Monday, September 17, 2012

GUTGAA Pitch Contest #43 - Running Down the Dragon

Running Down the Dragon
Adult Urban Fantasy


Thalia Drake is the last dragon on earth. Her cover identity as an ass-kicking werewolf in the U.S. Military's elite shapeshifter ranks is in jeopardy. Not even her adopted shifter family know her true form. 

When human victims start turning up in the Everglades, Thalia alone recognizes the ancient dragon glyphs burned into their skin. The ritual markings suggest their killer has bigger, more reptilian game on the menu.

None of the shifter investigators suspect what she does: that their modern-day murderer might be capable of killing essentially immortal shifters. Thalia isn't eager to inform them and blow her cover. A thousand years of lies would be tough for her family to forgive, and other shifters wouldn't think twice about killing a recalcitrant dragon. But holding back what she knows will put every shifter in danger. 

Thalia and the FBI's shifter division track the killer to the heart of Washington, DC. Every clue seems to point to a U.S. Senator, despite his air-tight alibi. Whatever the senator's involvement may be, if they don't find the killer soon, one of his rituals is bound to succeed. One successful ritual could spell extinction for the shifters.

First 150 Words:

For the third time in as many weeks, someone cornered me in the Common. I have no idea why they kept trying, but I guess everyone needs a hobby. As hobbies go, they could have chosen better. It must be a sign. I should change my route. It probably won't stop the idiots, but I do get sick of fighting them off.

I don't actually enjoy hurting people. If they just asked nicely, I'd be happy to help a little. God knows I have more than I need. That's the beauty of compound interest when you have nineteen-hundred years' worth of investments.

Dragons used to hoard gold, gathering piles of it under drafty old mountains. But those were my grandparents. Now, I hoard savings bonds in safety deposit boxes. It's a much sounder investment strategy--a lot less likely to get you killed.

Unless you wander around Boston after dark.


  1. I don't typically read fantasy, but this sounds like a great premise. I like the idea of dragons still being around, in disguise. Or at least A dragon. ;) Love the first 150 - drew me in, especially the last line. Great job & good luck!

  2. Wow a dragon in werewolf form - this sounds really cool. And so different.

  3. I love the premise of multiple shape-shifting abilities and, of course, dragons.

  4. Oh! I remember this from trying to condense it into a 'tag line' pitch. So glad I got to see the full query. This is a ***cool*** concept. Good luck!

  5. Love that she's secretly an even more powerful supernatural creature than the werewolf she pretends to be! Would definitely read this.

  6. Stunning! Love the premise of this story, and your first 150 definitely makes me want to read more. :D

  7. Your entry is the one I really want to win, out of all of them. I hope the agents agree!

    1. My fingers are crossed. Hopefully the judges will agree! :D Thanks!

  8. You lost me at the first two sentences: a dragon whose cover is a shape-shifting werewolf?? o.O It's not enough she can shift from dragon to human? So as a reader, this seems like serious overkill.

    HOWEVER, your first 150 gave me pause. I love the idea of a dragon keeping her gold in stocks and bonds. My only caution is not to over- anthropromorphize dragons...don't make her so much like a human, her dragon-self is just a flashy gimmick with no substance. In the over-crowded field of paranormal, your MC really needs to stand out and one way you can do that is to make her thinking very 'other' if that makes sense. For example, in the 150-word scene above, your MC can smell her attacker, considers her hunger-level (needing a human sized snack or not?) or perhaps nutrition level (the attacker has B+ blood which regenerates her fire-making capacity, etc.) before coldly deciding her next move. Giving her a funny, endearing quirk - as a human and a dragon, she loves getting mani/pedis, etc. - could endear the reader to your MC.

    This is how I'd approach it, obviously. But I say all this to suggest why you haven't gotten other votes so far. Paranormal (unsure why you've labeled this urban fantasy) IS crowded. I have a very good agent, and she's not taking on any more of it unless it's exceptional. I do like your premise tho so IMO, switch up your query to start with the mystery. Don't lead with Thalia's dragon self. Your hook is that someone is the mystery surrounding a murderer who's killing off supposedly-immortal shapeshifters, not that MC is a dragon, right?

    I think this has promise with a lot of reworking. You have my vote.

  9. I still want to read this! :D The revisionist hits exactly what I couldn't figure out that was striking me as odd about the query, and you might try the rewrite starting with the mystery. :D (but I loved the 150 too!)

  10. I would totally read this! I read fantasy but have been off it for a while. This would get me back reading it for sure. Good luck!!


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