Wednesday, June 15, 2016

QUERY KOMBAT ROUND 2: HUMAN KIND IS BASICALLY SCREWED vs. LIKE ATLANTIS, ONLY TOTALLY CREEPY

Title: Fresh Horizons
Entry Nickname: Humankind Is Basically Screwed
Word Count: 86K
Genre: Adult Science Fiction

Query:

Addisalem Worede never asked to be the last hope of the human race, and to be honest, she’s not that great at it. As the unofficial leader of a mission meant to ensure that the end of Earth is not the end of humankind, she must keep the last twelve humans in the galaxy alive and safeguard their meticulously curated trove of gametes.

Except Addi can't protect them all as the casualties start coming. A fire onboard their spaceship, an unprecedented and irreversible Sisyphon jump, a crash landing on their new planet—the colony is foundering before it has even begun. The only thing standing between Addi and a yawning pit of existential despair is her faith in the endless protocols developed by the planners back on Earth. But Earth is a quadrillion kilometers away, awaiting certain doom, and the protocols offer less help every passing day. The colonists, and Addi, are on their own now.

Addi has to hold the colony together, concealing just how precarious their position is, without falling to pieces herself. Their colony is supposed to be the continuation of humankind, but Addi may just be presiding over the final demise.

First 250:

Space is mind-bogglingly, indescribably huge—so of course they all had to attempt to describe it.

"It's like a drop trying to picture the whole ocean," was Sasha's offer. She only said it to hold up the bare minimum of participation in the conversation. She wished everyone else would just shut up or go away, but they wouldn't, so she had to play along. Not the worst way they had passed one of their post-dinner evenings, trying to assuage the boredom of being cargo. At least Addi wasn't nagging at them, for starters.

"The cramped conditions of a spacefaring vehicle will require extra attention to interpersonal relations," her mission therapist had said.

Fine. She tried to disregard the others, biting her tongue against someone's idiotic statement that the universe was a giant womb. Sasha didn’t want to think about wombs, or the suspended gametes a couple decks below her boots. She pressed her forehead against the porthole. The velvety blackness stretched away in all directions, speckled with a few stars bright enough to be seen past the Mayflower's lights.

One of those stars was not a star at all but Earth. Almost impossible to believe, if she hadn't spent the past few months watching it grow steadily distant and miniscule. Longing lanced through her. The craving to see blue skies overhead, to run until her lungs ached and still have a limitless horizon in front of her. To feel the sun on her face.


Yeah, and then die an excruciating death. Don't be daft, Sasha.

~ VERSUS ~ 

Title: Under the Surface
Entry nickname: Like Atlantis, Only Totally Creepy
Word count: 64K
Genre: YA Speculative Fiction

Query:

Seventeen-year-old Lauren Williams, self-proclaimed rebel and professional mother-disappointer, needs a distraction. 

When Lauren hears about the legend of Lake Modoc, she’s intrigued; exploring the forgotten underwater town is the perfect adventure to take her mind off of her mounting stack of detention letters. Together with her two best friends, Lauren hops on a boat (somewhat illegally) and sets out to discover the Atlantis of Owego County. 

One problem: Lauren must bring her eight-year-old tattletale sister, Roxie, along for the ride. In the split second Lauren and her friends find the creepy, algae-covered church steeple under the lake, Roxie disappears from the boat. Silently, impossibly, Roxie is gone.

While the police and the county focus their efforts on dragging the lake, Lauren is wracked with grief. She becomes obsessed with uncovering the secrets behind Roxie’s increasingly mysterious disappearance. The further she digs, the more she realizes that the century-old town under the lake was buried for a reason. Unwittingly, Lauren unleashes the town’s ability to lure away children—and if she doesn’t find her sister soon, she might have more than one lost kid to answer for.

With Roxie’s life hanging by a thread, Lauren must dive under the surface to save her sister… or live under the weight of Roxie’s death forever.

First 250:

The water of the lake stretches out in a shadowy blanket before me, rippling in the cool breeze. I breathe deeply and let the wind play with the ends of my hair. On the horizon, I see something bobbing in the water, but the moment I squint harder to see its shape, it disappears.

“Ugh, damn it! These test tubes are impossible,” Carly shouts beside me, breaking my meditation.

“Jesus. You ruined my yoga vibe.”

“Yeah, ‘cause I can totally see you doing downward-facing whatever. Can you help for two seconds?” Carly pushes her red curls out of her face, bent over the water’s edge.

As I make to take a step toward her, movement flashes in the water again. My heart skips a beat, but I try to focus on taking up my time-honored duty: talking Carly down from insanity.

“Hey,” I say. “You’re the one who wanted to overachieve on this assignment. I would’ve been fine using tap water.”

“Tap water is too easy. I want a challenge.” The glass tubes she’s holding cascade into the lake, causing her to swear under her breath.

“Well, consider yourself challenged.”

Carly has been my best friend since that time we had the misfortune of being dressed in the same hideous sweater on picture day in the second grade, but at times like these I ponder our actual compatibility as human beings.

I crouch down next to her and help her fish the test tubes out of the water.

14 comments:

  1. Judges, please REPLY to this comment to cast your votes by awarding VICTORY TO one of the Kontestants.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like Atlantis, Only Totally Creepy

      Love the hook.

      The last sentence of the first paragraph is a bit jumbled for me. I expected it to be the name of her best friends, not Lauren’s name again. Just play with the syntax a bit.

      You’re also overusing Lauren’s name. ‘She’ will work fine in some of these places. Silently, impossibly, are two adverbs that I would take out. It makes it seem a bit melodramatic.

      I feel like you touched on the main plot which is Lauren saving her sister from a town that lures children, but I don’t know how or why the town does that, and a bit more of that could be put into the query. I’m also confused as to if this town is in a bubble, or if they can breathe there. I’m just not sure, so I think some more of the town needs to be added, especially if Lauren is heading down there.

      First 250:

      The first paragraph could use some work. There’s filter words that are causing extra ‘I’s’ that aren’t needed, and it’s basically just looking. I also didn’t think that she was meditating, as opposed to just looking.

      ‘As I make to take’ is awkward. As I take a step works just fine.

      The dialogue is well done, but there’s an over use of ‘I’ across the whole first 250. Also, where are they? Are they on the beach? On a boat? Right now I just feel like they’re floating on air watching a lake.

      Overall, this can be tightened up, taking out filter words to remove the excess ‘I’ and grounding the reader as to just where they are.

      VS.

      Humankind is Basically Screwed

      Query:

      Love the first paragraph. It tells me exactly what’s going on, and pulls me in. Good job.

      For an adult SciFi though I feel like it’s a little on the lean side. I don’t know what a Sisyphon jump is, or what the main problem is once they are on the ground in this new colony. They’re on their own, sure, but a lot of stories go that way. What makes this one different? What’s the major problem in the colony? I don’t know, there’s not enough to tell me.

      It starts out strong, but the end needs some work.

      First 250:

      I like the concept and the way it’s introduced, but I get confused too easily. Who’s head are we in? Who’s telling the story? If it’s Addi, why am I in Sasha’s head for part of it? It’s a bit too jumbled for me to get pulled in. Especially when I’m not really sure who’s thinking what. Breaking up paragraphs and staying in one person’s head would definitely help to clarify that. If we are in Sasha’s head, why exactly? There’s no mention of her in the query, and I thought this was Addi’s story.


      Like Atlantis, Only Totally Creepy: The query starts out strong, but by the end I have more questions than anything else. It needs to be a bit more detailed about this town and why it lures kids away. Is the Pied Piper hiding there? What’s going on? I just don’t know. The first 250 needs some grounding and to get rid of the overuse of ‘I’. It’s okay to put things in between dialogue to help with that. It’s not going to pull the reader out.

      Humankind Is Basically Screwed: Another query that starts strong, but by the end is too vague. The query is only 195 words. Generally you want it between 250-350 words. You have a lot of wiggle room to add in those details that need to be there. What’s the threat to the colony? Aside from being on their own? Why is this different than every other Earth is doomed, let’s do a colony story? Use the space to show what makes your story unique. The first 250 is just…entirely too confusing. I think it’s from Sasha’s POV, but I have no idea why since she was never even mentioned in the query. It’s too far apart and leaves me confused.

      Both need work on the query and 250, both are great premises, and have so much potential.

      GO GO GADGET VICTORY: LIKE ATLANTIS, ONLY TOTALLY CREEPY


      Delete
    2. HUMANKIND IS BASICALLY SCREWED: This is an appealing sci-fi premise, and you reveal what's at stake (and some pretty hefty stakes at that) quickly.

      Right away though, I find myself asking questions that I probably shouldn't be asking. Why is Addi their unofficial leader? Wouldn't a mission so vital have an official leader? Did something happen to their leader?

      Also, in the second paragraph we learn that "the casualties start coming." But there are only 12 of them, right, so how many casualties can there be? Also, why does Addi have to protect them? Does she have special talents, skills, training? I think this is important to convey.

      In the final paragraph of your query I'd suggest changing the format up a bit because as it stands, it lacks tension and reads sort of blah. You have a lot at stake here, so use that. I'd suggest you consider changing to a format such as: If Addi can't then .

      Your first 250 is engaging and you have some great lines throughout. (I love: "It's like a drop trying to picture the whole ocean").

      My one issue with the first 250 is the POV. It seems as if we're in Sasha's head when the entire query focuses on Addi. Are there multiple POV characters in the book? Just something to consider...

      LIKE ATLANTIS, ONLY TOTALLY CREEPY:

      I love this premise. The whole idea of underwater towns is so creepy.

      The first sentence of your query does you no favors. It offers some characterization but really nothing else. Your hook should be in your creepy premise and missing sister. Don't waste that first line with a throwaway.

      Your query also leaves me with some questions. How does Lauren unleash the town's ability to lure away children? Surely she isn't the first to explore this area by boat, even if it isn't legal. A sunken town would be a huge draw for thrill-seekers, many of whom don't really care if it's legal or not.

      I'm also confused about "finding" her sister. Earlier in the query we hear that Lauren is wracked with grief which makes me think she believes her sister is dead. So why the change? You don't need to give away all your secrets, but a word or two here and there to ground the query would help quite a bit.

      Your 250 is engaging and paced well. There are lots of "I"s throughout that could be eliminated, and overall the prose could be tighter. Just for example, the line "On the horizon, I see something bobbing in the water, but the moment I squint harder to see its shape, it disappears." could very easily become "On the horizon something bobs in the water, but when I squint to see its shape, it disappears."

      Also, ground us a little. I know they're at the lake but are they on the shore or in a boat? A little bit will go a long way.

      DECISION:

      These are two strong entries. I would pick up either of them on a bookstore shelf.

      VICTORY TO LIKE ATLANTIS, ONLY TOTALLY CREEPY

      Delete
    3. Humankind Is Basically Screwed

      Query:
      I love how tight your query is and I can see this will be an exciting read. I’m not sure where the true conflict is, however. They crash, and Addi is the only one who can save them, but I don’t know what she’s saving them from.

      Because your stakes are vague (she may be presiding over the final demise), they fall flat. You might do well using the If Addi doesn’t do X, Y will happen format.

      250:
      Do you have more than one pov in your MS? Because the query is Addi but your 250 is Sasha. If so, consider either incorporating Addi into your 250, or reworking the query to include Sasha.

      That said, I enjoy the Across the Universe feel to your 250. Your writing is beautiful.


      Like Atlantis, Only Totally Creepy

      Query:
      I really love the voice in your query. No suggestions.

      250:
      Same with your query. I’d be all over this in a bookstore.

      Another difficult choice. On one hand, I’m pretty partial to sci-fi. Yet, on the other, I’m intrigued by what’s going to happen next in Atlantis.

      Hmm. . .

      I guess I have to say, VICTORY TO Like Atlantis, Only Totally Creepy

      Delete
    4. Humankind is Basically Screwed

      Query: That…is quite a name. Addisalem Worede. I spent the first couple minutes figuring out how to pronounce it. Add-IH-sahlem? Add-ee-SAY-lem? Word? Wor-eed? Okay honestly I’m spending so much time on the name because the rest was great. I would like a little more information on WHY she is heading a colony so far away. Why did they have to leave? What doom is awaiting Earth? Why only twelve humans? You don’t have to answer every question, but a little background could go a long way in pulling me in even more to want to read the story (which I do already, gimme).

      Opening: After reading the query, I was completely confused going in to the first 250. I had to read the first couple paragraphs twice to realize we were in Sasha’s head. It’s also not clear who “they” are in the first sentence. The second paragraph is a little jumpy too. Sasha goes from offering something to the conversation despite wishing they would go away to thinking that it wasn’t the worst way they’d spent post-dinner time. I couldn’t really get a sense of her, and that might have to do with the fact that I was expecting to jump into someone else’s head to begin with.

      Like Atlantis, Only Totally Creepy

      Query: Wow. I totally want to read this book. My only question would be how Lauren knows Roxie is alive. If it’s an underwater town, it seems like if it’s luring children they’re probably not surviving. Is there a clue that leads her to believe that Roxie is alive?

      Opening: Love the opening. The first sentence doesn’t necessarily grab, but the first paragraph already sets up a sense of mystery amidst the normalcy of Lauren’s life. Well done.

      VICTORY TO LIKE ATLANTIS, ONLY TOTALLY CREEPY

      Delete
    5. HUMANKIND IS BASICALLY SCREWED: I saw this in the first round, and enjoyed it then, but you’ve done some really great work here, and it’s even better! The query is much clearer, and the 250 feel very polished. Congrats.

      LIKE ATLANTIS, ONLY TOTALLY CREEPY: You have made some really fantastic changes from the first round! Great job. It reads much cleaner now. Good stuff.

      This is practically impossible to choose between these two. I really like them both. You’ve both done a super job of working with feedback, and I hope you feel like you got what you needed to forge ahead. I see success for both of you in the future. ☺

      Victory to HUMANKIND IS BASICALLY SCREWED.

      Delete
    6. Humankind is Basically Screwed

      In the query, perhaps give us some detail as to why Addi was chosen as the ‘unofficial leader’ of this mission. Is she a scientist? A great captain? Inspiring? Or? I also think the addition of a more concrete alternative/challenge than ‘a yawning pit of existential dispair’ would up the stakes. I get that the survival of the human race is at stake, but I wanted a greater sense of urgency about Addi’s role in humankind’s – and her own -- survival.

      The opening 250 confused me. The query focuses on Addi, but the opening 250 starts in Sasha’s POV. If the story’s going to be told from more than one POV, set that up in the query. It wasn’t clear where Sasha is on the ship. We learn the ‘cargo’ is having a post-dinner conversation – so I pictured her at a table with the others, but then she presses her forehead against a porthole. Perhaps add in some description about where this scene is taking place. The description of space is lovely and you do a good job giving us Sasha’s voice.


      Like Atlantis, Only Totally Creepy

      I love the phrase ‘professional mother- disappointer’. The query does a great job giving us information about the characters, conflict and stakes --- and manages to do it with a lot of voice.

      In the first 250, for me, the ‘shadowy blanket’ image didn’t work with ‘rippling in the cool breeze.’ This opening does a great job giving us the setting and a touch of background about Lauren’s friendship with Carly. The dialogue felt natural and the scene flowed. My only other picky point is that I’d like to know if Lauren is standing, sitting, or? when she’s staring at the lake in the opening line.

      Winner: Like Atlantis, Only Totally Creepy

      Delete
    7. SCOWLING DISCONTENTED JUDGEJune 17, 2016 at 6:22 PM

      HUMAN KIND IS BASICALLY SCREWED
      Type to enter text

      An excellent query! I’d avoid the (I’m sure well-meaning) advice about taking time from your query to explain what a Sisyphus jump is. I actually think this query is very strong. It works as it is.

      If it has a weakness, I would say the perhaps not differentiating the colonists AT ALL, might be contributing to the mild ennui of the second paragraph. This is a one character query, and it might come into focus more if you could give the colonists a little more of a face.

      But it’s fundamentally pretty sound.

      —-

      I love the opening of the 250, but it drops off very quickly in quality. I’m not sure why the story is starting here, and there are some problems in the writing itself. For example:

      “It's like a drop trying to picture the whole ocean," was Sasha's offer. She only said it to hold up the bare minimum of participation in the conversation. She wished everyone else would just shut up or go away, but they wouldn't, so she had to play along.

      Who’s the second ‘she’? Is it Sasha? Or Addi? Reading over it several times, I suddenly realize that the story is being told from Sasha’s point-of-view. But we don’t know who that is, in the slightest! Sasha’s not mentioned in the query, and we have nothing to orient ourselves. And since our natural inclination is to assume we’re starting in Addi’s head, this is massively disorienting.

      That’s a tough choice to make. Yes, some books pull it off (Robertson Davies’ TEMPEST TOST, about a Canadian production of “The Tempest” begins with a long passage about a little girl who yearns to start her own vineyard, but it somehow works. If you want to do it, you might even take a look at TEMPEST TOST, it’s a great read…) but regardless. It’s tricky.

      Even a name heading at the start of the chapter GoT style might help here.

      ——


      LIKE ATLANTIS

      The first sentence of the query is airy to the point of almost being unnecessary. Remember, agents are plowing through inboxes with HUNDREDS of queries at a time. “Is ‘Lauren needs a distraction?’” really the showstopper that’s going to make them sit up and pay attention? Go bigger.

      The rest of the query is very strong, however. I’d consider beginning with the second para, folding in a little of that information as we went.

      The 250 isn’t as strong as I would like. The dialogue is your strength here, but it’s overly telling in places. Things like “My heart skips a beat, but I try to focus” make this feel a little drafty where I want to it be assured throughout.

      Also something like: “Tap water is too easy. I want a challenge.” The glass tubes she’s holding cascade into the lake, causing her to swear under her breath.

      It feels jerky. For one, I miss the implied ‘that” in-between ‘tubes’ and ‘she’s’. Cascade is an odd word choice, possibly straight up incorrect. (Merriam-Webster feels that cascade should only be used a verb for water, not containers.) And it’s not clear why this fell in the first place.

      I want this 250 to be as smooth as possible— to cascade, if you will. Tighten up these loose bolts!

      ——-

      This one super close, but I think the trouble in BASICALLY SCREWED can be easily fixed.

      VICTORY to HUMANKIND IS BASICALLY SCREWED

      Delete
  2. Humankind Is Basically Screwed

    Query: I think the first paragraph is great and I still really like the concept here, especially the reluctant hero. I think you still need to watch out for putting in words like “Sisyphon” I don’t know what that is, and you don’t want to spend time in your query explaining it.

    250: I still think the writing here is top notch, however, I really don’t like the dialogue’s use here. The wording of it is good, but without getting to know the speakers first, it feels disconnected from the story.

    Like Atlantis Only Totally Creepy

    Query: I have literally no ideas to make this better. I think you need a comma between eight-year-old and tattletale. That’s all I got. Well done.

    250: good job getting rid of the ly-words! As you can tell by the above comment, and my last comments, I’m not a fan of a lot of dialogue at the beginning of a story. I like to have an idea of who is talking before I hear them say too much. Your query is still my favorite in the competition, but I think the opening needs a little more work. If you can give us a better sense of your characters without using so much dialogue, I think you definitely have a chance of winning this contest.

    ReplyDelete
  3. First congratulations on making it to Round 2. That’s a great accomplishment to be in the final 30 after so many entries!

    Human Kind

    So the stakes in your story are huge! And the query has the flavor of SF, but also of dystopian. I’ve not read too much of either genre, but the premise is interesting. I love the “curated trove of gametes,” but I wonder what a Sisyphon jump is. I kind of want to know a bit more about Addi, and maybe what motivates or drives her. Also, there’s not much mention of her interaction/conflict with the other 12 humans.

    I love the idea of trying to describe the universe! Here’s just an idea to consider in your first 250. Omit the first 5 words, and start with “Of course, they all had to attempt to describe it.” Then as they start describing it, we’re pulled in because it’s almost like a guessing game of what they’re describing. If your main character is Addi, I’m not sure why you’re starting from Sasha’s POV, but I’m sure if I read on, it would become clearer. I like how Sasha describes what she misses from Earth. It’s a nice comparison to the cramped conditions and blackness that stretches away.
    One picky thing - I think you need a comma here: “One of those stars was not a star at all, but Earth.”

    Like Atlantis

    Your query made me laugh when you tell us she has to bring her sister. That promises some fun conflict right away! Then she disappears. Even better! Then the stakes just keep getting greater. Nice job.

    Your first 250 sets the scene nicely right away and inserts the mystery of something bobbing in the water. It pulls me right into your story. I think you can tighten the language a bit. For example: “The lake stretches out…” (you don’t need “water of the”). Or maybe even just, “The lake is a shadowy blanket before me.” You can omit “I see” and just say “Something bobs in the water…”

    If you move “bent over the water’s edge” earlier, the first time Carly talks, it will help us see what she’s doing right away. And you almost don’t need this part of the dialogue: “You’re the one who wanted to overachieve on this assignment” and just say “I would’ve been fine using tap water.” We get the overachievement part when Carly says she wanted a challenge.

    I stumbled a bit at “I ponder our actual compatibility as human beings.” Is this how a teen would talk?

    Still, you’re setting up their relationship nicely, and with the element of mystery on the side, I’d definitely read on!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Human Kind

    Love this query. I like reluctant hero Addi. The query has a dry self-deprecating voice that is interesting and makes me want to read this book. The stakes seem on point. I did want to know what happened to Earth.

    The 250. In the 250, Sasha seems very alone. She refers to no one by name and hence lacks a personal connection to the people around her. Sasha longs for home. As a reader, I wanted something to make me stay with her for the next 100000 words. Why do you love Sasha? What is the redeeming quality about her? Let me, the reader, know quickly. I'd open this book and read the first few pages.

    Atlantis

    Query: Lauren is a rebel, hmm. You might go with straight out steals the boat because that feels more rebel like. Her best friend seems, well, not like a rebel, but more curious and science-y. What are the stack of detention letters for? Why is Lauren a rebel? Creepy underwater town is very cool. Like it. Bringing younger sister on jaunt. Perfect. Disappearing sister. Fantastic.

    250 When Lauren sees something in the water, I wonder why she doesn't make a guess at what she's seen. A log, etc. I enjoyed the relationship between the two girls at the beginning of this. Good. Would read on.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Human Kind

    Love this query. I like reluctant hero Addi. The query has a dry self-deprecating voice that is interesting and makes me want to read this book. The stakes seem on point. I did want to know what happened to Earth.

    The 250. In the 250, Sasha seems very alone. She refers to no one by name and hence lacks a personal connection to the people around her. Sasha longs for home. As a reader, I wanted something to make me stay with her for the next 100000 words. Why do you love Sasha? What is the redeeming quality about her? Let me, the reader, know quickly. I'd open this book and read the first few pages.

    Atlantis

    Query: Lauren is a rebel, hmm. You might go with straight out steals the boat because that feels more rebel like. Her best friend seems, well, not like a rebel, but more curious and science-y. What are the stack of detention letters for? Why is Lauren a rebel? Creepy underwater town is very cool. Like it. Bringing younger sister on jaunt. Perfect. Disappearing sister. Fantastic.

    250 When Lauren sees something in the water, I wonder why she doesn't make a guess at what she's seen. A log, etc. I enjoyed the relationship between the two girls at the beginning of this. Good. Would read on.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Humankind is Basically Screwed
    Query: I like this idea, love your first line because it presents a reluctant leader who might be a bit of a screw up. But then, a whole bunch of things happen that aren't her fault, so then the first line doesn't seem to fit.
    "meticulously curated trove of gametes" Huh? Being Sci-fi, I went with it, assuming I would find out what the importance of it was as the query went on, but there was never any mention of it again. If this is important to the story, please give us a hint what you're talking about in the query, if it's not, maybe take it out.
    I also found the stakes a bit vague. I get that they crash landed on the planet, but what's the problem that might lead to their demise? And what are these protocols that grow weaker every day? These details will strengthen the story in a way that gametes and Sisyphus jumps do not. They will clarify instead of mystify!

    250: This threw me for a loop, since the query presented Addi as the MC and she's nowhere to be found in the first page. Is the book done in multiple POVs? When I start a book, I like to get grounded. Who is speaking? Who are they speaking to? Where are they? Who else is there? I was kind of left floating in space by this page.

    Atlantis
    Query: Your premise would do Steven King proud. I see M Night Shyamalon directing the movie. Love the whole idea. Would love a bit more clarity about the story, though. I like the first sentence, but I don't think you need it. Feels stronger starting with the next part, focusing on the actual plot.
    Can we find out how Lauren unwittingly unleashes the town's ability to lure children? The implication is that Roxie is in the town, under the water. Will Lauren use diving gear to explore? How do we know Roxie's life is hanging by a thread? And why is any of this Lauren's fault? Because she took her sister on an illegal boat ride, or because she somehow unleashed the town's ability? Does Lauren have some kind of magical power you haven't told us about yet? Give us a bit more specifics and this will be a powerhouse. And I want to read it!

    250: It's a bit flat for me. (So hard to judge a first page when you have no idea where the author is going with it). If whatever she sees in the water is part of the mystery, maybe play that up a little to add tension. I'd also like some grounding, tell us where they are, are they on a boat, on the shore? Maybe a hint about what the test tube assignment is about. It just feels a bit vague and not as engrossing as your query sets us up for.

    Both of these are right up my alley, just the kind of books I'd like to read. This is my hardest choice yet. Very close, but . . .

    Victory to Atlantis!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Humankind is Basically Screwed:
    Your query left me with a lot of questions. Why is Addi the leader? Why are they out in space in the first place? I reread the query a few times and still don't understand what the story is bout, besides surviving in space. I feel that it needs some background information and more specifics to make it really stand out. But I did love the gamete line (I'm a biologist.)
    Your 250 is great. Very voicey. I like Addi a lot and would keep reading to find out what happens to them.

    Atlantis:
    Your query has improved since the last round and now really shows the conflict and stakes. So, good job with that. For your 250, I'm still wondering if you started in the right place, but again it's only the first 250 and I don't know where their time on the lake will lead.

    ReplyDelete