Monday, April 12, 2010

Entry 36

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Liam doesn’t want to believe he’s crazy - but when he starts seeing doors that no one else can, he’s resigned to it. The only thing he can do is hide it: he knows how to fade into the background, and he’s accepted his role as the listening ear for his loving, high-powered family. He’s confident, at least, that he’s prepared for anything… until the day he opens the door.

Lost in an unsettling new world, Liam meets Mary, a woman with a pretty face and rows of sharp teeth. Mary agrees to help Liam find his way home on one condition: that he return to her with a chessboard. He agrees without thinking. He doesn’t expect her to prove that she’s more real than he thought.

With his unwitting help, Mary challenges her rival, a mysterious woman who controls the doors, to a game of chess in which Liam plays the king to her queen. All Mary wants is to win – and all Liam wants is to keep his family safely in the dark. But when the boundary between the game and his well-ordered life breaks down, Liam must play alongside Mary to protect his family and himself.

Control is everything behind the doors. But in chess, the only thing the king controls is when the game ends.

Grandmaster Draw is a young adult urban fantasy novel, complete at 75,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.


  1. Interesting. It's a Alice in Wonder Land and Coraline rolled into one.

    The opening paragraph made me wonder what was going on was the listening ear thing. That lost me a little. Does the family know about the doors? Has someone told Liam he's some sort of protector?

    Overall though, I like the dark horror tone here.

  2. I really liked this. You've conveyed the tone of the story really well, and I love the idea of a paranormal chess game with real-world stakes...definitely something I'd read!

  3. Wow, this query creeped me out. Don't worry, that's a good thing. The way "pretty face" and "rows of sharp teeth" are juxtaposed. The way the woman asks for a just know that isn't going to end well, but what harm can a chessboard do?

    It's delightfully different, but does Liam play chess? I get the sense that he and his family do, but I don't think it's made clear in the query. Also, the language overall can be tightened. Cut down on the first paragraph and focus more on the chess game.

    But really, if the plot and writing are tight, I think I'd love this book.

  4. Jamie Weiss ChiltonMay 9, 2010 at 12:38 PM

    Nice use of detail and description. I especially like the first sentence of paragraph 2 and the last sentence of paragraph 4. I also like the hook of the chess game.

    How real is Mary? Does she become a real person?

    I'd like to get a better sense of Liam's personality and voice.

    Nice work.


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