Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bouncer Post #56

Genre: Commercial/General Fiction
Word Count: 117,000


Augusta Collins was born in the wrong century. She would’ve rather lived in the time of Jane Austen or Charlotte Brontë, where elegance, beauty, and chivalry reigned, but having no say in the matter, she ended up in modern-day Charlotte, North Carolina instead. Seemingly destined to feel a remote sense of displacement, the whole world whizzed past her in screeching tires and ringing cell phones – until, one day, the power went out and never came back on.

The result of a powerful solar flare storm, the realization that life must change isn’t welcome to anyone except Augusta - especially not Griffin Alexander, the 28-year-old capitol investor turned COO of her family’s manufacturing company. Inadvertently involved in a fatal riot over highly coveted gasoline a few weeks after the storm, he’d tried but failed to save Augusta’s father Sam, an action that prompted her mother to demand he take Sam’s place.  Literally locked out of his former life, Griffin agrees, finding that doing so forces him to utilize the military skills his father taught him to defend not only the company, but Augusta and her mother as well.

Nearly a year later, Augusta still mourns the death of her father, but watches in awe as an old way of life slowly reemerges.  Immersed in the beauty around her in the form of elaborate balls, strolls in her family’s rose garden, and the potential of a love fit for Austen’s pen,  Augusta’s life finally seems to make sense - however, though it may seem so, time hasn't reversed and life certainly hasn't calmed. The makeup of the country is shifting, it has to, but as governmental control increases under the guise of regaining some sort of order, a radical opposition group views the action as an attack on democracy and plans to retaliate. Unsympathetic to either cause, but scrutinized by both sides, the decision to stay neutral may be fatal – and ultimately impossible.  An encompassing distraction, Augusta attempts to ignore the similarly chaotic battle taking place in her heart, ultimately having to decide, on both ends, if she can trust Griffin’s word. As fear, courage, anger, and love come crashing together like the conflicting fronts of a tornado, Augusta finds that although turmoil and deception are plagues in any age, love tends to find you right where you belong.

First 250:

Most people are pretty satisfied with the time frame in which they were born - it’s not as if we have any say in the matter, but the fact is I’m not, I’ve never been. Actually acknowledging it seems ridiculous, but it’s true; I was born in the wrong century. I've known it since I was a little girl. Turning the final page of The Secret Garden didn’t come as a simple conclusion of a story, but as a violent slam forcing me out of Mary’s life and into a reality that was much too cheap and way too fast-paced. Finding that I moped around for a few days each time I concluded a classic novel, I learned it was in my best interest to avoid them like the plague, and so I did, until last year when I didn’t have to anymore, when the setting of my life suddenly changed into something beautifully familiar. In a flash I’d been given an incredible gift, a gift everyone around me recognized as the opposite - some variation of hell.

The metal watch band brushed my wrist as Mom’s hand found mine, squeezing twice, a confirmation that I was still there, that she wasn’t alone. It was stiflingly hot. Sweat pooled between our palms, dripping down my extended wrist to the floor. The theater was packed to way past code, people jammed practically on top of each other, some two to a seat. The body heat radiating from my mom and the large man next to me felt as though I was pressed between the red coils of a toaster, while the absence of air conditioning allowed for the infamous Charlotte humidity to pour through the open doors. Deciding to grin and bear it, I flicked my wrist, slung the fan open with my free hand and waved it in a smooth motion in front of me.


  1. I fear your query is far too long to capture the attention of your reader. Perhaps save much of it for a short synopsis and just hit the high points in your actual Q. The writing seems solid and I thought the image of being trapped between two red coils of a toaster was very effective. There is a clunky transition between paras 1 and 2 that confuses. Maybe you could clean that up. Beginning with two solid blocks of text might be a problem - perhaps you could throw in some dialogue rather than just the straight relaying through the narrator's voice to break that up.

  2. I think the premise for this is interesting, but the query could use some tightening. I liked the first paragraph, but then it gets murky as you add in the back story details.

    You might also consider skipping the first paragraph and starting right with the blackout.

  3. Thanks Owl and K.Turley! I agree that the query needs some tightening. I had a much shorter query, but upon receiving some feedback on it, changed it up a bit. I think I'll just need to revise a bit more.

    Para 1 is a bit of a prologue. For future submissions I could probably begin with para 2.

    Thanks again to you both! :)