Monday, September 10, 2012

Pitch Polish #68


DODGE THE SUN
YA Fantasy
80,000

Query:

When a supernova blasts away life with waves of radiation, a shield of magic shelters one farm, turning it into an isolated fortress of life. There a lonely boy yearns for a friend and a rabbit transforms into a girl.
 
Nine years later, seventeen-year-old Little Bit hates the magic anklet fastened on her by the young mage, Garrett. It keeps her in the compound—keeps her from knowing why cows outnumber humans. Memories of her past are nonexistent, but even an ignorant girl can see their protective shield is gradually weakening.  
 
Infuriated by Garrett’s avoidance of the facts, Little Bit decides her childhood friend can fetch his own tea. She outwits the anklet to escape into a world corrupted by dark magic and scorched by the unfiltered beams of the sun. Traveling by night, Little Bit seeks answers while escaping mutated beetles and mega-sized possums. Worse, predatory survivalists skulk in the shadows as she follows rumors to a human colony in New Chicago.
 
When Garrett catches up to her, Little Bit learns only the renewal of his magic keeps her on two legs instead of four. And the colony of New Chicago wants to add a new mage to their collection: Garrett. They’ll exploit his affection for Little Bit to get him. Now she has to free them both and discover what it takes to stay human all while dodging the sun’s deadly rays.
 
DODGE THE SUN is a YA fantasy novel in a post-apocalyptic setting, complete at 80,000 words.

First 150 Words:

The anklet jangled up and down against Little Bit’s leg with every other step. An itch she couldn’t scratch at the moment. The basket, filled with a heaping pile of laundry, occupied one hand while the other gripped the railing. She climbed the wooden stair which wound in a spiral around the outside of the tower. The wicker handle of the laundry basket balanced against her right hip, digging in with each stride. The staircase creaked and shifted. She shuddered and kept her eyes fixed on each tread, careful not to look at the height of the drop through the gaps.
Ralph promised again and again to block in the open spaces, but his promises flitted around like blueflies, impossible to pin down. He worked on his own leisurely time schedule, and no amount of pleading on her part moved him to improve the stairs.
Movement down in the garden caught her attention.

9 comments:

Mara Rae said...

First of all, I want to say that this sounds like a very unique concept and I love the idea of a rabbit-turned-girl! I'm so curious to see where this goes! I did have to re-read the query a few times, probably because the concept is so different. I would say in the first paragraph that the lonely boy is the one who turns the rabbit into a girl (if I'm reading that correctly). In the first 150 (which is such a short excerpt - so hard to get much out of it) I would trade some of the description for more action. In these types of contests, I've found you really need to get in your hook in those first few sentences (even if you alter it a little from your actual ms). Just my two cents! Hope it helps.
Mara (#67)

Elaine Smith said...

The opening of your query made me think all life was blasted away - it seems other areas survived also because of magic? Could you clarify the second sentence: something like: In his bubble of protection...

Donea Lee said...

I agree with both the other commenters on two things ~ 1. Really original concept! Cool ~ :) 2. But, the opening line of the query makes it sound like the farm is the only thing that survived the sun's rays. I think you need to make it clear that it's the only place that survived unscathed.

(Little Bit made me think of Fried Green Tomatoes - lol...sorry! Tangent ~ :))

And while I really like the writing in your first 150 words - I'm not sure it was really compelling or hinted that the world was any different. Can she gaze through the bubble and see something different, as she ascends the stairs?

But, I think the concept is strong enough that I'd read on. Nice work!

Shiela Calderón Blankemeier said...

Love the concept, too! With your query I would drop everything before seventeen year old Little Bit. Start there. Everything before it is background and we don't need it for the query. Also, watch your modifiers in your writing sample. For example, The basket,filled with laundry, OR the basket, a heaping laundry pile. Not both - they say the same thing so you only need one modifier. Also, "No amount of pleading on her part..." you can drop the modifier "on her part." It's understood and reads much better without it. Really great job overall. Best of luck with it!
~Shiela (#69)

S L Jenan said...

For the first paragraph, I'd like to see the sentences more active.

When a supernova scorches the Earth with waves of radiation, a shield of magic shelters one farm as an isolated fortress of life. There the compound's sole human inhabitant, a lonely young mage, yearns for companionship and transforms his pet rabbit into a girl.

(A few of the sentences that follow you'd need to revise to remove redundancy)

And for the first 150, why not drop in "magic" as word #2: "The magic anklet jangled..." Then we're immediately curious as to the juxtaposition between 'magic' and the menial tasks. Also, I'd cut "He worked on his...schedule,", combining the rest of that sentence with the previous, and use the words gained for a sentence describing her as a prisoner of the magic.

Adriana Ryan said...

Wow, what a unique concept! That's awesome. A rabbit-turned-girl...my head's reeling with how neat a story this must be. :D My only feedback is:

1. I thought the farm was the only thing that survived? How did the others survive the "apocalypse"?

2. From the 150, I felt like Ralph is an important character, but he isn't mentioned in the query. That confused me a bit.

I'd love to read this! Can't wait for it to become a book. :) It has a sort of "cult classic" feel, from the little I know about it.

Laurie Dennison said...

I agree with many of the other comments -- what a cool concept! At first I would have said you could cut that first paragraph in the query and jump straight to Little Bit, but when I read it again, I really liked the set-up and the voice to introduce the world.

Best of luck to you!

Kel Heinen said...

I LOVE your query! It's got a great voice, great flow and makes me certainly want to read more.

The only critique I have is at the end of your first 150.

"He worked on his own leisurely time schedule, and no amount of pleading on her part moved him to improve the stairs.
Movement down in the garden caught her attention."

When she notices the garden, is she still on the stairs? I felt like we took a flying leap from inside to outside here.

Otherwise, I love this concept and hope you get published soon!

Michelle 4 Laughs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.