Monday, October 1, 2012

1st Rd Sm Press Contest #21 - New Middleport: The Senses of Weiland Kershaw

New Middleport: The Senses of Weiland Kershaw
YA Dystopian
50,958

Query:

Weiland’s only hope to avoid death in a violent city stems from his father’s training.  His heightened senses and ability to wield a knife, plus constant reminder to stay away from the rebellion provides protection for the ones he holds dearest – even if they mean him harm.

After one of the merciless rulers brutalizes an acquaintance to near death, Weiland saves his life by bringing him to his most trusted protector.  This kind gesture quickly involves him and his friends in a plot with the rebellion to escape the city.  It’s not only dangerous, but the rebels have planned this escape for years with the secret intention of Weiland to be their leader.

He has spent his youth protecting those he considers family. Now he must decide whether to risk death by attempting to escape or trust the words of his father urging him away from the rebellion.

First 150 Words:

I know something is wrong when the shower cuts off.  It’s fortunate that all showers are only programmed for two minutes; otherwise, whoever has entered my hole of an apartment might’ve gotten the drop while I rinsed the daily filth.  You wouldn’t think that two minutes is enough time to break into an apartment quietly, but I guess it wouldn’t be a normal day without someone being killed.

***

“Do you hear that Weiland?”  I remember when my dad would sit me underneath the bathroom sink during his showers.  The cabinet doors to the sink would be closed, and it was his way of trying to adapt my ears to hear beyond outside noises.  I respond as innocently as possible, “Other than the water?”  My dad appreciated my humor when I was ready to answer his questions correctly.  He used to say that humor is the only way to see beyond the sunshine.

352 comments:

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Anonymous said...

Lots of really beautiful phrasing in your first 150. I can tell you're a quotable author already!

Good stakes in your query too, although I was a bit lost in the first couple of paragraphs. I think it might stem from a few too many adjectives.

However, I recognize it's a hard line to walk when you love words and are good at using them to create strong images (as I can tell you are) but you must get the essential bits in a small passage of text. I have the same problem with my writing.

You definitely set the mood well for the 150 with your query and the prose is beautifully dismal, as all dystopian should be :)

I'm excited to see how you do this round! GOOD LUCK!!!!

Colene Murphy said...

This is still a brilliantly cool concept, and you've reworked the query, yes? Looks great! I really have no crits! Youve totally snagged me with your first 150!

Good luck!

Honey Badger said...

Hey, Entry #21!

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

Positive:
- Fantastic 150!

Critique:
- Try to ground the reader as quickly as possible. I got a little lost in your query.

Best of luck! :)

Lone Star said...

The query was solid, but it didn't really grab me mainly because it just sounds like a generic dystopian. What makes this story different from other dystopians? What makes the world a dystopia? In dystopians, the story of the setting is almost as important as the story of the characters.

Your first 150 were wonderful though. The writing is lyrical and emotional without having to try too hard. "He used to say that humor is the only way to see beyond the sunshine." - That line sounds nice, but I'm not sure what it means. Isn't sunshine a good thing? Wouldn't humor help you see beyond the darkness?

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