Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bouncer Round 6 #10

Genre:  Lighter sci-fi/adventure YA
Word Count:  81,000


It’s the year 2100.  Annabelle isn’t surprised when she fails her senior TESTS because of her crooked nose and an unregulated mole, but the last thing she ever expected was to be thrown into a prison cell.  She won’t be made into a Barbie doll, and she certainly won’t work for the Mayor in his inner circle no matter how “special” they think her brain is.

She discovers an escape route, and enlists the help of her friend Xavier to evade the eager clutches of the Mayor’s gorillas.  Meanwhile, Xavier finds an ancient Diary under the floorboards of an old cabin. But real paper is banned…it can’t be hidden or altered with the click of a button, so just reading it is treason.

Annabelle and Xavier risk their lives to follow the Diary’s clues in the hopes of finding freedom.  On their journey she feels that first fluttering of love.  As they get closer to discovering the truth that their world is less “normal” than they ever realized, she must find the courage to make the ultimate choice:  if she allows Xavier’s capture, she’ll go free; if she turns herself in to face the consequences of rebellion, they might let him go.

…But how can she change the fate of her world if she’s dead?

ANNABELLE, THE LIMITED EDITION, at 81,000 words, is young adult science fiction/adventure with a high concept.

First 250:

Annabelle felt like she had a pebble in the pit of her stomach, as if she’d eaten a peach whole and forgotten to remove the pit.

The senior TEST week was finally here, and she knew she’d probably disappoint her parents.  Again.  Just like she’d disappointed them when she repeatedly refused to get her mole removed.  Tomorrow’s appearance TEST would certainly reveal if that had been a royal mistake, if she even got to the TEST tomorrow.  Today’s results would determine if she did.  A passing score would move her on to the next exam, but failure meant an immediate exit to another year of study, rinse, repeat. 

This week the Mayor’s office would begin to separate the smart from the stupid, the pretty from the ugly, the best from anyone less than that.  This threat should have spurred her on somehow, but in fact her knee wouldn’t stop bouncing and her lip kept twitching.  Her mother called it test anxiety.  She thought it was more like dumbcilitis. 

Before she entered the school that morning she’d stopped to puke outside the front door.  Breakfast had been little more than a sugarless bowl of oats (all sugar was limited), but even that she couldn’t keep down.

Annabelle rubbed her tired eyes.  The TEST had been going on for so many hours, she felt like her brain was freezing up.  She knew she should have studied more.  All those Sundays spent leisurely reading e-novels when I should have been taking prep-TESTS.  Ugh.


  1. I'm a bit confused to the setting of your world. You've got 'TEST', which is something new and something we don't know what it stands for. But she makes references to things like 'e-novels' and the limits of sugar. Would e-novels still exist in 2100, or would they have a newer form? Just my random thoughts.

    I think you need to clarify your query too. The 2nd paragraph you've got her finding an escape route, but the 3rd is them still trying to find freedom through use of a diary? I also feel like maybe you've giving us too much of the story in your query.

    The first sentence in your first 250 could be tightened as well, as you've repeated the word 'pit' twice in there. Suggestion maybe to cut the 'like she had a pebble in the pit of her stomach' part?

    I think with all the emphasis on the TEST we need at least what it stands for to ground us and feel more of her anxiety about the test. I'm interested to see where it is headed.

    Good luck with it!

  2. I really love this concept. I'm getting a Scott Westerfeld's The Uglies vibe and I adore that book!!

    There were a couple things that confused me (only slightly). I wasn't sure why TEST was capitalized. Does it stand for something else? Might want to clue the readers in on the acronym early on. The word "Diary" was also capitalized.

    But overall, I'm intrigued by this!

    Carissa #24

  3. Thanks for your comments! TEST is capitalized just to emphasize their importance, and their significance in relation to all the other tests that kids take. I knew it was risky to capitalize since people would think it was an acronym, but I was willing to risk it. Sometimes I like things to be muddy, not handed to you on a silver platter when reading, but not everyone will agree with this. Thanks for your input, I truly appreciate it and look forward to reading your entries.

    1. I don't think any reader wants to be treated as stupid and handed everything on a silver platter, so I totally agree.

      But yeah, maybe get more feedback on the TEST thing and see what a consensus is and go from there. So far, it is just two of us :). Perhaps actually giving it a name might help?

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  5. I love the concept! I've actually got something similar going on in mine as far as real books being banned. Bet we're both F451 fans! I like that you don't give all the info. to us in the first 250. Keep us wanting more...and I totally do! Good luck!
    --Amy #34

  6. I think this is my favorite version of your query! I love your new title, and I love the way you end the query with Annabelle's choice. I especially like how you changed the last bit of that line to: "they might let him go."

    Best of luck, Tracy!