Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Entry 45

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Vesuvius is readying itself to spew hot ash and burning rocks over the seaside town of Herculaneum.

Fifteen-year-old Mira recognizes the signs from her vision of a year earlier. Massive destruction, bringing its own burial, is coming to the town and its people.

Mira's first attempts at escape are stopped, but she finds an ally in the mother of Remy, the Roman child Mira looks after. Serena, near the end of her second pregnancy, dreams of her own death. She makes Mira promise to save her son and sends Levi, another house slave, with her. Mira is determined to take this chance to return to her childhood home.

Mira vows to keep her promise to the child’s mother, while she battles to get to safety before Vesuvius explodes and buries her along with the town and everything else for miles around.

Seeing the violent and compete destruction and burial of the town she has lived in for eight years, and knowing Serena is dead, overwhelms Mira and nearly stops her from going on.

Soldiers who come to investigate the carnage will also have the task of rounding up runaways.

A farmer offers them ride on his cart when their stolen horse becomes lame.

Although given her freedom by Serena before leaving, Mira still has scars on her neck from the slave collar. With Serena dead, she has no proof of being set free. They hear the regular march of the military returning to the village where Mira and Levi were given refuge. Terrified of being caught and resold, they accept the offer of a ride into the mountains, where Mira’s home is.

The farmer father Mira thought killed the day they were attacked and she was sold into slavery. Although she looks familiar to him, they have both changed so much in eight years they do not, as yet, recognize each other.


  1. Very interesting concept! I do think the query shares too much information. I've heard a query should convey some very simple points.

    1: Who is MC?
    2: What do they want?
    3: What happens if they don't achieve/get it?

    You already have tension built into the story, because we all know what happened to Vesuvius. Good job, just try to simplify.

  2. This query is sounding more like a summary or synopsis than a query. It sounds as though you have plenty of conflict, but I'm confused especially by the last paragraph.

    Also Mira has spent half of her life in the slave town, I don't know that the draw home would be as strong--maybe shorten the time she's been a slave.

    Try to boil the plot down and go from there--In one or two sentences state Mira's past and chance to return home, and then list just a few of the obstacles she'll have to overcome to get home.

    Don't forget to add your word count to your query.

    The story sounds interesting. Good luck!

  3. Really like your concept. I've been to Pompei; it was fascinating and sad- very fertile ground for stortytelling.

    I liked the query's start. I was nodding my head as I read-but, started to get bogged down by the middle. And I really didn't even understand the second to last sentence. I think its missing a verb.

    So I suggest nixing most of the stuff after "childhood home." And jumping to "Although given her freedome by Serena..."

    And finishing with a bit about you and a thanks for reading sort of paragraph.

    Good luck. This is a story I'd like to read.

  4. Love the concept and story here... unique and interesting.

    You query needs a tad bit of work (some cutting and the last pp being read allowed to see what words are missing).

    Id be interested in reading the first three chapters - Id love to see how the setting is portrayed!

    Well done!

  5. Sorry about the muddle. That's what happens when you rush anything. I just dived in to beat the clock :(
    Won't be doing that again.

    In the Shadow of Vesuvius is complete at 31,000 words, and would appeal to middle grade teachers as well as YA readers.

  6. Jamie Weiss ChiltonMay 10, 2010 at 11:02 AM

    This query reads like an unfinished synopsis. This is an interesting setting, and I recommend you focus on tightening the description.


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