Monday, October 1, 2012

1st Rd Sm Press Contest #1 - Flesh Eating Zombies and Evil Ex-Girlfriends

YA horror novella
32,000 words


Erwin is in hell.

He was working out after school, thinking his day couldn't possible get any worse, when Rob showed up, his seven-year-old sister in tow. Rob tells them the girl's babysitter was viciously attacked by a neighbor. He saw him biting into her.

They discover that similar attacks are happening all over the states, the cause a virus that makes people act irrational and violent. The school is locked down, but some of the infected are already inside.

After a bloody battle only fifteen remain, including Erwin, seven-year-old Amy, Erwin’s ex, and Sylvia, the girl who is helping him forget her. When people start arguing about whether or not to stay at the school it becomes clear that Erwin won’t be able to save everyone.

He must decide whether or not to go, and who he’s willing to leave behind.

First 150:

Erwin had been on his way to lunch when he first saw them. Justin had Natalie pushed up against her faded orange locker, his tongue down her throat. Erwin’s own throat had tightened and his stomach churned. So much for lunch.

It had only been a week since Natalie broke his heart, after dating for ten months. Now she had her fingers wrapped around the fat neck of that dick, Justin.

Erwin tried not to think about it. Problem was he could hear the cheerleaders finishing up their practice in the empty lunchroom across the hall from the gym doors.

It was 4:15; there were only a few other guys in the weight room. Basketball practice didn’t start for another forty five minutes. Then he’d have to face Justin. With any luck he’d get a chance to elbow him in the face when Coach Spears wasn’t looking.


Honey Badger said...

Hey, Entry #1!

I’m going around giving everyone at least one critique and one positive today.

(Maybe more, if I spot something helpful.)

- Great stakes! The school is on lock-down, the infected are inside, and Erwin can't save everyone. Dun, dun, dunnn!

- Be mindful of tense-jumping, especially in your query.
- Watch out for misused words, punctuation errors, etc. Think about the kind of first impression you want to leave.
- You might consider beefing up that word count a little. It’s pretty low for YA.

Best of luck! :)

Lone Star said...

The query is clear and to the point, which I love! I admit that it doesn't sound too different from many other zombie stories. Emphasize what makes yours special. Watch out for the typos! I assume you mean "possibly" at the beginning of your query.

I may just have a sick mind, but "Now she had her fingers wrapped around the fat neck of that dick.." had two meanings for me. ;) You might want to re-work that.

Mara Valderran said...

I'm not a judge but my goal is to comment on every small press entry, and you are next on my list! :)

Lone Star is definitely not alone--I had to reread that line going "Wah??" but that might be because I have a sick mind too.

I love the premise. Zombies! High School! Broken hearts! Oh my! As for the query: I'm not clear on why he can't take everyone with him. Is traveling as a group out? Or are there people that want to stay that he would have to leave behind if he goes? AND: OMG what happened to Rob?? I love the opening line. I can imagine that being trapped in a high school with your exgirlfriend and baby sister while zombies are on the loose would be pretty hellish.

The first 150 words make me feel for Erwin. I had to reread that line, of course. Also, I'm not sure why the cheerleaders being across the hall was a problem. I love that he is hoping to elbow Justin in the face. Made me hope for it too!

Escape Artist said...

I love the first and last lines of your query. The other parts read more like a short synopsis to me.

I also stumbled over what the others have pointed out.

You have a great YA voice in your first 150 words. Good luck!

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

Thanks for the critiques you guys! The novella doesn't have head hopping, but rather different POVs in different parts. But I totally see the confusion in the query! I will get that fixed.
As far as the fat neck, I can't believe I never saw that! (How embarrassing!) I've had a LOT of eyes on this, too and no one has said anything before. That will also be getting fixed! Lol!