Wednesday, September 5, 2012

CAGI Entry #25

Genre:  YA Science Fiction
Word Count:  50,000


Zoey chose not to die.  Now she’s stuck transporting souls from their expired bodies to an underground lab, and a science experiment gone terribly wrong. It was a bad decision.

She loves her job, and hates it. Dealing in death carries an incomparable sadness, but no one should have to die alone, and that’s how Zoey justifies her work. It’s a lonely life though. She has no friends, aside from her clients, and they are never around for long.  Occupational hazard.  Another downside of working as a Collector, is being forgotten by the living. It is that way by design – it couldn’t work otherwise.  She has resigned herself to a lifetime of emptiness, until one day, inexplicably, someone remembers her.

Zoey’s connection with Matt is instant, powerful, impossible, but most crucially – forbidden. A relationship between a Collector and the living is not only prohibited, it is punishable by termination.  She could cease to exist at all. Zoey must unravel the secrets of the Collector’s Society to save herself and those around her.  She needs to know if true happiness can ever be hers again.

First 250:

Number 237 was easy. There had been no one around to hear Carlos when he slipped in the shower. No one was there to stop the bleeding, and no one was here now, not even Carlos anymore. The tear was already in the vial. Her job was done. The vial was surrounded by gold, shaped into a heart to mask its true purpose. It was small enough that no one would ever suspect it could have any other function than to be pretty, but it was big enough. Big enough to hold one tiny tear. The last tear. It always had to be the last. That was the one that held the soul. The only one that mattered. Even the strongest, biggest, and toughest, shed that last one. The Tear of the Soul. Of course the living don’t know this. It doesn’t often look like the tear has been shed, but it always has. Always. It’s just been stolen. The Collectors have taken it, and left no trace behind.

Carlos wouldn’t be discovered for three more days, so Zoey took a moment to hold his hand. She held it when it was still warm, when Carlos was still breathing. He must have wondered what she was doing with him in his bathroom when they’d only met a week ago at the car dealership. He was a salesman – single with no kids. She couldn’t decide if this was good or bad in the end. That he didn’t have anyone left here to pass on his legacy, or if it was better not to leave anyone behind.


  1. The voice in your query and 250 match, which is great to show consistency. The other side of that is the query reads maybe too much like the 250 and can be streamlined -- especially the sentence fragments which work great in the 250 but are distracting in the query. The second line of the 2nd query paragraph shows us a lot, it's really strong,I think you can ditch "it's a lonely life though" since the next line shows more about her life and we get that she's lonely. Once the repetitions are minimized I think this is strong. Good luck!

  2. Hmm, I swear I commented on this before, but my comment had disappeared... Anyway, I think this is quite good. I like the concept, especially the part about the tear being connected to the soul!

  3. I really love the concept here. This is definitely something I'd want to keep reading. The second line of the query confused me a little though:

    Zoey chose not to die. Now she’s stuck transporting souls from their expired bodies to an underground lab, and a science experiment gone terribly wrong.

    I wasn't sure what the science experiment had to do with it. I thought sentence felt stronger and more easily understood without that part, but that's just my opinion.

    That was literally my only complaint. :) I think the whole "last tear" holding the soul is genius. I think you should do really well with this.

    My entry is twenty-nine. If you could take a look, I'd really appreciate it! Hard to get comments for us lower numbers. :) Thanks and good luck in the contest!

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  5. (Sorry for the deleted comment! Blogger went rogue and posted before I was ready!)

    Hello, hello! Great concept! I'm going to take this query then first 250, so stick with me! ;)If you have any questions you can reply here and @ (@andimjulie) me on twitter to let me know you have a question!

    QUERY: Like I said before, great concept. I think this is totally a stand-out premise. I only have two critiques for the query. It reads quite a bit like your actual sample. A query is a business letter, so you might considering pulling back a bit on the voice. I would love to see some comps in the last paragraph of your query as well. I too had a problem with that first paragraph:

    "Zoey chose not to die. Now she’s stuck transporting souls from their expired bodies to an underground lab, and a science experiment gone terribly wrong. It was a bad decision."

    Personally, I would change the sentence order so that it reads: "Zoey chose not to die. It was a bad decision. Now..." That middle sentence though reads awfully awkward and the science experiement thing feels like it's coming out of left field.

    First 250:I really like the first 250 and have no criticism for it! Huzzah!

  6. Thanks so much for the feedback ladies!

    Julie, it's funny you should make that suggestion about the first paragraph. I actaully had it like that at one point, then second guessed. I'll definitely change it back. It makes more sense that way. :)