Thursday, February 19, 2015

Entry #26: Aurum: Book One of the Golden Rebels Series

Aurum: Book One of the Golden Rebels Series
120,000 words
YA Dystopian/Sci-fi


Humans call them Titans. Lee understands why his kind are compared to the ancient enemies of the Gods. Powerful, brutal, and seemingly immortal, they easily dominate humans in a broken world.

Lee never had a chance to do anything else. They made him a monster. He may have remained a glorified butcher forever, if it weren't for her. Life meant nothing until she filled in every missing piece of his heart. He promised to repay her by undoing the wrongs of his past without ever taking another life.

Branded a traitor in his homeland, he has come to Australia to rally a group of human fighters, the Aurum rebels, to his cause. Through Declan, a former officer of the rebels, he learns they were defeated by a Titan called Alvador. If he wants their help, he must rid them of this tyrant and cleanse all traces of his reign.

First Page:

Chapter 1: Landings

So this is what the land of freedom looked like. Death.

The crowd on the main deck gave a wide berth to the approaching young man who called himself Robert. They acted like mice in a snake pit, always skittering out of his reach.

Robert paid them no attention. His interest lay towards the shore in the steep cliffs and dusty hills. The land they all so longed to see held little beauty in the eye of its beholder.

Australia. Not exactly the sanctuary he imagined. Could this be an elaborate scam? Captains might be spreading rumors of false hope and charging outrageous fees to strand fools on a useless island. In these times, no cruelty stood outside the realm of possibility.

He turned to his fellow passengers. None dared meet his eye. Nothing unusual there. From day one they treated him as an outcast, some basic instinct telling them what their five senses could not confirm. A long burlap covered object slung over his back served to further their distrust. Not even the crew knew what lay underneath. Robert paid extra for such concessions.

Contrary to their feelings toward him, Robert's concerns were purely for them. A barren island might trouble him, but he would manage. After all, this land of death matched him perfectly. He might even call himself a master of death, familiar with both inflicting and receiving mortal blows.

These others appeared incapable of defending their own fragile lives. The journey stole much from them.


  1. Love it! Sorry that's all I can say. I think you nailed it.

  2. Good Afternoon Author,
    I know 150 is hard to pack a lot in when your book is 120K but I am a little lost with the pitch.
    Who is 'her' that you mention a few times?
    Who made him a monster? The other gods or is that just what the humans are saying? "
    Is his homeland on earth? I feel as if god like things were here on earth Australia would probably have one of these guys running the place. What makes Australia the place to go to find rebels?
    He is rallying fighters to what cause? and is he convincing the fighters to do the killing for him so he doesn't break his oath? If he has to kill Declan and cleans all trace of his reigns... doesn't that defeat the purpose of making the love oath to 'her'?
    Lots of questions that make this a bit foggy for me.
    I imagine a raspy voice reading the first 250 to give off the grit that surrounds the MC.
    Not sure why Robert had to pay anything if he was so feared. If I were him I would walk on the ship and say your taking me to Australia and my cargo is to go untouched. Consider giving him a sense of entitlement because he is a bada**.
    I am sure that my questions are answered in the next 119,750 words. Just need a little more punch to that pitch that makes me want to run out and get an otherwise interesting concept.
    Good Work! Good Luck!
    Fellow Contestant & Writing Friend #35

    1. Thanks for the input! I really do need more practice writing pitches. Summing up what is going to be the first book in a 5 or 6 book series had me stumped from the go before you even factor in the word limit. Of course, I can't answer every question, but I struggle with what I want to focus on when everything is so interrelated. Pronouns are also a dirty habbit of mine. Names are a very important theme throughout the series so I balk at giving them away to easily. Originally I called "Robert" (aka Lee since he gave a fake name here) "The boy" for about one and a half chapters until he gave his name to someone. It was AWFUL and I should have seen it in my pitch too but thank you for pointing it out.

      I'll be sure to give you some feedback on your entry. Thanks again and good luck!

    2. TOTALLY KNOW THE FEELING! Writing a pitch in a series book without giving away anything in the bigger overarching story is t-o-u-g-h. Good response. If you need any help polishing the pitch feel free to run it by any of us here. That is what a writing community is for right! Good Luck John!

  3. Pitch: I do like the opening paragraph of this pitch, but then, in the second paragraphm I get in a kerfuffle over pronouns. As mentioned by MPE above, who is "her"? And before that, who are they? Personally, I'm not a fan of mystery in a pitch, so if "her"s Molly Thatcher, the girl Lee loved until she died of tuberculosis, I want to know that.

    My advice: Cut the first two sentences of paragraph 2. Start with "Lee might have remained a glorified butcher if it hadn't been for *Molly*..."

    The 250: I really liked this beginning. It's got an epic feel to it. "Mice in a snake pit" is a great image. I like that we see Robert (a.k.a. Lee?) as a protector of sorts. And I want to know what's in that burlap sack! I'm reading on!

    Good luck
    Michael (#15)

    1. Thanks Michael, that is really helpful stuff I will take into account if I make it to the next round. I've read a lot of great pitches for other books so this experience is already paying off. I'm glad you liked it! So far I haven't gotten many male opinions (my 4 betas were all women) so it's good to know it's not a swing and a miss as of yet.

      Good luck to you as well! Hope to see you in the next round.

  4. So interesting! Having superhero-like beings dominate the world is a great setup. I'd encourage you to be more specific in your pitch and cut anything that doesn't contribute to your main idea: "Lee never had a chance to do anything else. Born a monster, he may have remained a glorified butcher forever, if it weren't for *her name*. Life meant nothing until she gave it purpose. In return, he promised to undo the wrongs of his past without ever taking another human life."

    Your opening gives me a taste of Robert's world, with only a few sentences painting a picture of a hostile, barren landscape, which can become a long-awaited sanctuary, or turn into a deadly trap. This creates tension and a sense of danger right from the start. Nice!! Lots of great stuff happening here.

    Good luck!

    #44 The Land of Joy and Sorrow

    1. Thanks Katya,

      I'm seeing a theme which you and the other comments have touched on with cutting out extraneous bits and pitching out the pronouns. You all make great points so I'll be sure to polish the pitch up in the near future.

      Good luck this week!

  5. Hi there - everything about this feels nice and gritty. I think you've done good work to establish your tone and I applaud you for those efforts. As the comments above me have already addressed, I have the same need for specificity in your pitch when it comes to who 'they,' 'him' and 'her' are. Also, having made Australia a big part of both your pitch and your first 250, I feel like you should possibly address why that's at the center of this (and what has become of rest of Earth?).

    The first 250 is where the grit really resonates. I like your voice a lot, but I'd watch for areas where you're telling me a lot of author-y things. "…the approaching young man who called himself Robert." Does he call himself that or is that just his name? I imagine if he made it up, it might be something a little wilder, unless 'Robert' is a wild name within this universe. "Nothing unusual there." I think you're leading the reader there in a spot where you should just let your characters and their actions speak for themselves. Let us determine what's usual or unusual based on the reactions of everyone else. The same goes for, "He might even call himself a master of death, familiar with both inflicting and receiving mortal blows." If someone else wants to make that kind of observation about Robert, so be it. For his sake, I'd rather just learn that he inflicts and receives throughout the types of action scenes I'm sure your book is loaded with.

    Thanks for sharing and best of luck!

    1. Garrett,

      Thanks so much for pointing these places out. It's reader perspective like this which I really need at this point and even just a snippet of advice will pay huge dividends over the entire book. I'm glad you like the gritty feel and I will take another look at the pitch to tighten it up. Thanks again!

  6. Pitch:
    While I'm intrigued, I'm also confused. Who is "she"? What did she do? Is your MC a Titan? Or not? It's written a bit vaguely, and while that creates a sense of intrigue, I think you need more concrete details to ground the reader in your story. What exactly does he need the rebels for? How is he going to convince him? What happens if they fail?

    First Page:
    The first sentence hooked me! I'd love to find out what happens. Good luck!

    Domenic (#28)

    1. Thanks Domenic. You touched on great points that I need to take care of. I'm too ambiguous for the most part and I plan on tightening it up if I make it to the next round. I'm glad you like the first 250 though! Thanks for the comment and good luck to you too!

  7. Just dropping by! Love so much about this and I think others have covered a lot of the suggestions, so I only have one! I'd experiment with pitching this as straight sci-fi ... or, if it reads more sci-fi/fantasy, pitching it like that. The word "dystopia" just might make it an auto-reject for some agents/editors, due to market saturation ... and from the premise it doesn't scream "dystopia" to me anyway. Just a thought though!


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