Monday, October 1, 2012

1st Rd Sm Press Contest #11 - Terra Incognita

Terra Incognita
YA post-apocalyptic paranormal


Seventeen-year old Haylee Wells stumbles through a portal into a post-apocalyptic future. Taking refuge with a group of humans, she learns the Pale Ones – creatures that can kill with a single touch – have propelled her through time to claim a power she didn’t know she had.
Now she must survive in a world where these creatures reign. A world where the supernatural is common: inanimate objects become poisonous organisms, humans survive – and fight back – with powers of their own, and Seers discern what secrets lie within the confines of your mind and heart. In a time when nearly everyone has an ability, Haylee doesn’t feel particularly special.
Until her power becomes evident. The gardens flourish with a touch of her hand, her wounds heal quickly, and she can see the auras of those around her. Her companions wonder if the supposedly immortal creatures regard her – an inexperienced Seer – as a threat. Or a potential weapon.
She knows she should return home. But the journey to the portal will be dangerous, and her growing affections for her new friends, particularly the duty-bound protector of the group, leave her unsure in which time home resides. If she doesn’t leave, the Pale Ones will decide her fate. They will either kill or enslave her.

First 150 Words:

As with most of life’s extraordinary problems, I felt ill equipped to handle the beast hurtling toward me. The monster’s yellow eyes focused upon me. Its tongue, dripping saliva, lolled from its mouth.
My eyes flicked left and right, looking for cover. A door to slip through. Anything. But could find no escape.

In a matter of seconds, it lunged for me.

I hit the ground, the air forced from my lungs. And, before I could take a breath, my face was plastered with my dog’s kisses. Laughter bubbled up in my throat, and I tried to shove the more than one hundred pound wolf-hybrid away to no avail. So, arms shaking, I managed to hold him several inches from my body, draw my knees up, and roll us both to the side. I made it to my feet and brushed strands of dark blonde hair away from my mouth.


Anonymous said...

Excited to see how far Terra Incognita goes! Good luck to you!

Mystery Science Theater Geek said...

Your query is excellent--drew me in and made me want to read the first 150 words.

The only thing you want to watch for in the first 150 words and, I expect, in your manuscript is (1) "eyes flicked left and right" implies independent body movement--arms, legs, eyes can't move on their own so try "gaze, stare, etc.," and (2) use an em dash (--) to combine the last 4 sentences more cohesively.

Your opening sentence really is excellent. It says so much about your main character! Great job.

You've got my vote.

Heather M Bryant said...

I love this revised version of your query! It's exciting and to the point.

The only thing I'm still unsure of is the use of the word 'extraordinary' in reference to her dog. It's a great sentence but possibly you could use it elsewhere?

Honey Badger said...

Hey, Entry #11!

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

- Solid entry. I enjoyed this. :)

- Reread the last paragraph of your 150 out loud. See if the cadence feels right to you. It was the only part that stumbled me a little.

Best of luck! :)

Mara Valderran said...

Excellent query and concept! I feel like there's a bit much in the second paragraph. The important bits to me seem to be the Seers and that there are other people with powers.

I loved the twist of your first 150. I was biting my nails thinking this was the moment when she was thrown through the portal and then it was the dog. Very amusing!

Honey Badger said...

Psst... I’m back. You have my vote! :)

Lone Star said...

An interesting premise. I do wonder if there is a way to explain the world a little more. Why is supernatural common in the future? Who are the Pale Ones? I know there isn't much room to explain stuff like that in a query but I would want to make sure that the premise is built on believable concepts. Maybe one line like, "after the aliens came and brought magic" or you know, whatever it really is. :)

I would adjust this line, "humans survive – and fight back – with powers of their own" to just "humans fight back with powers of their own". It feels a little clunky to me as is.

Anonymous said...

Thank you guys so much for the comments! Very helpful - I'll definitely look into your suggestions! :)