Thursday, May 3, 2012

"The Writer's Voice" Submission


This is my entry for The Writer's Voice.

SILO
YA Dystopian
84,000 words

Query:

After a global disaster strikes, seventeen-year-old Lizzie Wallace is kidnapped from the rubble of her high school in Los Angeles and flown across the devastated country. Her new home is an underground silo hidden deep in the Adirondack Mountains. Like a modern day Noah's Ark, the children are there in pairs - male and female, ranging in age from ten to eighteen. They are the future, each one chosen for their special skill to rebuild society. There's only one problem - Lizzie doesn't have the skill they think she does.

Her repeated failure at the one thing that she's expected to contribute to the group cements her belief that she doesn't belong there. Even her growing attraction to eighteen-year-old Brand doesn't stop her from plotting to escape the silo and return to the family she knows is frantic about her.  But when the man who brought her there is killed, Lizzie learns a secret that changes everything she believes about the silo and her place in it.


First 250 words:

The first explosion rocks the room, sending my books flying off the desk.  The second makes the ground tremor and the lights flicker.  Ms. Clark grabs her large desk at the front of the classroom.  I brace for a third and don't have to wait long.  This one flings the glass specimen jars from the walls, smashing them onto the concrete floor.  The smell of formaldehyde and death fill the science class.

"Everyone remain calm," Ms. Clark says.

"Should we get under our desks?" I ask.

Ms. Clark doesn’t respond, seeming frozen in place.  I don’t wait for an answer, crawling under my desk.

“Lizzie,” Christopher calls to me, but in the chaos I can’t find him.  Bodies swarm everywhere in panic.  Doesn’t anyone remember the drills we’ve been practicing for a decade now?

The ground shakes again and the lights go out.  Screams and sobs reverberate over the din of the creaking building, its beams groan in protest at the ceaseless movement beneath it.

I feel a hand on my arm, strong and warm.  I don’t even have to look to know whose it is.  I have every callous on Christopher's hand memorized.  And the wart he keeps cutting off that stubbornly grows back on the inside of his thumb.  I grab his hand, lacing my fingers through his, and squeeze tight.
        
          Ms. Clark shouts something but I can't make out the words over the crashing, popping and screaming.  I chew on my bottom lip, as my mind races.

46 comments:

  1. Ah, that's such a tense, gripping opening scene! This manuscript sounds amazing--I love the idea of a dystopian Noah's Ark, and I so want to know what skill Lizzie is supposed to have. Absolutely incredible job!

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  2. Hey Jennie! Best of luck with the contest. I'm glad to see you made it in. I've never seen a linky list fill up so fast in my life!

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  3. Love this opening - immediately makes me want to know what's happening and if they'll survive. And I love that the query raises so many questions that make me want to read more!

    Good luck with the contest!

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  4. Awesome! Love the concept - you'll do great! Good luck :)

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  5. I love the atmosphere you set here~ I can still remember the smell of the jars and dissecting items in science class :) And I LOVE the idea of a hidden silo in the Adirondacks that will rebuild society! And I'm dying to know what skill they thought she had!
    Best of luck in the contest!

    (and, on another note, I just read your bio and your job sounds amazing :))

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  6. Noah's Ark dystopian? Ooooh...also, I love the tension of her not being able to do what she's there for. Great entry!

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  7. Great concept! I also love the action scene you begin with. I want to read more already! Good luck in the contest! Thanks for stopping by my blog as well!

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  8. Whew, glad you have fast fingers to get into The Writer's Voice so we can be in another writing contest together! :)

    This sounds AWESOME! I'm definitely intrigued. :) Best of luck!

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  9. Wow, that query totally and completely hooked me. What an awesome concept--Noah's Ark. I LOVE it. And the first scene is very exciting! Way to go and good luck! :D

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  10. Nice concept! This sounds awesome. Good luck in the contest!

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  11. Your story starts in the perfect spot, love it. Best of luck, from TWV #30!

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  12. OOooohhh. Love this. Love the concept. Love the first 250. Love the idea of Brand. Uhm, just love. (gah... this contest is so dangerous. So many awesome entries!)

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  13. This idea and your start are intriguing.
    Good luck with TWV. :)

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  14. OMG I love your concept! Modern day Noah's ark is cool and creepy and facsinating! Good luck!

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  15. I never get over how great this is! LOVE IT! Good luck my friend!

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  16. Oooooh, I like! Good luck in the contest! :)

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  17. "I have every callous on Christopher's hand memorized" - you say so much in so little! I feel like I'm already immersed in this story. Good luck!

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  18. Woohoo, JBail does it again :) And I get to brag that I've read the whole thing ;p Good luck, Lady!

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  19. Um, so why isn't this published so I can read it RIGHT NOW. I'm not prone to exaggeration. This is a fantastic start! Good luck!

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  20. Oh, that is cool!! The Noah's Ark spin is gnarly, I dig that.

    I also dig your background, lol. My love of owls runs deep!

    #40 in Writer's Voice

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  21. Good luck from one Writer's Voice contestant to another!

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  22. This is SO great! I absolutely love the concept, it's definitely something I'd keep reading. Such great voice too... gah, I just love this. Good luck in the contest!

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  23. I want you! This premise screams high-concept, and I'm all about high-concept. I recently saw a story on CNN about an underground silo like this one, so I think this idea is current in a dystopian-saturated market. I also loved the action on the first page. I normally like a little more intro before jumping into an action scene, but this page worked for me, probably because the MC treated it so casually, as if she'd been expecting this for ages.

    I do have a few line edits I'd suggest, and I think you could make several plot points in the query more specific. (For instance, I want to know what skill she's supposed to have--and why she doesn't.) Also, I'd want to talk about changing the genre to something like YA speculative fiction, just because I wouldn't want an agent to dismiss this out of hand (and because this seems more post-apocalyptic than dystopian to me, anyway).

    I really, really want you and SILO on my team, so pick me, pick me! This was one of the very first entries I read, and it stayed with me through all 200:)

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  24. This is awesome! It's so different from the other dystopian stuff out there. I want more!

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  25. I love the premise so much! I can't wait to see this on the shelves so I can read further!!

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  26. Not usually a fan of dystopia but I was totally sucked in by your query. Congrats on being chosen and good luck!

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  27. Yeay! Congrats on being chosen! You so deserve it! This book is golden!

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  28. I'm also wondering what the mystery skill is that she's supposed to have. I'd love to see more :) Congrats on being picked for Krista's team!

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  29. Congrats! Very compelling first 250. I'd like to know more. :)

    Tina (#194)

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  30. Yay! You got picked!! I'll be rooting for you, and I totally can't wait to read this!!!

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  31. Whoo hoo! You got picked!! YAY!!!

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  32. I haven't read half yet but this one really stands out for me. Good to see that you have been picked.

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  33. This is a strong premise with a lot of potential. I think you'll do it justice. Grats on getting picked.

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  34. I love your query! Congrats on getting picked!! :)

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  35. Love the concept! Especially the mistaken hero. Congrats!

    -Sarah #146

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  36. Great query and excerpt!! And I really like the premise. Good luck!

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  37. Formaldehyde and death-- Awesome! Well done... #163

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  38. Glad you got picked, Lady! You rock!

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  39. such an interesting idea. loved the first page. congrats on being selected and good luck with the rest of the contest!

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  40. Holy Cow, I see why Krista picked you.
    I love love this concept and I want to read the book. NOW!
    Team Krista Rocks!
    -#122

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  41. that is one awesome query!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  42. Great query and I see you are through to Xmas in July! Congrats! Will be following you to see how you get on ;)

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