Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Writer's Voice


“The Writer’s Voice” is a multi-blog, multi-agent contest hosted by Cupid of Cupid’s Literary Connection, Krista Van Dolzer of Mother. Write. (Repeat.), Monica B.W. of Love YA, and Brenda Drake of Brenda Drake Writes based on NBC’s singing reality show The Voice.

 The Query



Dear Agent,
Straight-laced, sixteen-year-old Rebecca Collins is ready for her debut into an idealistic society until the Machine labels her a future criminal. Alone and confused, she’s shipped off to the Permanent Isolation Territory, a lawless penal community. Her only hope at surviving is an eclectic band of teen inmates, but their leader refuses to trust her. Rebecca earns their respect by breaking into a government building and discovers the unsettling truth behind her new status. After decades of anarchy, the government is using the Machine to weed out people who threaten its version of perfection.
Terrified of being stuck in the PIT forever, Rebecca agrees to a risky escape plan. She creates a new persona for her fresh start on the outside, complete with a semi-fake husband, Eric, she’s almost certain she can learn to love. But Rebecca struggles with standing on her own two feet for the first time in her life, afraid that in asserting herself, she’ll turn into the criminal the Machine predicted she’d become.
As the teens run toward freedom, they are captured and discover Eric is the one who turned them in. One of their members pays the ultimate price, and what’s left of their ragtag family is about to be permanently separated. In order to keep them together and salvage a chance at real love, Rebecca must embrace the criminal within to liberate an unsuspecting society from living under the Machine’s lies.
Rite of Rejection is a 78K word YA Dystopian where Matched meets Minority Report.  
  
The Words



Thanks to my mother, today is orchestrated to absolute perfection. Right on schedule, I push the glowing blue button and the door slides open with a staccato puff of air. Overhead, an electric bell tinkles as I shuffle into the upscale boutique packed with other Candidates. Someday I’ll coordinate perfect plans of my own, but not today. Not on the eve of my Acceptance.
Cheryl is right behind me, bouncing on her toes with each step. My mother would die of embarrassment if I showed the same lack of decorum as my best friend, but I’m bouncing on the inside. I take a few more measured steps so our mothers can join us and the door slides shut with another whoosh of air.
We visited half the shops in Cardinal City this morning in our search for the perfect dresses and dyed-to-match shoes. I got a thrill buying my first pair of silk gloves, Cheryl and I gushing over the tiny pearl buttons, but this is the purchase I'm looking forward to the most.
Shelves bursting with dance cards cover every square inch of wall space. Dozens of girls sigh and squeal over the small books we'll use to record the names of our dance partners for tomorrow's ball. I wipe damp palms against the cool material of my skirt and force myself to focus on the goal. One of these books is the perfect one for me. Hopefully, by the end of tomorrow night it will hold the name of my future husband.

36 comments:

  1. Cool. Love dystopian and could feel Minority Report all over it. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ooh, I love your voice here! There's a nice tension to it :) Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love Minority Report and Matvhed so this is right up my alley and you have a great voice. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sarah, I love the premise and I would love to read more. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I remember reading this on YALitChat, and I love it as much now and I did then. I still can't get over how perfect the comparisons are.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I had the same thought of this being a nice twist of Minority Report, but this definitely has more character. You've got a great voice, and the pitch really makes me want to follow in Rebecca's footsteps. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  7. This sounds amazing! The only thing I wonder about in the query is whether Eric and the group leader are the same person?

    The first 250 totally drew me in. I want to know more about their world. I'd definitely keep reading on to find out.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Absolutely perfect comparison! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Very cool concept. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Nice voice! I like that you've got a cotillion sort of thing going on despite the setting, too. Best of luck in the contest!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Great comparison titles - I could totally see Minority Report in the query and Matched in the 250 words. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love this line: "afraid that in asserting herself, she’ll turn into the criminal the Machine predicted she’d become"
    That alone drew me in.
    Matched and Minority Report sound like great comparisons.
    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh! I've read this snippet somewhere else...maybe the pitchfest? Awesome snippet--love the voice, and it's obviously very memorable!

    --Suzanne
    www.suzannewarr.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yes, I remember this one too! When people remember your writing, it must be positive signs! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I would definitely read this! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'm already pulling for your MC! Best of luck in the contest.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I like the idea that the perfect dance book leads to the perfect dance to the perfect husband. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Your voice is very clear and the comparison of Matched and Minority Report sounds like it is spot on. I could feel your MC's desire for the perfect night. Great work! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Nice opener. The flow of words kept me right in the moment.
    ~Jill Haugh

    ReplyDelete
  20. I can see Matched immediately,Sarah. Dystopian I love. You write incredibly smoothly. Good luck with this

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love Dystopian, too. Your opener is awesome. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I really like the twist on Minority Report the voice. First 250 are fantastic. Best of luck. :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Like everyone else, I love that this is a twist on Minority Report. Your 250 really drew me in and made me want to read more. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I love the dyed-to-match shoes, pearl buttons, silk gloves and dance cards mixed with dystopian. And the first paragraph really pulls you into the futuristic feel of your novel. Great job and good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Ha, mine is a YA SF/Spec fic with a similar feel. I am entry #61 if you want to take a look. Good luck with yours, I love dystopians and I'd read it.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I liked your main character and immediately sympathized with her from reading the query. What a spin on the Cinderella fantasy--opening a book to see your future husband's name. Reminds me a bit of Matched.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I concur that this is a good intro. It reminds me of Divergent with setting up the world and the preparation for a big event that the reader understands is important but we're anxious to learn more. Awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I don't read much dystopian but this has a hopeful feel that I really like. Best of luck!

    ReplyDelete
  29. So intrigued by this opening! I unfortunately haven't experienced either MATCHED or MINORITY REPORT but I'll take everyone else's word :) Would love to read on... Best of luck!

    ReplyDelete
  30. This is very intriguing and seems to be a well built-world (which I think is the hardest part.) The voice sounds genuine too! Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Those comparisons in the query make me WANT. The whole of it sounds well thought-out & layered. Great details in the opener--just enough to add flavor, but not so much as to overwhelm. G'luck!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Good luck! I'm hooked and want to know more. :D

    ReplyDelete
  33. Your premise is intense, and your 250 convinced me that this is a story I would love. Hope this goes far, because it has so many things I love love LOVE. Keeping my fingers crossed for you :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Wow! I love the premise, the setting, the MC... I want to read on! Best of luck!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Your query is awesome. And that opening leaves me wanting to read on and on. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Sarah! :o)

    Like I said in my earlier comment, I could see ‘Minority Report’ in the query and ‘Matched’ in the first 250 words. I didn’t really have anything to comment on for the first 250 words (which were nicely detailed), so I’ll focus on the query instead.

    ‘Rebecca earns their respect by breaking into a government building and discovers the unsettling truth behind her new status.’ The tenses sound a little off in this sentence (after the ‘earns by breaking’ bit, my head is saying ‘discovering’ gives it a more natural flow), but I know what you’re trying to say. To combat this I’d maybe put this as ‘Her only hope at surviving is an eclectic band of teen inmates. When their leader (is this Eric??) refuses to trust her, Rebecca earns his respect by breaking into a government building. There, she discovers the unsettling truth behind her new status.’

    I got the sense that the PIT was isolated from the rest of society, so I don’t understand how Rebecca can have the means to create her new persona so things are set up for her on the outside (I’m sure this gets covered in the ms) and why she has to have a husband. I think maybe this muddies your query a little, so it might be better to drop that aspect altogether (we know she’s agreed to a risky escape plan, so I don’t think you need to detail the future stuff – find another way to mention traitor Eric). This’ll then give you a bit more room to expand on what Rebecca is standing on her own two feet about (is it just that she’s agreed to the escape plan or is she actively plotting to help bring it about?).

    In the third paragraph, the fact that she now considers the eclectic band as her family seems to come out of nowhere (I didn’t get the sense earlier that she’d bonded so well with them – I just thought she was using them as a means to an end), and her salvaging a chance at real love makes me wonder who that’s directed at – Eric still?? Even despite the betrayal? (Or is it someone else? The nameless leader, perhaps?) I do like the thought of her embracing the criminal within, though, to tie up with the first sentence of the query. :o)

    I hope this helps! Take what you need and ignore the rest!

    ReplyDelete

Share the love, man...