#SonOfAPitch – ENTRY #3 – STARBOARD

b36ce-soap-final#3

Title: STARBOARD
Category and Genre: YA sci-fi/fantasy
Word Count: 96k
 
Query:
 
All his life, Jason’s been haunted by his obsession. With Colchis, the blood-red planet in the sky, rich with gas, swarmed by harpies, home to a simple yet secretive underground kingdom. With his dad, the archaeologist who left Illyria, who left him, to study the treasures from Colchis’ past. And with the Crossing, the ten-day period when his dad can finally come home.
 
Until he doesn’t. And all contact with Illyria’s ship is lost. And a rescue expedition is launched, across the stars, to Colchis, and Jason finds his way on board (as their “cultural expert”, no less). And now his obsession has become a dangerous reality: surviving Colchis’ deadly wonders, discovering the truth about his long lost dad, and helping the planet’s beautiful, strong-willed princess prevent the one thing that seems inevitable… war.
 
 
First 250 Words:
 
All my life I’ve waited for this moment.
 
For Colchis, that blood-red planet in the sky, to get this close, to become this real. All my life I’ve studied it, prepared for it, obsessed over it. All year I’ve watched it grow: from a tiny speck, to a glowing orb, to the always-present Watcher, hangin’ there among the stars. And though it’s haunted me, and it’s taunted me, all I could do was wait for tonight… the night you finally return. My name’s Jason Starboard, and tonight is, almost definitely, the greatest and worst night of my life.
 
“Jason,” crackles Arial’s voice in my ear, “you seein’ this?”
 
Squinting my eyes, I bend forward on the grass, my heart pounding and the dew soakin’ my knees. Hell yeah I can see it: as small as a fly, but growing larger by the second, floating towards us from the red-pink swirl of Colchis—the Ambassador I. “Yeah,” I whisper, more to myself than to Arial. An icy wind sweeps across the cliff, giving me chills, makin’ me shiver. But I could care less. I’d rather be up here, alone, watching this, watching him, than anywhere else.
 
“How’s it goin’ down there?” I ask, though I can already hear the answer: a buzz of voices and cries and the commotion around the landing pad.
 
“Crazy, of course,” says Arial. “Like everyone in the city’s here. Feel like a sardine, I’m so cramped in. But I’m in the front row, so it’s totally worth it.”
***Note: Please do not comment on other entrants’ posts, only your own. You can bribe, coax, share, tweet, and do whatever to your entry, but you cannot comment on anyone else’s.***
 

5 thoughts on “#SonOfAPitch – ENTRY #3 – STARBOARD

  1. Pingback: Son of a Pitch Contest – Week 2: My ten entries | Elsie Elmore

  2. This a strong story premise. I like what your query says but struggle with the list-like format for Jason’s obsessions because the fragments are long. I would suggest making the fragments into sentences or make them very brief. And how old is Jason? 🙂

    Umpteen-year-old Jason’s obsession, Colchis, the blood-red planet in the sky, has haunted him his entire life. Part of his fascination stems from the planet’s rich gas supply, the harpies swarming the surface and the secretive underground kingdom. But Jason’s real fascination …. Why dad left? Why dad chose Colchis over him?
    OR
    All his life, Jason’s been haunted by his obsession with Colchis, the blood-red planet in the sky. Not only is this planet rich with gas, swarming with harpies and home to a secretive underground kingdom, but it lured his father away., A choice Jason plans on throwing in his face when he sees him again – A choice Jason wants to ask him face to face about after all these years? (show the emotion Jason is feeling – is it bitterness? Desertion? betrayal?)
    OR
    Umpteen-year-old Jason’s been haunted by his obsession with Colchis, the blood-red planet in the sky, that’s rich with gas, swarmed by harpies, and home to a simple yet secretive underground kingdom. When his archaeologist dad left Illyria to study the treasures from Colchis’ past, Jason’s obsession/ passion/fixation was hatched from jealousy?. He’s been counting down to the day when his dad can finally come home.

    Condense and simplify. Check for clarity:
    Jason wheedles his way on board the rescue expedition to Colchis as a cultural expert. (Could insert the Crossing 10 day period here if it serves as a deadline for the rescue) . His obsession has become a dangerous reality. He is unprepared to survive Colchis’ deadly wonders or to learn the truth about his long lost dad. (Feel like there needs to be a transition/introduction to the princess : Colchis harbors more than secrets? He meets his match/his dream.an ally in a princess …But the planet’s beautiful, strong-willed princess prevent the one thing that seems inevitable… war.

    Your first 250 pull me in, (but I’d love to understand what Jason is thinking and feeling when he sees the Ambassador. He’s cold and he’s glad he’s there…but … why is he there alone? who is on the spacecraft? if you don’t want to reveal it’s dad, still give us a glimpse into his thoughts. Is he jealous because he wants to be there?Anxious? Just need a well-placed phrase or hint. ) Also, watch extra words in the intro. Say what you need to say 😉
    For example: All my life I’ve waited for Colchis to become this real.

    I’ve studied the blood-red planet and watched it grow from a tiny speck, to a glowing orb as it coursed along it’s orbit (or did it actually grow in size?), The always-present Watcher, hanging among the stars has haunted me and taunted me.

    Best of luck! if you have any questions, give me a yell. 🙂

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  3. Super great concept and query. I’d just suggest changing some minor things. Actually, since it’s just proofreading/line editing, I’m just going to re-write it (I know, that’s annoying, but hang with me):

    All his life, Jason has been haunted by his three obsessions: Colchis, the blood-red planet in the sky, rich with gas, swarmed by harpies, home to a simple yet secretive underground kingdom; his dad, the archaeologist who left Illyria, who left him, to study the treasures from Colchis’ past; and the Crossing, the ten-day period when his dad can finally come home.

    Until he doesn’t. All contact with Illyria’s ship is lost. A rescue expedition is launched across the stars to Colchis, and Jason finds his way on board (as their “cultural expert”, no less). Now his obsession has become a dangerous reality: surviving Colchis’ deadly wonders, discovering the truth about his long-lost dad, and helping the planet’s beautiful, strong-willed princess prevent the one thing that seems inevitable… war.

    The only thing I’m not clear on here is what Illyria is – a planet? Moon? Ship? Society? You say “Illyria’s ship”…so I’m not sure.

    Okay 250. Here when you say “blood red planet in the sky”, I want more details than in the query, because I don’t really know what it means that it’s “in the sky”. Is he seeing it from another planet, a moon, or a ship? To get grounded in the actual text, I need that info here. I love how you describe it getting closer, but I still don’t get a good picture until I know where I’m looking from.

    Also don’t know why he’d think it was the worst night of his life…as long as you’re not giving us a premonition here, though, I don’t care…because it’s in present tense, and I don’t think he has powers of prophecy.

    When you say “the night you finally return” I don’t know if he’s talking about his dad or the planet. I’d be specific (though if you do mean the planet you could say “it returns” probably, but I think you mean his dad).

    Okay, grass…dew…cliff..wind…that’s good to know. Still don’t know for sure, though, where he’s at. That’s really my only problem with this whole beginning, because while your visuals are good, I’m having a hard time visualizing it…because, you know, I can’t see how a planet would swing around and get THAT CLOSE to another planet without disrupting its orbit so much they’d crash together… close enough to see a ship detach and come towards the ground, because you wouldn’t be able to see that from the moon, or even the space station that well, without a telescope…does he have a telescope? Either way…I haven’t done the math on the gravity thing and I’ll suspend disbelief for the first 250 as long as I do indeed know something about the situation.

    Thank you for your entry!

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  4. You’ve got excellent feedback here, I’ll just add that it’s a great premise. Good luck and congratulations on your participation in Son of a Pitch – your hard work speaks volumes regarding your courage and willingness to follow your dreams and achieve your goals!

    Like

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