writing! ❤ Jennifer
Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m glad my books have provided some distraction from social isolation. I’ve had a really hard time reading, which is weird for me. I can’t stay focused long enough. So I’ve been doing lots of cooking and cleaning, which is also weird for me, but it keeps me moving around and off facebook.
But other than a growing TBR pile and a sparkling clean house, I’ve been very fortunate through the virus. Me and mine are all safe and sound, I hope everyone in your life is healthy and safe as well.