Sunday, February 26, 2012

March Madness Prep #1

Genre: YA Science Fiction
Word Count: 64,000

When sixteen-year-old Clementine wins an escape from the Surface slums and poisonous moon, she learns the boy she loves but left behind will suffer a fate worse than death if she can't save him.

First 150 Words:
     Today is the day I have to prove I deserve to stay alive.

     I stand in the dirt beside the fence that separates my shack from the street, watching the last of the moon slip away in the sky. My grip tightens on the hem of my dress line, and my knuckles whiten. My mind flits between thinking too many things and thinking nothing at all.

     Children head down the road. I wonder if they stayed awake all night, like I did. I wonder where Logan is and how a “few extra hours” of work for “ill attitude,” as our overseer put it, turned into twelve. He should be here already.

     I bite my lip and stare at each minuscule shard of wood in the fence.

     Speed up, I urge time. Then, Slow down.

     My fingers squeeze the slab so hard they burn.

     “Hey, Clementine!”

     I snap my head up.

*Please critique and post feedback in comments below*


  1. I think the pitch sounds interesting. As far as the writing, your sentences have very similar structures. Of the fourteen sentences, eight started with either "my" or "I." Sorry, that just really stood out to me. Otherwise, I think the story sounds interesting. And congrats on 64K! That's a tough feat! Best of luck.

  2. Your pitch is intriguing. Your opening sentences is great. I love how the few hours turned into twelve - it's so ominous and immediately makes me worry for him, a lot. Why does she speed up time, then slow it? Does she change her mind (which is the impression I first got, like she's suddenly realized she shouldn't be altering it at all), or is she just fast-forwarding it and then letting it slow at the right moment? I'd clarify, because it'd be very cool if the latter were the case.
    What's the slab? She was holding her dress before, now it sounds like she's crouched, holding the edge of a bit of concrete.
    And yes, the sentence structure threw me too, especially those my's and I's.
    Great job though. Very hooked.

  3. Your pitch was a little too vague for my taste. Why did she leave the boy she loved behind? What fate worse than death will he suffer? Who or what does she have to save him from? I know we want the reader to look at the pitch and say "ooh, tell me more!" so we don't want to answer all the questions, but it was so vague I didn't get a sense of what makes your book special.

    After reading katherineamabel's comment, I'm wondering if I missed something in the reading. Is your character actually manipulating time? If so, maybe you could mention that ability in the pitch (because that's pretty cool!) - even if she's not actually controlling time, I'd like to know why she can't decide whether she wants time to speed up or slow down.

  4. I think your pitch started off really strong and then sort of ended kind of too vague. Did she leave already or is she just given the chance to leave, yet doesn't know if she should? And did she ALREADY leave the boy she loved or will she leave him WHEN she leaves? (Sorry if it's a little confusing lol) If she left already then you can change it to something like "The happiest day of sixteen-year-old Clementine's life is when she wins an escape from the Surface slums and poisonous moon, only to learn that the boy she loves will suffer a fate worse than death if she does."

    The except is quite easy to read which is a good thing. I was barely paying attention to the structure and such because I wanted to know what was going to happen. I agree with the my's and I's though, but it's not too bad to me. The only thing I have to comment on is "Speed up, I urge time. Then, Slow down." I'm assuming that she means she wants time to slow down because she's worried about what will happen later that day, not that she can manipulate time. And if that's the case then you should specify that.

    I think this is an interesting beginning though. Good luck!
    I agree that the "fate worst than death is a bit too vague, but I understand that it's hard to pitch a sci-fi with limited words and not have the audience be confused so props to you on that!

  5. I love your pitch. Like, I adore it :-) I remember it being on other pitch contests.

    Your first line is so made of win. I really like it. I also really love the part where she wishes for time to speed up and then slow down.

    My only other comment is about the "slab" that other people have already mentioned. It seemed to come out of nowhere.

    Other than that, I think you've got a great pitch and great opening. I would totally read on! :-)