Monday, September 17, 2012

GUTGAA Pitch Contest #15: DEVASTATION

DEVASTATION
YA Romantic (soft) SF
95,000

Query:

After sixteen-year-old Lexa Castiel's dad dies, things go sideways. She sprouts giant-ass wings, her love life's in the crapper, because love triangles suck, and she learns she's half alien. Oh - don't forget - she gets abducted by genocidal aliens.

Her mom wants her to learn to fly, but that ain't happenin'. She has a puke-producing fear of heights, so her feathered wings are as useless as teats on a boar hog. To top that, the aliens who take her captive, for her regenerative DNA, are out to colonize Earth. Their spaceship is a cold, dark labyrinth, fully equipped with a blood thirsty beast. As she searches for an escape route, every turn presents its own danger. She finds she's capable of things she'd never have dreamed possible, physically and mentally. When the ship takes off, she'll either have to overcome her phobia and use her wings to make a flying escape or end up light years from home. Lexa's suck-o-meter buries the needle.

First 150 words:

The first big suck-ass moment of my life happened just before my eleventh birthday. Gabe, my best friend, and I were on summer vacation with our parents. He was a year older and it was a full time job keeping up with him, but I was a determined little shit.

Gabe hoisted himself onto the railing. I cocked my head and frowned. “You’re gonna fall. We’re on the tenth floor, brightness.”

“Naw. It’s a’ight.” He waved his hands above his head. “Look, no hands.”

I shrugged and hopped up next to him. If he could do it, so could I.

He poked my leg with his finger. “Don’t you fall, Lex.”

“Stop it.” I poked his arm.

Gabe batted his thick fringe of black lashes. “Stop what?”

I twisted sideways to smack him, but slid instead. I gasped, flailed, and tried to grab hold. Too far away.

I toppled backward leaving my stomach on the rail.

15 comments:

  1. Wow! There's so much voice packed into this query and just the first line. I love that her wings are because she's half alien instead of a supernatural being. Good luck!

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  2. Thanks Michelle! Yeah, when I started I didn't know where I was gonna go with the wings, but knew it couldn't be angels... so it was either aliens or science experiment. Went with aliens, so glad I did.

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  3. How did I miss this when I looked through the entries earlier? It was my kids I tell you! Wanting crazy stuff like food. Anyways, I heard it from the grapevine your novel takes place in the wonderful state of Tejas! True?

    I adore your first 150! Your MC really comes to life for me. And you know what, love triangles do suck . . . for the MC. They're great for us evil readers. MUU HA HA!!!

    Good luck with your entry!

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  4. Thanks for stopping in Lindsey. Yes, a little town named Gunter, Texas (pronounced by the locals like Gunner). It's actually a real place and everything, my daughter goes to the HS there. That's why I set it there, I started writing the book for her.
    Thanks for the encouragement!

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  5. Oh man, I have a friend who was born and raised in Gunter and I'm pretty sure he has an insurance company there. I live a little north of Dallas myself.

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    1. Well, you know they say 'it's a small world'! Maybe we'll have to chance to run into one another sometime! Check out my website, it has my contact info! www.kelleyharvey.com

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  6. I've seen this somewhere before, and loved the sound of it then too! Your query has changed, and I'm liking it!

    One thing I had was going to be the "as teats on a boar hog" phrase. Immediately I thought "wow, that's an old southern phrase" and I was going to suggest against it b/c of it, BUT then I saw your novel is set in Texas, so...duh. It's fine.

    But my other confusion about the query was you have her kidnapped, then her mom wants her to learn to fly. Is her mom an alien kidnapper? Did her mom want her to learn to fly BEFORE she's kidnapped? Or is her mom on the craft with her, encouraging her to fly? This hung me up a bit. Probably a really simple fix. Just clarify for your reader the sequence of events.

    Great stuff, and much luck to you!

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  7. Colene, thanks for the great feedback. Actually, now that you mention it, I can see how that might be confusing. The first mention of her abduction is just supposed to be part of the hook. And when I started the second paragraph it was supposed to clarify the sequence, but I can absolutly see where I have muddled it. I'll work on that. I appreciate your comments, as well as everyone else's!

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    1. OOOOOOH! I see that now. Gotcha. Yea, not sure it's coming across right? If it's just me, then no worries. If you have ever, or do ever get someone else hung up there, consider tweaking. If not, call me a dumb-a and don't bother with it. ;)

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  8. Wow, this sounds different. Like that she's half-alien. Just be careful of all the italics--it loses it's meaning of emphasis when used too often.

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  9. PITCH: Absolutely love the voice here—that snarky humor hooks me right away. Something about the structure feels off, though. I so wish I could be more specific, but I’ve been tearing my braids out for fifteen minutes puzzling and the show must go on.
    FIRST 150: Again, voice in spades: “…but I was a determined little shit.” Love that. She’s funny & self-deprecating and that definitely draws me in. A forgotten period and end-quotation, but I have the feeling these might have been lost during the submission process, so I don’t hold it against the entry.

    The voice carried through: YOU’VE GOT MY VOTE!

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  10. Missus Braidyhead,
    Thank you thank you thank you x 1000! You've made my week.
    I'm pretty sure you are right about the missing period and quotation mark, lost in submission. When I noticed it, I wen't back to my MS to fix it and they were there. Maybe the sweet Robin Weeks will be so kind as to add it back for me, if that's allowed.
    Thank you again for your vote and for your kind words about my MC, Lexa - she thanks you too by the way. If you figure out what you think is off about my query let me know, I want to get it perfect!

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    Replies
    1. That sort of thing can easily be blamed on the sub process. Missing punctuation now found. :)

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    2. Kelley, I think Colene may have hit it, above, that it's about sequence. Another thing I was thinking is that last decision mentiond in the pitch - is it the climactic decision? Because I usually don't put those in my pitches, although I've seen it a lot in this round.

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  11. Love this voice! Awesome job!
    Only thing that confused me was the mention of wings in the query. And that's only cuz I wanted to know more about them... like why and how. But that's a great reason to keep an agent reading. :)
    Best of luck!!

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