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Halle Watson

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    She/Her | SF/F Author | When not writing, I can be found painting, podcasting, and petting dogs.

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  1. Title: The Unmaking of Them Genre: Adult Fantasy Romance Word Count: 113,000 words Book Comps: House on the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune meets Uprooted by Naomi Novik Media Comps: Howl’s Moving Castle meets The Shape of Water For the antagonist, think the Borg (but magical) meets World War Z Pitch: Twenty-five-year-old Artemis Sanchez has plans: thrive in her dream job in London and care for what’s left of her family. But her carefully-constructed life is threatened when she comes face-to-face with Sevan, an alluring, magical being who, from the shadows, has been absorbing entire communities into their ever-expanding hive mind. Ignorant of the magical world beyond her own, Artemis is pulled into the creature’s thrall and nearly consumed by their consciousness––when a monster of shadow and darkness comes to her aid. He is a horror crafted from nightmares; he is the thing children fear is under their bed. His name is Verick, and as Artemis learns of a centuries-long struggle between these creatures, she finds herself unexpectedly drawn to his intellect and kindness. But when Verick is struck by a curse that renders him comatose, Artemis is unable to leave the safety of his shielded home and becomes cut off from the outside world. To wake Verick and ensure the safety of her loved ones, she will have to teach herself magic. Yet as she uncovers more about Verick––and as Sevan grows in power––she begins to wonder, not if you can love a monster, but if you should. Sample Pages: Chapter 1 An eerie stillness clutched the museum at night, but Artemis had grown used to it. The hollow gaze from suits of armor, the too-pale women stretched across the chaise in their oil paintings. They weren’t the warmest companions, but she preferred the quiet of them to their counterparts. During the day, the space was filled with shouting school groups and awkward couples on first dates, weaving through history as they feigned interest in what hung on the walls. While the museum floor may have finally been emptying out, Art would remain. There was too much paperwork to sort through before the next exhibit opened and yet another grant to be written. And, as always, right as the work piled up, her boss had something urgent come up last minute. As Priya’s familiar frame filled the doorway, Art already knew she’d come bearing gifts of apology. “Thank you again for staying late. I really can’t miss this fundraiser.” And Artemis admitted, she probably couldn’t. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.” She actually wasn’t sure what Priya would do without her. Art had come on as a contract employee, but after just two months on the job, the head curator––Priya’s old boss––ran off to Austria with his assistant. Art hadn’t even had time to feel bad for the family he’d abandoned, because two staff members had just left gaping vacancies. They’d also left an ungodly amount of unfinished work. Priya needed someone and Art had been present, already learning the ropes. That was enough of a qualification to turn her contract into a full-time job with overtime. Now, after a long day of training tour guides, preparing for a wedding in the conservatory, and redoing their invoice system, Art’s day still wasn’t over. “I’ll order pho on the card. Your usual.” Then Priya retreated from her office––though “office” was too generous a word for it. It was essentially a storage closet with a desk. Art’s entire first week on the job had been spent organizing every shelf, printing tiny labels for each bin. Now it felt less like a closet, but she wasn’t sure if it felt more like anything else. Art called out her “thank you” as her boss clicked her way back down the hall and toward all the festivities her evening held. At least Priya’s food bribes gave her a break from her usual meals of instant coffee, ramen, and dry sandwiches. It was all she could afford after sending money home. It had been a hard choice to leave her family in Atlanta. Boarding the plane and quelling her anxiety during the multiple flights it took to get here was a miracle on its own, but she would make enough to start paying down her debt and support her family. She wasn’t going to blow this. Artemis had never had luck before, and now that she’d gotten a few strokes of it, she couldn’t help but wait for it to falter, for whatever well she’d tossed a wish into to run dry.
  2. Assignment 1: Story Statement A young woman must teach herself magic to avoid a fate worse than death –– all while navigating her feelings for the monster who saved her. Assignment 2: Sketch the Antagonistic Force Sevan is an ancient creature of light whose origins are shrouded in mystery. Their goal is one-ness: to absorb others into their hive mind. While powerful mages are their primary target, humans are also threatened by them. Their partner, both in love and goal, is Yana, a powerful mage who would do anything to see Sevan’s goals realized. Assignment 3: Title Options The Unmaking of Them A Tapestry of Shadows Assignment 4: List Comp Titles House on the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune Both tales of found family, magic, and whimsy, my title may find itself shelved near TJ Klune’s works. While the magical world is immersive, it is the characters who make these stories shine. Uprooted by Naomi Novik My novel will appeal to fans of Naomi Novik for its inclusion of darker elements, as well as its focus on the tension and slow-burn romance between its characters. Assignment 5: The Hook Swept into a dangerous world so unlike her own, Artemis Sanchez falls in love with magic –– and wrestles with her feelings for a monster whose past has finally come calling. Assignment 6: Sketch the Conflict Inner Conflict: Artemis Sanchez has rarely, if ever, lived her life for herself. She has managed to step up and care for her cousin and ill aunt by maintaining a strict, controlled plan for her future. When the monster who saved her is struck by a curse, he is left unconscious for months. During this time, Artemis stays within the safety of his warded home and teach herself magic to wake him. In her solitary, she will have to face her anxieties and need for control –– and discover what she truly wants for herself. Secondary Conflict: Verick’s concerns mirror Artemis’ own, as he has spent centuries creating and maintaining a pristine appearance to atone for his past. As these two grow closer, they will have to learn to be vulnerable with one another –– a task that is antithetical to who they have become. When Artemis has an anxiety attack after a series of mentally taxing events, Verick tries to open to her for the first time, only for Artemis to shut down the conversation. Once again, she will choose to mend her situation on her own rather than let someone else in. Assignment 7: Setting 1. The Museum Artemis works in a museum as a brand new curator, and this is where our first conflict with Sevan –– and our meeting with Verick –– occurs. They are creatures of story and history, so this is an appropriate place for Artemis to encounter them. 2. The House in the Waylands Verick lives in a beautiful, centuries-old home which he moves from place to place with magic. First it’s positioned by the seaside, but is later moved to a forest. This is a space that teaches Artemis about Verick –– his history as well as his likes and dislikes. It also becomes a space for her to learn about herself. 3. Gras Veluras This is the magical city where the second half of the novel occurs. It’s constructed within a rift in space, so it’s a menagerie of all cultures, both human and non-human. It’s a space that is eclectic and unpredictable, but also flows in an unexpected way. While it feels beautiful and brilliant, there is the marked fear of Sevan looming throughout the city that will eventually build to a crescendo. Thank you for reading, Halle
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