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Three Generations - SF/Suspense

Thrillers/Suspense Science Fiction

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#1 mkuriel

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 11:22 PM

****Update is both at the bottom of post 1, and in post 7*****
 
JR Burbank has an itch. Scratching it could lose him $100M. 
 
JR lives in a virtual reality competition, Three Generations, where the competitors have to amass wealth in a lawless medieval land. The fastest way to fortune is the bonus earned by killing other competitors. Since they can come back as their children, if they have any, it's a bonus one can earn up to three times. JR, unlike his kill-happy competition, has no desire to be the wealthiest gravedigger standing. Not that he hasn't buried his share of the competition... Instead, he prefers to build businesses and plans to be king through a golden age he creates. 
 
After he purchases a Writ of Nobility, a hooded figure offers to "fix JR's projection." Thinking it nothing more than a glitched NPC, JR agrees. The next day his neck itches. Trying to get rid of it only makes it worse. The search for an ointment gets him stabbed to death. The itch follows him. Which means his physical body itches and the immersive VR system malfunctions. An admin resets the connection and JR starts having visions of his body. Only it isn't his body. It's a pale and atrophied approximation of his body. The people tending it claim he's aware of the real world for the first time in his life. 
 
JR resumes play in his second generation and the itch won't stop. He can't focus. Sleep leads to dreams of the "real" world. When a cut on his arm in VR appears on his "physical" body, JR knows it has to be a trick. Virtual reality cannot change physical reality. When other people in the game report injuries caused by in-game wounds, JR has to decide if his dreams of winning $100M are worth the risk of killing people for real. Even if they deserve it.
 
Three Generations is the Truman Show meets Sword Art Online set in a magicless Westeros. It is a suspense novel complete at 70,000 words.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration,
 
Contact Info
 
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
 
Version 2:
JR Burbank has an itch. Scratching it gets him stabbed to death--and that's ok.
 
JR's a competitor in a realistic, immersive virtual reality game. For the last thirty VR years, he's built a trade empire from the bonus earned by killing rival competitors. His itch resists scratches from both his businesses and legion of loyal employees--most of whom are real people who play the game but don't compete for the $100M prize. Nothing helps. JR can't sleep. Can't focus. 
 
After a competitor, Sherryl Ramirez, rips out his intestines and wears them as a necklace, the itch accompanies JR to the automated nether realm. Growing desperate, he has an admin reset his game connection. The itch gets an upgrade: his whole body burns. In what could be itch-driven hallucinations, JR watches technicians take an atrophied version of his body out of an ancient VR rig. The techs claim his father reared him in VR because he was born paralyzed from the neck down. JR flips them off. He can't decide if he's aware of the real world for the first time or if it's an elaborate hoax.
 
When he returns to the game, Sherryl's doing her best to kill him and everyone he loves. If she kills him twice more, the bonus will propel her to victory. 
 
After a crossbow bolt rips into him, JR slams into his "physical" body which gushes blood from a hole in his shoulder. If it isn't a hoax, JR has to decide if $100M is worth the risk to his life, or the lives of his friends.
 
THREE GENERATIONS is a science fiction thriller complete at ##### words. It's the Truman Show meets Sword Art Online set in Westeros.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration,
 
Contact Info


#2 Aightball

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Posted 29 November 2018 - 11:51 PM

 

JR Burbank has an itch. Scratching it could lose him $100M.   Nice opening line.  It gets my attention and makes me wonder what's going to happen.
 
JR lives in a virtual reality competition, Three Generations, where the competitors have to amass wealth in a lawless medieval land. The fastest way to fortune is the bonus earned by killing other competitors. Since they can come back as their children, if they have any, it's a bonus one can earn up to three times. JR, unlike his kill-happy competition, has no desire to be the wealthiest gravedigger standing. Not that he hasn't buried his share of the competition... Instead, he prefers to build businesses and plans to be king through a golden age he creates. 
 
After he purchases a Writ of Nobility, a hooded figure offers to "fix JR's projection." Thinking it nothing more than a glitched NPC, JR agrees. The next day his neck itches. Trying to get rid of it only makes it worse. The search for an ointment gets him stabbed to death. The itch follows him. Which means his physical body itches and the immersive VR system malfunctions. An admin resets the connection and JR starts having visions of his body. Only it isn't his body. It's a pale and atrophied approximation of his body. The people tending it claim he's aware of the real world for the first time in his life. 
/
For me, these two paragraphs become muddied.  You give us a good set up in the first paragraph but then I think you get too detailed in the second.  Try to only give us the absolute must have details.  You can go in depth to your world building in the synopsis but give us what we need to become interested in the query.  Right now, your hook is good, your first paragraph is interesting but the second loses me.  So, try to up the stakes and clean up the muddy bits.
JR resumes play in his second generation and the itch won't stop. He can't focus. Sleep leads to dreams of the "real" world. When a cut on his arm in VR appears on his "physical" body, JR knows it has to be a trick. Virtual reality cannot change physical reality. When other people in the game report injuries caused by in-game wounds, JR has to decide if his dreams of winning $100M are worth the risk of killing people for real. Even if they deserve it.  I'm not sure these stakes will stand out in the slush.  The stakes are good but I think, especially in your genre, you're going to have trouble selling this with these stakes.  What makes your book different from all the others in the slush with a similar plot?  Try to bring that out.
 
Three Generations a suspense novel complete at 70,000 words.  It is the Truman Show meets Sword Art Online set in a magicless Westeros. It is a   What is Westeros?  Make sure the references you use are ones everyone knows.  An agent likely won't take the time to Google something and will make a decision on whether to pass or not at this point. 
 
Thank you for your time and consideration,
 
Contact Info
 
***Per most guidelines, the query word count is high. Any suggestions on where to trim the fat would be appreciated.  See above =)
 
***Questions: I chose Three Generations as the title because the in-game time frame is 100 years and players can resume play as their children across a total of three generations. Since the "real-world" time is only 300 days, this creates a fun time differential where 1 virtual year passes every 3 earth days (or, 1 earth second = 121.67 virtual seconds = 2.03 virtual minutes)  This time difference is crucial to the story, but does it matter to the query? Did you even question the mechanics of how a person could resume play as their child after reading the above?  See above suggestions.  You don't need to worry about any of this in the query because it will bog is way, way down.  And it did. =)  Good luck!

 


Most girls are made of
sugar and spice and everything nice; they
screwed up the recipe for me: I'm made of
bat wings and broken things.

Query: http://agentquerycon...-urban-fantasy/

Blog: http://aightball.wordpress.com

Synopsis:

Twitter Hook(s):

Short Story "Anguish", in Winter's Regret: http://www.amazon.co...winter's regret

aertja.jpg


#3 mkuriel

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 02:46 PM

Thank you for your feedback Aightball. Oh, and Westeros is the setting for Game of Thrones; not something most people have to look up. :)



#4 Aightball

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 09:45 AM

Thank you for your feedback Aightball. Oh, and Westeros is the setting for Game of Thrones; not something most people have to look up. :)

=)  No problem!  I confess that GoT is on our TBR list, as we're stubborn old people who want to read before we watch, haha!  Although I should've recognized the reference regardless.  Good luck on your edits!


Most girls are made of
sugar and spice and everything nice; they
screwed up the recipe for me: I'm made of
bat wings and broken things.

Query: http://agentquerycon...-urban-fantasy/

Blog: http://aightball.wordpress.com

Synopsis:

Twitter Hook(s):

Short Story "Anguish", in Winter's Regret: http://www.amazon.co...winter's regret

aertja.jpg


#5 Erevos

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 07:48 AM

 

JR Burbank has an itch. Scratching it could lose him $100M. Interesting and somewhat funny hook, but after reading the rest of the query I'm wondering if it actually does justice to the tone you set up.
 
JR lives in Three Generations, a virtual reality competition where the competitors have to amass wealth in a lawless medieval land. The fastest way to fortune is the bonus earned by killing other competitors. Since they can come back as their children, if they have any, it's a bonus one can earn up to three timesThis is exposition. JR, unlike his kill-happy competition, has no desire to be the wealthiest gravedigger standing. Not that he hasn't buried his share of the competition... Instead, he prefers to build businesses and plans to be king through a golden age he creates. 
 
After he purchases a Writ of Nobility, a hooded figure offers to "fix JR's projection." Thinking it nothing more than a glitched NPC, JR agrees. Huh? I could understand him saying yes if he thought it was an admin, but he said yes to a glitched NPC? The next day his neck itches. Trying to get rid of it only makes it worse. The search for an ointment gets him stabbed to death. The itch follows him. Which means his physical body itches and the immersive VR system malfunctions. An admin resets the connection and JR starts having visions of his body. Only it isn't his body. It's a pale and atrophied approximation of his body. The people tending it claim he's aware of the real world for the first time in his life. This whole paragraph is plain exposition. I'd keep only the part where he realizes his actual body is pale and atrophied. Also, this creates more questions. I thought he was playing a VR game. So, he had a life before, right? If not, if he had no memory of his real self and only "woke" into a game, then it needs to be clarified early on.
 
JR resumes play in his second generation and the itch won't stop. He can't focus. Sleep leads to dreams of the "real" world. When a cut on his arm in VR appears on his "physical" body, JR knows it has to be a trick. Virtual reality cannot change physical reality. When other people in the game report injuries caused by in-game wounds, JR has to decide if his dreams of winning $100M are worth the risk of killing people for real. Even if they deserve it. What do you mean "deserve it"? I mean it's a game. I can go on a murder killing spree in a game since... it's a game. I can camp outside a base and PK everyone coming out. You don't expect everyone to act like they would in their real lives. But that doesn't mean I have to DIE because JR thinks "I deserve it". I'd remove that part completely.
 
 
" HAS TO DECIDE IF 100M$ ARE WORTH THE RISK OF KILLING PEOPLE" If he has no idea what is going on with his physical body, then what would 100M$ be good for? Also, he was doing that, everyone was doing that and there was absolutely no risk at all - except from actually dying. So your stakes are GO FOR THE PRIZE OR RISK DYING. Or even better, who cares about the money. Why is his body like that, what is going on with the real world, and how the hell is he going to escape are the things he should be worried about.
 
So: TAKE THE MONEY AND DON'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT WHAT'S ACTUALLY GOING ON OR RISK FINDING OUT WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH THE WORLD EVEN IF IT MEANS DYING. Some like that anyway.
 
Aightball is right. What makes your book unique? Like your comps, it feels like a blend of Sword Art Online and many other "Life in a VR world" anime, mixed with The Matrix "what da hell happened to my body and the world" and finally the Ready Player One "Kill the competition to get the money". You have to give us something that makes your book stand out.
 
Three Generations is the Truman Show meets Sword Art Online set in a magicless Westeros. It is a suspense novel complete at 70,000 words. Suspense novel means nothing. MG, YA, A and Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Romance etc is what an agent wants to see.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration,
 
 

 


My query: http://agentquerycon...teampunksci-fi/

Let me know if you want me to look at yours. Will happily do so.


#6 VickyRosly

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 08:08 AM

 

Let me first say that I read your query as whole, before attempting to offer any suggestions. The book sounds like something I would definitely read, but there are parts that confuse me, and I believe that is due to the fact that you're trying to describe a complex notion with only a few words. Having said that let's begin:
 
JR Burbank has an itch. Scratching it could lose him $100M. Nice hook. Before reading on, I thought it was metaphorical but it turns out to be quite literal, Nice play with words.
 
JR lives In the virtual reality competition Three Generations, where the competitors have to amass wealth in a lawless medieval land. The fastest way to fortune is the bonus earned by killing other competitors. Since they can come back as their children, if they have any, it's a bonus one can earn up to three times.(This is the first thing that started to confuse me. Why three times? They can have only three children? I know this is important to the plot because JR comes back again later so you have to mention it but it's not quite clear what that means or how the schematic works.) JR, unlike his kill-happy competition, has no desire to be the wealthiest gravedigger standing. Not that he hasn't buried his share of the competition... Instead, he prefers to build businesses and plans to be king through a golden age he creates. 
 
After he purchases a Writ of Nobility(This is never mentioned again. Is it really important to the plot? Sounds like it isn't.)  a hooded figure offers to "fix JR's projection." When a hooded figure offers to fix JR's projection, he thinks of it as Thinking it nothing more than a glitched NPC, JR and agrees.(Again, I'm not sure what fixing his projection really means. What is it? Was it broken to begin with? If it was, why isn't mentioned before?) The next day his neck itches. Trying to get rid of it only makes it worse. The search for an ointment gets him stabbed to death. The itch follows him to his physical body, which could only mean the immersive VR system is malfunctioning. Which means his physical body itches and the immersive VR system malfunctions. An admin resets the connection and JR starts having visions of his body. Only it isn't his body. It's a pale and atrophied approximation of his body. The people tending it claim he's aware of the real world for the first time in his life. (So the admin resets the VR connection and for JR is having visions? Also, so far it hasn't been clear if JR has any kind of awareness of the real world. Is he in the VR all day? Does he have a real life, eats or drinks? Or is he just hooked into the VR machine with complete disregard for his physical body? I believe the last sentences need to be reworded by you because we cannot know the "juice" and how-to's of your story.)
 
JR resumes play in his second generation and the itch won't stop. He can't focus. Sleep leads to dreams of the real world. When a cut on his arm in VR appears on his physical body, JR knows it has to be disregards it as a trick. Virtual reality cannot change physical reality. When other people in the game report injuries caused by in-game wounds, JR has to decide if his dreams of winning $100M are worth the risk of killing people for real. Even if they deserve it. ( Like Erevos said, in the query JR's real life and physical body appear to be of no interest to him. Why would he want to win 100 million? What's the motive? The killing people for real part sounds intriguing but there is no motive in winning the money, at least with JR appearing completely detached and uninterested for the real world.)
 
Three Generations is the Truman Show meets Sword Art Online set in a magicless Westeros. It is a suspense novel complete at 70,000 words. (The book sounds like fantasy rather than anything else.)
 
Thank you for your time and consideration,
 
Contact Info
 
***Per most guidelines, the query word count is high. Any suggestions on where to trim the fat would be appreciated.
 
***Questions: I chose Three Generations as the title because the in-game time frame is 100 years and players can resume play as their children across a total of three generations. Since the "real-world" time is only 300 days, this creates a fun time differential where 1 virtual year passes every 3 earth days (or, 1 earth second = 121.67 virtual seconds = 2.03 virtual minutes)  This time difference is crucial to the story, but does it matter to the query? Did you even question the mechanics of how a person could resume play as their child after reading the above?

 


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#7 SnowFox23

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 01:04 AM

JR Burbank has an itch. Scratching it could lose him $100M. nice.
 
JR lives in a virtual reality competition, Three Generations, where the competitors have to amass wealth in a lawless medieval land. The fastest way to fortune is the bonus earned by killing other competitors. cool! Since they can come back as their children, if they have any, it's a bonus one can earn up to three times. JR, unlike his kill-happy competition, has no desire to be the wealthiest gravedigger standing. Not that he hasn't buried his share of the competition... Instead, he prefers to build businesses and plans to be king through a golden age he creates. you're starting to lose me here. I didn't understand that last sentence.
 
After he purchases a Writ of Nobility? which is? , a hooded figure offers to "fix JR's projection." don't understand this either? Thinking it nothing more than a glitched NPC, JR agrees. don't understand this. The next day his neck itches. Trying to get rid of it only makes it worse. The search for an ointment gets him stabbed to death. The itch follows him. Which means his physical body itches and the immersive VR system malfunctions. An admin resets the connection and JR starts having visions of his body. Only it isn't his body. It's a pale and atrophied approximation of his body. The people tending it claim he's aware of the real world for the first time in his life. 
 
JR resumes play in his second generation and the itch won't stop. He can't focus. Sleep leads to dreams of the "real" world. When a cut on his arm in VR appears on his "physical" body, JR knows it has to be a trick. Virtual reality cannot change physical reality. When other people in the game report injuries caused by in-game wounds, JR has to decide if his dreams of winning $100M are worth the risk of killing people for real. Even if they deserve it.
 
Three Generations is the Truman Show meets Sword Art Online set in a magicless Westeros. It is a suspense novel complete at 70,000 words.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration,
 
I really loved the opening 3 lines, that is some good shit. Unfortunately, I just don't understand the rest. There is a heap of information going on, and I don't understand any of it. Which is a shame, because getting money from killing other competitors in a virtual reality land sounds awesome.
If you can simplifiy for dummies like me, then that would be awesome. Good luck!
When you get a chance could you look at my query, THE WOLF, THE CROW, AND THE QUEEN? Cheers!


#8 mkuriel

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 12:10 PM

Version 2:
 
JR Burbank has an itch. Scratching it gets him stabbed to death--and that's ok.
 
JR's a competitor in a realistic, immersive virtual reality game. For the last thirty VR years, he's built a trade empire from the bonus earned by killing rival competitors. His itch resists scratches from both his businesses and legion of loyal employees--most of whom are real people who play the game but don't compete for the $100M prize. Nothing helps. JR can't sleep. Can't focus. 
 
After a competitor, Sherryl Ramirez, rips out his intestines and wears them as a necklace, the itch accompanies JR to the automated nether realm. Growing desperate, he has an admin reset his game connection. The itch gets an upgrade: his whole body burns. In what could be itch-driven hallucinations, JR watches technicians take an atrophied version of his body out of an ancient VR rig. The techs claim his father reared him in VR because he was born paralyzed from the neck down. JR flips them off. He can't decide if he's aware of the real world for the first time or if it's an elaborate hoax.
 
When he returns to the game, Sherryl's doing her best to kill him and everyone he loves. If she kills him twice more, the bonus will propel her to victory. 
 
After a crossbow bolt rips into him, JR slams into his "physical" body which gushes blood from a hole in his shoulder. If it isn't a hoax, JR has to decide if $100M is worth the risk to his life, or the lives of his friends.
 
THREE GENERATIONS is a science fiction thriller complete at ##### words. It's the Truman Show meets Sword Art Online set in Westeros.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration,
 
Contact Info


#9 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 12 January 2019 - 01:48 PM

JR Burbank has an itch and scratching it gets him stabbed to deathbut that's ok. (The first sentence by itself didn't have enough punch, but I think they work good together.)
 
JR's a competitor in an realistic, immersive virtual reality game. For the last thirty VR years, he has built a trade empire from the bonuses earned by killing rival competitors. His itch (I would define it more. Like his desire?) resists scratches from both his businesses and legion of loyal employeesmost of whom are real people who play the game, but don't compete for the $100M prize. (What prize? How would you get the prize? Is JR after the prize then?) Nothing helps. JR can't sleep. Can't focus.  (These last three sentences doesn't make full sense to me because it sounds like he just has everything, but is greedy and wants more.)
 
While after a competitor, Sherryl Ramirez, rips out his intestines get ripped out and are wore them as a necklace(I did a quick glance. She's only mentioned like two/three times, so I wouldn't name her.) the itch accompanies JR to the automated nether realm. Growing desperate, he has an admin reset his game connection. The itch (Now I'm getting confused on what the itch is cause it sounds more like the game's name here.) gets an upgrade: his whole body burns (Huh?). In what could be itch-driven (You're starting to repeat itch too much.) hallucinations, JR watches technicians take an atrophied version of his body out of an ancient VR rig. The techs claim his father reared him in VR because he was born paralyzed from the neck down. JR flips them off. He can't decide if he's aware of the real world for the first time or if it's an elaborate hoax. (Has he been in the real world before then? Kind of confused.)
 
When he returns to the game, his competitor doing her best to kills him and everyone he loves. If she kills him two more times, the bonus will propel her to victory. (What is this bonus then? Explain.)
 
After a crossbow bolt rips into him, JR slams into his "physical" body, which gushes blood from a hole in his shoulder. If it isn't a hoax, JR has to decide if $100M is worth the risking to his life, or  and his friends' lives. the lives of his friends.
 
Overall, it sounds like an interesting story. But even as a gamer, I got confused on what you meant a couple of times. I'd just g through and make sure that everything is explained well.
 
If you have the time, please look over mine: http://agentquerycon...ique-in-return/


#10 Koechophe

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Posted 13 January 2019 - 12:20 AM

Heya, I realized I haven't taken a stab at critiquing this one yet, so I'll see what I can do! Fair warning, my claws are sharp.

 

So here's the deal. I actually think your first effort is better than your second, by a pretty heavy margin. Not something I say a lot, but it reads smoother to me. However, there are still a few weaknesses that could be addressed, with points from your second query. I'm going to critique and throw out some recommendations for the first version, then synthesize a bit to see if I can't help you produce a superior (third) verison.

 


 
JR Burbank has an itch. Scratching it could lose him $100M.  Scrap this and don't look back. It screams "I'm trying too hard too hook you" which ends up having the opposite effect.
 
JR lives in a virtual reality competition, Three Generations, where the competitors have to amass wealth in a lawless medieval land (Trim the fat, and this is 10X better as a hook than your previous sentence.). The fastest way to fortune is the bonus earned by killing other competitors, who Since they can come back up to three times as their children, if they have any, it's a bonus one can earn up to three times. JR, unlike his kill-happy competition, has no desire to be the wealthiest gravedigger standing. Not that he hasn't buried his share of the competition... Instead, he prefers to build businesses and plans to become king of through a golden age he creates. (A decent bit of trimming, but this paragraph works for me.)
 
After he purchases a Writ of Nobility, (This is totally unnecessary, cut it and don't look back) When a hooded figure offers to "fix JR's projection." Thinking it nothing more than a glitched NPC, JR agrees. The next day his neck begins itching. Trying to get rid of it only makes it worse. The search for an ointment gets him stabbed to death by a rival named Sherryl Ramirez (Throw this in there to introduce the antagonist early). The itch follows him. Which means his physical body itches and the immersive VR system malfunctions. A When an admin resets the connection, and JR starts having visions of his body. Only it isn't his body. It's a pale and atrophied approximation of his body. The people tending it claim he's aware of the real world for the first time in his life. 
 
JR resumes play in his second generation, and the itch won't stop. He can't focus. Sleep leads to dreams of the "real" world. When a cut on his arm in VR appears on his "physical" body, JR knows it has to be a trick. Virtual reality cannot change physical reality. When other people in the game report injuries caused by in-game wounds, JR has to decide if his dreams of winning $100M are worth the risk of killing people for real. Even if they deserve it. (this works as far as the writing, but falls flat conceptually (more on that later).
 
Three Generations is the Truman Show meets Sword Art Online set in a magicless Westeros. It is a suspense novel complete at 70,000 words. 
 
Thank you for your time and consideration,
 
Contact Info
 
Aside from some much-needed trimming, this query is looking pretty solid (and that's high praise coming from me. Look up some of my other critiques if you don't believe me). However, there's two glaring issues that make it more difficult for me to really get hooked on this book.
 
1) Complete lack of an antagonist. The main character doesn't seem to be fighting anything. No group, no organization... it's mentioned that he gets stabbed, but we need more specifics as to what he's up against, since at the moment, it seems to be nothing.
2) (connected to the last one) the stakes are weaksauce. He might not win 100 million? Poor thing. When you class your book as suspense/horror, we need the main character to actually be at risk. This whole "he might have to abandon his dreams of becoming rich since he might accidently be killing people" just doesn't cut it. If it was something like, "he's got to figure out a way to stop the mass murder from within the game where every life could be his last" would be a lot more potent. 
 
This means that, as much as your third paragraph reads okay and works, you need to rework it entirely so that it includes these elements. Your first two paragraphs, I wouldn't touch (other than the trimming I outlined). Then work in the stakes and antagonist more fully in the third one. Here are the issues I had with your second draft, in case you're bent on keeping it (so you can revise if needed)
1) The writing was overdone. Way too dramatic and overstated. It felt like you were trying too hard, which made it fall very flat for me
2) The "Itch" concept was overused, and isn't interesting enough to make it that effective.
3) Too much random imagery, which makes it read gorey rather than compelling
4) The stakes aren't really any better.
5) The Antagonist feels underdeveloped--more like a plot device than a character. 
 
Good luck, hope this helps!






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