Wednesday, September 12, 2012

CAGI Entry #79

Genre: YA Science Fiction
Word Count: 75,000


After placing her future in the hands of the WTPC, Clair Donahue doesn’t have genetics to fall back on any longer. She could have just become a car mechanic like her mother. Instead, Clair took the chance of requesting a career all her own. And found herself declared as the first female Harvester.

Flanked by her deadly smart boyfriend, Evan, and her ever-present best friend, Matt, Clair has two weeks to choose between facing her future head on, and leaving everything she has ever known behind her. If only Evan could accept either choice and stop putting his future on the line to salvage hers. Staying means being internally assaulted by the Phenomenon; running means sacrificing what is left of her family and her freedom.

Detail after horrifying detail, Clair unlocks the secrets behind the World Technological Pharmaceutical Corporation’s accidental creation. The Phenomenon are deadly; silent and invisible to the untrained eye. They’re a fortified soul, capable of entering the body and erasing the person inside.

And now it is Clair job to collect them.

First 250:

To you who are next:

If you are reading this, you have my deepest sympathies. I would never ask another human being to endure what has been thrust upon me. There are true horrors that you will encounter in this next chapter of your life that

defy explanation. If by some miracle you have earned the chance to change your mind, I urge you to take it. Take your freedom while it’s still yours to hold.

Please understand:

I am not a hero. Nor am I a role model.

I am just a girl.

I was just a girl.

Now, I am a Harvester.

Chapter One:

The voice of the news anchor droned on in the living room as we waited. Superior hearing aside, I couldn’t make out his words over the pounding of my heart. Each minute felt like its own hour as I stared at the inoffensive white envelope resting against my untouched water glass.

“Clair,” Evan said softy, reaching for my hand under the table. “You can’t put this off any longer.” He squeezed my fingers as his brother tossed my occupational declaration in front of us.

I felt ambushed, and it was all I could do to resist the urge to scoot my chair back a few feet. Instead, I shot a panicked look across the stuffy little kitchen. Matt peered at me over his habitually worn sunglasses, his dark eyes alive and penetrating. “That’s right, silly girl,” he said, his rumbling baritone filling the room. “It’s not like this is the deciding factor for the rest of your life or anything.”


  1. I really like the concept here but the query is a bit confusing. I think it needs a little more detail. You have to remember the reader has no idea what the story is about. I had a hard time with that when writing my query too. I was being too vague at first because I knew everything. Maybe if you include the info about what a Harvester is earlier in the query the rest of it will make more sense

    The first 250 is great! The only thing I was confused about was Matt. Is he Evan's brother. If so, maybe you should change "his brother tossed" to "Matt, Evan's brother, tossed". It will help clear that up. Good job!

  2. I was also a bit lost when I read the query. You start with an acronym that means nothing to us. Get that company name up front. I think the first paragraph is written backwards. This would make more sense to me:

    Clair Donahue has been declared the first female Harvester. She could have just become a car mechanic like her mother. Instead, Clair took the chance of requesting a career all her own. After placing her future in the hands of the World Technological Pharmaceutical Corporation, Clair Donahue doesn’t have genetics to fall back on any longer.

    There's a lot of characterization in your dialogue, and I like that. Good luck.

    Kay (#76)

  3. As with the other two commenters, I think you've got a great concept here, but it doesn't come across really well in the query. First of all, a few terms are introduced (WTPC, Harvester, Phenomenon) without explanation, and that's a little confusing.

    Second, it's not clear what the various characters' motivations are. Why did Clair choose not to follow in her mother's footsteps? Why is Evan interfering? It's also not obvious what Clair's two-week decision is actually deciding between; the wording is slightly too cryptic - what does facing her future head-on mean, and how is it different from leaving everything behind?

    From an explanation standpoint, I think it would make sense to move your second paragraph into last place, because then we get the definitions of things right away. That also ends the query with Clair's decision and stakes.

    Good luck!

  4. Thank you all so much! I've always had a really hard time with my query. I'm more confident in the new one because of the three of you! Thank you again!