Friday, February 27, 2015

Entry #15: RIVETED

68,000 words
YA Sci-Fi

As one of the mechanical race known as the boltedkindred, Johnny Rivet questions the reasons for the cold war separating him from his human friend and love, Rebecca.

Living steeped in an atmosphere of longstanding tension, Johnny is used to being feared for his inexplicable sentience. But hostilities are threatening to erupt, and he has his own fears: the unfinished men, people with eyes like dark ink pools and paper skin masquerading as humans. These creatures burn with an irrational hatred of the boltedkindred who share their city, a crumbling alternate-1950s metropolis.

No one else notices the faces the unfinished men wear aren’t fully human. No one else sees the city is literally breaking down.

Johnny and Rebecca unite to stop the cold war before it erupts into a violent inferno—but to do so they’ll have to leave their city, along with their families and old lives, behind.

First 250 words:
It unfolded itself from the elevator. There was no better word for its motion.

In the dying light, I saw the unfinished man, saw him like I somehow hadn’t before. His eyes were malevolent puddles of ink on milky pale paper flesh. His nostrils and mouth were ragged, yawning gashes—chasms of empty blackness.

He didn’t breathe, he rustled.

I heard Rebecca’s breathing hitch beside me, a tiny gasp catching in her throat as he moved like broken origami twitchscuttling towards us slowly, twitch crinkle scrape twitch crinkle scrape. How had I ever mistaken him for human, or even living?

Before that moment I hadn’t really seen them for what they were, creatures only masquerading as humans.

I may not have been human, but those things weren’t, either.

I wondered if Rebecca was seeing the same creature I was, or if she was still lulled by his very superficial resemblance to a person, as I once had been. Perhaps we see what we want to see, or only see what we believe possible.

“I smell rust,” he wheezed through his torn mouth. “Hello, little tick-tock.”

And as he said it, I tasted rust—hot, burning, angry rust. Never before had I experienced the sensation that followed: everything stopped. I stopped. The frantic whirl of my thoughts, my mind, my body—all ground to a halt.

One moment all circuits and gears were churning towards logic and reason; the next, every fiber of me was routed towards a single sensation of paralytic fear.


  1. Oh, love the new pitch. This is still on the top list of my favorites :)

  2. Pitch: Interesting premise. Is Johnny's sentience unusual or are all the boltedkindred sentient?

    250: I really like this. Lots of tension and shows right away that this is not our ordinary world. Good luck! (#7)

  3. Pitch: Interesting premise. Seems like it will be exciting. Ironic that the paper men have burning hatred. Just one question: is this story told only from Johnny's POV or is it alternating?

    +1: I think a better first sentence would name what "it" is in the elevator. So, something like, "The unfinished man unfolded from the elevator." Small tweaks: remove filters and reduce the number of italicized words. Overall, the writing is tense, provocative, and appropriate for the genre and age group. Paced well.
    Very well done!
    (#14 OSN)

  4. Love the changes in your pitch and 250 words!! It reads stronger and has more of a YA feel. (I do miss the part about the bees and hope you saved it elsewhere in your ms.) I appreciate that you propel us into action and intrigue right away, establishing your world masterfully and surely through the eyes of your character.

    Great work! Not only do I want to read your book, but I also want to see the movie based on your book!

    #10 The Land of Joy and Sorrow


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