Monday, October 1, 2012

1st Rd Sm Press Contest #36 - A City in the Air

A City in the Air
YA Steampunk


As the new flight captain of her prestigious academy, fifteen-year-old Harlow should be proud. No one in school can fly airships better than she. Then again, no one can stick their foot in their mouth quite as well either.

Always one to trust her instincts, Harlow believes she’ll do what’s right under pressure. But when a day filled with bad luck throws her into the world of the mysterious new student Takashi, her impulses get her into more trouble than she can imagine. She doesn't mean to lie. Slandering him as a Magic, an outlawed sorcerer, and getting him booted from school just sort of . . . happened. But as guilt overwhelms her, she lashes out at the cuckoo clock that started the whole dreadful day. And when it breaks into pieces, a flying box is unleashed, burning strange light onto her forearms.

Now the real Magics want Harlow dead. To survive, she must turn to Takashi, who came to England in search of the three boxes. With time running out, only the head moderator can save them both. But to find him in the floating city, they’ll have to work together before the deadly Magics find them first.

First 150 Words:

With every intention of making herself deaf, Harlow Morgan pressed her hands against her ears. Pressure built behind her palms, and a low pitched hum muffled the sounds around her. Every sound, that is, but the one she wanted to escape.

“Cuckoo! Cuckoo!”

The dreadful shrill of her handed-down cuckoo clock she received two weeks ago sent a chill down her spine. Absolute worst fifteenth birthday present ever. With each squeal, her body jerked. She had managed to push the feeling of bad luck down in her gut all night, but that ridiculously loud clock dragged it all back up. That’s it. Forget going anywhere. She released her ears.

“Cuckoo! Cuckoo!”

She let out a deep sigh and flopped over on her side. Perhaps if she just ignored it the day wouldn't come. No disappointing flight captain results. No utter humiliation.

“Cuckoo! Cuckoo!”

She had to silence that bird.


Jess said...

Ooh I really love your query letter! And it leads perfectly into your first 150 words! Great job and good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hooray! I love this story. Good luck!!

Honey Badger said...

Hey, Entry #36!

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

- Great voice & standout genre.

- Try to be a little more specific about their next course of action. Are they after the other two boxes or just the head moderator? What can he/she do about any of this?

Best of luck! :)

Lone Star said...

I can't help but wonder why she is using the cockoo clock if she hates it so much she wants to rupture her ear drums. Can't she just turn it off? ;) Good voice though.