Monday, October 1, 2012

1st Rd Sm Press Contest #18 - Desiree

The Desiree
YA Romance with a sci-fi twist


Sixteen-year-old Stevie Ryan has her hopes set on making the U.S. Winter Olympic snowboarding team. When her Achilles tendon tears during a competition, her dreams are crushed. Now she’s stuck spending the summer in a leg brace in Chicago. Frustrated and away from her life and friends, Stevie learns to make do in the neighborhood and stumbles onto a vintage cinema called The Desiree.

There she meets the owner’s eccentric (which is a euphemism for agoraphobic insomniac) grandson, Knox Trotter, and he’s way different than the local boys back home. Knox’s oddities are what allure her—with his quirky film lines and love of vintage fashion. Besides running the theatre himself one day, Knox wants one thing: to learn the truth of what happened in the theatre on the night he was born, when his parents disappeared. The answers seem to be tied to the theatre, but The Desiree is barely hanging on financially. If it closes down, Knox may never achieve his goal. If there’s one thing Stevie understands, it’s the pain of unreached goals. The closer she gets to Knox, the more his mission becomes her own, but they have to hurry, before The Desiree shuts its doors forever. If that happens, not only will Stevie lose the guy she’s falling for, but the secrets the theatre holds will remain a mystery forever—secrets that will have Stevie questioning everything she ever knew about the universe.


Straddled behind the driver, Stevie Ryan gripped the snowmobile’s side handles as they cruised up the mountainside, her face turned toward the morning sun. Fresh powder from last night’s snowfall shimmered on the surrounding peaks. The sky was cloudless. Conditions were crucial, and so far, everything about today was ideal. Stevie shifted in her seat, antsy with adrenaline, ready to carve the snow-packed surface of the half-pipe and claim another title. Closing her eyes, she inhaled evergreen air so deeply that her nostrils tingled. Find your place, find your Zen. She refocused on the horizon and tucked her earbuds under her snowcap, cranking her favorite Coldplay song until the music swelled in her ears. God, I love it here.

As the half-pipe came into view, the muscles in Stevie’s legs flexed. Today would make it all worth it—all the sweets she’d given up, and partying with friends; all those weekends she’d risen at daybreak while every other sixteen year old in America was sleeping in.


Mystery Science Theater Geek said...

This is all done incredibly well. I'm impressed with your query. It could be a bit stronger genre-wise if you show a bit of what the ultimate threat is. Otherwise, it doesn't seem to fulfill the "sci-fi twist." Agents/Editors want a big picture in a few words (typically 250 or less). So if you can do that, your query will be spectacular.

The first 150 words are an excellent example of showing (to me). I was an avid skier as a young adult and your description of the air really hit home.

You've got my vote.

Honey Badger said...

Hey, Entry #18!

I’m going around giving everyone at least one critique and one positive today. (Maybe more, if I spot something helpful.)

- Unique background for your MC.

- I would bust up the first paragraph in your 150. Leading with strong imagery is great, but you want to keep their attention.

Best of luck! :)

Mara Valderran said...

My only crit suggestion would be in the first line of the second paragraph: I think maybe saying "and finds he's" might work better than "and he's" since the action starts with her in that sentence.

Other than that, I am very intrigued as to what the mystery is and how it changes her world-view. I'd agree that you might want to give a bit more on the sci-fi twist, but it is intriguing as is for a reader that is not an agent or publisher. Great job!

Escape Artist said...

I love your concept on this one and I keep coming back to it. I'd lose the parentheses in the query.

You have my vote.

Lone Star said...

You've got my vote!

I didn't even have to think twice about it. :) It's just all done well. The first 150 is well-written and the imagery is strong. I feel like I'm there. Most importantly, I love your premise. You've got her falling for a guy who is a little different than traditional YA heroes and I am certainly intrigued by the mystery.