Here is my newest revision. I have been playing around with various names for the leaders of the island, and the one I like most at this point is the Elite's. Thoughts?
Rachel Ives is condemned to an island surrounded by an electric grid where back-breaking labor, harsh laws, and public whippings are the way of life. Maybe mention the watchmen here...like those who resist are taken by the watchmen, never to return.
She wants nothing more than to escape and protect her emotionally fragile sister, but the Elite’s only offer two options: silent obedience or be taken by watchmen to never return.
When a young maybe another adjective that hints at his personalityman named Keith, unlisted in the government records, arrives at Rachel’s workhouse, she learns he is here to destroy a secret governmental machine that neurologically strips the citizens of their humanity, turning them into humanoids. A machine used on the citizens taken by watchmen. Show her horror, and show the wanting to escape/protecting emotionally fragile sister Marybeth. Does she find out info and keep it secret to protect him/the chance of his succeeding? Something like that will give us more a hint at her personality.
To her horror, Rachel’s sister, Marybeth, is taken by the watchmen. I think this line could have a bigger impact either on its own or at the end of paragraph. Also, if it were punchier. Like...Then Marybeth is taken by the watchmen.
Blinded by the desire to save her before it’s too lateYou can make this stronger. Blinded by desire/before it's too late are quite common phrases, so they don't hit us as hard as they should, she joins Keith on a dangerous mission to destroyWe know this is Keith's mission, so I think you can lose it/add another detail like their destination or what they have to do, like breaking in to somewhere or overcoming someone. the machine. But Rachel soon learns that the machine is the one thing keeping the citizens alive—without it, they are useless to the Elite’s who rule the island. Rachel and Keith must choose between risking thousands of lives bydestroying the machine and risking thousands of lives for a chance of freedom and escape, or surrendering and becoming beingmindless slaves to the governmental machine forever.
THE ISLAND is a Young Adult Science Fiction Novel complete at 96,000 words. My fiction writing advice articles have been published in EveryWritersResource.com & Black Fox Literary Magazine and my short stories have been published in The Zodiac Review & UIC Red Shoes Review Literary Magazine.
I like this! I think it's really clear and the plot is laid out well. But I do think that adding a few more details could make it stand out more, if that makes sense? I think a bit more flavour would make you NEED to read this. What makes it stand out from other dystopian YA novels? Details really make something like this sing and you don't need to add more lines, necessarily, just swap what you already have for more specific wording/situations. If that makes sense. Like do they break in somewhere? Are they risking lives of people around them? Stuff like that could function as scenes from a trailor, nearly. Stuff the agent'll look forward to reading, stuff that makes them want to request.
What makes Rachel stand out as a character? You can maybe show her motivation/desperation even more clearly if you maybe put the escape/protect her sister after keith is introduced, as if she would be tempted to help him except she has to protect sister, then you hit us with her sister being taken. I don't know, just a suggestion.
I also think that the conflict between freedom/possible death and captivity/safety, and the conflict between saving her sister/risking many are two things you should really bring out. Read that last pargagraph aloud and make it as clear/fat-free as possible.
I hope this helps! Really, this query is so streamlined and simple, congrats.