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Monday, September 16, 2013

Workshop #10 Gone Wild

Revision 2
Seventeen-year-old Lia leaves Earth to settle on Stellar 3, a planet across the galaxy. While she knows her new life will be an adventure, she never expects to emerge from stasis to a ship of corpses. A crash landing has killed most of her fellow travelers, and marooned her in the planet’s desert, miles from her destination.

After no reply to their SOS, Lia and the other survivors head for the colony. Lia’s dreams of adventure disappear as her world morphs into a nightmare. Her first night in the desert, foot-long worms invade her campsite and bite, killing a boy. Her friend, Claire, and her little brother, Joe, are bitten and survive, but within days of their recovery, Lia realizes something’s horribly wrong with them. Claire’s spouting psychic predictions, which freak Lia out when they start to come true. Joe insists he can communicate with animals and proves it when he protects Lia from attacking beasts with what he calls the power of his mind.

 When Joe falls from a cliff and lies dying in Lia’s arms, Claire shares another vision. Lia can submit to a bite that may give her the power to heal Joe.  Or Lia can remain unchanged and watch him die.


GONE WILD is a young adult speculative fiction, complete at 89,000 words.

Revision 1
Dear Stellar Agent:

Seventeen-year-old Lia leaves Earth to settle on planet Stellar 3. While she knows her new life will be an adventure, she never expects to emerge from stasis to a ship of corpses. A crash landing has killed most of her fellow travelers, and marooned her in the planet’s desert, miles from her destination.

After no reply to their SOS, Lia and the other teen survivors head to the colony. Lia’s determined to keep everyone safe but her world goes batty around her. Foot-long worms invade their campsite and bite some of the kids, killing a boy. When her friend Claire, and her brother Joe somehow survive their bites, Lia’s relief and guilt tears her apart.

Within days, Lia realizes something’s horribly wrong with her friends. Claire’s hallucinating about dragons and morphing into the planet’s first psychic while sharing visions of doom. And Joe insists he can telepathically communicate with a lizard-like creature he found in the desert. Although they appear the same, Lia fears Claire and Joe are mutating before her eyes into mind-warped aliens, and it’s freakin’ her out.

When Joe falls from a cliff and lies dying in Lia’s arms, loopy Claire pulls her aside. In a witchy, sing-song voice, she tells Lia she has two choices. Lia can submit to a bite that might give her the power to heal Joe. Or Lia can remain unchanged and watch him die.

GONE WILD is a young adult speculative fiction, complete at 89,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Original
Dear Stellar Agent:

Seventeen-year-old Lia leaves Earth to settle on planet Stellar 3. The last thing she expected was to wake to a ship of rotting corpses.  Total shock sets in when she discovers she’s stranded in Stellar 3’s barren desert with ten other teen survivors, far from the colony.

As they head to safety, Lia’s determined to hold her little group together, but everything goes batty around her.  Foot-long worms slide into the campsite her first night and bite her friends. She yanks one off a boy and kills it, but he soon dies from the bite.  Claire and her little brother Joe were bitten and she only stays sane when they tell her they feel fine.

Lia has always found Claire a bit off, but within days Claire’s sharing dreams of telepathic dragons and spouting psychic visions of a future of doom.  When Joe introduces Lia to a lizard-like creature he says morphed from a worm and insists he can speak to it in his mind, Lia knows her life is spiraling out of control. Although they look exactly the same, Lia fears her friends are mutating into scary, mind-warped creatures.
When Joe falls from a cliff and lies dying in Lia’s arms, Claire pulls her aside.  In a witchy, sing-song voice, she tells Lia she has two choices.  Lia can go to the desert and submit to a bite that might give her the power to heal Joe.  Or Lia can remain unchanged and watch him die.

GONE WILD is a young adult speculative fiction, complete at 89,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

13 comments:

Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

The sentences should flow smoothly. IMO, the second and third sentences kind of jump rather than connect.

Good premise. I like the conflict and would probably want to see more if I was an editor or agent. But I need the structure to flow better. Not just in the first paragraph but in the rest of it as well.

Charity Bradford said...

So many questions come to my mind reading this. Most of them would have me picking up the book to read a bit looking for the payoff. That's good. However, some of the questions might need grounding a bit in your query.

I'm assuming that she is waking from cryo sleep? Why are the others dead? Did they crash? Why would she set off on a strange planet instead of waiting for people from the colony to come rescue her?

I also think I would just hint at Clair and Joe's changes to keep a bit of mystery. Remember the query covers what happens in the first 1/3 of the book. Cover the inciting incident, set up the stakes and the character so we know why we should care.

You're close though, because I would read some of this.

Kathleen said...

I agree. I'd concentrate on character, conflict, stakes. I like the last paragraph where she has to make a choice. The questions that Charity has should be answered but in as few as words as possible.

Martha Mayberry said...

Thanks so much for your great suggestions. I'm going to make this flow better and resubmit!

Kara said...

I like how this begins (I'm reading the revision, BTW) You've set up her conflict and introduced the premise very neatly.
I would strike out the word "teen" in the second paragraph. Specifying "teen survivors" makes it sound like there were other survivors who don't go with them. And I would not call getting attacked by giant worms "batty". Batty is old women who wear headscarves and think they can tell the future. Batty is harmless. Find a better word to describe the horror that is giant worms.
Why does she feel guilty that Claire and Joe survive the bites? How do you know Claire's the planet's first psychic? These are questions that come up, and I don't think they need to be answered- which means I think they should be left out of the query. A question that does need to be answered is why Lia would believe Claire when she tells her how to save Joe.
Keep working on it. You can get this tighter!

Liz Blocker said...

I really like the revision - it's much tighter and cleaner than the original, so hats off to you for putting that together so quickly.

Grammar check: "Lia's relief and guilt TEAR her apart", not tears.

My sense is that you could combine the third and fourth paragraphs into one, and cut out most of the details. While the details are great, there are too many of them here, and we get a little lost in them. I would cut the sentence "Although they appear the same..." . Then cut to the end. Something like, "When Joe falls from a cliff and lies dying in Lia's arms, Lia must decide whether to obey Claire's insane visions and risk her own life to save Joe, or save herself and let Joe die."

Great ideas, though - it's creative and way out of the box, and I'm intrigued :)

Tiffanie Lynn said...

Hey, Marty!

Great revision.

Here are my thoughts:

Get rid of "planet" Stellar 3. Where else would someone go when they leave Earth? Okay, it could be a spaceship. In this case, reword.

Cut "teen" from "teen survivors".

Don't use "batty".

I think you need commas: "When her friend, Claire, and her brother, Joe, somehow..."

Don't say Claire's "morphing". Since you said "dragon" two seconds earlier, my mind immediately turned Claire into a dragon.

I love the final paragraph. It shows the stakes, Claire's powers, voice and the epicness that is in your book.

Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

Another excellent revision.

The first paragraph made me say, "Oh. I get it now."

(Hubby asked, "What?"
I said,"Never mind, honey, go back to sleep.")

Very clear, concise. Good flow between sentences and paragraph. Congrats!

mshatch said...

My opinion:
first paragraph, good.

Second paragraph, good up until this point:
Foot-long worms invade their campsite and bite some of the kids, killing a boy. [When her friend Claire, and her brother Joe somehow survive their bites, Lia’s relief and guilt tears her apart. I'D CUT THIS LAST LINE AND INSTEAD SAY something like: Thankfully they survive but within days of their recovery, [Merge] Lia realizes something’s horribly wrong with her friends.

Hope this helps :)

Martha Mayberry said...

Thank you, everyone! I'm working on another revision but won't rush it out.

mshatch: Perfect suggestion. I've been reworking that line all day and couldn't figure out how best to write it, and here it is!

Huntress: I laughed at your hubby's comment. Mine would do the same.

Tiff/Kara: the 'teen' and 'batty' will be deleted from the next version; thanks! But I have to keep Claire in the query or Lia would have no reason to believe a bite could heal Joe. I just have to figure out how to clearly show Claire's psychic abilities, yet keep enough doubt of what the outcome of following her advice and a bite could be.

Liz: I think the tears/tear needs to go overall, and thank you for your idea for my ending (and for liking the premise; it's a hard sell for some reason).

Tiffanie Lynn said...

Here's the changes I would make in Rev. 2:

"During her first night in the desert, foot-long worms invade the campsite, killing a boy."

"...bitten and survive. Within days of their recovery..."

Joe's power sentence is a little long. Don't know how to shorten it.

"Lia can submit to the worm's bite, which may giver her the power to heal Joe. Or she can remain unchanged and watch him die."

Kara said...

That second revision does it for me! Nice job. Just the small detail of adding that Claire's predictions come true perfectly solved the answer of why Lia would even consider believing her when she tells her to risk getting bitten. It tied it up nicely. Way to go!

Martha Mayberry said...

Thank you everyone for your help! I hope you'll see my query again next week.