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Welcome to Son of a Pitch! The second entry… Please save comment area for the participating authors’ feedback. I will put my thoughts at the bottom of the post. Because I can. If you don’t want to know what I think, close your eyes. If you read my opinions and agree, want to add, or completely disagree… GO FOR IT!

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Title: R.U.N.T. (reduced utility neo-terral) 

Category and Genre: YA SF 

Word Count: 72,000

Query:

A girl and her bug collide with boys from the stars when she discovers that which shouldn’t exist. Abandoned at birth to a dying world, Slip is a reduced utility neo-terral, a R.U.N.T.  Determined to prove her worth and earn full terral status in harsh, agricultural Desertfield, Slip brings a pest into the core to catastrophic effect and the notice of the Ones Above.  Morgen, son of the sun and heir to the stars, is sent down to Terra to clean up.  Their paths entangle, exposing secrets of the gods and Slip’s true identity. Slip must cross deserts and deities to stay alive and save her world.

 

First 250 Words:

If it sat still for just a moment longer, she could smash it.  The beetle sat in the crux of leaf and stem in the shade of leaves above, rubbing its mandibles together as if plotting what portion of the plant to eat first.  Slip saw it tucked in the shadows, a darker outline inside a dark slice of the growing dusk.  A glint at the end of the row had caught her eye.  She had to kill the bug now or it’d be too hard to distinguish insect from night.  It had to stay put for a few more breaths.

Slip eased forward from her crouch, moving with the wave of the crops in the evening breeze.  The night winds were coming to cool the desert before the stars came out.  No moon to light the fields tonight.  She bobbed and crept with each bend of ripening stalk, dodging thorns. Her knapsack slapped gently against her thigh.  Half a row.

The fruits weren’t ripe and glowing for another week.  Now was the time to clear the near-harvest of the pests that had survived the sprays. The stalks were already at risk; as soon as the fruits started to glow, the ready flesh would be too easy a meal for the unwanted bugs.  Three plants away.

But Slip wanted the insects, to hunt and kill, crushed to ooze between her fingers.  The more carcasses she brought home, the prouder the Keepers would be.  She would crush. Kill. Succeed.

 

My thoughts…because I have them. And you get to read them. Lucky.

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Query:

A girl and her bug collide with boys from the stars when she discovers that which shouldn’t exist. (Love this first line!) Abandoned at birth to a dying world, Slip (I like this name!) is a reduced utility neo-terral, a R.U.N.T. (Which means what exactly, what is her life like now? Why does she want it to change?) Determined to prove her worth and earn full terral status (Nice and clear what mc wants!) in harsh, agricultural Desertfield, (I wonder about naming the world right after you tell us “abandoned at birth to a dying world”) Slip brings a pest into the core (Why? What does she hope to accomplish by doing this?) to catastrophic effect and the notice of the Ones Above. (Things she didn’t want to happen, right?)  Morgen, son of the sun (Capitalize?) and heir to the stars, is sent down to Terra (I thought she lived in Desertfield?) to clean up.  Their paths entangle, exposing secrets of the gods and Slip’s true identity. (Hmmm…intriguing.) Slip must cross deserts and deities to stay alive and save her world. (A bit vague…cross deserts? Save her world from the bugs she released? Or save it from something else? What does her learning her true identity mean to her? What does learning the secrets of the gods mean to her?)

Overall…This is a bit short. I want more. How old is Slip? What is her daily life like? How does she want it to change? She wants her life to change…by releasing the bugs? She acts, expecting what? Then catastrophe! Now all the obstacles in her way…gods and Morgen. What will they do to her, a R.U.N.T?  Oh…but not a R.U.N.T! Something else! I want to know how she changes. 

 

First 250 Words:

If it sat still for just a moment longer, she could smash it.  The beetle sat in the crux of leaf and stem in the shade of leaves above, rubbing its mandibles together as if plotting what portion of the plant to eat first. (The beetle? But I want to know about our mc.) Slip saw it tucked in the shadows, a darker outline inside a dark slice of the growing dusk.  A glint at the end of the row had caught her eye.  She had to kill the bug now or it’d be too hard to distinguish insect from night.  It had to stay put for a few more breaths.

Slip eased forward from her crouch, moving with the wave of the crops in the evening breeze.  The night winds were coming to cool the desert before the stars came out.  No moon to light the fields tonight. (If there is no moon, how did she see a glint of reflected light on the beetle? Especially if it is in the shade of a leaf?)  She bobbed and crept with each bend of ripening stalk, dodging thorns. Her knapsack slapped gently against her thigh.  Half a row. (The beginning of this paragraph made me think she was right next to it, describing it in such detail, but she’s not…)

The fruits weren’t ripe and glowing for another week. (Glowing! Fabulous! Intrigues me, tells me we’re not on Earth, and makes me want to go to this world.) Now was the time to clear the near-harvest of the pests that had survived the sprays. The stalks were already at risk; as soon as the fruits started to glow, the ready flesh would be too easy a meal for the unwanted bugs.  Three plants away.  (oooh…tension!)

But Slip wanted the insects, to hunt and kill, crushed to ooze between her fingers.  The more carcasses she brought home, the prouder the Keepers would be.  She would crush. Kill. Succeed. (Love these last lines!)

Overall…I’d rearrange just a bit. I’d start with “Slip eased forward from her crouch, moving with the wave of the crops in the evening breeze. If the beetle sat still for a moment longer, she could smash it.” Then go into describing the spot of dark on the plant…the cool of night approaching…her approach to decimate the invader… This way it begins with Slip, our mc and not a beetle. It begins with scene setting, to ground the reader and her gives us her desire. OMG will she kill the bug? The mention of the Keepers, more world building. I want to know about her and this life she has. I like her.

Thanks for submitting to Son of a Pitch and good luck! Hope I help, and if not, just ignore it.

Writers unite!

 

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