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Extraction (YA Sci-Fi)


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#1 Stephanie Diaz

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 04:28 AM

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Extraction

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#2 E.B. Black

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 02:37 PM

Figured it was about time to start wrangling this out. There's so much world-building and story that I'm afraid things might be unclear. Any questions, comments, or suggestions would be crazy helpful. I promise I'll return the favor.

---

At sixteen, CLEMENTINE has one more shot to escape the Surface, where every kid is worthy of only one thing – death.

In the testing facility on Extraction Day, the testers put her in a machine that mimics the excruciating feeling of moonshine corrosion. Moonshine is deadly acid emitted by the giant moon over (Maybe change the word "over" to "above.") the Surface for no one knows how long. (This sentence took me several readings to understand, so I made these corrections to hopefully make it clearer.) Clementine somehow manages control in the face of pain, and that control earns her the prize she's always wanted: life in the Core, the underground colony where everyone is safe, where everyone gets to grow old. (I like it, but I feel like there's a bit of a lack of explanation over WHY she needs to learn how to handle the deadly acid emitted by the moon. Why is that a test or requirement? Because it seems random. What I mean is that in our world, we don't have to go through training on how its like to walk on the moon and if we can handle it as a requirement to moving into mansions or whatever. It seems disconnected. Explaining this could be as simple as writing just one sentence about how this is the kind of thing they'd face underground, although I'm confused about that since being underground is as far from the moon as can be and if going underground means facing all this danger while there, well, it's not as safe as your originally claimed and I don't know why it's a desirable place to go.)

There's only one thing she'll miss down there: LOGAN. Her best friend, her confidante, her everything. But he wants her to go, and it's not like it's forever. Once she's in the Core, she'll find a way to save him, a way to get him off the Surface, too.

Upon her arrival in the Core, Clementine finds out there's something she still has to do before she can join the Core civilians and begin Extraction training. She must shoot an Unstable, a top-notch citizen who went insane and couldn't be subdued. (I'm confused again. How is someone a top-notch citizen and at the same time some kind of insane killing machine or at least that's how I understood this sentence? It seems like these two ideas conflict. Maybe you should say something like they were a strong trained soldier who couldn't handle life underground and went insane or whatever they are. Be more specific here.) Clem isn't too keen on ending a life, but they are dangers to society. And there's no way she's going back to the Surface. So she does what's required. (Originally her reason for coming down here was because it was safe and now you're saying it's dangerous. I think she needs a better explanation of her motivation for doing this.)

Training begins, and Clem and the other Extractions undergo physical operations to fix their flaws, to help them leave their old lives behind. Clementine has a surgeon erase the scar on her jaw that a Surface Official gave her one day, when she was young and a bit rebellious.

The next four days are spent in machines that feed knowledge into Clementine's brain, increase her worth, and give her a strange side-effect – awful headaches that make her afraid something's wrong with her. (Afraid that what is wrong with her? That she is dying or that she is going crazy? Or just plain that she doesn't feel good enough? Either way, be specific of what she's afraid of.) None of the other kids get headaches, and they're also doing better than her. After befriending a mentor figure and expert inventor, BEECHY, Clem resolves to fight the illness with everything she's got, to not let it get her behind.

The fifth day brings an unpleasant surprise: to complete her training, Clementine must prove she will follow orders, or else be eliminated once and for all. In a simulation, she kills a child to save herself and faces moonshine torture again, but doesn't run from it because she's told to stand and face it. She passes, becoming an official Core citizen.

Once a month, all Core citizens receive an injection that keeps them happy and healthy. When Clementine's turn comes, she goes through it with gritted teeth and comes out with a headache like one she's had before, only much worse. The nurse asks her to stay a couple minutes until it goes away, but it doesn't go away, and Clementine doesn't stay. Huddled in an elevator corner, she realizes why she's the only ill kid. (It's not absolutely necessary, but if you could briefly state how she came across this knowledge, that would be good.) The injections and the training machines put a strain of flower pollen into her body that she's allergic to. This pollen usually calms the mind, making people more submissive. (You should state here that it doesn't have the same effect on her because I'm guessing that's the case based on things I read later in the synopsis, but it was never directly said.) It is used on Unstables.

One of the planet leaders, CHARLIE, makes an announcement to Clem and all the newly-submissive citizens of the Core. Moonshine is growing stronger. Soon, it will be too strong for inventors and the protective shield to keep at bay. A technology is in development that will separate the planet Core from the four outer sectors, allowing the Core to fly to safety and leaving everyone in the other sectors to die from moonshine corrosion.

If Charlie's plan succeeds, Logan will die too. Clementine can't let that happen. She goes to Beechy to seek his help, but finds him completely subdued by his monthly injection. He won't help her. He might even turn her in, 'cause she shouldn't be challenging Charlie. She should be submissive, too.

Clem makes a mad dash to find the technology Charlie mentioned, to force him to come up with an alternative that won't kill everyone on the Surface. She is caught in the act, and Charlie pronounces her Unstable.

In the Surface “treatment” facility where Unstables go, doctors and nurses try to subdue Clementine by breaking her will. But it doesn't work. She meets other Unstables and learns that Charlie fears her, and that's why he sent her here. She also learns the real reason for moonshine: it's caused by a generator set up by people from a nearby planet she never knew existed. Charlie and the other leaders could destroy the generator with the technology they've already created, but they prefer to move the Core far enough away that they never have to worry about threats from the nearby planet again. (Why wouldn't they move the other people as well or try to? Lack of room? Or what? Even bad guys don't usually want others to die for the sake of them dying, realistically. They usually have some reason that benefits themselves. Also, if they have the technology to destroy the generator and this planet is an enemy, why don't they destroy it? Wouldn't that severely cripple and get rid of them?)

Logan becomes a facility inmate, and it's all Clem can do to keep herself from breaking down while they torture him. She tells him she's sorry for everything, and he forgives her without a second's thought. That night, intruders from the Core demolish the facility, killing almost every inmate but taking the personnel away safely. Clem isn't sure why she's not dead too until Logan explains Beechy's plan to get her out, a plan he was part of. He comforts Clementine from the death of her friends. They kiss on the edge of a cliff, over the sea. (So was Logan faking the submissive thing that entire time? I am so confused. Because he got her thrown in there in the first place by tattling . . . . Or is it because he was taken off of the submissive stuff he was on? Maybe explain this a little.)

Beechy rescues them in a flight pod and tells them Charlie has set up the machine that will cause extinction everywhere but in the Core. (Wait! This seems really important and like there needs to be more on it. He did what? How did he make this? And why would he do this? Like, did it benefit him in any way other than just killing everyone?) They high-tail to the place, hoping they'll get there in time to put a stopper in the plan.

They're too late. Charlie starts the timer on the machine; in two hours it will go off. In the chaos that ensues on the launch decks by the machine, Beechy and Clementine manage to get inside the space ship it's attached to. They launch the ship into flight and evade the pods that follow after, making it out of the planet's atmosphere. The moon isn't far, and they might be able to reach it and stop moonshine for good. In the meantime, Clementine prepares to die.

At the last minute, Beechy gets inside the machine and separates it from the ship. Clementine watches, shocked and enraged, as he sacrifices himself and blows up the moonshine generator.

On its way back to the Surface, the ship gets too low on fuel. Clem jumps out before it crash-lands, but gets injured.

In the wake of a new day, a flight pod whirs toward her. Logan jumps out, and they embrace with tears and trembling hands, as neither one expected to see the other again. They resolve to find a way to stay alive, while the sky above them begins to clear of moonshine.


Some closing thoughts: Overall, you seem like a decent writer. You choose words well and don't use words that are unnecessary.

I asked you to elaborate on a bunch of things, which just makes me feel terrible. I can completely relate . . . . so little space and so much to say! Either way, do your best and on you next draft, I'd be happy to help as well.

And I'd really appreciate it if you could critique mine! It's Spirit Speaker.

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#3 Stephanie Diaz

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Posted 03 December 2011 - 03:16 PM

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#4 E.B. Black

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 03:02 PM

I think it's a lot better!

But I noticed you took out the description of what moonshine was. Your old description was confusing, but I think you should re-add it, but also re-word it in some way. It's essential for understanding the main danger in the story.

Thanks so much! I'll take a look at yours in just a sec :) I've tried to expand a bit, though I'm worried this is also a little long...

---

At sixteen, CLEMENTINE has one more shot to escape the Surface, where kids are only worthy of one thing – death.

When she impresses the testers on Extraction Day, she wins a life in the Core, the underground colony where everyone is safe, where everyone gets to grow old. There's only one thing she'll miss down there: LOGAN. Her best friend, her confidante, her everything. But he wants her to go, and it's not like it's forever. Once she's in the Core, she'll find a way to save him before they kill him. (Maybe in this last sentence you can mention her visiting him or something? I don't know. Something just doesn't feel right about this sentence, kind of like you're giving away what she does at the end of the novel before it happens if that makes sense.)

In the safe and technologically advanced society of the planet Core, Extraction training begins. Clementine spends the first few days in machines that feed knowledge into her brain, increase her worth, and give her a strange side-effect – awful headaches. None of the other kids get them, and they're also doing better than her. After advice from a mentor figure and expert inventor, BEECHY, Clem manages to deal with her illness and gets through training. She becomes an official Core citizen.

Once a month, all Core citizens receive an injection that keeps them happy and healthy. When Clementine's turn comes, she goes through it with gritted teeth and comes out with a headache like one she's had before, only worse. The nurse tells her it will go away in a minute or two, but it doesn't go away. Huddled in an elevator corner, she runs through the times she's felt like this before and realizes why she's the only ill kid. The injections and the training machines put a strain of flower pollen into her body that she's allergic to. This pollen usually calms the mind and makes people more submissive, but it doesn't work on Clementine.

One of the planet leaders, CHARLIE, makes an announcement to all the newly-submissive citizens of the Core, plus Clementine. Moonshine, the deadly acid emitted by the moon above the Surface, is growing stronger. Soon, it will be too strong for inventors and the protective shield to keep it at bay. A machine is in development that will destroy the planet's four outer sectors but allow the Core to move elsewhere, to safety from moonshine.

If Charlie's plan succeeds, Logan will die too. Clementine won't let that happen. She makes a mad dash to find and disable the extinction machine, to force Charlie to come up with an alternative that won't kill everyone on the Surface. But she's caught in the act.

Charlie pronounces her Unstable.

In the Surface “treatment” facility where Unstables go (I understand what you are saying here, but it came out awkward and took me a few times of reading it. Maybe "In the Surface "treatment" facility for Unstables" or something.), doctors and nurses try to subdue Clementine by breaking her will, but she fights them. While there, she learns from another Unstable the real reason for moonshine: it's caused by a generator set up by a nearby, inhabited planet she never knew existed. The extinction machine was developed ages ago and could be used to destroy the generator, but the Developers prefer to move the Core far enough away that they never have to worry about threats from the nearby planet again. Charlie's never cared about the lives of kids outside the Core, anyway.

The same night she learns the truth, Logan becomes a facility inmate. It's all Clem can do to keep herself from breaking down while they torture him.

Intruders from the Core demolish the facility, killing almost every inmate but taking the personnel away safely. Clem isn't sure why she's not dead too until Logan explains he tried to break into the facility to get her out – he pretended to turn Unstable only for her. It's all part of a plan Beechy – who was only pretending to be submissive – came to him with on the Surface. Clementine's furious that Logan would risk his life for her, but he calms her down.

They kiss on the edge of a cliff, over the sea.

Beechy rescues them in a flight pod and tells them the Core can now survive without resources from the outer sectors. Charlie has set up the extinction machine. They high-tail to the place, hoping they'll get there in time to put a stopper in the plan.

They're too late. Charlie starts the timer on the machine; in two hours, it will go off and destroy the four outer sectors. In the chaos that ensues on the launch decks by the machine, Beechy and Clementine manage to get inside the space ship it's attached to. They launch the ship into flight and evade the pods that follow after, making it out of the planet's atmosphere. The moon isn't far, and they might be able to reach it and stop moonshine for good. In the meantime, Clementine prepares to die.

At the last minute, Beechy gets inside the machine and separates it from the ship. Clementine watches, shocked and enraged, as he sacrifices himself and blows up the moonshine generator.

In the wake of a new day on the Surface, after a crash-landing, a flight pod whirs toward Clementine. Logan jumps out, and they embrace with tears and trembling hands, as neither one expected to see the other again. They resolve to find a way to stay alive, while the sky above them begins to clear of moonshine.


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#5 Stephanie Diaz

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 03:09 PM

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#6 Ilovesoup

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 04:13 PM

Hi, Stephanie!

Wow, it's been ages! I was reading through his forum when I saw your synopsis. I remembered your query and because I loved your story, I decided to do some editing. Please remember these are my opinions, and this is a first time read through your work. The stuff I pointed out is the stuff that made me stop and go "Huh?". So I hope it helps you clarify some points that I think are vital to your story!


Thanks for your help! Slightly new version:

--

A kid like CLEMENTINE was born to die at twenty, but at sixteen, she's one of the lucky ones who gets picked to stay alive.

When she impresses the testers on Extraction Day, she wins a life in the Core, the underground colony where people live in safety and luxury, far from from the poisonous moon that orbits the planet. There's only one thing she'll miss down there: LOGAN. But she swears she'll return for him, that she'll find a way to save him, too.

In the Core, Extraction training raises her intelligence, loyalty, and Promise—an elusive quality that makes her worthy of safety. (When reading this, this confused me a bit. Try to make it clearer. Maybe it's the word elusive. This is YA so try for a more known word to describe the same thing.) She makes friends and gains a mentor in BEECHY, a young inventor who used to be a space pilot. But something happens to Clementine during training: her head starts feeling like it's on fire, and the other kids start acting weird, like they're not themselves. (What does that signify? Maybe you should leave it out and just say Clementine feels weird. Besides, she's the one who can repel the submissiveness). Clem struggles to deal with it and still raise her Promise (For some reason, I'm having a hard time understanding what the Promise is. Clarify that in the first sentence), but she makes it through and becomes an official Core citizen.

Once a month, all Core citizens receive an injection that keeps them happy and healthy. When Clementine's turn comes, she comes out with a headache like the one she's had before, only worse. She runs through the times her head has felt like it's on fire She realizes why she's the only Extraction who ever gets sick: she's allergic to a strain of flower pollen that's put into her body through the injection and something similar during training Doesn't add much I would just reference the shot she receives and try to keep it simple. This pollen usually calms the mind and makes people more submissive, but it doesn't work on Clementine.

One of the planet leaders, CHARLIE, makes an announcement to the mostly newly-submissive Just state citizens citizens. Moonshine, the deadly acid emitted by the moon that orbits the planet, is growing stronger. Soon, it will be too strong for the protective shield to keep it at bay. A machine is in development that will destroy the planet's four outer sectors but allow the Core to move elsewhere, to safety from moonshine. If this plan succeeds, Logan will die too, but Clementine is determined not to let it happen. Clementine won't let that happen. She makes a mad dash to find and disable the extinction machine, to force Charlie to come up with an alternative that won't kill thousands of kids in one fell swoop. But she's caught in the act and is pronounced Unstable.

In the Surface “treatment” facility where Unstables go, doctors try to subdue Clementine by breaking her will, but she fights them. While there, she learns from another Unstable the real reason for moonshine: it's created by a generator set up by an inhabited planet not too far away that she never knew existed, that wants her people dead due to unfriendly past relations. The extinction machine was developed years ago and could be used to destroy the generator, but the Developers prefer to move the Core far enough away that they never have to worry about threats from the nearby planet again. Charlie has never cared about the lives of kids outside the Core, anyway.

Okay, I'm a little confused here. Doesn't Charlie want to use the generator? You imply Developers would prefer to move away instead. Revise this and make it clear.

Logan tries to break into the treatment facility to rescue Clem, but he's caught and becomes an inmate. Okay, this shift in POV is a little odd because when I first read it, I went "Where did Logan come from?" Keep it in Clementine's point of view. Like: Just when Clementine gave up hope, Logan breaks in and tries to rescue her. Something like that. It's all Clem can do to keep herself from breaking down while they torture him. She tells him she's sorry for everything, and he forgives her without a second's thought. Soon after, intruders What intruders? From the other planet? Or intruders from the Surface? from the Core demolish the facility, killing almost every inmate but taking the personnel away to safety. Clem isn't sure why she's not dead too until Logan explains a plan Beechy formed with him to get her out. Oh, I see. Word the previous sentence so it doesn't leave me scratching my head. Maybe something like: A gang of intruders suddenly break-in, killing all inmates, but abducting Clementine and a few others. He comforts Clementine from the death of her friends. They kiss on the edge of a cliff, over the sea.

Beechy rescues them in a flight pod and tells them Charlie has set up the extinction machine that will cause extinction everywhere but in the Core. They high-tail to the place, hoping they'll get there in time to put a stopper in the plan.

They're too late. Charlie starts the timer on the machine; in two hours, it will go off and destroy the four outer sectors. (Okay, again, you need to explain this a little better. How does destroying the sectors help the Core?) In the chaos that ensues on the launch decks by the machine, Beechy and Clementine manage to get inside the space ship it's attached to the machine. They launch the ship into flight and evade the pods that follow after,, making it out of the planet's atmosphere. The moon isn't far, and they hope to reach it and stop moonshine for good. (So they're going to stop the moonshine by crashing the machine into it?) In the meantime, Clementine prepares to die.

At the last minute, Beechy gets inside the machine and separates it from the ship. Clementine watches in shock as he sacrifices himself and blows up the moonshine generator. Beechy dies? Aww...

In the wake of a new day on the planet Surface, after a crash-landing, a flight pod whirs toward Clementine. Logan jumps out, and they embrace with tears and trembling hands, as neither expected to see the other again. They resolve to find a way to stay alive, while the sky above them begins to clear of moonshine. (Nice ending)



Again, great job! Just clear up those points and you should be good :wink:

#7 Sharon Bayliss

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Posted 07 January 2012 - 11:33 PM

Thanks for your help! Slightly new version:

--

A kid like CLEMENTINE was born to die at twenty, but at sixteen, she's one of the lucky ones who gets picked to stay alive. That's a nice start. I might like something a little bit more concrete to understand the world. Can you tell us why she's born to die at sixteen?

When she impresses the testers on Extraction Day, she wins a life in the Core, the underground colony where people live in safety and luxury, far from from the poisonous moon that orbits the planet. There's only one thing she'll miss down there: LOGAN. But she swears she'll return for him, that she'll find a way to save him, too.

In the Core, Extraction training raises her intelligence, loyalty, and Promise—an elusive quality that makes her worthy of safety. She makes friends and gains a mentor in BEECHY, a young inventor who used to be a space pilot. But something happens to Clementine during training: her head starts feeling like it's on fire, and the other kids start acting weird, like they're not themselves. Clem struggles to deal with it and still raise her Promise, but she makes it through and becomes an official Core citizen.

Once a month, all Core citizens receive an injection that keeps them happy and healthy. When Clementine's turn comes, she comes out with a headache like one she's had before, only worse. She runs through the times her head has felt like it's on fire and realizes why she's the only Extraction who ever gets sick: she's allergic to a strain of flower pollen that's put into her body through the injection and something similar during training. This pollen usually calms the mind and makes people more submissive, but it doesn't work on Clementine.

One of the planet leaders, CHARLIE, makes an announcement to the mostly newly-submissive citizens. Moonshine, the deadly acid emitted by the moon that orbits the planet, is growing stronger. Soon, it will be too strong for the protective shield to keep it at bay. A machine is in development that will destroy the planet's four outer sectors but allow the Core to move elsewhere, to safety from moonshine. If this plan succeeds, Logan will die too. Clementine won't let that happen. She makes a mad dash to find and disable the extinction machine, to force Charlie to come up with an alternative that won't kill thousands of kids in one fell swoop. But she's caught in the act and is pronounced Unstable.

In the Surface “treatment” facility where Unstables go, doctors try to subdue Clementine by breaking her will, but she fights them. While there, she learns from another Unstable the real reason for moonshine: it's created by a generator set up by an inhabited planet not too far away that she never knew existed, that wants her people dead due to unfriendly past relations. The extinction machine was developed years ago and could be used to destroy the generator, but the Developers prefer to move the Core far enough away that they never have to worry about threats from the nearby planet again. Charlie has never cared about the lives of kids outside the Core, anyway. [why just the kids? maybe just people?]

Logan tries to break into the treatment facility to rescue Clem, but he's caught and becomes an inmate. It's all Clem can do to keep herself from breaking down while they torture him. She tells him she's sorry for everything, and he forgives her without a second's thought. Soon after, intruders from the Core demolish the facility, killing almost every inmate but taking the personnel away to safety. Clem isn't sure why she's not dead too until Logan explains a plan Beechy formed with him to get her out. [so, why isn't she dead? what was the plan?] He comforts Clementine from about? the death of her friends. They kiss on the edge of a cliff, over the sea.

Beechy rescues them in a flight pod and tells them Charlie has set up the machine that will cause extinction everywhere but in the Core. They high-tail to the place, hoping they'll get there in time to put a stopper in the plan.

They're too late. Charlie starts the timer on the machine; in two hours, it will go off and destroy the four outer sectors. In the chaos that ensues on the launch decks by the machine, Beechy and Clementine manage to get inside the space ship it's attached to. They launch the ship into flight and evade the pods that follow after, making it out of the planet's atmosphere. The moon isn't far, and they hope to reach it and stop moonshine for good. In the meantime, Clementine prepares to die.

At the last minute, Beechy gets inside the machine and separates it from the ship. Clementine watches in shock as he sacrifices himself and blows up the moonshine generator.

In the wake of a new day on the planet Surface, after a crash-landing, a flight pod whirs toward Clementine. Logan jumps out, and they embrace with tears and trembling hands, as neither expected to see the other again. They resolve to find a way to stay alive, while the sky above them begins to clear of moonshine.


Hi Stephanie,

Nice to see you again! This synopsis is great. It was clear and concise. My only concern is that it doesn't have much "voice". I understand what happens, but I don't have much of a sense of the characters personalities & quirks or the general feel of the novel. Since it's not too long, you may have some space to add a little more flavor. Otherwise, great job.

Sharon




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