Monday, September 2, 2013

Prep Work #3

GENRE: YA Sci-fi
Logline: Lia leaves Earth for a new colony.  She’s marooned with a few teens in the planet’s desert, and to her dismay, their most able defender is Trey, the Nerd. When a teen’s murdered, Trey hoists a laser gun and Lia learns never to underestimate the true appeal of a nerd.  As they race for the colony, the hunt begins.  The killer loves to play hide and seek, and in the desert, there’s nowhere to hide.
First 250:
I squinted through the branches of a withered cluster of trees to the ships, perched like raptors on the runway.  Demeter and Hestia loomed in the distance, their hulls a dark, ominous gray in the muted sunlight. 
Within an hour, my brother Joe and I would sleep inside Demeter, our goddess of the skies, cruising across the galaxy to a planet called Stellar 3.
I pictured us trapped inside our cramped little pods, gas swirling around our faces, chemicals searing our veins until our will to resist dulled and faded. Blast chillers kicking in, morphing us into space-icles.
I was doomed.
“You have your pack?” Auntie asked.
Gesturing to the bags at my feet, I peeked at my watch. 11:20. Forty minutes until they called my name.  I could swear my feet were crystallizing on the grate.
“I wish you didn’t have to go,” Auntie said. Skin puckered around her lips in white creases and tiny pearls of sweat rested on her upper lip. “Please stay. I’ll take care of you.”
Joe tugged her shirt. “I can take care of myself.”
She gave him a long look and her lips tightened as she held back a grin.
“I can take care of myself. I’m almost nine. A man.” He puffed his chest, looking anything but manly to me. He was small for his age. I hoped he’d grow tall in our new world.  Like a transplanted tree. His hair was askew and his eyes were fierce.  Maybe a thorn tree.


  1. At 75 words and 5 sentences, this logline is WAY too long and gives unnecessary information. Condense. Use Leah Petersen’s logline advice, which is stellar:

    A logline must contain: Character, conflict, decision, stakes.

    The story sounds interesting, and I love a good YA sci-fi. Try to use the suggested format for a logline, and I think you’ll get much further in the Baker’s Dozen process.

    As for the excerpt:

    I get the desire to set the scene, but I wouldn’t open with so much description and telling of what is going to happen. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Tell the story as it’s happening, even if it is in past tense.


    I’m trapped inside a cramped pod. Gas swirls around my face, the chemicals searing my veins until my will to resist dulls and fades. Then the blast chillers kick in, and I’m morphed into a space-icle.

    I shivered and looked away from Demeter’s gray hull. Within an hour, my brother Joe and I would sleep inside Demeter, our goddess of the skies, as we cruised across the galaxy to a planet called Stellar 3.

    …then you can figure out the dialog between the Aunt and Joe and the MC, and let the story flow naturally. Watch the Aunt’s dialog. Would she really ask something so stupid as “Do you have your pack?” when it would be so obvious, especially if she had to help them get to wherever they are. Maybe have her ask if she remembered to pack something inane…like a toothbrush or deodorant or something. Also, she shouldn’t say “I wish you didn’t have to go.” If they have to go, then asking them to stay is pointless. It makes it seem like this trip is something the MC and Joe chose. Maybe have her say something like, “I wish you would stay.” I do like the way the brother is portrayed, confident but scrawny. When he tugged on a shirt, I wasn’t sure whose shirt he tugged on.

    This is, of course, just my opinion. Last year, I entered the Baker's Dozen but didn't even make it out of the slush pile. I hope some of this helps and wish you the best of luck!

  2. The link didn't work. Here it is again:

  3. In your logline it sounds like Trey has pointed a laser gun at the killer, and it's also not clear that the killer is hunting them until the last sentence. Maybe switch last and second to last sentence?

    In the paragraph that starts, "I pictured us trapped.." I think it would flow better if you removed "I pictured us" and start the sentence with "Trapped.." and move it up with the previous paragraph. The rest looks pretty solid.

  4. Hi!
    I think your logline still needs work. It sounds like you're trying to get the whole plot in there, and you just can't do it. Basic Info only. Character, conflict, stakes.

    I liked the excerpt more than I thought I would after reading the logline. There was one point of confusion, though. I thought that the ship was a good thing since the main character talked about it being a "goddess" of the skies. So when she said, "I'm doomed," I was confused. Looking over it again, I think I get it. Going away to this other planet is a choice she's having to make. She's not happy about it, but for some reason she has to do it. But that "goddess" threw me off. You might want to think about changing it so your readers know all along that this ship isn't a great choice.
    I didn't like the sentence about the Auntie puckering her lips. It's a nice image, and I know what you're going for, but it isn't working quite yet.
    I like the little brother very much.
    Well done! Best of luck!

  5. My first feeling with the logline was wondering who Trey is hoisting the gun to?

    I really liked the first page. I was drawn into the scene, and your first sentence, and the little fierce brother. You created a vivid background--I felt trapped in the pod and claustrophobic. haha.

    I wondered what the goddess of the skies meant.
    I certainly keep reading on to know what the hunt was all about.
    All the best with this.