As some of you folks know, I recently chucked my hat into the ring for the Like A Virgin Pitch Contest 2014! And thanks to some gross oversight I seem to have stumbled into the final round, where real Agents and Editors (with real capital A’s and E’s!) will give my pitch the Viking funeral it deserves.
But in the spirit of self-immolation, I’m casting it out into the wilderness for anyone to take a swing at before its inevitable reduction to artisanal charcoal. So let me know what you think! And LV14 folks, let me know where your most up-to-date pitch is at and I’ll be happy to weigh in.
So without further ado: das pitch an sich!
Lethya East should have been a godsend. Trapped in a losing war for survival, humanity needs a heavyweight psymancer like her more than they’ll admit. The authorities can overlook her short fuse, obliterated memory, and catastrophic lack of control if it means pointing her at the enemy.
But nobody will overlook the fact that she’s a girl. Not an empire that’s outlawed women from combat for centuries. Not the commander who enrolls her in his military academy anyway… as long as she follows his agenda. And definitely not her temperamental training partner Ander, who acts like saving her life was his first mistake.
The boys think she’s trumped up. The girls think she’s stuck up. By the time a legal battle erupts over the question of where Lethya belongs, she’s not sure there’s an answer. To make matters worse, the only person who can shed light on her past is the one still haunting Ander’s: his mother. And when she vanishes from behind bars, surviving just a legal fight becomes the least of their worries.
TESTAMENT is a debut dual-POV YA sci-fi/fantasy influenced by the recent changes in American military culture, and a foot-high stack of Tamora Pierce’s books that didn’t budge from my bedside until college. The manuscript is complete at 125,000 words, and sample chapters are available at your request.
April 19th, 4355 –
Magnitude 5 earthquake today. Modern buildings fine, observable shifts in some remaining structures behind Columbia Shroud. Most of Starboard just rattled. Even Ander thought it was only a birthday game.
Will assess site impact tomorrow. Odds are unfavorable, but one tunnel may have dislodged rubble blocking it earlier. No telling where it may lead.
- Field Notes of Velia Fane
The woman sat alone in the plain room, studying the empty chair across from her. Her fair hair was braided away from a lean face, her dark eyes measuring everything – the graying carpet, the lukewarm light overhead – as if somewhere in her, it was being recorded. Each faded thread in her periwinkle scrubs was accounted for, each dust fleck on the panel in the wall, everything save the slim iron shackles around her wrists.
After seven years, the boy behind the panel knew that look all too well. At the wardens’ nod he stepped into the visiting room, feeling their eyes follow him inside. It was nothing new: they still held out hope she’d say something of use.
He sat, avoiding her stare and unconsciously knotting hands a bit too big for his lanky frame. This had been strange and awkward once. Now, it was just a ritual like any other.
“Ander.” Velia smiled thinly. “You seem well.”
He made himself look at her. “Thanks, Mom. How are you?”
The smile didn’t waver, but she blinked, and said simply, “They never change the music.”
Feedback from the last draft:
- This segment was convoluted in the first draft: “With their futures on the line, her partnership with Ander is already strained; then they find the only way to uncover Lethya’s past is by exhuming the ghosts of his. The key lies with the one riddle Ander can’t decipher: his mother.” Replaced with “To make matters worse, the only person who can shed light on her past is the one still haunting Ander’s: his mother.”
- This is so far in the future, it seems implausible that society would move this far backward in gender politics – Totally valid point. There are a lot of factors (cultural regression, attempt to preserve population, etc.) but I’m afraid of getting bogged down in nuance there. Anyone got any thoughts on how to establish it’s not just a “chauvinism because the author says so” scenario?
- 125K is on the long side, take heed. Heed taken! The first draft was 151K, I’m embarrassed to say, and the battle to bring it down further still rages on.
- Disparity between the focus of the query and the focus of the first 250. One focuses on Lethya and the other starts with Ander. Hopefully clarifying that it’s a dual-POV helped connect the dots there, but if that’s not enough, we may need a little more rehab for that.
Thanks in advance for the feedback, folks, and let me know how I can help y'all out too!