Monday, September 10, 2012

Pitch Polish #86


WORLD OF SHELL AND BONE
DYSTOPIAN/SPECULATIVE FICTION (ADULT)
60,000 WORDS

Query:

In a world ravaged by a nuclear holocaust, Vika Cannon knows there are no guarantees: no guarantees of safety, no guarantees that your neighbor is not actually a spy for the government, and no guarantees you’ll be allowed to emigrate to Asia, which is a person’s only chance for survival.

New Amana (as the North and South American continents are now called) is blanketed by a constant drift of fallout. Food and water are scarce, acid rain has eaten away at all the structures, and generations of people suffering from radiation-caused mutations—the Nukeheads—are the new class of homeless. To control the conditions, the government operates under a totalitarian regime.

Every resident of New Amana has only one purpose. Females must produce healthy progeny using Husbands who are assigned to them by the Match Clinic. Unhealthy children are carted away to Asylums where experiments are run to determine what went wrong. Parents incapable of producing healthy progeny are put to death in gas chambers.

When Vika Cannon is assigned a Husband shortly after her twentieth birthday, she expects him to be complacent and obedient as all Husbands are. But Shale Underwood has a secret. He is a member of the Radicals, the terrorist group intent on overthrowing the government and freeing the children in the Asylums. Not only that, Shale has information about Ceres, Vika’s sister, who was taken to the Asylums as a child.

Now, Vika must decide whether she wants to assist Shale or have a baby and get on a ship to a new life.

First 150 words:

I am baffled by mirrors.
When I look at my reflection, I see eyes I do not recognize, my mother's nose, my sister's mouth. It is myface, but the lines and curves of it do not resonate deep within me, do not inspire waves of feeling. I am nothing more than a collection of genetic puzzle pieces—I understand and accept this fully. I do not think myself beautiful, nor ugly. In any case, such labeling of oneself is against the law.
Dressing quickly in my uniform, I tie the scarf around my left arm. It weighs heavily on me today, heavier, perhaps, than it has in a long time. The large red zero flaunts my emptiness. I am devoid of an embryo. As of this moment, I am worth very little to my government and my people. But maybe today that will change.

6 comments:

Tamara said...

Well written! I like your title. The query is a little long. The second paragraph could be left out. The premise struck me as dreary, until I read the first 150 words and wanted to keep reading!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Wow, what a premise! I was hooked in. The query is a little long, but I didn't realize that while reading it.

Brittany Pate said...

The query was a little long, but it was written in such a way that it was difficult to notice, like Nicole said. I agree that the second paragraph could be taken out without upsetting the balance of the query.

In my opinion, it's an outstanding query and your first 150 words are really great. You do an excellent job of getting into Vika's head quickly. Best of luck!

Jessica Peterson said...

really well written!! It's an interesting premise, I do however agree that you could do without the second paragraph. I didn't find it too long because it interested me, but the second paragraph didn't flow quite as nicely as the rest. Well done. Best of luck :)

Rebecca Enzor said...

Wow - this is great! I'd read more in a heartbeat.

The only thing I was unsure about was the last line in the query. If you have a healthy baby are you guaranteed a trip to Asia? Do you have to leave the baby behind (since otherwise why would the government be so obsessed with healthy children?) or do you get to take the baby with you? What decides who gets on the ship to Asia and who doesn't?

Gods I love the first line of your book though. I don't suppose you need a critique partner? ;)

Jayme said...

WOW! This grabbed me and didn't let go. I disagree with the comments about cutting the second paragraph. I think there's a lot of really important information there. If anything, I would cut "acid rain has eaten away at all the structures." It offers a really powerful visual, but this sentence also directly mirrors the structure of your first paragraph (lists of three).

Either way, I'm just blown away. This sounds so gripping! :)