Sunday, February 10, 2013

Bouncer Post #152

Title: OMEGA
Genre: YA Adventure/Light Sci-fi
Word Count: 97,000
To please her BFF, seventeen-year-old Royce Larkin agrees to attend a party promoting a new virtuality video game. Her best friend is there to flirt with Beck, the new guy at school. She has no idea that he is Royce's ex-boyfriend, or that Royce still harbors major feelings for him, which makes the party totally awkward for Royce. Then Beck acts like he barely knows her and it becomes the Worst. Party. Ever.

When the game, Omega, begins to converge with Royce's reality—as in, one minute Royce is on her morning jog and the next she's dangling from a cliff over a lava ocean—no one will believe her. Then another player ends up dead. For real. Everyone thinks that all they have to do is stop playing. Wrong. The less they play, the more Omega sucks them inside to battle hooded figures with laser guns, horrific creatures and earn statuses to reunite Chaos and Balance on Earth. Now Royce has no choice but to help Beck beat the game, while somehow keeping her heart from breaking all over again. Because if they don't win, they'll suffer the same fate as the kid who died.

GAME OVER has never sounded so ominous.

First 250 Words:

Mr. Famura stares at me like he knows I’m texting instead of learning how to conjugate Japanese verbs. I stop mid-text and slip my phone discretely between my legs, diverting my attention back to my book as if that has been my focus all along. Oyogu, to swim. Oyogimasu, formal present. mind starts to blur the letters as I think about the text chain on my phone.

Cailee: Met new Romeo in Espanol.

Me: Who is it this time?

Cailee: Meet him at lunch.

Meet him at lunch? As in, I don't already know him? I feel rather than see Mr. Famura glaring me again. Okay, back to work. Oyogimashita, formal past. Oyoida, informal past. I swam across the river. Kaw o oyoide watatta.

Fifteen minutes later I'm on my way to AP Chemistry and I still have absolutely no idea who Cailee's new Romeo is. So far, none of my guesses has been right. And there's no way I'm going to find out now, because if you even admit you own a phone in Mr. Bo’s class, you won’t see it again ‘til three o’clock.

So I sit in my chair, slipping Cailee and her new Romeo into the vault in my brain. Close door, spin lock, don’t forget the combination. Just in time, too.


  1. I really liked this. The game idea seemed a good one, one which would give plenty of conflict and the excerpt moved on at a good pace.

  2. I really liked your first 250. Weaving in the Japanese lesson with her texts was fun and kept the tone light.
    The query - I like the first para, but the second seemed a bit bogged down. Maybe because I wasn't sure how the game was interfering with her reality - does this happen while she's playing? Or after she is away from the game? I think clearing that up will help clarify the stakes. Love the last line. Best of luck, Amy (#168)

  3. Bouncer Colonel MustardFebruary 11, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    I'm going to wait until Thursday to announce my top 3, but I'm going to give everyone some feedback in the meantime.

    Love the last line of your query: "GAME OVER never sounded so ominous"! In fact, because you have it in caps, I thought that was the name of the novel until I scrolled back up to the top. Has that title been used before? You may want to consider it.

    As for tweaks. I'd rework this line: "they'll suffer the same fate as the kid who died." Why not just say "they'll wind up dead?" Question: what happened to Royce's girlfriend? She's obviously important at the beginning of the query, but not sure where her place is later. Why does Royce have "no choice but to help Beck beat the game?" Doesn't she have to beat it too? What about everyone else? Does she have no choice but to help them beat the game, too? Just some things to think about!

    Okay. Stay tuned!

    1. Great idea for the title, Bouncer Colonel Mustard!

  4. I love the premise for this, and the MC's voice! I totally agree that Game Over could be an awesome title. I got a little bogged down in the last paragraph of the query especially the line that starts "The less they play ..." the list that followed lost me a bit, and it wasn't clear why the MC had to help Beck specifically. Was she forced to team up with him for some reason?

    That said, it's just a tiny nitpick in a great query/concept/first 250! -#146

  5. Love the concept! The idea that the game somehow keeps connecting to their brain and involving them is very cool. I had two little nitpicky things from the 250. She already knows it's a guy, so shouldn't the word MEET be italicized for emphasis instead of the word HIM? And then, I think it should be "...none of my guesses HAVE been right." The guesses already happened so it should be past tense. Other than that I thought the voice was well done. It pulled me in. Good job!

  6. Great concept and the first 250 words with the Japanese lessons give the impression that Royce must be intelligent.
    On the first paragraph of the query, it seemed confusing that Royce's best friend wouldn't know that Beck was Royce's ex-boyfriend, or am I reading that wrong?
    I had to read this sentence twice so maybe try something like: "When the game, Omega, begins to converge with Royce's reality, no one will believe her. One minute she is on her morning jog and the next she's dangling from a cliff over a lava ocean."

  7. Love the name of the MC, and the last line in the query is absolutely perfect. I also like the idea of using GAME OVER as the book title. The first paragraph of the query is right on, but I would suggest tightening up the second paragraph. It gets a little confusing. For example, the sentence, "The less they play, the more Omega sucks them inside to battle hooded figures with laser guns, horrific creatures and earn statuses to reunite Chaos and Balance on Earth," could be ended after the word "inside."

    The first 250 gives a really good peek into the voice of the MC. It had me wanting to read more! Good luck!


  8. Bouncer Colonel MustardFebruary 13, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    You're in!

    For those of you playing along, I love this submission for so many reasons: (1) the sharp witted, pitch perfect YA voice; (2) the Japanese plays into the Japanese pop culture that's so hot with American teens; and (3) the video game angle will make this interesting to both boys and girls. There are a lot of "hooks" going on here and I suspect it will catch many people's attention.

    So Yea! Good luck!

  9. I'll echo the others and like 'Game Over' to 'Omega' as your title. Your concept reminds me of the movie 'Stay Alive', so that's cool.

    I did stumble over your query in a few places, and I think it is because I skipped the first 'her' and auto assumed Royce was male which then made me do a double-take because of the next her pronoun. That may of course just be a me thing.

    I'd also echo that you might want to clarify the game is co-op or something, reinforcing why they have to work together. One last thing with your query, I'd like a connection between first and second. It never clearly states that Royce actually tries the VR game, just goes to the launch party. Is it only those who interacted that are forced to play, or is everyone at the party someone connected to the VR?

    I like your first 250 and thinks it gives good insight to the MC.

    Good luck!
    :) (#147)

  10. Eep, thank you soooo much, Bouncer Colonel Mustard!! And thank you to everyone for the terrific suggestions to tweak my query & first 250. Now off to make some changes before the next round.:)