Wednesday, September 12, 2012

CAGI Entry #84

Genre:  YA thriller
Word Count:  76,000


Convicted murderer Naomi Williams expects a transfer to an adult prison for her eighteenth birthday.  Instead she gets a job offer.  The US government wants her to join a secret offshoot of the FBI and help bring down a domestic terrorist cell called the Renegades.  They’re only interested because Naomi intentionally killed the teenage son of a prominent Renegade leader.  Too bad the terrorists know it too, and their desire for revenge mean she’s in no position to turn the FBI down.           

During her first assignment Naomi meets James, a gang member with an unclear agenda.  When he uncovers who she works for and who she hunts, Naomi almost turns him in to her employers so he doesn’t reveal her secrets.  After his interference on a later assignment saves her life, she isn’t sure what to think.  He insists he won’t betray her, but Naomi knows the government would view him as a threat.  With the Renegades poised to attack, she must decide who, if anyone, to trust.  And this time, the wrong choice could get her killed.                                            

First 250:

The clank of her cell door opening startled Naomi upright.  "Williams, you have a visitor," the guard said.

Naomi stared blankly at her, legs dangling off the edge of the bunk.  "What?"

"You have a visitor," the guard repeated.  "There's a man here to see you."

"But it's not my parents' day to visit, and my dad—"

"You.  Have.  A.  Visitor."  By now there was no masking the irritation in her voice.  "Get your ass up and come with me."

Picking herself up off the bed, Naomi attempted to straighten her wrinkled uniform before her hands were cuffed.  A small calendar on the wall, checked off boxes counting down the time left on her sentence, read September 4th, 2025.  The guard held her by an elbow as she escorted Naomi through a maze of hallways to the small visiting area at the front of the facility. 

The room was about half full with girls and their families or friends.  They talked in low voices, their volume occasionally flaring up on a shout or a curse.  Laughter was all but unheard of here.

It took Naomi two seconds to identify the man who'd come to see her.  He sat by himself at a table in the farthest corner of the room.  His posture was perfect, better than hers, even though her mother had been telling her to sit up straight for years.  As the guard led her up to the table, she noticed his expensive looking suit and his neat, close cropped hair.  


  1. I really liked this! Your snagged me with your query and your 250 kept me there. I was surprised when it ended because I was so into it.

    The only place were I was pulled out a little was the bit with the calendar. I just thought the sentence read a bit awkwardly. I'm not sure if the date is Sept 04 or if that's when her sentence is up.

    Other than that, I really liked it!! Good luck!

  2. Wow. WOW.

    The query is great and the first 250 pulled me in. the calendar part is a little rough, but all in all, this is very unique and interesting.

  3. This is great. I was psyched to see your entry because I enjoyed reading your entry in Pitch Madness (congrats, by the way).

    I was really pulled in by your 250. You are masterful at weaving in description, tone, sensory details. It's such a short excerpt, but I already felt like I was experiencing the story as the narrator. One minor detail, I think the use of the word "here" in the second to last paragraph throws us out of the past tense. I also write in 1st person/past, and that word has creeped in all over my manuscript. I'm on a mission to annihilate it!

    The query was a little less stellar for me, but I think it can be easily improved. For me, it's missing those sharp, compelling details that you weave in so well in the excerpt. I know there's not time to explain too much in a query, but a little more detail so we feel connected could do wonders -- e.g., what are the secrets? what is the "later assignment," what are the Renegades all about?

    Overall, I thought this was fantastic! Give me a shout if you have a chance.

    Monica #75 Prime Grade

  4. I was going to make a comment about the calendar part too, but overall I like this one - love the premise too, good job :)

  5. I really love this. A lot. I've got nothing to add.

  6. Really enjoyed this! Great premise. I was uncertain about why the threat of the Renegades means she can't turn the FBI down. Wouldn't it make *more* sense to say no to the FBI, thank you very much but I'm quite happy here protected in my safe little cell? Also, why does having killed the Renegades' leader's son mean she's necessary to the FBI's operation? Because she's got insider knowledge about the Renegades' base or something? Otherwise, I thought it was all well-done and quite intriguing! Good luck!

  7. I remember reading your query before... You've done such a great job! I love the premise for this and would love to read more! Good luck!

  8. I really liked this in Miss Snark and you must have done another recent contest because I remember commenting. Nice job making the agent round.