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The Many Small Deaths of Oz (post-apoc YA) revised

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#21 loopygoose

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 04:21 AM

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Fantastic. Strangers that – unlike himself – are worth saving. He is his own ​His own story is his most compelling argument: two years ago, Oz's suicide attempt tried to kill himself following the death of his mother. He survived, but irrevocably damaged the nerves in his right hand, and with them, his chances of earning a place in society. 

 

In Oz’s post-nuclear world, citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. Says who? It’s a  The rule that allows what’s left of humanity to survive, but it leaves little room for those like Oz, who struggle with mental or physical illness.

 

Oz graduates from the relative safety of school in two weeks. If he hasn’t found a way to be net-positive by then, society will cast him out to die on the frozen wasteland that used to be the Pacific Ocean. When I read this I thought that sitting on the rooftop is his attempt at a net-positive contribution. 

 

Oz has all but given up hope Now I'm lost because I don't understand why he's sitting on the rooftop when when his paralyzed uncle – well aware of his nephew’s escapist tendencies, and desperate to give him another reason to fight – gifts him a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. A world where Oz's right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. And, hopefully, where he can finally come to terms with his past.

 

But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to survive beyond graduation, he must use his time in the machine to confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself. I really like this and it gives a good sense of jeopardy. Your single biggest problem with this query is that the start is excellent and the guts works really well but the two sections don't seem to flow together. I'm left wondering why he's on the rooftop and what that has to do with his real task. 

 

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word work of post-apocalyptic YA that explores the relationship between mental illness and a productivity-driven society. Thank you for your time and consideration. This is great. Overall you have a very strong query but it still needs some more polishing. Excellent work!



#22 dragoness

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 05:04 AM

The story sounds very interesting, though depressing...

 

I didn't understand how his problem, in the end, is his suicidal feelings and not his inability to work?

 

There were some repetitions I deleted:

 

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Strangers that – unlike himself – are worth saving. (great hook! give it its own paragraph)

 

He is his own most compelling argument: two years ago, Oz tried to kill himself following the death of his mother. He survived, but irrevocably damaged the nerves in his right hand, and with them, his chances of earning a place in society. Oz graduates from the relative safety of school in two weeks. In Oz’s post-nuclear world, citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. It’s a rule that allows what’s left of humanity to survive, but it leaves little room for those like Oz, who struggle with mental or physical illness.

 

 If he hasn’t found a way to be net-positive by then, society will cast him out to die on the frozen wasteland that used to be the Pacific Ocean.

 

Oz has all but given up hope when when his paralyzed uncle – well aware of his nephew’s escapist tendencies, and desperate to give him another reason to fight – gifts him a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. A world where Oz's right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. And, hopefully, where he can finally come to terms with his past.

 

But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to survive beyond graduation, he must use his time in the machine to confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word work of post-apocalyptic YA that explores the relationship between mental illness and a productivity-driven society.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.



#23 Sataris

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 09:24 AM

Thanks for the suggestions guys! Here's another version that hopefully addresses the roof problem a bit better, though the synopsis grew a little because of it (288 words, 38 off from the goal). What I'm basically hoping for here is that this current version presents the rooftop idea in a way that doesn't make it seem like a solution to his problem. I'm hoping that it will raise the question of how he could not think he's worth keeping around if he does something like that on the reader's part.

 

Please let me know if there's an updated version of your query I've yet to respond to!

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Strangers that – unlike himself – are worth saving, even if society would prefer that those who have given up simply disappear.

 

He is his own most compelling argument: two years ago, Oz’s own suicide attempt irrevocably damaged the nerves in his right hand, and with them, his chances of earning a place in society. In Oz’s post-nuclear world, physical labor is king, and citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. It’s a rule that allows what’s left of humanity to survive, but it leaves little room for those like Oz.

 

Oz graduates in two weeks. If he hasn’t learned to contribute in a way that society values by then, he'll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that was once the Pacific Ocean.

 

Oz has almost given up the fight when his paralyzed uncle gifts him a machine that can transport him to an imaginary world. A world where Oz’s right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. And, hopefully, where he can begin to see the value of his own actions.

 

But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to survive beyond graduation, he must use his time in the machine to confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself. Only then will he have a chance of convincing society that he’s been worth having all along.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word work of post-apocalyptic YA that explores the relationship between mental illness and a productivity-driven society. Thank you for your time and consideration.



#24 loopygoose

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 11:18 AM

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Strangers that – unlike himself – are worth saving, even if society would prefer that those who have given up simply disappear. I like this so much more. It's really good, but I'm struggling with the words 'given up'. I want to say, "given up what".  I know that sounds stupid but perhaps a slightly different choice of words will nail it.

 

Oz's experience is his most compelling argument: two years ago, Oz’s his own you've used own twice suicide attempt irrevocably damaged the nerves in his right hand, and with that, his chances of earning a place in society. In Oz’s post-nuclear world, physical labor is king, and citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. It’s a rule that allows what’s left of humanity to survive, but it leaves little room for those like Oz.

 

Oz graduates in two weeks. If he hasn’t learned to contribute in a way that society values by then, he'll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that was once the Pacific Ocean.

 

He has almost given up the fight when his paralyzed uncle gifts him a machine that can transport him to an imaginary world. A world where Oz’s right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. And, hopefully, where he can begin to see the value of his own actions.

 

But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to survive beyond graduation, he must use his time in the machine to confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself. Only then will he have a chance of convincing society that he’s been worth having a worthwhile member all along.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word work of post-apocalyptic YA that explores the relationship between mental illness and a productivity-driven society. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 
This is very compelling, and you've almost nailed it! Great work.


#25 daddude7

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 03:36 PM

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Strangers that who – unlike himself – are worth saving, even if society would prefer that those who have given up simply disappear.

 

He is his own most compelling argument: two years ago, Oz’s own suicide attempt irrevocably damaged severed the nerves in his right hand, and with them, his chances of earning a place in society. In Oz’s post-nuclear world, physical labor is king drives the economy, and citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. It’s a rule that allows what’s left of humanity to survive, but it leaves little room for those like Oz.

 

Oz graduates in two weeks. If he hasn’t learned to contribute in found a way that society values to prove his value by then, he'll be cast out, he will to die on  the frozen wasteland that was once the Pacific Ocean. die. (does it matter where he dies?)

 

Oz has almost given up the fight when his paralyzed uncle gifts him a machine that can transport him to an imaginary world. A world where Oz’s right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. And, hopefully, where he can begin to see the value of his own actions. (combine paragraphsBut Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to survive beyond graduation, he must use his time in the machine to confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself. Only then will he have a chance of convincing society that he’s been worth having keeping all along.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word work of post-apocalyptic YA that explores the relationship between mental illness and a productivity-driven society. (either remove or rephrase; it should come through in the pitch.) Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

*************

 

Try to avoid making the novel sound like a morality play. It comes across in the query as preachy. 



#26 Sataris

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 04:45 PM

Hi all, thanks again. Here's a much shorter version that's finally hit the goal of being 250 (230!) words or fewer. Let me know if it seems like anything has become unclear, or if you think I should put something back in.

 

 

     Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Strangers who – unlike himself – he considers worth saving, even if society would prefer that those who have given up simply disappear. In Oz’s post-nuclear world, physical labor is king, and citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. But Oz’s own suicide attempt severed the nerves in his right hand, so he has little chance of earning a place in society. He graduates in fourteen days, and if he hasn’t proven his worth by then, he'll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that was once the Pacific Ocean.

 

But everything changes when his uncle – in an act of desperation – gifts Oz a machine that can transport him to an imaginary world. A world where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to survive beyond graduation, he must first use his time in the machine to confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself. Only then will he have a hope of convincing society that he’s been worth keeping all along.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word post-apocalyptic YA novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.



#27 enveniya

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 07:16 PM

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Strangers who – unlike himself – are worth saving, even if society would prefer that those who have given up simply disappear. In Oz’s post-nuclear world, physical labor is king, and citizens must contribute more raw resources physical labor is the resource, no need to repeat it. Raw resources also makes me think of raw materials, like lumber or gold, and brought up the image of humans having to produce raw materials from their bodies, which I don't think is what you're going for. than they consume. But Oz’s previous suicide attempt irrevocably damaged the nerves in his right hand, so he has little chance of earning a place in society.

 

He graduates in fourteen days, and if he hasn’t proven his worth by then, he'll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that was once the Pacific Ocean. He’s almost given up when he’s gifted a machine that can transport him to an imaginary world. A world where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to survive beyond graduation, he must use his time in the machine to confront and upend the single assertion that he’s allowed to define him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself.

 

The two parts in yellow sound contradictory. It sounded like he tried make himself useful to society, but if he doesn't think he deserves to be saved, why is he fighting it? The phrase "almost given up" implies that he hasn't given up trying yet. I liked the previous draft where you mentioned "Only then will he have a chance of convincing society that he’s been worth having all along" because it ties back into his struggle in proving his worth to survive.

 

Conversely, if his personal struggle is more important than his need to be a productive member of society, then consider taking out or changing "he's almost given up" into something else. In the previous drafts it sounded like Oz has already given up, but his uncle gifts him the machine in a last-ditch attempt to save him. I think restoring that line might make more sense.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word post-apocalyptic YA novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Good luck, and the premise of this sounds really interesting! If you have the time, please take a look at my query.



#28 Sataris

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 09:40 PM

I agree with a lot of those - thanks enveniya! here's another short version that clocks in at 230 words..

 

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Strangers who – unlike himself – he considers worth saving, even if society would prefer that those who have given up simply disappear. In Oz’s post-nuclear world, physical labor is king, and citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. But Oz’s own suicide attempt severed the nerves in his right hand, so he has little chance of earning a place in society. He graduates in fourteen days, and if he hasn’t proven his worth by then, he'll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that was once the Pacific Ocean.

 

But everything changes when his uncle – in an act of desperation – gifts Oz a machine that can transport him to an imaginary world. A world where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to survive beyond graduation, he must first use his time in the machine to confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself. Only then will he have a hope of convincing society that he’s been worth keeping all along.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word post-apocalyptic YA novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.



#29 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 10:34 PM

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. (Good hook.) Strangers who – unlike himself – he considers worth saving, even if society would prefer that those who have given up to simply disappear. (Or word it: "...even if society would prefer them to disappear.) 

 

(I'd seperate these into different paragraphs like this, but you can choose.)

 

In Oz’s post-nuclear world, physical labor is king, and citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. But Oz’s own suicide attempt severed the nerves in his right hand, so he has a small chance of earning a place in society. (I'd break that sentence up into two for emphasis. Like: But Oz's suicide attempt severed the nerves in his right hand. He has a small chance of earning a place in society now.)He graduates in fourteen days, and if he can't prove his worth by then, he'll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland. that was once the Pacific Ocean.

 

 

But everything changes when his uncle – in an act of desperation – gifts Oz a machine that can transport him to an imaginary world. A world where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. (That's an incomplete sentence so I'd reword it: "In that world, his right hand can form a fist or even hold a girl's hand.) But Oz’s time is running out. If he will survive beyond graduation, he must first use his time in the machine to confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself. (That sentence is a lot to take in. I'd break it up into multiple sentences and explain it deeper. I don't understand how the machine can upend an assertion like that. The word "assertion" sounds strange to me too. Perhaps use a different word?) Only then will he have a hope the possibility of convincing society that he’s been worth keeping all along.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word post-apocalyptic YA novel. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

The format of this query is awesome. I can see where you've flushed out your plot. Only the second to last sentence was confusing for me. Besides that and a few places to reword, I think this query is good. Great job!



#30 kwmags

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 01:44 PM

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Strangers who – unlike himself – he considers worth saving, even if society would prefer that those who have given up simply disappear. Wow, awesome hook. In Oz’s post-nuclear world, physical labor is king, and citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. But Oz’s own suicide attempt severed the nerves in his right hand, so he has little chance of earning a place in society. He graduates in fourteen days, and if he hasn’t proven his worth (is worth being able to do physical labor?) by then, he'll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that was once the Pacific Ocean.

 

But everything changes when his uncle – in an act of desperation – gifts Oz a machine that can transport him to an imaginary world. A world where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. But Oz’s time is running out.  If he is going back for just his hand then keep this, otherwise you can take it out. It sounds like the main reason he is going back it to find out why he jumped in the first place?? If he’s to survive beyond graduation, he must first use his time in the machine to confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself. Only then will he have a hope of convincing society that he’s been worth keeping all along.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word post-apocalyptic YA novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I really like the premise of this story. I didn't read your orginal query but this one is great! I was a little confused as to if he is going back in time just to see how his hand works or is it to gain back the confidence he lost and that made him jump from the bridge. Keep going, its going to be awesome! 

My query is http://agentquerycon...interchangeable

 



#31 distanthearts

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 09:33 AM

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump (This is a really lovely hook). Strangers who – unlike himself – he considers worth saving, even if society would prefer that those who have given up simply disappear. In Oz’s post-nuclear world, physical labor is king, and citizens must contribute more resources than they consume (I like the concise, no-nonsense way you bring across the society's personality. Keep this.). But Oz’s own suicide attempt had (?) severed the nerves in his right hand, so he has little chance of earning a place in society. He graduates in fourteen days, and if he hasn’t proven his worth by then, he'll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that was once the Pacific Ocean .

 

But everything changes when his uncle – in an act of desperation – gifts Oz a machine that can transport him to an imaginary world (Cool! But I wonder if this is a dream world, or an alternate reality. Not sure if you can find a more precise way to describe "imaginary world", but if you can, do try!). A world where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand (This is a great line.). But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to survive beyond graduation, he must first use his time in the machine to confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself. Only then will he have a hope of convincing society that he’s been worth keeping all along (Great ending.).

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word post-apocalyptic YA novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

1. I really really like the name.

2. I love the concept.

3. You have a really amazing query that puts in just the right amount of information. Content wise, it's pretty much perfect, in my opinion. Well done :) Looking forward to reading your new revisions!

 

If you could help me with my query, I'll be immensely grateful! :)

The Graveyard Festival



#32 kathleenq

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 12:37 PM

I agree with a lot of those - thanks enveniya! here's another short version that clocks in at 230 words..

 

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Strangers who – unlike himself – he considers worth saving, even if society would prefer that those who have given up simply they disappear. In Oz’s post-nuclear world, physical labor is king, and citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. But Oz’s own suicide attempt severed the nerves in his right hand, so he has little chance of earning a place in society. He graduates in fourteen days, and if he hasn’t proven his worth by then, he'll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that was once the Pacific Ocean.

 

But everything changes when his uncle – in an act of desperation (why is this an act of desperation? should he not have this machine?)– gifts Oz a machine that can transport him to an imaginary world. A world where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to survive beyond graduation, he must first use his time in the machine to confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself. Only then will he have a hope of convincing society that he’s been worth keeping all along.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word post-apocalyptic YA novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.

I love the concept and the name as well. The writing is solid, and I  would be interested in reading more. However, I do think it's puzzling that he would want to try to survive when he doesn't think he's worth it? Like there should be some semblance on why he think his own life is worth saving (even if it's something as simple as wanting to hold a girl's hand) before he uses the time machine, or I don't think he would actually try to use the machine. Or maybe he uses the machine once and has a good right hand and that gives him the desire to want to prove to society and to himself that he's worth keeping? Or is it that his uncle thinks he's worth saving and so he's going to do this as a favor for his uncle?

 

Great work overall, hope this helps!



#33 Sataris

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 03:02 PM

Thanks guys - really solid suggestions. I think this last version will be pretty close to my final version (at least until I get a bunch of form rejects on it). I'm not crazy about the double use of "but" in the third paragraph, but if I'm going for simple language I don't see a much better way to do it. Let me know if anyone's got a suggestion! Current count: 243 words

 

And again, if you've commented on one of my more recent queries and I haven't critiqued your original (or more recent versions) in return please let me know!

 

 

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Strangers who – unlike himself – he considers worth saving, even if society would prefer that those who have given up simply disappear.

 

In Oz’s post-nuclear world, physical labor is king, and citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. But Oz’s own suicide attempt severed the nerves in his right hand, so he has little chance of earning a place in society. He graduates in fifteen days, and if he hasn’t proven his worth by then, he'll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that was once the Pacific Ocean.

 

But Oz finds a reason to fight for his place when his uncle – in an act of desperation that goes against everything society stands for – gifts Oz a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. A world where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to survive beyond graduation, he must first use his time in the machine to overcome the self-imposed narrative that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself. Only then will he have a hope of convincing society that he’s been worth keeping all along.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word fantasy YA novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.



#34 trailerbride

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Posted Yesterday, 05:29 PM

I see that you're pretty happy with this version. I hope my hatchet-wielding doesn't come too late and you find some suggestions of value.

 

Thanks guys - really solid suggestions. I think this last version will be pretty close to my final version (at least until I get a bunch of form rejects on it). I'm not crazy about the double use of "but" in the third paragraph, but if I'm going for simple language I don't see a much better way to do it. Let me know if anyone's got a suggestion! Current count: 243 words

 

And again, if you've commented on one of my more recent queries and I haven't critiqued your original (or more recent versions) in return please let me know!

 

 

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Strangers who – unlike himself – he considers worth saving, even if society would prefer that those who have given up simply disappear.

 

I don't like the repetition of "strangers" or the lengthy "society would prefer that those who have given up simply disappear. " So, how about something like:

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. People who have given up, but he thinks are worth saving, even if society prefers they disappear.

 

In Oz’s post-nuclear world, physical labor is king, and citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. But Oz’s own suicide attempt severed the nerves in his right hand, so he has little chance of earning a place in society his place in the world. He graduates in fifteen days, and if he hasn’t proven his worth by then, he'll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that was once the Pacific Ocean. (This is great!)

 

But Oz finds a reason to fight for his place when his uncle – in an act of desperation that goes against everything society stands for –  rebels against society and gifts Oz a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. A world where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s tTo survive beyond graduation, he Oz must first use his time in the machine to overcome the self-imposed narrative that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself find a reason to love* himself. Only then will can he have a hope of to convinceing society that he’s been worth keeping all along.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word fantasy YA novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

*Love may not be the best word here :) Maybe value?







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