Monday, September 17, 2012

Rd 1 Agent Pitch Contest #7 - THE ONLY INFINITE

The Only Infinite
MG sci-fi
80,000 words

Query:

Lena’s brother faces life in a wheelchair until Feore offers to help.  Unfortunately, the dude’s totally Cuckoo McQuackers.  He claims he runs a school in Atlantis, which seems about as likely as Lena roping a date to the Sadie Hawkins dance… until she sees the lost city with her own eyes.

And it’s not just a city.  Not anymore.

In the centuries since Plato, Atlantis has spread under every continent, far beneath the reach of even the deepest drills.  Here, gadgets spice up everything from gym class to the way Lena brushes her teeth.  Throw in a pendant that unravels the mystery of her birth mother and she’s more than willing to fulfill her promise to Feore – a year at his school in exchange for her brother’s treatment.

But Feore may not be as well-intentioned as he seems.  He may, in fact, be working with PYRE, a militant group bent on expanding Atlantis to Earth’s surface.  All Lena knows is her mom’s pendant holds a secret Feore would do nearly anything to possess – maybe even arrange the accident that put her brother in a wheelchair to begin with.  And, if he’d do that to lure her to Atlantis, she fears how far he'd go to keep her there.  Forever.
 
First 150 words:

CHAPTER ONE: THE MISPLACED MONUMENT

When the Eiffel Tower vanished, Lena Rush was in a tree house in Jupiter, Florida.  More specifically, she was in the burning wreckage of what had been a tree house before it had… well, exploded.

It was too bad, really.  She and her little brother, Zac, had only discovered the wooden shack a few months before, snared in the branches of an ancient oak.  The wobbly boards leading up to it had threatened broken bones to anyone stupid enough to try them, but she knew if she didn’t go Zac would.  And she wasn’t about to be outdone by a ten-year-old.

Together, they’d cleared out some old birds’ nests and patched the roof with duct tape.  By the end, it wasn’t pretty, but it didn’t leak.  And the window hacked into one side offered a killer view of the ocean, which set Lena’s surfer heart singing with each pulsing wave.

29 comments:

Cat said...

You perfected it. I was totally hooked. Let me know when it gets published. ;-)

SugarMagnolia said...

Thanks for participating! My plan is to read through all the entries and then begin my comments and critiques. I will give out my top ten my votes when I'm finished.

Best of luck to you, and stay tuned!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Cat! I’m still questioning my Cuckoo McQuackers decision. Something generic like “total nutjob” would’ve worked just as well, but my crit partner sat me down and said to go big (on voice) or go home. Hope it pays off! *crosses fingers*

Donald Capone said...

I'm Cuckoo for McQuackers! Good luck in this round!

Jambo said...

Hi Jayme best of luck. I love the query changes. Cheering you on from Oz

Jambo said...

Hi Jayme best of luck. I love the query changes. Cheering you on from Oz

Anonymous said...

HAHA! Thanks, Don. I hope the judges are too. ;) Good luck to you as well (not that you need it with that rockin' query of yours!)

Thanks, Julie! I've been through a few entries, but I haven't seen Vesper Venti yet. Did your query make it in? If so, I'm cheering for you too. :)

Jambo said...

Hi Jayme
Thanks for asking. I decided to enter my finished MS pitch no 10 On Deanas blog.
I didn't get to finish Vesper Venti in time. I'd love to follow your progress on twitter. You can find me at jujuberry37

Cheryl Hettick said...

Jayme - this is awesome. What a great concept and a great hook! GL!

Anonymous said...

Julie – I didn’t know you were on Twitter! I’m heading over right now to say hi. :)

Thanks, Cheryl! Good luck to you too. :)

Anonymous said...

Pitch Polish is technically over, but to those of you dropping by (1) HI! and (2) do you think my query would be stronger if I start with world building? Maybe something like:

In a single day and night of misfortune, the island of Atlantis disappeared into the sea… exactly as it was meant to. In the centuries since, it has spread under every continent, far beneath the reach of even the deepest drills. Today, its high speed train tunnels crisscross Earth’s mantle, and its medical technologies put human treatments to shame.

Twelve-year-old Lena learns this firsthand when a freak accident lands her brother in a wheelchair. The doctors can’t heal him, but a stranger named Feore can. In return, she agrees to spend a year as a human exchange student at his school in Atlantis, where gadgets spice up everything from gym class to the way she brushes her teeth.

Best (and worst) of all, Lena learns her mother’s final gift, a necklace, is much more than it seems. The more she gets to know Feore, the more she worries he’d do anything to possess its secrets – maybe even arrange the accident that put her brother in a wheelchair to begin with. And, if he’d do that to lure her to Atlantis, she fears how far he’d go to keep her there. Forever.

Thanks again to anyone who’s dropped by! This whole GUTGAA experience and community has been so amazing. :)

Adriana Ryan said...

Hey Jayme! I like both queries, but the second one does grab me more. The first one was just a tiny bit hard to grasp at first go, because I didn't realize when you said "Atlantis" you were speaking about the lost city (but I got that at the end of the sentence, and then went back and re-read). Love your voice. :D This definitely needs a vote, simply so I can read it in book form! :)

Donald Capone said...

Hi,

This one definitely explains the story better, but I don't like this line:

...and its medical technologies put human treatments to shame.

I don't like the word "treatment" here, and aren't the residents of Atlantis human too? Or do they have gills (serious question)?

I like that you added Lena's age.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Adriana! I know Pitch Polish is over, so thanks for taking the extra time to review my new query. It’s too late for GUTGAA, but at least now I know to use the second one moving forward. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Don! Haha, no, they don’t have gills. I just wasn’t sure how the term “surface dwellers” would go over. Maybe I could reword it: “…and even its most basic medical drones put doctors on Earth’s surface to shame.”

(No offense to any doctors out there!) ;)

I know Pitch Polish is over, so thank you so much for taking the time to review yet another version of my query. You're the best!

Lindsey Frydman said...

Love, love, love this. Your pitch has only gotten better since the pitch polish. Guess that's the point, right? Haha I think going with Cuckoo McQuackers was a good decision. Anything could have worked but if that's what Lena would say, that's what I'd have written too!

I'm normally not a reader of MG (Maybe b/c the MC's are usually too young for my taste) but I'd give this one a read because it just sounds so great!

:)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, Lindsey! I'm not usually a reader of paranormal romance, but your query sucked me right in too. Maybe we'll both make converts of the other! :D

SugarMagnolia said...

(Hi again! I plan to give out comments during this round, and then I'll give out my top ten votes as soon as I have critiqued everyone's queries.)

What a cool concept! I was obsessed with Atlantis as a kid, and I love the idea that Atlantis could have spread everywhere.

I also love your first 150 words. What a powerful--and different--opening. You've given us a great glimpse of Lena's character, and I'm really curious what is going on.

A quick note on your word count. 80,000 seems long for an MG novel. While it's certainly not a death sentence, it may make your book a bit harder to sell. Is there any way you can condense it slightly?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, SugarMagnolia! My word count raised concerns during Pitch Polish also, so I’m definitely scouring my manuscript for areas to trim. I just felt dishonest throwing a lower number on my entry since that new, slimmer manuscript does not yet exist.

Thank you again for your kind words. The competition here is fierce, so I definitely don’t envy the decision you have to make. All the best. :)

SugarMagnolia said...

Totally better to be honest, and I'm glad you are already working on your word count. I'm a pretty dense writer myself, so I actually had to chop 18,000 words of fluff out of my first novel when I signed with my agent.

When in doubt, I recommend looking at what your characters are doing during dialogue. I found that I would describe completely extraneous stuff, like:

"Thanks," he said, picking at the hem of his jeans and clearing his throat.

"You're welcome," I said, biting my lip and tracing a line in the sand with my toe.

I managed to cut those 18,000 words without sacrificing a single scene simply by chopping irrelevant stuff like those descriptions.

Maybe this will be a helpful start for you, too. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip, SugarMagnolia! I’ve already found a few sentences like this: “She pulled away, disgusted.” Of course, she’s disgusted! She pulled away, lol. Also, some dialogue tags like “growled” that seem unnecessary in context. It’s comforting to know little snips here and there add up. :)

SugarMagnolia said...

Okay, it's official:

YOU HAVE MY VOTE.

And I totally think you should go with the second, world-building version of your query. Your first 150 words shine so much that you deserve a super shiny query to do them justice. The second one nails it!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! Thank you so much! If I’m lucky enough to move on, I’ll definitely use the second super shiny version of my query. :)

Traci VanWagoner said...

Yay! Congrats on getting SugarMagnolia's vote. Your new query is wonderful and really gave me a better feel for your story and drew me in immediately. I love the whole tree hut incident in your first 150 words. Great job and good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Traci! I’m still in shock. :)

I’m glad you liked my new query. Obviously the other judges have enough on their plates without reading TWO queries, but I’m really hoping if anyone is on the fence they might take the new version into account. *crosses fingers* Either way, GUTGAA has been such a fantastic experience!

P.S. I was happy to see your query made it into this round! Good luck to you too. :)

Baby said...

YOU HAVE MY VOTE!

Anonymous said...

Great galloping gumdrops! Thank you so much, Baby! :D

Hopey said...

TIE BREAKER VOTE - YOU MOVE TO THE NEXT ROUND!

Anonymous said...

AHH!! Thank you so much, Hopey! You just made my day. :)