The Revenge of The Writers

Is the force strong with us?

We’ve spent the past week critiquing you, so now that you’ve read our comments, it’s time to respond. I unfortunately don’t have anything to post (the downside of working on a sequel), so I’m sharing Kara’s pitch and first 250. In the comments, choose an ANONYMOUS name and let us know what you think. Feel free to pick something Star Wars-y. 

Title: RESET
Genre: YA SF
Word Count: 80,000

If your main character could be any Star Wars character, who would they choose and why? Lia would choose to be Rey. Like Rey, she has been operating on her own for a long time, and the concept of working with others to achieve a goal is both exhilarating and terrifying.

When the universe resets itself, Lia has a chance to save her sister and a boy who may grow up to cure cancer. But someone is making sure she can’t save them both.
First 250:
Sometimes I feel like the universe should have a rule that bad news doesn’t arrive during breakfast. The universe does have rules; rules that it warps to suit its own purposes. And no one knows this better than me.
Bad news, however, has no rules about when it will or will not arrive. So of course, the news of Jay’s murder came while I was eating a bowl of Rice Krispies and pretending not to hear my parents’ argument.
“It’s a twelve hour drive to St. Agabus,” my mom said. “I don’t want to do it by myself.”
“Lia will be with you,” Dad countered. “You’ll be fine.”
Mom’s hands went in the air. “On the way there, Chris. It’s still twelve hours back by myself.”
It was the day before I could finally escape what was left of my family. I decided to go to college at St. Agabus precisely because it was twelve hours from Chatwick Heights, and I wouldn’t be expected to come home often.
“I can’t take off work with such late notice, Rachel. You know that I’m under a lot of pressure.” Dad slapped peanut butter on a slice of bread harder than strictly necessary.

“We have been planning this for months!” She was close to shouting. I bent over my bowl and flipped through Facebook on my phone. I wasn’t the only one headed for college the next day; lots of my former classmates were posting teary goodbye messages on everyone’s walls.

See more pitches and first pages: Kimberly VanderhorstCindy WilsonJamie CorriganJim O’DonnellRebecca WaddellErin HallKelly deVos.

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  1. Pitch: Very strong. Not much to suggest. I was a little confused about what "reset itself" meant at first but by the end of the pitch I felt I knew. Main questions I had were: Was the reset a spontaneous event or was it reset by someone? Could there be any way to provide a hint at antagonist's motives?

    The pitch is 33 words and you could lose "them" to gain a third word. Three words to hint at a motivation? Not sure it'd be possible, but might be nice if you could.

    First 250: Great way to hint at the inciting incident in the second paragraph. And to tease the SF nature in the first. I also like how you get the MCs name in by having parents argue about her while she's in the room. I don't have anything to critique in this page, it feels tight to me.

  2. Pitch: I loved it. I was intrigued and I personally felt it gave me just enough to want to read more.

    250: I thought this is tight as well. The one suggestion I have is to possibly come up with something a little less cliché in dad's response about work and how much pressure he's under. That seems to be used a lot. Maybe go into more detail about what has him under pressure, even just a quick sentence? That's it, otherwise, very good.

  3. Pitch: pretty much perfect and intriguing, though if you have a few extra words, I'd consider adding something about Lia. Is she a teen? Does she have a specific role in this world that enables her to be able to save people (an angel, warrior, etc.)? Some kind of adjective or descriptor before her name would color the pitch even more.

    250: I like the mix of real-world with sci-fi world. It makes me curious to know what elements of Lia's world are different from ours. In this excerpt, the only real indication we get that we're in a different sort of world is the part about how Lia knows the universe warps rules to serve its own purposes. So that's intriguing, and I'd love to see just a tiny bit more along those lines. Otherwise, it reads well and I'd be interested to know what happens!

  4. Paragraph 2: Maybe use the word argue, it feels like it is happening at the moment instead of argument which feels already done.
    We have the foreshadow of news of Jay's death. The set up of the breakfast bowl (I'm guessing rice crispies) and then nothing more about it. I would rather see more from that than the info on the facebook page feeds.
    If you keep the facebook posting bit, then …We have been planning this for months!” She was close to shouting. Facebook helped me tune them out. My phone was blowing up with former classmates teary goodbye messages to each other.
    But I really want a at least a cliff hanger to the death of Jay otherwise it feels like there is going to be a long stretch before you take me to that point. Example of what my brain thinks is, long car trip, packing, other friends introduced, parents fighting again, but no Jay. Maybe she could sense something is wrong or facebook gives her a hint (if Jay was a classmate).
    I like the pitch very much. My heart starts to race when I think of making a choice to save only one person. Yikes!

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