Monday, January 21, 2013

Bouncer Post #51

Genre:  YA Science Fiction
Word Count:  50,000


Zoey chose not to die.  Now she’s stuck transporting souls from their expired bodies to an underground lab, and a science experiment gone terribly wrong. It was a bad decision.

She loves her job, and hates it. Dealing in death carries an incomparable sadness, but no one should have to die alone, and that’s how Zoey justifies her work. It’s a lonely life though. She has no friends, aside from her clients, and they are never around for long.  Occupational hazard.  Another downside of working as a Collector, is being forgotten by the living. It is that way by design – it couldn’t work otherwise.  She has resigned herself to a lifetime of emptiness, until one day, inexplicably, someone remembers her. 

Zoey’s connection with Matt is instant, powerful, impossible, but most crucially – forbidden. A relationship between a Collector and the living is not only prohibited, it is punishable by termination.  She could cease to exist at all. Zoey must unravel the secrets of the Collector’s Society to save herself and those around her.  She needs to know if true happiness can ever be hers again.

First 250:

Number 237 was easy. There had been no one around to hear Carlos when he slipped in the shower. No one was there to stop the bleeding, and no one was here now, not even Carlos anymore. The tear was already in the vial. Her job was done. The vial was surrounded by gold, shaped into a heart to mask its true purpose. It was small enough that no one would ever suspect it could have any other function than to be pretty, but it was big enough. Big enough to hold one tiny tear. The last tear. It always had to be the last. That was the one that held the soul. The only one that mattered. Even the strongest, biggest, and toughest, shed that last one. The Tear of the Soul. Of course the living don’t know this. It doesn’t often look like the tear has been shed, but it always has. Always. It’s just been stolen. The Collectors have taken it, and left no trace behind.

Carlos wouldn’t be discovered for three more days, so Zoey took a moment to hold his hand. She held it when it was still warm, when Carlos was still breathing. He must have wondered what she was doing with him in his bathroom when they’d only met a week ago at the car dealership. He was a salesman – single with no kids. She couldn’t decide if this was good or bad in the end. That he didn’t have anyone left here to pass on his legacy, or if it was better not to leave anyone behind.


  1. This is such a cool idea. I love it. Your query is really good, totally caught my attention, and your first 250 was good too. I need more than 250 words, but for what I'm given, I'm smitten!

    Good luck!

  2. I'm intrigued. Your first 250 hooked me, and I'd definitely read on. Your query is well done. The only thing I'd think about is the last 2 sentences -- "unravel the secrets of the Collectors Society" kind of came out of nowhere for me. If you can more clearly connect the stakes to the set-up, I think it will be more powerful.

    Good luck! -- Monica (#69)

  3. Oh man... The first 250 grabbed me. So sad... Poor Carlos. :( What a kind heart she has.

    This is a really cool idea. Prt of me wanted to know how she died, or rather didn't die, but obviously you can't pack all that into the query. Great job and good luck! ~#68

  4. Howdy!

    Read through and really loving the concept so far!

    The first line of your query is immediately catchy. "Zoe chose not to die." I just thought to myself, anyone would choose not to die! But then you finish off with "it was a bad decision." Which makes me think - ahh the good old "eternal life offering with a catch." It did the job of pulling me in. Huge sense of morbidity. And I like the risk involved how even though she chose not to die, now she may not have a choice of whether or not she can even exist. Strong stuff. Just agreeing with Monica about the second to last sentence bit, try and connect the stakes, it got a bit vague there.

    Only comment I can say about the 250 is I worried about white space? Seems like a long first paragraph, and was wondering if you could break it up somehow to ease your way into the opening 250.

    Otherwise, interesting concept and interesting voice!

    Good luck!

    -Copernicus (post #43)

  5. Your query does a good job of laying out your story. However, it sounds a lot more like a paranormal to me than sci-fi, and I worry that the whole “forbidden love between living and dead” thing has been done in these stories so many times before that it could be hard for your story to stand out.

    As for your first page, I think that you’re trying too hard to shoehorn a lot of information in right away about how Collecting works. I’d prefer to be fully present in the scene instead, watching Zoey in action with Carlos; let the reader be intrigued by the mystery of what she’s doing, then explain it all later.

    Best of luck!