Monday, September 17, 2012

GUTGAA Pitch Contest #11: THE LION WITHIN

THE LION WITHIN
YA light sci-fi
85,000

Query:

Sixteen-year-old Renna Healy is confident she can control her temper. It took her doctor-dad dragging her to an impoverished African village to get a grip on reality. After two years in Kenya, Renna’s feeling calm and focused, and ready to return to the states. That all changes when her dad is killed and Renna is injured by a diseased lion. She contracts a virus from the lion, which mutates her DNA giving her increased senses, strength, and agility. Worst of all, her temper has returned with a vengeance, only now when she reacts to something irrationally, destruction and remorse are left behind.

Without a guardian in Africa, Renna moves to Wisconsin to live with her uncle. Her goal is to harness her inner beast before she kills someone simply because they piss her off. What makes the goal nearly impossible is being the new girl in the hardest place to hide her secret-side and control her anger—high school.

First 150 Words:

Insects skittered across the shower curtain. Renna ignored them and focused on the warm bucket of water running through the spout over her head. After two years in Kenya she had the timing down. Three minutes. Shampoo. Soap. Rinse. Fast.

She couldn't remember how many days it had been since she’d thoroughly washed. The village was a dusty place and water was heavy to carry. She knew it was stupid to bathe before her last hiking date with her dad, but showering had benefits. Renna knew her boyfriend, Sean couldn’t resist running his fingers through her thick brown hair after she conditioned. Only one week, she thought, and I have to say goodbye. She bit her lip to keep from crying, again.

A lime green beetle, about the length of her pointer finger, distracted Renna as it climbed to the middle of the shower curtain. She’d never seen a specimen like it.

10 comments:

  1. Oh neat! This is really different, and sounds fantastic.

    My only thing was, the first two lines of the query seem to not correspond to one another. I know they do, but it took me 2 reads to understand what you were trying to say. I think you can even do something so simple as cut "on reality" and that would do it.

    But really, that's it! Awesome job, love the idea, and would love to pick that up some day!

    Good luck!

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  2. Sure hope to find this one on shelves at my favorite bookstore sometime in the not too distant future. What a cool concept!

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  3. Thank you Colene and Kelley, your comments mean the world!
    ~ Rachel

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  4. Love the idea! the term doctor-dad tripped me up in the query and I agree with Colene about the first two lines, but the rest of the query is solid.

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  5. I'm immediately drawn into the unique setting. I also love that we get a glimpse of romance right away. The storyline overall is exciting and I can't wait to see it on the shelves!

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  6. Interesting and unique thus far! Only 150 words and my interest is piqued. Agree with the doctor-dad reference. Not sure why it read awkwardly to me. Looking forward to seeing this in a beautiful finished booked!

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  7. PITCH: This is very unique and definitely piques my interest. I love how the anger management issues that she already had, come back full-force along with the increased abilities! I think the lead-up might be a little too long, though, and the writing there is a little choppy—something about that second sentence is niggling at me, like it should be connected to or worked in with the others in a different way.
    FIRST 150: Solid opening, with some great setting details and character details well-balanced. Small nitpick: the “She knew” and “Renna knew” could probably be taken out because we’re in close third-person, so the reader can assume these are things she’s thinking/knowing.

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  8. I love how the story goes from Africa to Wisconsin - two very different worlds, on so many levels. And it's so refreshing to have an interesting ya novel that does not include a vampire. I wonder how the green bug fits into the story...I'd definitely want to find out.

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  9. I love how Renna has anger and temper issues, only to be magnified by as virus. Throw that in with teen angst AND high school...now I'm anxious to read this book in published form!
    I'm hooked!

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