Monday, October 8, 2012

Small Press Finalist #5 - 151

YA sci-fi/fantasy
84,000 words


Seventeen-year-old Aeneas doesn't belong to a Colony. As the bloody scars on his back remind him, he was one more than needed:151. He lives as a thief in the lawless Ilium Underground, a haven for mobsters, freaks, and outcasts from the Colony Spires above. When the band of pirates that raised him is slaughtered by the relentless Secret Police, he finds himself lost, on the run, and worst of all, alone.

It takes the chance rescue of Casseopea, a beautiful young Apprentice from the Colonies, to make the running stop. Obsessed with obtaining the ancient and powerful Key of Ilium, her Chieftain has sent her into the Underground to search for it. If she can survive long enough to find it, she'll pass her Trials and remain part of her Colony's 150. If she fails, she'll be banished to the Underground for good. On the run or not, Aeneas is just the help she needs.

But the Key is more than just a relic from Ilium's past. For Casseopea, it will be vital to sparking a rebellion against her Chieftain and freeing the members of her Colony. For Aeneas, it will not only unlock the secret behind his scars, it will reveal the startling truth about where he belongs.

First 151 Words:

“What d’you know of the Key, boy? Tell me, or you die.”

Aeneas looked up into the bulging brown and purple eyes of the man called Gore, one of the most powerful Titans of the Ilium Underground. The yellow scar that ran down the tip of the man’s bulbous nose throbbed in time with his heavy breathing as the question hung in the air between them. Aeneas’ dark curls were drenched from the sewage leaking from above, and his wrists were cut by the metal chains that tied his arms behind his neck. His steel-coloured eyes were almost drained of life.

“The Key of Ilium!” Gore snorted. Saliva dripped from the sides of his mouth and down his winding goatee. “Where is it?”

Aeneas’ mind clouded with confusion as he searched through his memories from the past 17 years. A shiver ran through his body. “Don’t… know anything about a key…”


Jessa Russo said...

Though I love the concept of this story, I am unsure about your query. I had to read it more than once to really understand it.

I was turned off by all of the character references. Though they weren't directly introducing us to anyone, I felt too many things were mentioned. I also felt your use of capitalization was a bit much.

I would suggest tightening up your query by not mentioning so many things/people, or limiting your use of capitals. It made me feel like I had to take note of each detail, making me read the query more than once, when the main point is more a focus on Aeneas and Casseopea, and where the Key will take them.

With that said, I love the two opening sentences of the query, and I am really intrigued by the fact that Aeneas was one too many for the Colony.

Please send your query in the body of the email, and first three chapters attached in a Word document to jessa [at] curiosityquills [dot] com.

Unknown said...

To add to Jessa's critique of your query, you overuse "it" in the query. The start of the ms was really good though. Very interesting.

abuckley23 said...

I didn't mind the first 150 words but the query threw me for a loop. I wasn't entirely clear on the story and think it could be tightened up.