Son of a Pitch entry #7 – Eden

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Title: Eden

Age and Genre: YA Light Science Fiction (in contemporary setting)

Word Count: 109,000
 
Query:

Jaye was eighteen year old Savannah Black. That is, until she woke up in an underground research facility called Eden. Now she’s being told her old life is over, the result of a worldwide airborne virus and that in exchange for her safety, she must consent to scientific testing, even if that includes Eden’s famous colored serums, the ones aimed at making her forget her past. But there’s just one problem. Jaye hasn’t forgotten her past. In fact, the longer she’s here, the more she remembers and the more dangerous to Eden she becomes.

In order to survive, Jaye will have to break her rule of trusting no one to obtain the truth, a truth more sinister than even she could have imagined. A truth that could change the world.

Can Jaye escape the system in time to prevent a revolution? Or is her expiration date approaching sooner than she realizes?

 
First 250 words:

I pry my eyes open, dark spots dancing in my vision. A revolving metal fan stares back at me, it’s blades spinning at a lazy speed, the cool breeze welcome on my sweaty skin. The white lights are blinding compared to the fog I’m coming out of. The dream. Me, floating in a thick gelatinous substance, one that clung to my body, hugged me close. Everything within in me jumbled and stuck, sinking beneath me like quick sand. I wipe the sleep from my eyes, catch the small red light flashing above the metal door. It speaks.

“7346 is now awake.” 

I back against the bed’s headboard, my heart seizing within my chest, oxygen draining from my lungs. Where am I?

Four bare walls surround me, all white, the sterility of it like bleach, singeing my nose. An armchair sits in the left corner and to my right is a small desk, three books resting on its metal surface. The only other item in the room is the bed beneath me, covered in white linen. 

Images surge through my brain: a small girl coughing, people wearing masks, a white corridor. None of them make sense.

The blinking light turns solid red, watching me.

“Hello?” I call out. 

The door slides open and a girl with short blonde hair steps inside. Her skin is so fair it nearly matches the pale walls. She smiles at me, checking her clipboard.

“7346, I’m glad you’re awake.”

20 thoughts on “Son of a Pitch entry #7 – Eden

  1. First, my disclaimer: All suggestions are IMHO and are meant to be thought provoking. Take ‘em, leave ‘em. This is your rodeo, so it’s up to you.

    Query:
    Eighteen-year-old Savannah Black woke up as Jaye in the underground research facility called Eden.( A worldwide airborne virus has…(destroyed/wiped out most of the population) and she’s quarantined/sequestered here as one of the survivors?.) In exchange for her safety, she must consent to scientific testing, including the use Eden’s famous colored serums, the ones aimed at making her forget her past. But Jaye hasn’t forgotten her past. In fact, the longer she’s there, the more she remembers and the more dangerous to Eden she becomes.

    In order to survive, Jaye will have to break her rule of trusting no one to obtain the truth, a truth more sinister than even she could have imagined. A truth that could change the world.I I feel like this paragraph needs more detail to add clarity. Is there someone specific she needs to trust? What makes her thinks there is a sinister truth. The first paragraph grabs us, now lead us to more.)

    Can Jaye escape the system in time to prevent a revolution? Or is her expiration date approaching sooner than she realizes? (Catchy end question/stake. Work on second paragraph to deliver here ☺)

    Great start on the query. With a little streamlining and strengthening of paragraph two to better set up the conflict/surroundings/dangers, I think this is strong.

    First 250 words:
    I pry my eyes open, dark spots dancing in my vision. A revolving metal fan stares back at me(.) It’s blades spinning at a lazy speed, the cool breeze welcome on my sweaty skin. The white lights are blinding compared to the fog I’m coming out of. The dream. Me, floating in a thick gelatinous substance, one that clung to my body, hugged me close. Everything within in me jumbled and stuck, sinking beneath me like quick sand. I wipe the sleep from my eyes, catch the small red light flashing above the metal door. It speaks.
    “7346 is now awake.” (is this an automated voice or a human voice. Describe the tone – metallic, cold, automated..)
    I back against the (bed’s – needed?) headboard, my heart seizing within my chest, oxygen draining from my lungs. Where am I?
    Four bare walls surround me, all white, the sterility of it like bleach, singeing my nose. An armchair sits in the left corner and to my right is a small desk, three books resting on its metal surface. The only other item in the room is the bed beneath me, covered in white linen.
    Images surge through my brain: a small girl coughing, people wearing masks, a white corridor. None of them make sense.
    The blinking light turns solid red, watching me (like ?).
    “Hello?” I call out.
    The door slides open (with a whoosh? Sound of a vacuum? Gliding on metal coasters? Throw in a sound to add to the visual/audio of the scene) A girl with short blonde hair steps inside. (old, young?) Her (fair skin nearly) matches the pale walls? She smiles at me, checking her clipboard.
    “7346, I’m glad you’re awake.” Like the number = name ☺ Cool!

    This intro gives the reader a good glimpse into Jaye’s surroundings and conveys her confusion. I’m digging the tone. I added a few comments for tinkering. Thumbs up.

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    • Thank you so much for you critiques. I’ve been stuck on that paragraph for awhile. Continues to be the same spot that hangs me up every time. I’m trying to rework it to better emphasize what’s going on without giving everything away. How does something like this sound for paragraph two:

      In order to survive, Jaye will have to break her rule of trusting no one to obtain the truth behind why she’s here. When her and her newfound friends uncover a trail of lies and Eden’s hidden agenda, they’re faced with no choice but to escape. But escaping won’t be easy, since those who don’t abide by Eden’s rules tend to wind up dead.

      OR

      In order to survive, Jaye will have to break her rule of trusting no one to obtain the truth behind why she’s here. A truth that, once revealed, leaves Jaye and her newfound friends with no choice but to escape. Succeeding will mean risking her life but failing means losing her mind.

      Thoughts? Suggestions?

      I appreciate everything you’ve said so far.

      Thanks,
      Heather

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  2. HI! Disclaimer- I am commenting to help. Use advice at your discretion. This is your baby. 🙂 Also- I still need to read all of the comments, and will pop in later to do so. Here are my suggestions so far:

    Jaye was eighteen year old Savannah Black. That is, until she woke up in an underground research facility called Eden. *(Lets combine these two for the opener, using just the necessary bits)*. [Now she’s being told her old life is over, the result of a worldwide airborne virus and that in exchange for her safety, she must consent to scientific testing, even if that includes Eden’s famous colored serums, the ones aimed at making her forget her past.]-*Way too long. We need to trim the fat*. But there’s just one problem. Jaye hasn’t forgotten her past. In fact, The longer she’s here, the more she remembers and the more dangerous to Eden she becomes. (using terms like “in fact” eats up valuable query research space. remember- ideally you want it between 250-300 words including your credentials)

    In order to survive, Jaye will have to break her rule of trusting no one to obtain the truth, a truth more sinister than even she could have imagined. A truth that could change the world. *(We play with this to make it a little smoother.)*

    Can Jaye escape the system in time to prevent a revolution? Or is her expiration date approaching sooner than she realizes? *(I have read mixed things about ending in questions—it may be wise to re-word so it isn’t a question.)*

    MY VERSION (Just suggestions…still need to play with it and work with it…try your best to keep the word count between 250-300 with the necessary facts and the hook). Take it for what its worth. 🙂

    When eighteen year old Savannah Black awakens in Eden, an underground research facility, she has no memory. She is told the world has been destroyed by an airborne virus, and she is called by a new name: Jaye. Given an ultimatum by___ ____, Jaye can submit to scientific testing and stay safe underground, or ________. (you an beef this up a bit)

    Jaye agrees to become a human guinea pig, but the longer she is in Eden, the more her memory returns. Soon she realizes that to survive, she must uncover the sinister truth about Eden. A truth that could change the world, and cost her her life. (I just added that last part…you can play around with it. This paragraph could be beefed up a bit, maybe.)

    Can Jaye escape the system *(this part confuses me. Is the system the same as Eden?)* in time to prevent a revolution? Or is her expiration date approaching sooner than she realizes? (Again I suggest playing around with the ending a bit. I’ve read very mixed things about using questions in query. Your call. ) :-)

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  3. When Jaye and her newfound friends uncover proof of? Eden’s hidden agenda, they’re faced with one choice if they want to survive. But escaping won’t be easy. Those who don’t abide by Eden’s rules wind up dead. Jaye will have to break her rule of trusting no one and/if she’s to/????.
    OR
    In order to survive, Jaye will have to break her rule of trusting no one to obtain the truth behind why she’s here. A truth that, once revealed, leaves Jaye and her newfound friends with no choice but to escape. Succeeding will mean risking her life but failing means losing her mind.
    I think the first is stronger… and I tinkered with your sentence order 🙂 Hope that sparks more thoughts/ideas.
    Coming along nicely 🙂

    Like

  4. Query:
    Jaye was eighteen year old Savannah Black. That is, until she woke up in an underground research facility called Eden. (Now she’s being told-She’s told) her old life is over, the result of a worldwide airborne virus (She’s a survivor?)and that in exchange for her safety, she must consent to scientific testing (for what? to find a cure..though if everyone is wiped out who needs a cure…), even if that includes Eden’s famous colored serums (how does she learn about these serums? What is she told that these colored serums do?), the ones aimed at making her forget her past (How does she learn this?). But there’s just one problem. Jaye hasn’t forgotten her past (does she have to hide this?). In fact, the longer she’s here, the more she remembers and the more dangerous to Eden she becomes. (what is she remembering?)

    In order to survive, Jaye will have to break her rule of trusting no one to obtain the truth, a truth more sinister than even she could have imagined. A truth that could change the world. (I agree that this is too vague. Nothing to sink my teeth into. What is the truth she uncovers? What does that mean for her? What does it drive her to do? Give us what she wants and what’s in her way.)

    Can Jaye escape the system in time to prevent a revolution? Or is her expiration date approaching sooner than she realizes? (Yeah…ending with questions is frowned upon…If she doesn’t escape, what will happen? AND WHAT IS THIS EXPIRATION DATE THING??? I am intrigued by this and want MORE! Sounds like a fun ride!)

    First 250 words:
    I pry my eyes open, dark spots dancing in my vision. A revolving metal fan stares back at me, it’s blades spinning at a lazy speed, the cool breeze welcome on my sweaty skin. The white lights are blinding compared to the fog I’m coming out of. The dream. Me, floating in a thick gelatinous substance, one that clung to my body, hugged me close. (Everything within in me jumbled and stuck, sinking beneath me like quick sand.-This sentence stopped me. Did she actually feel something beneath her shift? What is she describing?) I wipe the sleep from my eyes(,-and) catch the small red light flashing above the metal door. It speaks.

    “7346 is now awake.” (How does it say this? A creepy, tinny automated voice, or a person’s bored voice? Does she think… 7346? NO I’M SO AND SO! OR DOES SHE EVEN KNOW HER NAME?)

    I back (a stronger verb here to give us her emotional state? Does she simply back against it or scramble back to the headboard?) against the bed’s headboard, my heart seizing within my chest, oxygen draining from my lungs. Where am I?

    Four bare walls surround me, all white, the sterility of it like bleach, singeing my nose (so it not only reminds her of bleach, but smells like it?). An armchair sits in the left corner and to my right is a small desk, three books resting on its metal surface. The only other item in the room is the bed beneath me, covered in white linen. (Is there a door? IS SHE JUMPING UP TO GET OUT? What is she wearing?)

    Images surge through my brain: a small girl coughing, people wearing masks, a white corridor. None of them make sense.

    The blinking light turns solid red, watching me.

    “Hello?” I call out.

    The door (there is a door!) slides open and a girl with short blonde hair steps inside. Her skin is so fair it nearly matches the pale walls. She smiles at me, checking her clipboard.

    “7346, I’m glad you’re awake.”

    ~Nice opening. Something weird has happened and I want to discover what! Does she remember who she is? If not, does that cause more panic? I love the images, the bits and pieces she remembers, gives just enough to keep me interested, to make my brain try to figure out the puzzle. I LOVE her now being 7346.

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  5. Jaye was eighteen year old [eighteen-year-old] Savannah Black. That is, until she woke up in an underground research facility called Eden. Now she’s being told her old life is over, the result of a worldwide airborne virus and that in exchange for her safety, she must consent to scientific testing, even if that includes Eden’s famous colored serums [how are they famous? Did she know about Eden before she ended up there?], the ones aimed at making her forget her past. But there’s just one problem. Jaye hasn’t forgotten her past. In fact, the longer she’s here, the more she remembers and the more dangerous to Eden she becomes.
    In order to survive, Jaye will have to break her rule of trusting no one to obtain the truth, a truth more sinister than even she could have imagined. A truth that could change the world.
    Can Jaye escape the system in time to prevent a revolution? Or is her expiration date [what exactly do you mean by “expiration date”? The date that they find out she remembers too much, or knows too much? Or do they just kill people after a certain time? I’d at least hint toward an answer] approaching sooner than she realizes?

    First 250 words:
    I pry my eyes open, dark spots dancing in my vision. A revolving metal fan stares back at me, it’s blades spinning at a lazy speed [I’d say lazily or slowly, for flow reasons], the cool breeze welcome on my sweaty skin. The white lights are blinding compared to the fog I’m coming out of. The dream. Me, floating in a thick gelatinous substance, one that clung to my body, hugged me close. Everything within in me jumbled and stuck, sinking beneath me like quick sand. I wipe the sleep from my eyes, catch the small red light flashing above the metal door. It speaks.
    “7346 is now awake.”
    I back against the bed’s headboard, my heart seizing within my chest, oxygen draining from my lungs. Where am I?
    Four bare walls surround me, all white, the sterility of it like bleach, singeing my nose [does it actually smell like bleach, or just the notion of how sterile it is makes her smell bleach?]. An armchair sits in the left corner and to my right is a small desk, three books resting on its metal surface. The only other item in the room is the bed beneath me, covered in white linen.
    Images surge through my brain: a small girl coughing, people wearing masks, a white corridor. None of them make sense.
    The blinking light turns solid red, watching me.
    “Hello?” I call out.
    The door slides open and a girl with short blonde hair steps inside. Her skin is so fair it nearly matches the pale walls. She smiles at me, checking her clipboard.
    “7346, I’m glad you’re awake.”

    Good, layered premise and good sensory images in the 250!

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  6. Thank you everyone for all your feedback. I’ve been working on the query pretty hard as that seems to be the weakest part of the two above. What do you think of these revisions?

    When eighteen year old Savannah Black wakes up in an underground research facility called Eden, her memories are fuzzy. Assigned a new name, Jaye, for her “new life”, Eden informs her of what she’s missed: a worldwide airborne virus, half the population infected or dead, and her mother locked up in quarantine. Eden’s offering sanctuary and a chance at a cure, but not for free. In exchange, Jaye will have to consent to scientific testing, including Eden’s colored serums, the ones aimed at making her forget her past. But when the serums fail and Jaye’s memories come flooding back, she’s faced with two game-changing truths: her mother died a long time ago and Eden’s lying about why she’s there.

    The more the truth unravels, the more Jaye has to lay on the line. And the more dangerous to Eden she becomes. When Jaye and her newfound friends uncover proof of Eden’s hidden agenda, they’re left with one last choice: attempt escape. But escaping won’t be easy, since those who don’t abide by Eden’s rules tend to wind up dead.

    Ideas? Thoughts?

    Also I will definitely be adding a sound effect both to the voice speaking to her (7346) and the sound of the door. Great suggestions. The sterility of the room is meant to remind her of bleach and yet also smell like bleach. Maybe I should clarify?

    Thanks everyone. This query has really kicked my butt.

    Heather

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This query is much stronger. I would give a little more punch to the first line. Maybe something like, “Eighteen-year-old Savannah Black wakes up in an underground research facility called Eden, with only hazy memories of who she is or how she got there.” Great entry, and good work!

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  8. Thank you for participating in SOAP this week. I appreciate all the time you put into your work and am blown away by your final product. Wishing you and Jaye all the successes! Keep me posted. All the best.

    Like

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