YA Near-Future Sci-Fi – INTO THE DEEP

It’s such an honor to be able to act as a judge in #pitchslam this year. I entered this contest last year and ended up as a finalist with the manuscript I found an agent with. It’s a wonderful contest with great feedback. One of the things the team likes to do is put up our own sample “entries” just as the entrants do. This is so A) you have a chance to see how to submit your final entry and B) you can try your hand at feedback–on us!

Just something fun to do while you’re either waiting for feedback or working on polishing your entry. So, here it is!

 

Name: Cindy R. Wilson

Genre: YA Near-Future Sci-fi

Title: Into the Deep

Word Count: 79,000

If your main character could be any Star Wars character, who would they choose and why?: My character would be Finn because she really wants to do the right thing despite what she’s gone through in her life. She will also do anything for the people she loves, even if it means making her own sacrifices.

35 Word Pitch: When seventeen-year-old Jet gets caught for illegally creating dream worlds for customers, the police offer a deal: freedom for her help catching a serial killer through his dreams. She agrees—until she’s his next target.

First 250 Words: 

Today is only as good as you make it.

As I settle in the back seat of the taxi, the message scrolls across the Smartband on my wrist, repeating three times before vanishing. A Collins original, I’m guessing. My dad sends me messages as often as the prison guards will allow him access to a media terminal.

He started the scrolling marque pep talks after I told him about the dreams. The ones I used to give myself after the police hauled him away and I lost him forever.

I learned a long time ago that dreams are far more dangerous than nightmares. They take your hand and guide you into paradise, offer you hope, love, riches beyond belief. Accomplishment and revenge.

They can even kill you.

That’s why I never let myself dream anymore. When I fall asleep, I blank my mind until it’s a black hole, absorbing images too quickly to let them fully form in my mind.

Emptiness is safety.

But that doesn’t stop me from making a little money off of other people’s dreams. After all, Mom works hard enough without having to worry about groceries and lawyer bills. Tonight is another fight, hand-to-hand combat in the bowels of a dilapidated building I’ll make realistic by dotting the floor with pigeon droppings and stirring the air with the stench of mildew.

There’s also a private client. Mickey Mouse. None of us use our real names. Except for Houston because he doesn’t care if he gets caught.

 

Check out the other judges entries, too!

Kelly DeVos

Jamie Corrigan

Kimberly VanderHorst

Kara Reynolds

Caitlyn McFarland

Rowan Hall

Rebecca Waddell

Jim O’Donnell

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9 thoughts on “YA Near-Future Sci-Fi – INTO THE DEEP

  1. I don’t love the part “through his dreams” in the pitch. It almost slows the tension. I would just delete it. As a reader, I’m guessing she is going to help catch him through his dreams just from the fact that she is some sort of dream manipulator.
    I also get a bit confused by the ending. How does she make money “off” of other people’s dreams? Does that mean she gives them dreams or she buys and sells their current dreams? You move to mom, which I love but the you come back to the fight. Whose fight is it? Is this something that happens all the time? Do clients request a fight?
    I also get confused by the statement “There’s also a private client.” Does that mean not all her clients are private? What does this mean? What is she contrasting it too?
    Other then that, I loved everything else!

    Like

  2. Pingback: You be the judge: A Pitch Slam Entry for my WIP – Kelly deVos

  3. The pitch is tight. Clear themes, hook, tension, and stakes.

    The 250 confused me a bit. I don’t know if it was just the last couple paragraphs that felt awkward in their wording, or if I just didn’t have enough info to understand what Jet actually does. One thing I bumped on though. “They can even kill you” seems disconnected from the previous thought. You mention all these deceptively good thing that dreams can do, and then say, “They can even” which implies a topping off of the list, but killing you feels like a departure from the other thought so I’d suggest, “But they can kill you” to indicate that they may seem nice, but dreams are really dangerous.

    Other than that, pretty damn solid.

    Like

  4. In the pitch, if you have a few extra words, I think changing to “the police offer a deal: freedom in exchange for…” adds a lot of clarity.

    In the 250, I was a little confused about the fight she’s setting up. I assume it’s a dream scene and she’s responsible for setting the arena to make it seem realistic for the dreamer, but on who’s behalf? Especially since in the next paragraph, she talks about private clients, making it seem like the paragraph above is not for a private client. Is it for a group? Some kind of public client? A little more clarity on this would be great. But what an intriguing concept and I’d love to read more!

    Like

  5. When seventeen-year-old Jet faces jail for illegally creating dream worlds for customers, the police bargain her freedom for help catching a serial killer through his dreams. She agrees—making her his next target. (34 words)
    250
    My dad sends messages as much as the prison guards will allow.
    The same ones I used to give myself when the police hauled him away…when I lost him forever.
    Then can even kill you…to…Where they can kill you.
    …absorbing images too quickly to let them fully form. (don’t use the word mind a second time in this paragraph)
    after all mom works hard work isn’t enough to pay all the bills plus the lawyer.
    Make the next paragraph more clear.
    Example;
    Tonight’s client wants another fight, hand-to-hand combat, in the setting of a dilapidated building. I can make it realistic by dotting the floor with pigeon droppings and air thick with mildew.
    I prefer my private clients. Mickey Mouse, is a regular, of course that’s not his real name. Only Houston uses his because (does he really not care if he gets caught? if so why? explain that here.)

    Like

  6. When seventeen-year-old Jet faces jail for illegally creating dream worlds for customers, the police bargain her freedom for help catching a serial killer through his dreams. She agrees—making her his next target. (34 words)
    250
    My dad sends messages as much as the prison guards will allow.
    The same ones I used to give myself when the police hauled him away…when I lost him forever.
    Then can even kill you…to…Where they can kill you.
    …absorbing images too quickly to let them fully form. (don’t use the word mind a second time in this paragraph)
    after all mom hard work isn’t enough to pay all the bills plus the lawyer.
    Make the next paragraph more clear.
    Example;
    Tonight’s client wants another fight, hand-to-hand combat, in the setting of a dilapidated building. I can make it realistic by dotting the floor with pigeon droppings and air thick with mildew.
    I prefer my private clients. Mickey Mouse, is a regular, of course that’s not his real name. Only Houston uses his because (does he really not care if he gets caught? if so why? explain that here.)

    Like

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