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Monday, September 16, 2013

Workshop #4 The Last Orphans

Revision #1
Dear Awesome Judges,

The Last Orphans is a YA action adventure complete at 58,000 words.

Small-town sixteen-year-old Shane watches his family’s slaughter when a modern-day government mishap suddenly wipes out all the adults on the planet, leaving everyone under the age of eighteen to fend for themselves. An out-of-his-league girl pleads for his help, and Shane reluctantly finds himself leading his high school friends on a desperate search for answers. After a run-in with a gang of violent juvenile delinquents, Shane learns a top-secret military weapon’s malfunction caused the massacre. What’s worse, the still-active weapon could, at any moment, turn on the survivors. While attempting to keep their little brothers and sisters safe, Shane and his friends fight their way through gangs who have taken over Atlanta. They must make it to the heart of the city and deactivate the weapon, which left unchecked will target younger and younger kids until it kills them all.    

I am the author of Joshua’s Tree (MuseItUp Publishing, June 2013), a YA novel that was a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest (2012) and is currently #1 out of 874 books on the GoodReads 2013 Summer Reads List.

I’d be happy to provide a copy of my manuscript for your consideration. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Original
Dear Awesome Judges,

The Last Orphans is a YA action adventure complete at 58,000 words.

A modern-day government mishap suddenly wipes out all adults on the planet, leaving those under the age of eighteen to fend for themselves. Small-town sixteen-year-old Shane must ignore his grief and lead his high school friends in a harrowing attempt to stop the doomsday weapon that exterminated the adults—before it turns on them.

After watching his family’s slaughter, Shane wants to give up. But an out-of-his-league girl he has always had a crush on pleads for his help, and he’ll do whatever it takes to save her. Joined by other high school friends, Shane reluctantly finds himself in the role of their leader. After a run-in with a gang of violent juvenile delinquents, they learn a top-secret military weapon’s malfunction caused the death of the adults. What’s worse, the still-active weapon could, at any moment, turn on the surviving youths. Shane leads an army of teenagers against gangs who have taken over Atlanta, fighting his way to the heart of the city to deactivate the weapon before he and his friends suffer their parent’s horrific fate.  

I am the author of Joshua’s Tree (MuseItUp Publishing, June 2013), a YA novel that was a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest (2012) and is currently #1 out of 874 books on the GoodReads 2013 Summer Reads List.

I’d be happy to provide a copy of my manuscript for your consideration. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.

13 comments:

Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

IMO, edit the last sentence: “...lead his high school friends in a harrowing attempt to stop the doomsday weapon before it turns on them as well.”

Second paragraph: Possibly cut “...he has always had a crush on...” but I am of two minds about that edit.

Succinct and quickly to the point. Great conflict that is well-defined. Another surefire winner, I think.

Carl Hackman said...

Mishap doesn't seem forceful enough, perhaps something similar to 'blunder'

You could tighten some of the sentences but overall I really like this query and would definitely want to read more. Best of luck :)

Charity Bradford said...

This sounds like a great story. There are some places you can tighten. In fact I think you could cut the entire first paragraph since most of it is repeated in the second. All you'd need to do is tweak the first sentence to include all the adults as well as Shane's family.

Other random thoughts--
"reluctantly finds himself in the role of leader"
"surviving youth" youth is plural so you don't need the s.

How does Shane know that the machine might turn on them next? Or will it just wipe out anyone whenever they turn 19? Just wondering.

Patchi said...

The second paragraph is a great short blurb, but the third paragraph expands it in a redundant way. Maybe this arrangement will help:

Small-town sixteen-year-old Shane watches his family’s slaughter when a modern-day government mishap suddenly wipes out all adults on the planet. Those under the age of eighteen now need to fend for themselves.

When the out-of-his-league girl he has always had a crush on pleads for his help, Shane reluctantly finds himself leading his high school friends. [What do they need to do to survive?]

After a run-in with a gang of violent juvenile delinquents, they learn a top-secret military weapon caused the massacre. Shane leads an army of teenagers against gangs who have taken over Atlanta, fighting his way to the heart of the city to deactivate the doomsday weapon before he and his friends suffer their parent’s horrific fate.

mshatch said...

The only thing I'd add is that 58,000 words sounds pretty short for YA - but I could be wrong.

nwharrisbooks said...

Awesome feedback! Just revised and resubmitted. Hopefully it is moving in the right direction, if not, please let me know.

Patchi said...

Revision 1 is a lot more gripping. Just break it into 2-3 paragraphs.

Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

Maybe break up the first sentence. It's a little long. But other than that, darn good.

nwharrisbooks said...

Thanks Patchi. Going to break it up into 2-3 paragraphs for sure. Thanks you Huntress as well. Staring at that first sentence and can't seem to find a way to break it into two...any suggestions?

nwharrisbooks said...

Thanks Patchi. Going to break it up into 2-3 paragraphs for sure. Thanks you Huntress as well. Staring at that first sentence and can't seem to find a way to break it into two...any suggestions?

Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

"Sixteen-year-old Shane sees his family slaughtered by a government mishap that wipes out all the adults. The only people left on the planet are under eighteen and must fend for themselves."

nwharrisbooks said...

Thanks Huntress! I give it a whirl.

mshatch said...

Yes, divide into three paragraphs, the first for character, second for conflict, third for choice. It's a formula, but it seems to work since that's what most stories are.