“The Writer’s Voice” is a multi-blog, multi-agent contest hosted by Cupid of Cupid’s Literary Connection, Brenda Drake of Brenda Drake Writes, Monica B.W. of Love YA, and Krista Van Dolzer. My entry was one of 150 chosen by lottery to take part in this blogfest. So, here is my query of THE EXPATRIATES and the first 250 words of the manuscript. 

Dear Fabulous Agents and Author Coaches,

Seventeen-year-old Jim Wales can communicate with animals, but his mind-tap ability isn’t why he lives with a traveling carnival. Jim doesn’t know they’ve been hiding him there since he was little, since someone started hunting all the Scholars.

When a message arrives from Jim’s not-dead father from their not-destroyed homeland, Jim’s whereabouts are discovered. Jim watches his brother sacrifice himself to save him, leaving Jim and his friends alone and on the run. Boiling with the need for vengeance and answers, Jim discovers that he’s the last Scholarthe only one left with the power to stop his would-be killer, avenge his brother, and keep Bellenortheir magical medieval home worldfrom drifting into oblivion, for real this time.

When Jim learns the depths of his family’s betrayal and realizes the lengths to which others will go in order to secure him as their pawn, Jim finds that going home isn’t the same as being safe and that trust is everything

THE EXPATRIATES is a YA fantasy that runs 80,000 words. I am a member of SCBWI and a recipient of a scholarship by the Norman Mailer Writer’s Colony for their YA workshop.

Per your submission guidelines, I’ve included my first 250 words below.

Thank you for your consideration.

Corinne O’Flynn

Chapter 1

I’ve never been a fan of falcons. Actually, all birds of prey grossed me out. Mind-tapping a bird of prey was like stepping into a gory dream full of soft fleshy things like eyeball strings and intestines. No, give me someone’s pet canary or parakeet any day. Birds of prey were just nasty.

So when one landed in front of our motor home as we pulled into the fairgrounds, I would’ve totally ignored it. But its silver-white feathers glistened and its eyes reflected the light—greenish sequins that raised goose bumps on my arms. The falcon held my gaze, pulling me to tap it.

I connected with the animal, moving my mind through the windshield of our motor home and into the waiting raptor’s. I braced myself for the gore. But instead of fleshy bird thoughts, my vision split, like I was in two places at once. Light blasted my eyes, giant beams of golden white seared my vision and threw me off balance. I grabbed the arm rests to keep from falling over in my seat, slick palms sliding on leather.

“Jim, what is it?” Mom’s voice from the driver’s seat snapped me back.

I let go of the bird’s mind and found myself back in the RV, white knuckled and sweating.

“I’m gonna puke.” I hopped out and hit the ground. I worked to slow my breathing, rocking on all fours while the sharp gravel bit into my palms.

“You OK, honey?” Mom held the screen door open.


About the Author Corinne

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  1. As someone who loves birds of prey, I’d almost be offended by those first lines… if I didn’t like your premise so much! :D Good luck!

  2. First line of your pitch I was already pulled in. I love communicating with animals concepts (wish I could communicate better with my dumb dog lol). But it gets better from there!

    Awesome job with your first 250 too – voice really comes alive.

    Good job and good luck!

  3. Yay! Thank you Copernicus. Speaking of talking to dogs, have you read “The Knife of Never Letting Go” by Patrick Ness? So good, and his relationship with his dog is great. Thanks for the luck–I’ll take it! :D

  4. I love the premise–communicating with animals is always cool. The query was interesting but it’s the voice of the first 250 that really pulled me in. Your first two lines had me laughing!

  5. Very strong finish to your query. I’m also jealous of your MC’s ability to communicate with animals (even though I like to think I can communicate with mine!)

  6. Original premise and nice writing. I got confused when I read medieval land and was thinking wow, you should put that up higher in your query. Then in the first 250 there’s mention of a motor home and it feels very contemporary. You might want to say in your query that there are two parallel worlds….if there are…..for people slow on the uptake like me :)) Good luck with this.

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