Monday, May 20, 2013

The Writer's Voice #6 - WE ARE OPPORTUNITY (YA)


Title: WE ARE OPPORTUNITY
Genre: YA Contemporary
Word count: 60,000

Query:

 At 10:01 AM seventeen-year-old JROTC cadet sergeant Claire is outside, training with her track team in the snow. Fellow senior Tomás starts the day in detention after supergluing the drawers of his teacher’s desk shut. His twin sister and her girlfriend are in the auditorium along with the rest of Opportunity High to listen to the principal’s start-of-term speech.

At 10:04 AM a former student locks the doors to that same auditorium, pulls out a gun, and starts shooting.

At 10:07 AM the whole world stops and turns to Opportunity High. As SWAT teams, terrified parents, and media swarm upon the school, Claire struggles to remember her courage and make herself useful registering survivors. Tomás frantically tries to pick the locks to the auditorium to save his sister and all his friends.

Inside, however, the game of life and death has just begun when it turns out the shooter is not shooting blindly; he has a carefully structured plan to deal with anyone who ever got in his way—student or teacher, family or foe. At gunpoint, secrets unravel and loyalties are tested. Because it’s not just survival at stake, it’s hope and friendship and a thousand tomorrows.

WE ARE OPPORTUNITY takes place over the course of fifty-four minutes, following four alternating points of view.


First 250:

10.01 – 10.02 AM

The grassy fields around the track are sculpted out of shards of ice. The starter gun shatters the silence, releasing the runners from their blocks.

No one has told Coach Lindt about winter. With our first meet coming up, he’s convinced the only way to get us in shape is to practice, come rain or, as it happens, something that looks suspiciously like a dusting of snow.

At least it beats sitting in the main hall for yet another of Principal Trenton’s long and arduous speeches about virtue and the proper behavior of young ladies and gentlemen. Gag.

Don’t get me wrong, I can think of certain people who would do well to listen, but after three years at Opportunity, I can recite those speeches from memory. Responsibility, opportunity (“no pun intended”), and her favorite, our school motto: We Shape the Future. She’s the only one who pretends there’s another purpose to high school than making the best of it, then getting out. ASAP.

“Claire, attention.” Coach’s voice draws me back to my side of the Tartan track, and I pick up the pace. “Your best isn’t good enough.”

Footsteps and Chris’s laugh color the still morning air. “Did you freeze up over winter break, sarge? A snail could catch up with you floundering like that.”

He slows down a little, falls into step with me, and it annoys me that I have to catch my breath before I answer him, eloquently, “Oh shut up.”

26 comments:

  1. I'm on the edge of my seat just reading this! LOVE the times mentioned in both the Query and starting your first page! Nice job!! GO TEAM CUPID!! :D

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  2. This is so amazing! I can't wait to find it on the bookstore shelves & take it home with me :) - Good luck!!

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  3. This seems like an incredible intense story. Great query and first 250!
    Loved it.

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  4. Every time I read this entry, I end up with goosebumps! I love it. :D No wonder you got fought over this one!
    <3 Mónica

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  5. Solid qiery. Very intense. Great job! I want to read this!

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  6. Wow, the anticipation build here is seriously delicious! Awesome job! Good luck!!!

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  7. I still want to read this right. now. I love your concept and the writing is fantastic. Awesome job!

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  8. This is SOOO intense and wow. The voice is strong and I am super jealous of anyone who has already gotten a chance to read this. Plus, "over the course of fifty-four minutes"?! That's amazing. It makes the story even more intense to know that as the chapters go on, time is running out. Good luck!!! I hope to see this in bookstores one day. <3

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  9. I can't get over this entry - I'm just...wow..I love it so much. Query - awesome. Opening page? Spectacular. Please? Please give me a copy? Lol GOOD LUCK!!

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  10. I love, love, LOVE your query! And the 250 is just as amazing! Good luck!

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  11. The premise and use of time has definitely caught my attention. I seriously hope I see this in bookstores one day.

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  12. Oh, wow, that query is so amazing. Just realized I was holding my breath the entire time I was reading. Love this, good luck in the agent round!

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  13. I love it! Hope you get tons of requests. :)

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  14. Great premise, sharp writing. Good luck!

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  15. This sounds so intense! I get shivers just reading your query - definitely a book I'd have to read in one sitting. Wishing you lots of luck!

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  16. Your story line is the most unique and risk taking one I've read. Many writers avoid school violence. I hope you get picked for a full just so that this book has a better chance of getting out there.

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  17. I like this kind of tight structure, so I'd like to see a bit more. Intrigued to see if you can pull it off in a unique kind of way. Thanks!

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  18. Ammi-Joan PaquetteMay 23, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    I'm SO intrigued by this premise, and strong opener. Definitely want to read more!

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  19. I'd love to see this!

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  20. I would love to read more and see how this unfolds -- very intrigued.

    Monika

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  21. Your query is amazing and the actual glimpse into your book nails it. I love the suspense, the intensity, and I love the glimpse of humor and your 'voice.' I am so intrigued and cannot wait until I can actually go in and buy this!
    Sarie

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  22. I'll take a look. Thanks.

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  23. You've been ninja'd! I would love to see a pitch, one-page synopsis, and the first fifty pages. Please send it as a word attachment to...(contact Cupid/Brenda for further details!). Looking forward to reading your work :)

    --RED NINJA

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  24. I love the structure of this query and the concept (and title, for that matter). Echo Ninja echoing what I've heard above and making a request: I'd love to see the pitch and up to the first 10,000 words. Please contact Brenda Drake for details on how to send!

    Thank you!
    Echo Ninja

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  25. This entry was privately swiped by ninja Julia A. Weber!!! Congrats!!

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