Monday, September 10, 2012

Pitch Polish #39

Genre:  YA thriller
Word Count:  76,000


Convicted murderer Naomi Williams expects a transfer to an adult prison for her eighteenth birthday.  Instead she gets a job offer. The US government wants her to join a secret offshoot of the CIA and help bring down a domestic terrorist cell called the Renegades. They’re only interested because Naomi intentionally killed the teenage son of a prominent Renegade leader.  Too bad the terrorists know it too, and their desire for revenge mean she’s in no position to turn the CIA down.           

During her first assignment Naomi meets James, a gang member with an unclear agenda.  When he uncovers who she works for and who she hunts, Naomi almost turns him in to her employers so he doesn’t reveal her secrets.  After his interference on a later assignment saves her life, she isn’t sure what to think.  He insists he won’t betray her, but Naomi knows the government would view him as a threat.  With the Renegades poised to attack, she must decide who, if anyone, to trust.  And this time, the wrong choice could get her killed.                                            

THE RECRUITED is a 76,000 word YA thriller with series potential.

First 150:

The clank of her cell door opening startled Naomi upright.  “Williams, you have a visitor,” the guard said. 
            Naomi stared blankly at her, legs dangling off the edge of her bunk.  “What?”
            “You have a visitor,” the guard repeated.  “There’s a man here to see you.”
            “But it’s not my parents’ day to visit, and my dad—”
            “You.  Have.  A.  Visitor.”  By now there was no masking the irritation in her voice.  “Get your ass up and come with me.”
            Picking herself up off the bed, Naomi attempted to straighten her wrinkled uniform before her hands were cuffed.  A small calendar on the wall, checked off boxes counting down the time on her sentence, read September 4th, 2025.  The guard held her by an elbow as she escorted Naomi through a maze of hallways to the small visiting area at the front of the facility.


MPH2003 said...

I'm hooked. I love that she expects to be moved to the adult prison and instead receives the offer. The first 150 words sets this up so well, immediate tension. Also, the way you filter info, such as the date on the wall, shows us so much about her situation. Her "attempt to straightne her wrinkled uniform" does an excellent job of giving us insight into her character. Nice work. I would definitely read more.

yo said...


You have a great plot and a very tight query here. My only suggestion would be to change the uncover here: "When he uncovers who she works for and who she hunts, Naomi almost turns him in to her employers so he doesn’t reveal her secrets." I thought that he uncovered the info to someone but then I got it he only discovered it, I would only change that word.

The first words are perfect to make the reader want to read more. Nice job!

Stephsco said...

Your query is strong and well-written. My only concern is that the MC is a convicted killer who intentionally killed someone. I re-read it a few times to see if I mistook UNintentionally; I think this might be a hard sell. Readers might side with your MC if the conviction was due to self-defense or an unintentional murder/manslaughter charge, but I'm wondering why she killed the teen son and why I should be OK with that. Making your MC relatable in someway is crucial. The story sounds great but I feel like I'm missing a critical detail. If you can explain why she had to murder a teen, I think that will help a lot.

This premise reminds me of a non-dystopian LEGEND.

I just realized I saw your first words on Miss Snark! And the agent liked it :) My comments are the same; you can ditch some of the repetition of the guard, like cutting the second instance of the visitor line and leaving it at, "there's a man here to see you." And I would lose the You. Have. A. Visitor. and just use the "Get your ass up line" which removes the need to tell us the guard is irritated. Those are my only nitpicks. Nice job.

Creepy Query Girl said...

I think this is one of those occasions where you've got your premise layed out pretty much perfectly. There was nothing confusing about it at all. I didn't really get a sense of your characters, however. What kind of personality does Naomi have? Snarky? Analytical? Emotional? And what about James? Maybe you could give us something besides the fact he saved her life that leads her to trust him. Does he have a great smile? Is he funny? Does she feel close to him for some reason or another? HTH!