Wednesday, September 28, 2016

September Pass Or Pages Entry #3

Time for our favorite part of Pass Or Pages, the feedback reveals! We hope that everyone following along will get something out of these reveals that they can apply to their own writing. I did!
We are so grateful to our agent panel for critiquing these entries. We would also like to give a shout-out to the authors for being brave and willing to improve.



Euphoria's Designs, a YA science fiction novel complete at 68,000 words, can be likened to A Court of Thorns and Roses meets the real science of The Martian.[RN1]

Seventeen-year-old Lottie leads a complicated life. Ensuring the survival of her alcoholic father, absentee mom, and disabled little brother forces her to sacrifice all[RN2] [KA1]. So when her father sells her to an advanced city to avoid punishment for his crime, it should have been an opportunity to start a new life.[SN1] [KA2]

And it was for a little while. With his beautiful brown skin, cocky smile and uncompromising attitude, Lottie meets her match in Eros.[SN2] At least, until Euphoria intervenes. Supercomputer Euphoria ensures all her people are chipped, tracked, genetically altered, born and bred warriors, and Eros is one of the elite.[RN3] [SN3] [KA3]

To make matters worse, Lottie alone uncovers an uprising against the warriors, only to have her family forsaken in the ensuing lockdown[RN4] [SN4]. Now the warriors, and possibly the boy she loves, will hunt her down if she flees to save her family, but if she doesn't, her little brother won't survive.[RN5] [SN5] [KA4]

Renee's Notes:
[RN1]The comps are CRAZY different. Which isn’t bad necessarily, but could you find a YA scifi title to bridge that gap? Perhaps something by Beth Revis?
[RN2]Unnecessary backstory. I recommend deleting.
[RN3]It is unclear to me how the supercomputer is intervening here.
[RN4]But I thought she didn’t live with her family anymore. She was sold to a new city? How does she find out that they are abandoned? 
[RN5]I can really feel the motivation for Lottie here. But I need a little more framing of the revolution. I would like to know why there is unrest.

Sarah's Notes:
[SN1] Sells her to do what? Is she a slave?
[SN2] Her love match? This isn't clear.
[SN3] I don't understand what this is trying to say or how it ruins Lotties new life. Also, is Lottie a warrior now?
[SN4] I'm also unclear. What does it mean that her family is forsaken?
[SN5] This is a very short query. Concise is good, but brevity that creates confusion is bad. You've got a good start here, but you need to add in a few more sentences here and there to clear up the confusion and help the agent get a better idea for what is going on.

Kurestin's Notes:
[KA1] There's nothing wrong with this opening, beyond the fact that I see it so often it feels a bit formulaic. Mix up the introductory sentences, make them snappier and include more of the voice from your manuscript.
[KA2] I'm a little unclear on the logistics of this arrangement, and I feel like there's an interesting tidbit you're keeping from me.
[KA3] Who? What? Where are they, how do they meet, what is this city like, why is there a supercomputer, why does it control warriors, why does it care about Lottie, what is she doing in this city? You've left me with a lot of questions and not a lot of interesting detail. Again I feel like there might be some cool stuff going on, you're just not telling me any of it.
[KA4] I'm again unclear on the cause and effect here, which means I don't feel any urgency or concern for Lottie because I'm still five steps behind. If I don't feel that concern and drive to find out what happens, I'm very likely to pass.

First 250:

I looked behind, barely able to see Dad buried between the sacks, hoping against hope that he’d stay there. Grains of sand whipped around us, scattering as we neared West Gate. Turning back around sent a slow ache rippling through my shoulder blades. Everything hurt, everything always hurt, by the time we got to the gate. Even my hair hurt. I tugged at its knot, letting the tangled mess fall to my shoulders.

A ding on the transport’s front display called, igniting a faint orange glow. They identified us. Up ahead, the warriors stood erect with their backs against the chiseled stone, looking as greyed and weathered as the wall they guarded, but also as proud. Upon our arrival, their darkened silhouettes shifted, drawing electrified braided spears outward. Black synthetic leathers ran smoothly over their bodies, layered on top of the hidden source of their inhuman strength: exogear. More warriors, positioned at ready yet hidden from view, watched us from the top of the warded wall, lost in the depths of the sky. [KA1]

The automatic alert woke Dad and he wrestled a bit as he made his way to the front of the transport, reeking from whatever he'd hidden under his dusty layers. “Charlotte, I’ve got this.” He leaned forward, his groggy, red eyes squinting into the faded light, searching to see which warrior was lead tonight. “Ervard.”

My fingers twitched as I queued a couple controls, dropping the transport’s speed and letting it coast to the staging area.


Renee's Notes:
These pages are really great! I love the world building.

Sarah's Notes:
This is a decent first page.

Kurestin's Notes: 
[KA1]This description feels more jumbled than vivid to me. Perhaps focus on highlighting the most interesting and pertinent aspect for this particular moment.

Renee Nyen: PASS
Sarah Negovetich: PASS
Kurestin Armada: PASS

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