Monday, February 4, 2013

Bouncer Post #116

Genre: YA sci-fi
Word Count: 93,000


Everyone has wondered what it would be like to have telepathic powers and read the thoughts of everyone around you, but what if the opposite were true?  What if everyone else was telepathic except you, cut out of society and looked upon with suspicion or pity?  This is the struggle of Loustor Taikees.

In a world where people have telepathic nodes sticking up from their heads, Loustor was born with with a deformity that left him deaf and mute to the thoughts of others.  After a rough childhood, he determines to leave his telepathic family and find a colony of nontelepaths like him.  During his quest, he is attacked on the streets, framed for smuggling, drafted to the front lines of a never-ending war, and inspired by his fellow "entees" to learn that disability can never hold him back.

First 250:

Loustor Taikees sat alone. The shades were closed over the window, walling off the world. The only light in the room came from a dim bulb hanging low from the ceiling.

He liked the dark. It helped him to forget the world around him. The world had forgotten him, so it only seemed fitting to return the favor.

A call rang up from downstairs. “Lou?”

Loustor sighed and ignored it.

He sat in a low wooden chair under the dangling bulb with just enough light to read. There was a book in his lap, a thick biological encyclopedia meant for students years older than he was. Books were everywhere in the dusty room around him, some shelved neatly, more scattered on the floor, and others sticking out from every corner in tall piles. The titles ranged from archaic philosophy to children’s adventure stories to modern engineering texts. He owned hundreds of paper tomes, and he had read and reread each of them time and again. Other than the shelves for the books and the chair in which Loustor sat, the room held only a little bed and a dresser whose drawers stuck open. It was all he needed.

“Lou?” The voice rang out again. He looked up, frowned, and returned to his book.

Another few minutes of silence passed.

“Loustor Taikees! You hear me?” the voice from downstairs called out louder than before.

Loustor tossed the book onto his bed and climbed out of the low chair. It was time to rejoin the world.


  1. I like the idea of Loustor being an outsider--a deaf/mute telepath.

    In your query, I suggest you begin without any questions. I've read a lot of agents don't like them, especially if they might answer with sonething you wouldn't like. :-)

    In general, I'd like to see more specifically what Louster's quest is, and what he stands to gain or lose. The learning that his disability won't hold him back seems like it might be telling the ending. Maybe you want to leave that out of the query to leave the agent something to wonder about and a reason to request pages.

    I liked your first 250. You have a good voice. I kind of wonder if Loustor recognizes the voice calling him, and if so, why you don't say who it is.

    Good luck!

  2. I agree with Laura's comments - all of them. It's an intriguing idea and I love that he joins with nontelepaths. Sounds like you've got some good world building going on here. But the query feels light. I'd like more details on his real struggle once he leaves his family and the rest of the "normal" people behind.

    Strong writing in your first 250 words.

    Best of luck!

  3. This is a really unique premise, and I enjoyed your first 250 words. I think Loustor's loneliness comes through well, especially in this line: "The world had forgotten him, so it only seemed fitting to return the favor." I would certainly be interested in reading more of this. :)

  4. I agree that you should omit the initial questions. I think you could even jump right in with your second paragraph as it is plenty intriguing on its own.

    I loved this sentence: "The world had forgotten him, so it only seemed fitting to return the favor." Your first 250 was compelling and I'd read more! :)


  5. I think you have a really unique character here, with a very interesting dilemma to face. But the query doesn't do the concept justice. Starting by asking the reader something is never a great idea.

    The 250 is very well written and gives a real sense of this guy's isolation from the very start.

  6. Rhetorical questions are a big no-no in queries, and I think you could omit the first paragraph entirely. Instead, try expanding the second paragraph to show us more of the conflict your main character faces. You list a few things that happen in the plot, but what is the main problem your character must overcome? What choice does he have to make? What happens if he fails? Focus on that.

    Your first 250 words are written well, but I do wonder if you're starting in the right place, or if there's a way to make them stand out more. It doesn't feel very YA right now, or very sci-fi... I'd like to see more voice, or maybe a hint of the telepathic powers in the world. For example, if the character notes that the voice (and does he know who the voice belongs to?) has to call him out loud instead of telepathically, it would add a touch of something unique first 250 words. Hope this makes sense!