Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pitch Polish (late, once again)

Good morning, everyone! Hope you're week is going great so far!

*POST HAS BEEN UPDATED*

Participating in Dena Barnhart's awesome GUTGAA Pitch Polish bloghop today! I'm not exactly sure if the participants are still going around to other people's posts, but hopefully you guys can help me out with my query a little bit?

Anyway, here it is!

MY NAME: Jessica K. McKendry
MANUSCRIPT TITLE: From the Ashes
GENRE: YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian
WORD COUNT: 116,000

QUERY

Those who are strong are chosen at birth. They are the gifted.

Trained to be highly skilled physically and mentally, they have the potential to become Superiors. They could live out their lives in the Crystal City, the richest, and by far the most beautiful city in the galaxy. But Superiority demands a deadly price.

To gain the title, they must survive the Trials.

Jaina Indera has been training at a Gifted School for sixteen years, waiting for her moment to prove herself worthy of competing in the Trials. Those who don't succeed will be marked as Inferior.

Yet being selected as a competitor is only the beginning. Each school sends a team of eight students to compete in a battle of challenges against other Gifted Schools around the galaxy.

Not all will survive.

In a world where mercy is a weakness, and only the ruthless prevail, Jaina must discover who she is and what she's really fighting for.

FIRST 150 WORDS:

Altair raced through the jungle trees. His heart pounded so hard against his ribs it hurt. His legs wanted to give out. Every breath he took was strained, but he forced himself forward. He only had a little ways to go.

The edge of the jungle came into view, and he charged out into the open. White Tarnoshian marble buildings surrounded the courtyard, towering over him like giants.

A bell rang. Students rushed into the courtyard. The setting sun made the fountain in the center look gold.

Touching the cool stone of the fountain, Altair stopped to catch his breath. When his opponent ran into view, he smiled.

"I won!" he cried.

"Only because you're two years older," Liam protested between gasps. "I bet you weren't as fast as me when you were six."

Altair laughed. "I was way faster."

Liam kicked at a rock on the ground. "I'll beat you in something, someday."

***

Okay, so tear it apart! Be fierce and tell me what I need to fix.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!

Happy Wednesday!

--Jess

5 comments:

Esther Spurrill-Jones said...

I don't know much about queries, but this one sounds fascinating.

In the "First 150 Words," the sentence "He only had a little ways to go" confuses me. You've described his exhaustion very well, so I assume he's already run quite a ways, so I think you mean he has only a little ways left to go? Maybe clarify that. I would also remove the second "the fountain" so it reads "Touching the cool stone, Altair..." You could edit the previous paragraph so it reads "stone fountain" and then we know that he's touching the fountain: no need to repeat that.

I like your descriptions. Beautifully written.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

I love what you have so far. I also like how you kind of tricked us into thinking this was potentially a life or death situation when it was really only a race. Hope you get picked up for this.

Michael Offutt, Tebow Cult Initiate said...

A very non-traditional query that (I think) is probably quite a risk. In other words, it could either work or fail miserably. I would rearrange it (but again, my opinion). Put the name of the protagonist first instead of in paragraph four. Move some of the other stuff down. I do like the tone of it, but I'm also not seeing the word count or the name of the manuscript in caps.

Now for the first 150 words, I loved it. They are really well written, and immediately established your world building. It also establishes the fierceness of competition in this world and the bitterness of losing.

Richard said...

From the query it sounds like a futuristic society. I don't get that feeling from the 150 words. Of course, I'm sure we'll learn that soon enough, but I think it'd be nice to get that feeling right away.

Lauren said...

It seems as if the meat of the query only starts in paragraph four. Until that point it's all setup. Start with Jaina training, and give us some hint of what the stakes really are. Right now it just seems to be survival, but the last sentence says there is something more. Everything you introduced in the first three paragraphs is introduced in the last three, so you've got some duplication. Remove the duplication and use the extra space to tell us what the stakes are.

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