Monday, October 1, 2012

1st Rd Sm Press Contest #22 - The Children of the Nephilim

YA Sci-Fi


Sixteen-year old Paxton Mills freaking hates living in space. The station is freezing cold, her berth is barely bigger than a port-a-potty and her fear of heights doesn’t lend itself to a comfortable intergalactic experience. She’s one of several hundred teenagers saved from the fires that ravaged Earth.

Handpicked for their ability to acclimate to celestial living, they were taken to ensure humanity’s survival. However, Paxton isn’t grateful to her rescuers for whisking her into space and educating her in hydroponics and uniform maintenance. Why should she give a damn about vegetables or a wrinkle-free jumper when memories of her loved ones being left behind to burn to death still haunt her?

But her days of sulking end when she realizes her teachers aren’t humans, but aliens called the Nephilim. Knowing she needs proof, Paxton breaks into the forbidden Red Block and finds curled and crusty teens barely clinging to life. That's when she discovers she and the other kids were never taken to ensure humanity’s survival. They were taken to ensure the survival of the Nephilim.

Unwilling to end up resembling an oversized fetus, Paxton rallies her friends so together they can find an escape. As they unravel the mystery of the station and their captors, Paxton’s boyfriend is murdered. If Paxton wants to save her friends from this same fate, she must trust an annoyingly perfect hybrid named Kendal and accept that good and evil don’t always run skin deep.

First 150 Words:

My knees ached from pressing into the honeycomb design of the metal deck.  Leaning forward, I pushed my forehead against the tiny porthole waiting until the ashen rock that was once Earth rotated into view.

It had been two years since I touched a blade of grass — two years since fresh air entered my lungs. Yet the brilliant greens and blues of the bejeweled planet that was my home for fourteen years rarely entered my thoughts. More often, I was haunted by the last images blazed into my memory. Shadows. Flames.

The dim light from my old world finally appeared. Although my heart raced, the rest of me remained frozen until it vanished once again. I shut the shade and stood, my legs warming as the blood slowly returned to them. Even with the burned planet out of sight, the pounding in my chest continued, making it difficult to breathe.


Rina said...

As far as your query, I love the world you've created here. The space station setting, students as science experiments and a protag with a chip on her shoulder- I like it!

I think your first 150 words are gorgeous. The entire second paragraph is a thing of beauty. :) I just love your imagery.

Mystery Science Theater Geek said...

Oh. Wow. What else is there to say? You've done a brilliant job. The first 150 words make me ache for her. That's impressive.

Your query is a bit long. It's traditionally accepted that you limit it to 250 words (up to 300 max) because you want to keep the agent's/editor's attention tight and focused. If you can develop a great hook for your query (a strong first sentence that sucks the reader in), that will help, because the query is well-written. But for a sci-fi, it's a bit generic. Consider that change and tighten it up some and I believe you have HUGE potential with this manuscript.

You've got my vote.

Honey Badger said...

Hey, Entry #22!

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

- Great voice!

- I’d tweak the last paragraph to avoid spoiling the death of her boyfriend (unless it's not very important). Allude to those high stakes, let us know what the Nephilim are capable of, but leave us wanting to read more. Just my two cents on this one. :)

Best of luck!

renfeh said...

I love this! Very imaginative and descriptive. You make it easy to picture her surroundings and feel her emotions, as she goes home. Excellent

Anonymous said...

Thank you guys for your great feedback. I really appreciate it. Although the death of Paxton's boyfriend is important, it also occurs during the first part of the MS so I've been torn about including it or not. I'll definitely muddle it around. :) But with the help of savvy critiques like these, I should have some great results. Thanks so much Rina, Mystery, Honey and Renfeh.

Escape Artist said...

Your query pulled me in with the worldbuilding. I like your voice and unique concept.

I'd buy this book.

You have my vote.

Honey Badger said...

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

Anonymous said...

Thank you all so much!! :)

Anonymous said...

Your 150 are unbelievable. Simply incredible. Keep doing what you do.

With much admiration,
Submission #25

Lone Star said...

This entry is strong overall. Your query kept my attention the whole way through, which is tough for me and my wandering mind. :) I liked the voice and the added twist. I love the promise that something unexpected will happen.

Lone Star said...

You're the one I'd vote for if I had one more vote. :) Fortunately for you, you didn't need mine!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Lone Star. :) I really appreciated your kind words.