#SonofaPitch Entry 5: Virtual Space #TeamDroids

b36ce-soap-finalTitle: Virtual Space
Category and Genre: YA Science Fiction
Word Count: 45,000

Query: At 14.2 years old, Kade Walker has never heard of death. Literally. But neither has anyone else he knows. Kade is one of hundreds of teens living across the solar system through the use of robotic avatars while their real bodies sleep in pods on Earth. Nothing can hurt him this way; the adults all said so. They just never said how to survive high school when only one person on the planet will talk to him.

Kade will admit, his obsession with numbers might deter 35.7% of people from hanging out with him. But the bigger issue is his best friend — Princess Tamika of Venus. So her mom almost let a crazed hacker take over everyone’s bodies twelve years ago. The queen is locked away, and Tamika herself is really nice. Kade needs to give her reputation a serious reboot. He starts off simple: an interstellar tour using an old teleportation machine he’s reconstructed. But the machine’s not rigged for current use, so when Kade fires it up, he unwittingly kills a major security wall and unleashes the same hacker from twelve years ago. Panic rating: ten times infinity. The hacker shuts off all communications with the adults and begins to take control of the royal avatars. If Kade doesn’t want to see his best friend used as a puppet, he needs to stop the hacker fast — even if that means waking up on Earth to fight with a body he never realized could be hurt.


First 250 Words:
It wasn’t the first time Kade had hacked the Venusian maintenance system, but it was one of the best. If he had to put a number on it (and there was very little he didn’t put a number on), he’d give it a 9.7. The 9.8 and 9.9 scores were reserved for something epic he hadn’t thought of yet, and 10.0 was for the day he would finally reprogram how his robotic body looked.

Still, assuming he didn’t get caught, his skills today would land him on a totally different planet. Maybe that deserved the 9.8 slot after all. If Tamika would hurry and get here, he could ask for her opinion.

Kade straightened against a metal door embedded in a burnt orange mountainside and flicked his left wing. A line of glowing text scrolled across his view: 5:03:34pm. He’d checked the time fifty-three seconds ago, but whenever he wasn’t reading data, he felt lost. The adults called it unhealthy. Healthy people could watch a sunset without calculating its luminosity every thirty seconds, but healthy people sounded boring. Besides, the numbers comforted him. Nobody got weirded out by seeing their own hands all the time, did they? His numbers were just that — an extra set of hands. Or wings. Or whatever.

Kade froze. His sensors detected a deep clunking sound that echoed across Venus’s stone-hard surface. Low volume, maybe twenty to thirty decibels. His first thought was that it was a patrol robot, but it was coming too fast.

9 thoughts on “#SonofaPitch Entry 5: Virtual Space #TeamDroids

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

  2. Query : I think your query has some stellar phrasing, but I needed a bit of clarity on a few points.
    Protag- Kade, 14.2 years old (LOVE this), is living life as through a robotic avatar. (so friggin’ cool)
    Conflict – his best friend is under lock down thanks to her mom almost letting a crazed hacker take over the bodies years ago. Is she dejected by others in the virtual high school? If he can give her reputation a reboot, then… He wants to give her a “reputation” reboot because ?? why? If only one person talks to him, is he really the person to offer a reputation reboot? 🙂 Will it reboot both of their reputations?
    Quagmire/Stakes/Question -How will the tour reboot her reputation? Will the hacker start a war or just embarrass the royals when they are puppets? Offer just a bit more? I love that he triggers the problem and has to figure out how to stop it and I’m digging the closing – even if that means waking up on Earth to fight with a body he never realized could be hurt !!

    The voice is awesome – play around with the details and streamline – it will be rock solid!

    First 250 Words:
    It wasn’t the first time Kade had hacked the Venusian maintenance system, but it was one of the best. If he had to put a number on it (and there was very little he didn’t put a number on), he’d give it a 9.7. The 9.8 and 9.9 scores were reserved for something epic he hadn’t thought of yet, and 10.0 was for the day he would finally reprogram how his robotic body looked. (the use of numbers is playful and helps develop Kade. Love this)

    Still, assuming he didn’t get caught, his skills today would land him on a totally different planet. Maybe that deserved the 9.8 slot after all. If Tamika would hurry and get here, he could ask her opinion.

    Kade straightened against a metal door embedded in a burnt orange mountainside and flicked his left wing. (Does his robotic avatar have wings? Reveal a detail here of appearance? Was it just a transport device?)) A line of glowing text scrolled across his view: 5:03:34pm. (is this on a helmet or just in his field of vision – since he’s in avatar mode?)He’d checked the time fifty-three seconds ago, but whenever he wasn’t reading data, he felt lost. The adults called it (his dependence on calculations?) unhealthy. Healthy people could watch a sunset without calculating its luminosity every thirty seconds, but healthy people sounded boring. (good character detail) Besides, the numbers comforted him. Nobody got weirded out by seeing their own hands all the time, did they? His numbers were just that — an extra set of hands. Or wings. Or whatever.

    Kade froze. His sensors detected a deep clunking sound that echoed across Venus’s stone-hard surface. Snippet of detail here? Low volume, maybe twenty to thirty decibels. His first thought was patrol robot, but it was coming too fast.

    This start has a lot of intriguing hints about Kade’s personality. I hit a few sentences where I was trying to understand a bit of the scene- wings/time. Off to a solid start! I would keep reading if I had more…. Thanks for sharing your words.

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    • 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 and I thank you for sharing your work!

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

    Query: At 14.2 years old, Kade Walker has never heard of death. Literally. But neither has anyone else he knows. Kade is one of hundreds of teens living across the solar system through the use of robotic avatars while their real bodies sleep in pods on Earth. (WHAT? THAT’S AWESOME!) Nothing can hurt him this way; the adults all said so. They just never said how to survive high school when only one person on the planet will talk to him. (Aw. Great opening! I know Kade and I know his problem.)

    Kade will admit, his obsession with numbers might deter 35.7% of people from hanging out with him. (I love the number thing, great detail that helps it stand out.) But the bigger issue is his best friend — Princess Tamika of Venus. So her mom almost let a crazed hacker take over everyone’s bodies twelve years ago. The queen is locked away, and Tamika herself is really nice. Kade needs to give her reputation a serious reboot. (Because he knows what it’s like to have only one friend? Because he’ll do anything for that one friend?) He starts off simple: an interstellar tour using an old teleportation machine he’s reconstructed. But the machine’s not rigged for current use, so when Kade fires it up, he unwittingly kills a major security wall and unleashes the same hacker from twelve years ago. (RUH-ROH.) Panic rating: ten times infinity. The hacker shuts off all communications with the adults and begins to take control of the royal avatars. If Kade doesn’t want to see his best friend used as a puppet, he needs to stop the hacker fast — even if that means waking up on Earth to fight with a body he never realized could be hurt. (AH! I love it! Having to face actual pain…the possibility of being hurt. Love those stakes. How he has to solve the problem that he caused…great. The voice is strong. I want to know what happens.)

    First 250 Words:
    It wasn’t the first time Kade had hacked the Venusian maintenance system, but it was one of the best. If he had to put a number on it (and there was very little he didn’t put a number on), he’d give it a 9.7. The 9.8 and 9.9 scores were reserved for something epic he hadn’t thought of yet, and 10.0 was for the day he would finally reprogram how his robotic body looked. (Love the numbers!)

    Still, assuming he didn’t get caught, his skills today would land him on a totally different planet. Maybe that deserved the 9.8 slot after all. If Tamika would hurry and get here, he could ask for her opinion. (I want to know what he’s up to! good job!)

    Kade straightened against a metal door embedded in a burnt orange mountainside and flicked his left wing. (He has wings?) A line of glowing text scrolled across his view: 5:03:34pm. He’d checked the time fifty-three seconds ago, but whenever he wasn’t reading data, he felt lost. The adults called it unhealthy. Healthy people could watch a sunset without calculating its luminosity every thirty seconds, but healthy people sounded boring. (Amen, Kade.) Besides, the numbers comforted him. Nobody got weirded out by seeing their own hands all the time, did they? His numbers were just that — an extra set of hands. Or wings. Or whatever.

    Kade froze. His sensors detected a deep clunking sound that echoed across Venus’s stone-hard surface. Low volume, maybe twenty to thirty decibels. His first thought was that it was a patrol robot, but it was coming too fast. (Ah! What is happening? I love this! Fun and cool and weird. Kade is interesting and unique. And i have a sense that he’s up to something and want to know what…and what is coming?)

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  4. 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:

    Query: At 14.2 years old, Kade Walker has never heard of death. Literally. But neither has anyone else he knows. Kade is one of hundreds of teens living across the solar system through the use of robotic avatars while their real bodies sleep in pods on Earth. Nothing can hurt him this way; the adults all said so. They just never said how to survive high school when only one person on the planet will talk to him.
    (I love this, all of this. Amongst all the love, this makes me think of Anne McCaffery’s The Ship Who Sang series. Ah, I loved those stories.)
    Kade will admit, his obsession with numbers might deter 35.7% (This is adorable!) of people from hanging out with him. But the bigger issue is his best friend — Princess Tamika of Venus. So her mom almost let a crazed hacker take over everyone’s bodies twelve years ago. The queen is locked away, and Tamika herself is really nice. Kade needs to give her reputation a serious reboot. He starts off simple: an interstellar tour using an old teleportation machine he’s reconstructed. But the machine’s not rigged for current use, so when Kade fires it up, he unwittingly kills a major security wall and unleashes the same hacker from twelve years ago. Panic rating: ten times infinity. The hacker shuts off all communications with the adults and begins to take control of the royal avatars. If Kade doesn’t want to see his best friend used as a puppet, he needs to stop the hacker fast — even if that means waking up on Earth to fight with a body he never realized could be hurt.
    (I absolutely love this entry! This is really fantastic, and from this query, I’m ready to hop onboard for what feels like a robot version of the Body Snatchers. Love this!)

    First 250:
    It wasn’t the first time Kade had hacked the Venusian maintenance system, but it was one of the best. If he had to put a number on it (and there was very little he didn’t put a number on), (I LOVE him already!) he’d give it a 9.7. The 9.8 and 9.9 scores were reserved for something epic he hadn’t thought of yet, and 10.0 was for the day he would finally reprogram how his robotic body looked.

    Still, assuming he didn’t get caught, his skills today would land him on a totally different planet. Maybe that deserved the 9.8 slot after all. If Tamika would hurry and get here, he could ask for her opinion.

    Kade straightened against a metal door embedded in a burnt orange mountainside and flicked his left wing. A line of glowing text scrolled across his view: 5:03:34pm. He’d checked the time fifty-three seconds ago, but whenever he wasn’t reading data, he felt lost. The adults called it unhealthy. Healthy people could watch a sunset without calculating its luminosity every thirty seconds, but healthy people sounded boring. Besides, the numbers comforted him. Nobody got weirded out by seeing their own hands all the time, did they? His numbers were just that — an extra set of hands. Or wings. Or whatever. (AAAA! I love him!)

    Kade froze. His sensors detected a deep clunking sound that echoed across Venus’s stone-hard surface (this is the first point where I have a hiccup—I got my degrees in geology, and the surface of Venus is hot enough to melt metal, and commonly does as evidenced by the Russian landers melting when they got there. Maybe a throw away comment about the terra forming and the super dense atmosphere, or that their bodies were special made for the heat and pressure. Many of the rocks on Venus are actually quite plastic, so hard rocks and Venus don’t really work out. But just a quibble based on the fact that the people who are going to be into your amazing character with AMAZING writing are also likely to be the look it up nerds) Low volume, maybe twenty to thirty decibels. His first thought was that it was a patrol robot, but it was coming too fast.

    (I really love this entry. I love how you’ve made the stakes very tangible. I adore your MC, and I love that you got his voice across in the query, and the first page really stands with it. Super exceptional work!)

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  5. Author here! Thank you so much for the feedback! It’s given me a lot to think about, and I immensely appreciate the time it takes to read and critique these pieces. 🙂

    Like

    • The ways the blogs are set up – it’s hard for me to know if you were directing this back to Rena, Kathy or me – but either way, thanks for being a part of SOAP. Kade’s story is fun and I’m so glad I was able to get to see it. Please keep me posted! (and, if this message was to Rena or Kathy – just specify which and I’ll pass it along.) My words remains the same 🙂

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