Friday, February 27, 2015

Entry #3: TRACKER220

74,000 words
YA Sci fi/Thriller

Like everyone, sixteen-year-old Kaya Weiss has a brain-interfacing tracking chip, but she’s also the glitch that threatens the entire network.

With a series of thoughts and blinks, Kaya can contact anyone and search for anything on the tracker network. But the authorities monitor everything—where Kaya goes, who she talks to, and what she searches. It’s never bothered her much, until her tracker malfunctions, and the authorities carve into her skull to reset it.

When Kaya’s tracker goes off the grid a second time, there’s no way she’ll become a lab rat again. Except a rogue movement called the Ghosts also hunts her—to exploit her faulty tracker and destroy the network. Evading the authorities requires serious tech skills, but Kaya can’t trust the Ghosts either. Accustomed to having infinite knowledge at her disposal, Kaya must rely on her intelligence to uncover the source of the glitches before either side lobotomizes her for the defective tracking chip.

First page

We were going to get caught. No question about it. Masking your tracker signal got you a date with the authorities at best, and at worst… I didn’t want to think about it. I wasn’t lucky enough to get away with this. I was never that lucky.

Troy grinned and held out the radio wave generator. “Come on, Kaya. You know you want to.”

I shook my head. A few minutes of freedom from the tracker network wasn’t worth the risk. If the authorities showed up, they’d brain probe us to check our chips for glitches.

Troy waved the box in my face. “You sure? It’s such a rush!”

I shivered despite the bonfire blazing in front of us. “No, I’m good, thanks.”

That little box was trouble. Worse than Pandora’s. My muscles tensed. At least if I refused to disrupt my tracker signal, I wouldn’t have to lie about breaking the law.

Trekking into the woods to watch everyone attempt to beat the record for longest signal disruption was insanity. Why couldn’t we hang out at the fly-in theater instead? Anything other than pursuing a one-way ticket to tracker juvie. 

But they loved the thrill of tempting fate—the ultimate game of chicken. At best, they had about five minutes of interrupted tracker signals before the network alerted the authorities.

I leaned into Harlow, and he put his arm around me. He’d never ditch me. But most of his friends wouldn’t hesitate to use me as authority bait if the agents showed up. Not if—when.

Troy glared at Harlow. “Looks like your girlfriend’s afraid of getting caught.”


  1. Good revisions. One thought. This line in the pitch: "Evading the authorities requires serious tech skills, but Kaya can’t trust the Ghosts either." I'm not seeing how the two thoughts are connected. Unless the Ghosts have awesome tech skills. So maybe: "Evading the authorities requires serious tech skills, like the Ghosts have, but she can't trust them." (You could probably say it better.)

  2. Hi there!

    Really like this! Was getting Ghost In the Shell vibes a little, which I love. Interesting story-- love the way the first 250 flows.


    "rogue movement called the Ghosts"-- I feel like movement is vague/not the best word. Are they dissidents? Rebels? Revolutionaries? It might help to have a more distinctive word.

    I second Krista's comment-- I'm a bit unclear on the connection as well. I like her suggestion.


    I'd maybe make "worse than Pandora's" part of the preceding sentence.

    The first sentence at the beginning of paragraph 7 is a tad wordy imo ("Trekking").

    Paragraph 8-- who is the "they"? Everyone in the woods?

    I think that's it for me. Great entry and best of luck in the contest!


  3. Pitch: I like the premise. Is Kaya the only one who can search the network, or (I'm guessing) can everyone search it, but Kaya is the only one who can drop off the grid? If I'm correct rewording [With a series of thoughts and blinks, Kaya can contact anyone and search for anything on the tracker network.] to clarify that everyone can use it, but her ability to drop off it is the glitch would make this clearer.

    250: I think I agree with Steve-can you clue us in better who is in the woods (are they classmates, just her boyfriend's buddies, all the teenagers in town?). Other than that, this is a strong preview of your story. Good luck! (#7)

  4. I've always had a soft spot for stories that pit an individual against the collective, and yours promises to be a roller-coaster adventure with a really interesting take on the internet hive mind. Beginning your story with the teens engaging in reverse-hacking is simply brilliant. Love it!
    #10 The Land of Joy and Sorrow

  5. Great edits. Great concept. Great writing. I agree to clarify Ghosts in the pitch. Otherwise, super job.
    (#14 OSN)

  6. I love the pitch. Seriously one of the best I've seen. And the story concept itself is right up my ally--sort of The Barcode Tattoo vibe (Have you read that? It's right along this vein, so I bet you'd like it).

    Seriously, great job. Two thumbs up :)



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