Wednesday, September 12, 2012

CAGI Entry #74

Genre: YA Sci-fi
Word count: 90,000


 When slavers steal Juhan and his twin sister Chosi from their planet of psychics, their only comfort is in the fact that they’re together. When they are separated at auction, Juhan swears to find his sister, no matter the cost.

Juhan is bought by the daughter of a political scion, Sadi Renult. Caught in her glittering world of intrigue and politics, Juhan is startled to find she is planning to lie to the entire galaxy in a desperate attempt to win Juhan’s people’s freedom. But as his vow and Sadi's lies takes them across galaxies, he begins to see that his young owner is more than an arrogant rich girl. And he has to consider the cost of his promise—especially when people they both care for begin to die.

Meanwhile, Chosi is sold into blood sport. With her psychic ability, she earns a precarious position of value within the gladiator school, training the draken—wild creatures of smoke and fire—for the arena. In the midst of that hell, she forges a friendship with the slave Jemes and the draken she cares for. But when her defiance results in Jemes’ brutal killing in the arena, Chosi contemplates suicide as an escape from her chains. Yet, she can't forget the brother who promised to find her, and even as she welcomes death and risk, she clings to that promise. 

When Juhan demonstrates just how far he’ll go to rescue his sister, Chosi finally decides what she is willing to do to help herself. 

BEYOND CHAINS AND STARS should appeal to fans of Glow and Across the Universe. I am an active member of YaLitchat and a founder of the blog Writerly Rejects. Thank you for your consideration.

First 250:

Creatures of the sky are not meant to be in water, yet here I am. All because I made a stupid dare with my brother. Again.

As the warm water closes around me, crushing my mothwings to my back, I fight the urge to gulp for breath. I have to relax. I’m safe, with the amphibious gel. I don’t need to breathe as long as I have it to filter my ogxygen. I stretch my mind, feeling the eels and fish, the dim awareness of the plant life, the peaceful edge of sentries in the treetops. If I try hard enough, I can see them with my mind—the pale color of their skin, the soft silk of fur at their backs and ankles and wrists, streaming in the wind as they fly through the treetops. I should be there, in the trees. Not bogged down by water and unable to fly.

An eel darts past, and I pull away but it’s already vanished. I look around—I’m alone. Which means Juhan’tr is about to back out of his end of the dare.

Get your skinny ass in here,- I demand on a psychic thread, my mind to his, twisting to look through the water to the surface.

I feel the wicked edge of intent before he dives and I jerk backwards, almost out of his grasp. His long hands close around my ankle and I thrash, irritation swamping me. I open my mouth to inhale and shout at him.


  1. Hey! So, I really liked your query and your first 250. I don't really read Sci-Fi, but I like the sound of this one.

    Just a couple of comments, if your novel is dual POV between Chosi and Juhan, you may want to put that in your query so the agent knows why they are reading about two seperate people.

    Also, you've done a pretty good job trimming down on proper nouns that might trip people up, but I would take out the sion's name and just call her the sion. You don't need another name in your query since you already have Chosi and Juhan.

    Lastly, and this is very nit-picky and I am sure just an accident, but oxygen is spelled wrong in the second para.

    That's it! I wish you the best of luck!

  2. Hello! What an incredible world you seem to have created! Any questions, drop me a line on Twitter! (@andimjulie)

    QUERY:Your query is pretty well polished. I think you can trim back on some details, especially Jeme's name (which is sort of distractiing). You could just say something like "an espeically horrific killing in the arena..." or something. Like Jessica said, we need to know upfront this is dual POV. Some agents love it and might hit the request button even faster! :) You could totally drop this in your comp line. (Yay for comps!) My addition in paranthesis:
    (Told from dual points of view,)BEYOND CHAINS AND STARS should appeal to fans of Glow and Across the Universe. This is just a *very* personal pet peeve of mine, but I do cringe a little when I hear the word "meanwhile" used in a query, so that with a grain of salt. :)

    First 250: I love the sensory details you've given us in the first 250, but I might cosider sacrificing it for the sake of more psychic dialogue between your two main characters, or even just to get to whatver she's going to shout faster. Too, I didn't get that automatic sense that your narrator is female. I don't guess this is a bad thing, but something to think about and decide how important that is to you. Overall, great job!!

    Good luck! All of y'all are just making this decision so hard!