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Welcome to Son of a Pitch! The eighth 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: THE STARLIGHT CROWN

Age and Genre: YA Sci-fi

Word Count: 70,000

 

Query:

16-year-old Eden has always dreamed of life among the stars, and when she’s chosen to compete in the Starlight Princess pageant, her wish has come true. But her fight for the title won’t just determine who wins a crown – it will decide the fate of a galaxy on the brink of war.

For Eden, the competition is a chance to explore planets forbidden to Earth for centuries. For her new friends, it’s their only hope of escape from a tyrannical theocracy, an apartheid state, or a dying home world. With a promise to unite their fractured solar system, the girls enter the pageant’s labyrinthine compound on the Moon, where one of them will take home a crown and a position as an ambassador for peace. Or so they believe.

Behind the glitz and glamor, this pageant hides a dark secret. By day, hopefuls learn decorum and diplomacy; by night, they train in elemental arts both dazzling and dangerous. When disqualified contestants start disappearing, Eden and her friends suspect there’s a more sinister purpose to this contest than choosing a beauty queen.

Aided by an ally with an agenda of his own, the girls learn that hidden within the labyrinth is the real reason they were brought here: a weapon with the power to destroy planets. One which can only be used by a daughter of the lost world that created it.

She’s the one many have died to protect. The one many more would kill to find. The one who will become the Starlight Princess – and she’ll hold the fate of the galaxy in her hands.

 

First 250:

I’m alone in the Universe, for a while.

Floating here in the blackness of space, my body has no weight, and my mind no sense of time. There’s a stillness, a peaceful quiet, far beyond the Earth below. In the silence and the dark, a single star among thousands twinkles, as if to say hello. And into the emptiness, I smile back.

Eden.

Who’s calling me? It’s a whisper, the kind that never reaches the ear but the mind swears it heard; I know, because what I do hear is a ringing. It starts out quiet, and I’m sure somehow that it’s from my friend on that far-away sun, but it grows. It gets louder, piercing, cutting, and if I could I’d cover my ears. Even so, it’s too late. The star isn’t twinkling – it’s exploding, then imploding, disappearing in a flash until nothing remains but a black hole where that solar light had once given life.

I am alone in the Universe. And I am afraid.

I fall. It should be impossible – falling means gravity – and with my eyes clamped shut, I slam into the surface behind me. My body is back. My mind isn’t.

“Eden!”

My vision swims as the Universe gives way to the blinding light of a round, sterile white room. One by one, faces come into focus, most familiar – and one not.

 

Thoughts anyone…*jumps up and down* Me! I do!

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Query:

16-year-old Eden has always dreamed of life among the stars, (She wants to go to other worlds? Travel on space ships?) and when she’s chosen to compete in the Starlight Princess pageant, her wish has come true. (How does being chosen to compete give her a life among the stars? Because it will make her famous, or it takes her into space?) But her fight for the title won’t just determine who wins a crown – it will decide the fate of a galaxy on the brink of war.

For Eden, the competition is a chance to explore planets forbidden to Earth for centuries. For her new friends (Are also from Earth?), it’s their only hope of escape from a tyrannical theocracy, an apartheid state, or a dying home world. With a promise to unite their fractured solar system, (Is this something Eden wants? Cares about? How has living in the fractured solar system affected her?) the girls enter the pageant’s labyrinthine compound on the Moon (that sounds fun! Let’s go!), where one of them will take home a crown and a position as an ambassador for peace. Or so they believe. (Ruh-Roh)

Behind the glitz and glamor, this pageant hides a dark secret. (DARK SECRET? YES!) By day, hopefuls learn decorum and diplomacy; by night, they train in elemental arts both dazzling and dangerous. When disqualified contestants start disappearing, Eden and her friends suspect there’s a more sinister purpose to this contest than choosing a beauty queen. (How does Eden learn of the mystery? How does she feel about it? How is this changing her? What does she want?)

Aided by an ally with an agenda of his own (a bit vague…what does Eden think of him?) , the girls learn that hidden within the labyrinth is the real reason they were brought here: a weapon with the power to destroy planets. One which can only be used by a daughter of the lost world that created it. (And it was hidden in the labyrinth to keep people from finding it and using it? This lost world though…that’s interesting!)

She’s the one many have died to protect. The one many more would kill to find. The one who will become the Starlight Princess – and she’ll hold the fate of the galaxy in her hands. (What is her choice? To use the weapon or not? To compete or quit? What is her reaction to being the Starlight Princess if it’s not what she wanted?)

Overall…this sounds fun! A beauty pageant with a twist. I feel this query is missing Eden. What does she want? Who is she? Where does she come from that she wants to go to the stars? What is this pageant like? Give me some details that will make me see the uniqueness of the story…and the final labyrinth? What can we expect, what does Eden go through?

 

First 250:

I’m alone in the Universe, for a while. (I like this!)

Floating here in the blackness of space, my body has no weight, and my mind no sense of time. There’s a stillness, a peaceful quiet, far beyond the Earth below. In the silence and the dark, a single star among thousands twinkles, as if to say hello. And into the emptiness, I smile back.

Eden.

Who’s calling me? It’s a whisper, the kind that never reaches the ear but the mind swears it heard; (Love this line!) I know, because what I do hear is a ringing. It starts out quiet, and I’m sure somehow that it’s from my friend on that far-away sun, but it grows. It gets louder, piercing, cutting, and if I could I’d cover my ears. Even so, it’s too late. The star isn’t twinkling – it’s exploding, then imploding, disappearing in a flash until nothing remains but a black hole where that solar light had once given life.

I am alone in the Universe. And I am afraid. (Why?)

I fall. It should be impossible – falling means gravity – and with my eyes clamped shut, I slam into the surface behind me. My body is back. My mind isn’t. (Isn’t…or refuses to come back. Does she want to come back? Is she afraid of going back? Does she try to stay in her calm?)

“Eden!”

My vision swims as the Universe gives way to the blinding light of a round, sterile white room. One by one, faces come into focus, most familiar – and one not. (I have been drawn in.)

Overall…this captured my attention. It has a mysterious beauty. Where did Eden go in her mind? Where is she in reality? Who is the face she doesn’t know? I need to know all this and will happily read to find out. I do have to say…the query and first page feel disconnected. Write the query like the first page. Write Eden into it.

 

Thanks for submitting! If this helps…GREAT! If not ignore it.

Writers unite!

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