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Clover - YA Science Fiction


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#1 Arcanjoe

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Posted 04 March 2018 - 11:56 AM

New Draft in post #5

 

First 250 of my YA Sci-Fi story, Clover. ​I'd love to hear your thoughts!

 

I wake to the sound of my sister’s rasping cough. She tries to cover her mouth, I can tell, but I’m attuned to it now. It’s been my daily alarm for the last two years, since her lungs started to give out.

            I sit up on my bottom bunk and peer into the dark room beyond. In our dorm of sixty, no-one but me stirs. The blinds are still pulled down over the glass windows that surround us on all sides. It’s not quite morning and thank clean air for that. This silence, this fleeting moment of peace, is my favourite time of day. I have never told anyone that, not even Arma. In truth, we talk of little but oxygen these days. How to ration it fairly between us; how to get more without breaking Elite law; where to hide capsules on the base in case of emergency. What else is there to discuss?

            I press my back to the dorm glass and rest my head against it, then run long fingers across my face. Flakes of dry skin fall through the darkness like snow. I wipe it off my lap and make sure none are awake to watch as I slide my hand down the metal leg of my bunk bed, remove the section I’ve spent years chipping away, and take out a small, rounded object. I turn it over in my hands. Preserved in hardened amber, a four-leaf clover peeks out at me. A present from Ma and Pa; both long dead now. The clover is more than our only family heirloom. It is a reminder of what once was, of a world where such miraculous creations were, though rare, still in existence, somewhere.

            No-one hopes for such foolish things now.


I'd love for you to critique my latest query...

Clover:

http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/

 

Or the first 250 words of my story...

Clover:

http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/

 


#2 lnloft

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Posted 04 March 2018 - 08:36 PM

 

First 250 of my YA Sci-Fi story, Clover. ​I'd love to hear your thoughts!

 

I wake to the sound of my sister’s rasping cough. So, it doesn't bother me, but I've heard from some that starting with a character waking up is a no-no because it's a cliché. Again, I don't have a problem with it, and it was only when I was looking back that I realized you'd done it, so, I guess, just something to be aware of. See what other opinions are thrown in. If it does seem like a problem, you could maybe have the character just not being able to sleep when the sister starts coughing. She tries to cover her mouth, I can tell, but I’m attuned to it now. It’s been my daily alarm for the last two years, since her lungs started to give out.

            I sit up on my bottom bunk and peer into the dark room beyond. In our dorm of sixty, no-one but me stirs I don't know why, but this reads a little awkwardly to me. The blinds are still pulled down over the glass windows that surround us on all sides. It’s not quite morning and thank clean air So I'm assuming this is this society's equivalent of "thank god" or whatever, but because it's a new story that we don't yet have context for, this feels a little jarring. for that. This silence, this fleeting moment of peace, is my favourite time of day But... it's not silent, because the sister is coughing, right? . I have never told anyone that, not even Arma. In truth, we talk of little but oxygen these days. How to ration it fairly between us; how to get more without breaking Elite law; where to hide capsules on the base in case of emergency. What else is there to discuss?

            I press my back to the dorm glass and rest my head against it, then run long fingers across my face. Flakes of dry skin fall through the darkness like snow. I wipe it off my lap and make sure none are awake to watch as I slide my hand down the metal leg of my bunk bed, remove the section I’ve spent years chipping away They chipped away a chunk of metal? How? And how did no one notice?, and take out a small, rounded object. I turn it over in my hands. Preserved in hardened amber, a four-leaf clover peeks out at me. A present from Ma and Pa; both long dead now. The clover is more than our only family heirloom. It is a reminder of what once was, of a world where such miraculous creations were, though rare, still in existence, somewhere.

            No-one hopes for such foolish things now.

 

Overall, I like it. Most of my stuff is nit-picks. The one thing I will say as a more general piece, and I bring it up because I remember it being an issue in another writing sample you put up here, is that you like to get exposition in right off the bat. It's more subtly done here, but you're still cramming information at us, showing us what this world is like, and it's a little overwhelming to just leap into. I think it's fine to slow it down a moment, so first off we just have the MC, and they sister has bad lungs, and they live is some cramped dorm. And then maybe rather than have the MC reflecting on oxygen and the crappiness of the world, just have the character do something, and find a way to slip in that something else is not right. Like they get out of bed to check on the sister, and as they do they go past the air pumps that keep them breathing clean air, or whatever. Whatever actually fits in your story. But, yeah, I think it is okay for us to not know everything straight away.

 

On a note that's not about your writing, the title Clover put alongside the genre sci-fi makes me think Cloverfield. Pretty obvious that your story doesn't have anything to do with that movie, but I thought I'd let you know that that was the first connection I made when I saw the title to your thread.


Nothing to reciprocate on right now; I'm off in the query trenches.


#3 1cezman

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 05:05 AM

 

First 250 of my YA Sci-Fi story, Clover. ​I'd love to hear your thoughts!

 

I wake to the sound of my sister’s rasping cough. She tries to cover her mouth, I can tell, but I’m attuned to it now. It’s been my daily alarm for the last two years, since her lungs started to give out.

            I sit up on my bottom bunk and peer into the dark room beyond. In our dorm of sixty, no-one but me stirs. The blinds are still pulled down over the glass windows that surround us on all sides. It’s not quite morning and thank clean air for that. (I absolutely love this. It conveys so much about the importance of air in the world to come) This silence, this fleeting moment of peace, is my favourite time of day. I have never told anyone that, not even Arma. In truth, we talk of little but oxygen these days. How to ration it fairly between us; how to get more without breaking Elite law; where to hide capsules on the base in case of emergency. What else is there to discuss? (This is a personal preference but i love subtlety and a bit of mystery at the begining of my fictional worlds. The clean air idiom was perfect but what follows kind of gives away too much of the picture. Especially at the start.)

            I press my back to the dorm glass and rest my head against it, then run long fingers across my face. Flakes of dry skin fall through the darkness like snow. I wipe it off my lap and make sure none are awake to watch as I slide my hand down the metal leg of my bunk bed, remove the section I’ve spent years chipping away, and take out a small, rounded object. I turn it over in my hands. Preserved in hardened amber, a four-leaf clover peeks out at me. A present from Ma and Pa; both long dead now. The clover is more than our only family heirloom. It is a reminder of what once was, of a world where such miraculous creations were, though rare, still in existence, somewhere.

            No-one hopes for such foolish things now.

 

 

 

This is a lovely opening but kind of loses me a little. The first two sentences are perfect. I love a story that opens on character, and those lines are perfect in that sense. I get a sense of the protagonist and what he/she wants in those two lines alone. It's almost like Stephen kings gunslinger opening. Perfect. But then, instead of pushing on as you started, you veer off too quickly. What I mean is, I get the sense that the MC cares a great deal about his sister in those two lines, yet instead of having him focused on her health, he just gets up and looks around? Sure he's used to her deteriorating health but when you love someone, whether your efforts are pointless or not, you still care. And him seemingly ignoring his sister for a four leaf clover(i'm sure it is important down the line) kind of takes away from his character. 

 

All said, a very good start.


Would really appreciate a little feedback on my first 250 words: http://agentquerycon...ya-sci-fantasy/


#4 DisgruntledWriter

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Posted 05 March 2018 - 06:30 PM

 

First 250 of my YA Sci-Fi story, Clover. ​I'd love to hear your thoughts!

 

I wake to the sound of my sister’s rasping cough. Yeah, starting with a wake up can be an instant rejection.  I just had to redo my entire first chapter becuase of this.  Just google the horror stoires if you don't believe me how much agents despise this. She tries to cover her mouth, I can tell, but I’m attuned to it now. It’s been my daily alarm for the last two years, since her lungs started to give out. I really like this.  If you do end up moving around the chapter to not start with a wake-up, be sure to include this line elsewhere in the story :)

            I sit up on my bottom bunk and peer into the dark room beyond. In our dorm dorm-room? of sixty, no-one but me stirs little nit-picky thing here, but isn't the sister awake if she tried to cover her mouth when she coughed?. The blinds are still pulled down over the glass windows that surround us on all sides. It’s not quite morning and thank clean air for that I think if you're going to use this expression (which is obvious in the next few sentences) you should mention the oxygen and stuff first, and then this so it's clearer to the reader. This silence, this fleeting moment of peace, is my favourite time of day. I have never told anyone that, not even Arma. In truth, we talk of little but oxygen these days. How to ration it fairly between us; how to get more without breaking Elite law; where to hide capsules on the base in case of emergency. What else is there to discuss?

            I press my back to the dorm glass and rest my head against it, then run long fingers not sure if you need the word "long" it seems like overkill across my face. Flakes of dry skin fall through the darkness like snow. I wipe it off my lap and make sure none are awake to watch as I slide my hand down the metal leg Because you mentioned her fingers in the last sentence, when you mentioned metal legs here I thought you meant MC's metal legs, haha. of my bunk bed, remove the section I’ve spent years chipping away, and take out a small, rounded object. I turn it over in my hands. Preserved in hardened amber, a four-leaf clover peeks out at me. A present from Ma and Pa; both long dead now. The clover is more than our only family heirloom. It is a reminder of what once was, of a world where such miraculous creations were, though rare, still in existence, somewhere.

            No-one hopes for such foolish things now.

 

 

I like this a a lot.  It intrigued me.  My biggest qualm is about the waking opening, which I have no problem with, but agents hate.  Maybe you could start the story with the MC opening the secret space in the bunk bed, and then describe everything that's happening around to her? The end it on the object like you did?



#5 Arcanjoe

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Posted 10 March 2018 - 11:32 AM

Thanks for all the fantastic feedback. I've Iceman's advice and honed in a little on the brother-sister dynamic before getting to the more expositional elements of the story. How's this?

 

I wake to the sound of my sister’s rasping cough. She tries to cover her mouth, I can tell, but I’m attuned to it now. It’s been my daily alarm for the last two years, since her lungs started to give out.

            I push myself out of the bottom bunk and peer into the dark room beyond. In our dorm of sixty, no-one but me and my sister stirs. The blinds are still pulled down over the glass windows that surround us on all sides, keeping out the harsh red-gold light of the waking sun which is soon to torment us.

            A figure shifts in the bunk above mine.

            “Worrying about me again?” my sister croaks, emerald eyes finding me in the darkness.

            The slight shudder her body makes as she takes an inward breath, as her ruined lungs try desperately to pull in air, makes me wince. But I quickly control myself and smile even though she probably can’t see it. “Worrying is a big brother’s job.”

            “Strange,” she whispers. “I thought your job was to pick seeds and shoots out of the cracks in the dry earth.”

            “Oh, that? That’s just my hobby. Keeping my eye on you is my real job.”

            She tries to laugh but is quickly racked by another coughing fit. “Not for much longer.”

            I place a hand on her shoulder. “Don’t talk like that, Arma. I’ll find a way to make you better.”

            She grows quiet, thoughtful.

            I lean over the railing. “You know what I think?”

            I see her nod in the darkness. “You think I’ll outlive you all.”

            “If I say it enough, one day you’ll believe it.”

            She sighs “One day…”


I'd love for you to critique my latest query...

Clover:

http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/

 

Or the first 250 words of my story...

Clover:

http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/

 


#6 Arcanjoe

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Posted 14 March 2018 - 09:03 AM

Another couple of tweaks!

 

I wake to the sound of my sister’s rasping cough. She tries to cover her mouth, I can tell, but I’m attuned to it now. It’s been my daily alarm for the last two years, since her lungs started to give out.

            I push myself out of the bottom bunk and peer into the dark room beyond. In our dorm of sixty, no-one stirs. The blinds are still pulled down over the glass windows that surround us on all sides, keeping out the harsh red-gold light of the waking sun which is soon to torment us.

            A figure shifts in the bunk above mine.

            “Worrying about me again?” my sister croaks, emerald eyes finding me in the darkness.

            The slight shudder her body makes as she takes an inward breath, as her ruined lungs try desperately to pull in air, makes me wince. But I quickly control myself and smile even though she probably can’t see it. “Worrying is a big brother’s job.”

            “Strange,” she whispers. “I thought your job was to pick seeds and shoots out of the cracks in the dry earth.”

            “Oh, that? That’s just my hobby. Keeping my eye on you is my real job.”

            She tries to laugh but is soon racked by another coughing fit. “Not for much longer.”

            I place a hand on her shoulder. “Don’t talk like that, Arma. I’ll find a way to make you better.”

            She grows quiet, thoughtful.

            I lean over the railing. “You know what I think?”

            I see her nod in the darkness. “You think I’ll outlive you all.”

            “If I say it enough, one day you’ll believe it.”

            She sighs “One day…”


I'd love for you to critique my latest query...

Clover:

http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/

 

Or the first 250 words of my story...

Clover:

http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/

 


#7 Sarkin

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Posted 21 March 2018 - 07:20 PM

Another couple of tweaks!

 

I wake to the sound of my sister’s rasping cough. [A LITTLE CLICHE TO START WITH WAKING UP.] She tries to cover her mouth, I can tell [MAYBE CUT "I CAN TELL"], but I’m attuned to it now. It’s been my daily alarm for the last two years, since her lungs started to give out. [GRABS MY INTEREST]

            I push myself out of the bottom bunk and peer into the dark room beyond [DELETE "BEYOND". In our dorm of sixty, no-one [NO DASH IN NO-ONE] stirs. The blinds are still pulled down over the glass windows that surround us on all sides, keeping out the harsh red-gold light of the waking sun which is soon to torment us.

            A figure shifts in the bunk above mine.

            “Worrying about me again?” my sister croaks, emerald eyes finding me in the darkness.

            The slight shudder her body makes as she takes an inward breath, as her ruined lungs try desperately to pull in air [MAYBE CUT THIS BIT STARTING WITH "AS" AND JUST GO STRAIGHT TO "MAKES"], makes me wince. But I quickly control myself and smile even though she probably can’t see it. “Worrying is a big brother’s job.”

            “Strange,” she whispers. “I thought your job was to pick seeds and shoots out of the cracks in the dry earth.”

            “Oh, that? That’s just my hobby. Keeping my eye on you is my real job.”

            She tries to laugh but is soon racked by another coughing fit. “Not for much longer.”

            I place a hand on her shoulder. “Don’t talk like that, Arma. I’ll find a way to make you better.”

            She grows quiet, thoughtful.

            I lean over the railing. “You know what I think?”

            I see her nod in the darkness. “You think I’ll outlive you all.”

            “If I say it enough, one day you’ll believe it.”

            She sighs “One day…”

 

 

My initial impression was that the beginning was a little choppy, but I really liked the dialogue. It was touching. I tried to give some specific wording suggestions. I think that, if the beginning is a little cleaner, readers will be really interested once they get to the dialogue.



#8 Springfield

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Posted 01 April 2018 - 04:35 PM

Another couple of tweaks!

 

I wake to the sound of my sister’s rasping cough. She tries to cover her mouth, I can tell, but I’m attuned to it now. It’s been my daily alarm for the last two years, since her lungs started to give out. I wouldn't start with waking up.

            I push myself out of the bottom bunk and peer into the dark room beyond. In our dorm of sixty, no-one why is that hyphenated? stirs. The blinds are still pulled down over the glass windows that surround us on all sides, keeping out the harsh red-gold light of the waking sun which is soon to torment us. You're overwriting.

            A figure shifts in the bunk above mine.

            “Worrying about me again?” my sister croaks, emerald eyes Oh dear. finding me in the darkness. 

            The slight shudder her body makes as she takes an inward breath, as her ruined lungs try desperately to pull in air, makes me wince. But I quickly control myself and smile even though she probably can’t see it. “Worrying is a big brother’s job.”

            “Strange,” she whispers. This begins to feel like it's headed toward bookisms. “I thought your job was to pick seeds and shoots out of the cracks in the dry earth.”

            “Oh, that? That’s just my hobby. Keeping my eye on you is my real job.”

            She tries to laugh but is soon racked by another coughing fit. “Not for much longer.”

            I place a hand on her shoulder. “Don’t talk like that, Arma. I’ll find a way to make you better.”

            She grows quiet, thoughtful.

            I lean over the railing. “You know what I think?”

            I see her nod in the darkness. “You think I’ll outlive you all.”

            “If I say it enough, one day you’ll believe it.”

            She sighs “One day…”

 

Mostly, you're just overwriting..



#9 rhwashere

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Posted 17 April 2018 - 02:47 PM

Another couple of tweaks!

 

I wake to the sound of my sister’s rasping cough. She tries to cover her mouth, I can tell, but I’m attuned to it now. It’s been my daily alarm for the last two years, since her lungs started to give out.

            I push myself out of the bottom bunk and peer into the dark room beyond. In our dorm of sixty, no-one stirs. The blinds are still pulled down over the glass windows that surround us on all sides, keeping out the harsh red-gold light of the waking sun which is soon to torment us. (I like this idea of the rising sun being a torment instead of a pleasantry)

            A figure shifts in the bunk above mine.

            “Worrying about me again?” my sister croaks, emerald eyes finding me in the darkness.

            The slight shudder her body makes as she takes an inward breath, as her ruined lungs try desperately to pull in air, makes me wince. But I quickly control myself and smile even though she probably can’t see it. “Worrying is a big brother’s job.”

            “Strange,” she whispers. “I thought your job was to pick seeds and shoots out of the cracks in the dry earth.” (This sounds a little stilted for dialogue. I realize you're trying to work in some worldbuilding here, but I doubt people who live in this world and understand what they do everyday would spell it out as such.)

            “Oh, that? That’s just my hobby. Keeping my eye on you is my real job.”

            She tries to laugh but is soon racked by another coughing fit. “Not for much longer.”

            I place a hand on her shoulder. “Don’t talk like that, Arma. I’ll find a way to make you better.”

            She grows quiet, thoughtful.

            I lean over the railing. “You know what I think?”

            I see her nod in the darkness. “You think I’ll outlive you all.”

            “If I say it enough, one day you’ll believe it.” (Nice. There's unspoken tragedy here.)

            She sighs “One day…”

I like most of the dialogue between brother and sister here (except the stilted bit). The only issue I have is that opening your story with someone waking up is cliche. You would be better served to have them already awake and the brother listening to his sister cough.

 

Hopefully this helps. If so, please check out my 250 words: http://agentquerycon...-revised-41218/


Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...51718/?p=356935


#10 cmmg

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Posted 30 April 2018 - 07:43 PM

Another couple of tweaks!

 

I wake to the sound of my sister’s rasping cough. She tries to cover her mouth, I can tell, but I’m attuned to it now. It’s been my daily alarm for the last two years, since her lungs started to give out. (People don't like waking up but it can work)

            I push myself out of the bottom bunk and peer into the dark room beyond. In our dorm of sixty, no-one stirs. The blinds are still pulled down over the glass windows that surround us on all sides, keeping out the harsh red-gold light of the waking sun which is soon to torment us. (you already said the sun was harsh)

            A figure shifts in the bunk above mine.

            “Worrying about me again?” my sister croaks, emerald eyes finding me in the darkness. (I'll be super honest, this is where my interest wanes. It's already clear that he's worrying about her, so my faith the dialogue will provide new information, as a reader, is low)

            The slight shudder her body makes as she takes an inward breath, as her ruined lungs try desperately to pull in air,(You only need one of these. The repetition doesn't add anything here as this moment in particular isn't so different from her raspy cough early which is just a paragraph up) makes me wince. But I quickly control myself and smile even though she probably can’t see it. “Worrying is a big brother’s job.”

            “Strange,” she whispers. “I thought your job was to pick seeds and shoots out of the cracks in the dry earth.” (Here's where my interest is really low. I don't really understand what "pick seeds and shoots out of the cracks of the dry earth" means and it's wordy and it doesn't tell me much. I think you mean it like "there are so few seeds, the earth is super dry, there has to be a special job of people to find seeds" but I don't get it. He could just be a gardener for what this tells me)

            “Oh, that? That’s just my hobby. Keeping my eye on you is my real job.” (Here's where I'd put it down. The banter between them is sweet, but it doesn't give me any conflict or reason to move on. They're not doing or preparing to do anything. You're also side tracking yourself from the conflict.)

            She tries to laugh but is soon racked by another coughing fit. “Not for much longer.” (This tells me nothing about character and it's not immediately clear she's saying she'll die )

            I place a hand on her shoulder. “Don’t talk like that, Arma. I’ll find a way to make you better.”

            She grows quiet, thoughtful.

            I lean over the railing. “You know what I think?”

            I see her nod in the darkness. “You think I’ll outlive you all.”

            “If I say it enough, one day you’ll believe it.”

            She sighs “One day…” (This last exchange is still sweet, but also dull. I don't get a sense of change or them doing anything.)

 

I think you start off strong, but when you move into the siblings talking, they don't have anything interesting to say. The banter does show their relationship, but as of yet, I have no real reason to care about this relationship. Someone earlier said to be careful with exposition, but filling it with dialogue isn't more interesting. If they were talking as they got dressed to their jobs where the sister might slip up and die because of her lungs, that recontextualization would make this interesting, as it stands, the dialogue alone doesn't make me invested in them.

 

Also the interaction itself isn't new or interaction. "Don't talk like that, Arma" could be said by any number of characters to any of their dying or not dying siblings about anything. This interaction isn't unique enough to be inherently interesting. Their dynamic isn't unique. Not every dynamic HAS to be unique, but if you're looking to hook people, starting with how everything is fine and is, isn't helping. And I know everything isn't fine and good, because she's sick, but once we know that, they just continue to talk generically about her being sick without developing it or further it. So it's "she's as sick as she always is, everything is fine."

 

Sorry. I hope that's helpful?

 


_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

synopsis


#11 Emily804

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Posted 31 July 2018 - 11:10 PM

 

New Draft in post #5

 

First 250 of my YA Sci-Fi story, Clover. ​I'd love to hear your thoughts!

 

I wake to the sound of my sister’s rasping cough. She tries to cover her mouth, I can tell, but I’m attuned to it now. It’s been my daily alarm for the last two years, since her lungs started to give out.

            I sit up on my bottom bunk and peer into the dark room beyond. In our dorm of sixty, no-one but me stirs. The blinds are still pulled down over the glass windows that surround us on all sides. It’s not quite morning and thank clean air for that. This silence, this fleeting moment of peace, is my favourite time of day. I have never told anyone that, not even Arma. In truth, we talk of little but oxygen these days. How to ration it fairly between us; how to get more without breaking Elite law; where to hide capsules on the base in case of emergency. What else is there to discuss?

            I press my back to the dorm glass and rest my head against it, then run long fingers across my face. Flakes of dry skin fall through the darkness like snow. I wipe it off my lap and make sure none are awake to watch as I slide my hand down the metal leg of my bunk bed, remove the section I’ve spent years chipping away, and take out a small, rounded object. I turn it over in my hands. Preserved in hardened amber, a four-leaf clover peeks out at me. A present from Ma and Pa; both long dead now. The clover is more than our only family heirloom. It is a reminder of what once was, of a world where such miraculous creations were, though rare, still in existence, somewhere.

            No-one hopes for such foolish things now.

 

I really like this! The oxygen thing is interesting, and I love the description of the object she is hiding. My only concern would be that you start with "I wake." Also, unless it is a style choice specific to your story, I don't think you need the dash in no one.  


Query Compatibility YA sci-fi: http://agentquerycon...lity-ya-sci-fi/





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