#SonofaPitch Entry 4: Designs of Euphoria #TeamDroids

b36ce-soap-finalTitle: Designs of Euphoria
Category and Genre: YA Science Fiction
Word Count: 68,000
 
Query
Seventeen-year-old Lottie might have accepted that her first love is a genetically modified warrior loyal to an emerging AI. At least until she discovers that the machine is systemically stamping out all dissent and diversity on its quest to build a perfectly just city—modeled after the three-tiered society of Plato’s Republic.
 
When the lives of her family get caught in its path, Lottie realizes the fight to save them is much bigger than herself. Pockets of impoverished provincials and groups of vengeful exiled warriors have launched a counteroffensive. But the uprising captures her father, thinking he works for the AI.
 
Now with her love and family on one side and a ragtag cabal that she believes in on the other, Lottie has to decide what—and whom—she’s willing to sacrifice to stop the encroaching army of warriors and exobots.
 
First 250 Words:
The second to last time Dad lay buried between the sacks, every part of me hoped he’d stay there. I had no idea that the next time, I’d be a sobbing mess, begging him to get up.
 
Grains of sand whipped around us, scattering as we neared West Gate. Our transport cruised along with the low hum of autopilot, running a methodical scan over the deserted terrain. I’d stopped paying attention hours ago. Now sitting hunched over, I flipped through page after page of the tattered book. A slow ache rippled through my shoulder blades. Everything hurt, everything always hurt, by the time we got to the gate.
 
The transparent display ignited a faint orange glow, signaling an alert. The following ding said it all: they’d identified us. Cursing myself for not moving sooner, I slammed the book closed and jumped up. A hollow slip ran between the interior wall and flat deck. Two quick bangs and the rusty casing opened enough for me to hide the gift inside. A good kick and it closed. Once settled, I switched the transport to semi-manual mode and queued a couple controls. We floated forward at a slow pace.
 
Up ahead, warriors stood erect with their backs against chiseled stone, looking as greyed and weathered as the wall they guarded, but also as proud. As we neared, the darkened silhouettes shifted, drawing electrified braided spears outward. Black synthetic leathers ran smoothly over their bodies, concealing the source of their inhuman strength: exogear.
 
Either the automatic alert or my scurry woke Dad.

11 thoughts on “#SonofaPitch Entry 4: Designs of Euphoria #TeamDroids

  1. Pingback: #SonofaPitch Round 2 The Golden Rule and the entries | Elsie Elmore

  2. Query: I love the tone of your query and the premise. This is strong – both premise and phrasing. I slowed in a few areas when reading and made notes, but I think you’ve identified the stakes and the question. Tinker for clarity and reading but great start!
    Here are a few thoughts – using the word might makes me think her accepting the fact is conditional. Seventeen-year-old Lottie (might have accepted – must come to terms with the fact – must accept- that her first love is a genetically modified warrior who is loyal to an emerging AI. But allegiance … means agreeing with the systemic stamping out all dissent and diversity on its quest to build a perfectly just city—modeled after the three-tiered society of Plato’s Republic. (love the reference – very interesting)

    When the lives of her family get caught in its path, Lottie realizes the fight to save them is much bigger than herself.( – how much bigger – what does that mean_ more people than just her family are at risk? Their entire society?) Pockets of impoverished provincials and groups of vengeful exiled warriors launch a counteroffensive and capture her father, thinking he works for the AI. (that sounds like trouble…)

    Now with her love and family on one side and a ragtag cabal that she believes in on the other, Lottie has to decide what—and whom—she’s willing to sacrifice to stop the encroaching army of warriors and exobots. Tinker her to amp up… Lottie must chose what—and whom—to sacrifice to stop the encroaching army of warriors and exobots? More extreme?

    First 250 Words:
    The second to last time Dad lay buried between the sacks, every part of me hoped he’d stay there. I had no idea that the next time, I’d be a sobbing mess, begging him to get up. (ooh, interesting opening….)

    Grains of sand whipped around us, scattering as we neared West Gate. Our transport cruised along with the low hum of autopilot, running a methodical scan over the deserted terrain. (I love the picture forming in my head) I’d stopped paying attention hours ago. Now sitting hunched over, I flipped through page after page of the tattered book. (A detail about the relevance of the book?)A slow ache rippled through my shoulder blades. Everything hurt, everything always hurt, by the time we got to the gate.

    The transparent display ignited a faint orange glow, signaling an alert. (The following ding said it all: they’d identified us. Can you show this? Board lit up – status display flashed: Identified – in pursuit? Or techno-jargon from your world? Would make the moment resonate to be experienced) Cursing myself for not moving sooner, I slammed the book closed and jumped up. (Had they not been buried in the book, would they have picked up on this sooner? Is she at fault?) A hollow slip ran between the interior wall and flat deck. Two quick bangs and the rusty casing opened enough for me to hide the gift inside. A good kick and it closed.
    Once settled, I switched the transport to semi-manual mode and queued a couple controls. We floated forward at a slow pace.

    Up ahead, warriors stood erect with their backs against chiseled stone, looking as greyed and weathered as the wall they guarded, but also as proud. As we neared, the darkened silhouettes shifted, drawing electrified braided spears outward. Black synthetic leathers ran smoothly over their bodies, concealing the source of their inhuman strength: exogear. Internal thought here?

    Dad stirred? Either the automatic alert or my scurry woke Dad. (him?)

    Enjoyed this!! I wish I had more words to read ☺ such a strong start. Remember to show what you can. Very nicely done. Thanks for sharing your words.

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  3. Kudos for entering SOAP. If you have any questions/concerns or want another look at changes/tinkerings/updates or need anything else, just give me a yell. All suggestions and opinions are humbly offered. Thanks for sharing your work!

    Like

  4. My comments are my opinions. Please take what works for you and forget the rest.

    Query:
    Seventeen-year-old Lottie might have accepted that her first love is a genetically modified warrior loyal to an emerging AI. (Use stronger words than “might have”. But a genetically modified warrior? Awesome!) At least until she discovers that the machine is systemically stamping out all dissent and diversity on its quest to build a perfectly just city—modeled after the three-tiered society of Plato’s Republic. (Whoa. Cool. Well…not cool for them, but for me.)

    When the lives of her family get caught in its path, Lottie realizes the fight to save them is much bigger than herself. (bigger how?) Pockets of impoverished provincials and groups of vengeful exiled warriors have launched a counteroffensive. But the uprising captures her father, thinking he works for the AI.(Why would they think that?)

    Now with her love and family on one side and a ragtag cabal that she believes in on the other, Lottie has to decide what—and whom—she’s willing to sacrifice to stop the encroaching army of warriors and exobots. (I like the sound of exobots! But who will she have to sacrifice? What is the choice she faces? Stand with one side, then what will happen, what will she lose…or what will the world lose? Very cool premise!)

    First 250 Words:
    The second to last time Dad lay buried between the sacks, every part of me hoped he’d stay there. I had no idea that the next time, I’d be a sobbing mess, begging him to get up. (I am intrigued by this…and confused all at once.)

    Grains of sand whipped around us, scattering as we neared West Gate. (So the transport isn’t enclosed? What exactly does the transport look like? Smell like?) Our transport cruised along with the low hum of autopilot, running a methodical scan over the deserted terrain. I’d stopped paying attention hours ago. Now sitting hunched over, I flipped through page after page of the tattered book. (What book? Is it important?) A slow ache rippled through my shoulder blades. Everything hurt, everything always hurt, by the time we got to the gate.

    The transparent display ignited a faint orange glow, signaling an alert. The following ding said it all: they’d identified us. (These sentences could be changed a bit to up the tension here… A (loud, whiny, something) ding made me jump. A orange glow ignited on the display. They’d identified us.) Cursing myself for not moving sooner (moving from her seat or moving the transport?) , I slammed the book closed and jumped up. A hollow slip ran between the interior wall and flat deck. Two quick bangs and the rusty casing opened enough for me to hide the gift (the book?) inside. A good kick and it closed. Once settled, I switched the transport to semi-manual mode and queued a couple controls. We floated forward at a slow pace. (Don’t need at a slow pace…I think floated takes care of that.)

    Up ahead, warriors stood erect with their backs against chiseled stone, looking as greyed and weathered as the wall they guarded, but also as proud. (Nice detail.) As we neared, the darkened silhouettes shifted, drawing electrified braided spears outward. Black synthetic leathers ran smoothly over their bodies, concealing the source of their inhuman strength: exogear. (They are super neat-o! Where is she going? What is this book she’s reading and hiding? Is she doing something routine? Is she nervous or anxious? I’d like to know what’s going on in her head. Who is this? The scene is cool, but I have no feel of the mc.)

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    • Thank you, Kathy! Here’s a merged revision incorporating Elsie’s feedback too. I sincerely appreciate the time both of you took. Please take a look!

      Query:
      Seventeen-year-old Lottie accepts that her first love is a genetically modified warrior loyal to an emerging AI. At least until she discovers that the machine is systemically stamping out all dissent and diversity on its quest to build a perfectly just city—modeled after the three-tiered society of Plato’s Republic.

      When the lives of her family get caught in its path, Lottie realizes the fight to save them is much bigger than herself. Pockets of impoverished provincials and groups of vengeful exiled warriors have launched a counteroffensive. But the uprising captures her father, thinking he works for the AI.

      Now with her love and family on one side and a ragtag cabal that she believes in on the other, Lottie must choose what—and whom—she’s willing to sacrifice to stop the encroaching army of warriors and exobots.

      First 250 Words:
      The second to last time Dad lay buried between the sacks, every part of me hoped he’d stay there. I had no idea that the next time, I’d be a sobbing mess, begging him to get up.

      Grains of sand whipped around us, scattering as we neared West Gate. Our transport cruised along with the low hum of autopilot, running a methodical scan over the deserted terrain. I’d stopped paying attention hours ago. Now sitting hunched over, I flipped through page after page of the tattered book. A slow ache rippled through my shoulder blades. Everything hurt, everything always hurt, by the time we got to the gate.

      The transport’s display ignited. A growing orange glow scrawled across the interface the same moment a shrill ding sounded warning: they’d identified us. Cursing myself for not moving sooner, I slammed the book closed and jumped up. A hollow slip ran between the interior wall and flat deck. Two quick bangs and the rusty casing opened enough for me to hide the gift inside. A good kick and it closed. Once settled, I switched navigation to semi-manual mode and queued a couple controls. We floated forward.

      Up ahead, warriors stood erect with their backs against chiseled stone, looking as greyed and weathered as the wall they guarded, but also as proud. As we neared, the darkened silhouettes shifted, drawing electrified braided spears outward. Black synthetic leathers ran smoothly over their bodies, concealing the source of their inhuman strength: exogear. A cold shiver ran down my spine.

      Dad stirred. Either the automatic alert or my frantic scurry woke him.

      Like

      • Emily – So, this right here:
        A growing orange glow scrawled across the interface the same moment a shrill ding sounded warning: they’d identified us.
        Gave me the shivers!
        nice rework!

        Like

  5. Whenever I give feedback, I’m not telling you what to do with your story or query. I’m only offering suggestions for how I would change it if it were mine. In the end, no one knows their story as well as the writer, and as such, it is up to the writer how to take any suggestions. Good luck, and it was a privilege having all of you on my blog!

    Query:

    Seventeen-year-old Lottie might have accepted that her first love is a genetically modified warrior loyal to an emerging AI. At least until she discovers that the machine is systemically stamping out all dissent and diversity on its quest to build a perfectly just city—modeled after the three-tiered society of Plato’s Republic.

    (I like this premise, and it goes with a lot of currently popular themes about automation, so those are all good things)

    When the lives of her family get caught in its path (How? What happens? Give us specifics and we’re more likely to be engaged), Lottie realizes the fight to save them is much bigger than herself (this feels like a throwaway attempt at stakes because we already know it’s bigger than her because her family got caught in it. We need some specifics and then you don’t have to use vague statements that seem tantalizing but don’t do anything to set your work apart from the others. Specifics help us see how your story is different.). Pockets of impoverished provincials and groups of vengeful exiled warriors have launched a counteroffensive. But the uprising captures her father, thinking he works for the AI. (Why would they think this? This is why some details would really help).

    Now with her love and family on one side and a ragtag cabal that she believes in on the other, Lottie has to decide what—and whom—she’s willing to sacrifice to stop the encroaching army of warriors and exobots. (this is a good set up, and the potential for the stakes is really high. Great job!)

    First 250:

    The second to last time Dad lay buried between the sacks, every part of me hoped he’d stay there. I had no idea that the next time, I’d be a sobbing mess, begging him to get up.
    (I’m not really sure if this is foreshadowing, but this confused me. Why are we laying in sand? Is this something that will be explained? I’m guessing so, but it doesn’t have a big emotional punch because I have no idea what’s going on here. I recommend adding or cutting.)
    Grains of sand whipped around us, scattering as we neared West Gate. Our transport cruised along with the low hum of autopilot, running a methodical scan over the deserted terrain. I’d stopped paying attention hours ago. Now sitting hunched over, I flipped through page after page of the tattered book. A slow ache rippled through my shoulder blades. Everything hurt, everything always hurt, by the time we got to the gate.

    The transparent display ignited a faint orange glow, signaling an alert. The following ding said it all: they’d identified us. Cursing myself for not moving sooner, I slammed the book closed and jumped up. A hollow slip ran between the interior wall and flat deck. Two quick bangs and the rusty casing opened enough for me to hide the gift inside. A good kick and it closed. Once settled, I switched the transport to semi-manual mode and queued a couple controls. We floated forward at a slow pace.

    Up ahead, warriors stood erect with their backs against chiseled stone, looking as greyed and weathered as the wall they guarded, but also as proud. As we neared, the darkened silhouettes shifted, drawing electrified braided spears outward. Black synthetic leathers ran smoothly over their bodies, concealing the source of their inhuman strength: exogear.

    Either the automatic alert or my scurry woke Dad.

    (Except for the one quibble about not having any grounding in the first paragraph, this is great. I was sad to reach the end of the words. Good job and thanks for sharing!)

    Like

  6. I used your revised query from the comments.
    Query:
    Seventeen-year-old Lottie accepts that her first love is a genetically modified warrior loyal to an emerging AI. At least until she discovers that the machine is systemically stamping out all dissent and diversity on its quest to build a perfectly just city—modeled after the three-tiered society of Plato’s Republic. (Strong opening. I might nitpick and suggest changing ‘accepts,’ maybe to ‘knows’ and then making the second sentence more active for her, but that’s really splitting hairs. ‘Lottie knows her first love……Her world shatters when she discovers the AI controlling her boyfriend is…..’)
    When the lives of her family get caught in its path, Lottie realizes the fight to save them is much bigger than herself. Pockets of impoverished provincials and groups of vengeful exiled warriors launch (tense change) a counteroffensive, but the uprising captures her father, believing he works for the AI. (Merging these sentences helps with the flow.)
    Now with her love and family on one side and a ragtag cabal that she believes in (‘that she believes in’ is clunky) on the other, Lottie must choose what—and whom (who)—she’s willing to sacrifice to stop the encroaching army of warriors and exobots.

    You’re making my job REALLY hard. There just isn’t much to criticize. This is a well-written, streamlined query, with a good hook and what sounds like an interesting plot. The first 250 words are strong and make me want to keep reading. Well done!

    Like

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