Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pitch Polish Blog Hop Post

I was pretty lucky to get in to the Pitch Polish with my YA Paranormal, but I decided to go ahead and post my YA Thriller to get some feedback from the awesome GUTGAA participants. Please feel free to be brutal... goodness knows I haven't been easy on some of you!!! If you would like to check out my official submission for the Pitch Polish, please go HERE!

Sarah J. Schmitt
The Acada Chronicles
YA Thriller
89,000 word count

Revised Query: In 2017, a virus destroys the world’s population leaving less than five percent of the human race alive. Sixteen-year-old Emily Tate is among the lucky ones. But her perception of luck changes when the Committee, a de facto organization that brings stability and supplies to survivors, sends her to work on the Human Sustainability Program. As a member of the program, Emily is forced into a conspiracy that involves biological terrorism and the genetic manipulation of future generations by way of made to order babies.

After her mother's mysterious death, Emily begins to unravel the truth about the Committee’s involvement in the viral outbreak and the real intentions of the program. The Committee isn’t just responding to the Acada virus – they released it in the first place. Their goal: total domination of the planet. As the Committee’s henchmen close in, she must find a way to protect the one thing that can bring hope to a bleak future: a test tube creation named Ava, who, by Emily's design, embodies everything the Committee fears: courage, creativity, and individualism. But keeping Ava and her surrogate mom safe may jeopardize the personal future Emily is trying to build or even her life.

THE ACADA CHRONICLES is an 89,000-word young adult thriller with series potential.

First 150 Words:

“Holy crap,” I say, taking an involuntary step back from the hurricane of perkiness lurking behind my locker door.

Jessica Millhouse, in her drama queen glory, beams a sugary sweet smile in my direction. “Emily Tate,” she says, with a fake but accurate southern accent. “Such language.”

I resist the opportunity to roll my eyes and instead look down at my planner. “What do you want?”

Sensing my immunity to her charms, the glimmer in Jessica’s amethyst eyes dulls. She leans in. Her breath smells like cherries and I almost gag. I hate cherries. “It’s about the biology project…”

This time I don’t stop the eye roll. There’s only one reason someone like Jessica would talk to someone like me. She needs help. “You do know this isn’t a group project, right?” I ask.

Jessica stares at me like I’m speaking a tribal dialect of Swahili.

8 comments:

  1. Your query was really good, I have no comments on that.
    I love that the 150 opens with "Holy Crap" - the personality of both of your characters is instantly visible.
    Well done.

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  2. My long lost friend from another life! Two things: (1) Rest assured I am a water drinking fiend. I gave up being a java junkie some time in my twenties *sips morning coffee and smiles* (2) Your first 150 are awesome!!! LOVE the voice. I was also really into your query. My only suggestion? We don't learn much about your MC in your query. Can you add a few details that describe her personality or why she stands out? The plot sounds very exciting and like I said, I love, love, love the opening lines!

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  3. Hi. I actually thought the beginning of the query was really strong...all the way up to this part:

    As the Committee’s henchmen close in, Emily must find a way to protect the one thing that can bring hope to a bleak future: an unborn child named Ava, who, by design, embodies everything the Committee fears: courage, creativity, and individualism. But protecting her creation may jeopardize the personal future Emily is trying to build.

    Her creation of a child seemed to come out of nowhere. Is Emily pregnant with this child? Or is it a lab somewhere? How did she manage to do this? It just felt like her creating a child would be a huge part of the book, but it seems kind of tacked on at the end of the query. If there is anyway to introduce her skills/creation earlier in the query, I think that would help a lot.

    My only other suggestion is one I utterly failed on with my own query, so I probably have no business suggesting it to someone else. haha. But you have a really awesome voice in the first 150. If there is any way to get some of that voice into the query, it would really come alive. I have no suggestions on how to do that. Just outlining my damn plot almost killed me and it sounds like you have the same kind of plot that I do. Convoluted. haha. Doesn't leave much room for things like voice, but I thought I'd mention it just in case.

    Anyway, good luck with this. It sounds really cool. I'd love it if you could stop by and take a look at mine. I think I finally got it right, but I need some confirmation now. haha. Thanks! Good luck with GUTGAA!

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  4. P.S. Do you like Incarnate? I noticed you were reading it. I thought Daughter of Smoke and Bone was AMAZING, but Incarnate kind of bored me. It just seemed to be all over the place and not much really happened. I know a ton of people liked it though. Anyway, just curious. I always love meeting other YA writers/readers.

    GUTGAA has been awesome for that. I finally got inspired to start my own blog to try to meet some people, but the damn meet and greet list is impossible to get through. haha. I'm visiting as many blogs as I can though. Anyway, nice to meet you. I'm a new follower now. :)

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  5. Your voice is amazing! I don't really have any feedback at the moment (maybe tomorrow, when I'm less tired haha) BUT I just wanted to send a positive thought your way! I would totally read more!

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  6. Hello through GUTGAA! I'm still trying to day hey to everyone, but it's taking me a long time:)

    As for your query, I'm not an expert. Hence the reason I signed up for the pitch polish. I wasn't lucky enough to land on THE blog, but mine is up n my blog.

    The only thing that confused me is the sudden mention of the perfect baby the MC wants to protect. IS this her baby? A lab baby? A friends baby? and how does the Committee know they should fear her?

    Nice to meet you and I wish you good luck this month:)
    Talynn

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  7. I think this sounds like a complex story-and I would love to read it someday!

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  8. OH I remember your first 150 from WriteOnCon!

    In 2017, a virus destroys the world’s population NEED A COMMA HERE leaving less than five percent of the human race alive. Sixteen-year-old Emily Tate is among the lucky ones. But her perception of luck changes when the Committee, a de facto organization that brings stability and supplies to survivors, sends her to work on the Human Sustainability Program. As a member of the program, Emily is forced into a conspiracy that involves biological terrorism and the genetic manipulation of future generations by way of made to order babies. COULD YOU MAKE THIS SENTENCE MORE SPECIFIC? UNDERSTANDABLE IF YOU CAN'T, BUT I JUST HAVE A BIT OF AN ISSUE TRYING TO SEE WHAT BABIES AND BIO TERRORISM HAVE IN COMMON.

    WHEN HER MOTHER DIES UNDER MYSTERIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES, EMILY GOES IN SEARCH OF THE TRUTH ABOUT THE COMMITTEE'S ORIGINS AND THEIR REAL INTENTIONS WITH THE PROGRAM. <-- SOMETHING LIKE THAT TO BE MORE DIRECT, THEN SOMETHING LIKE: "WHAT SHE DISCOVERS SHATTERS HER WORLD" OR WHATEVER TO LINK TO THE NEXT SENTENCE. The Committee isn’t just responding to the Acada virus – they released it in the first place. Their goal: total domination of the planet. As the Committee’s henchmen close in, she must find a way to protect the one thing that can bring hope to a bleak future: a test tube creation named Ava, who, by Emily's design, embodies everything the Committee fears: courage, creativity, and individualism. But keeping Ava and her surrogate mom safe may jeopardize the personal future Emily is trying to build or even her life. THIS COULD BE WRITTEN TO SHARPEN THE STAKES, I THINK. "MAY" JUST MAKES IT LIKE: OH... OKAY, SO MAYBE NONE OF WHAT YOU WROTE MATTERS. SO CUTTING THAT ONE WORD OUT WILL MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE.

    THE ACADA CHRONICLES is an 89,000-word young adult thriller with series potential.

    Great concept! The pitch just needs a few little tweaks. :-)

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