EXTRACTION (YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian)

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stephanieheart
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EXTRACTION (YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian)

Post by stephanieheart » December 8th, 2011, 1:23 am

Thank you so much for your help. I really appreciate it. :)

Dear Mr./Mrs. [agent name],

The Developers think sixteen-year-old Clementine is worthless. The Extraction Test is her last shot to prove them wrong.

Only ten kids will impress the Developers. When Clementine is picked, she gets to ditch the Surface slums and move to the underground colony in the Core. Down there, she doesn't have to ignore the hollow ache of hunger. She doesn't have to fear turning twenty, when most Surface kids lose every last bit of their worth and are carted away for disposal. She doesn't have to worry about dying from the moon's poison, should the protective shield fail. But she does worry about the boy she never wanted to abandon, her best friend, her everything. She swears she'll find a way to save him before they kill him.

In the Core, Clementine is safe. Safe from security officials who beat kids in the slum streets. Safe from the giant moon that emits the deadly acid.

No one tells her the price of safety is her freedom of mind, the very thing she needs to save those left behind.

My young adult novel EXTRACTION, complete at 60,000-words, will appeal to readers of both science fiction and dystopian. Thank you very much for your time and attention.

Sincerely,
Stephanie
Last edited by stephanieheart on December 8th, 2011, 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: EXTRACTION (YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian)

Post by Quill » December 8th, 2011, 9:37 am

stephanieheart wrote:Thank you so much for your help. I really appreciate it. :)

Dear Mr./Mrs. [agent name],

The Developers think sixteen-year-old Clementine is worthless. The Extraction Test is her last shot to prove them wrong.

Only ten kids will impress the Developers. When Clementine's picked, she gets to ditch the Surface slums and move to the underground colony in the Core. Down there, she doesn't have to ignore the hollow ache of hunger, because she doesn't feel hunger. She doesn't have to fear turning twenty, when most Surface kids lose every last bit of their worth and are carted away for disposal. She doesn't have to worry about dying from the moon's poison, should the protective shield fail. But she does worry about the boy she never wanted to abandon, her best friend, her everything. She swears she'll find a way to save him before they kill him.

In the Core, Clementine is safe. Safe from security officials who beat kids in the slum streets. Safe from the giant moon that emits the deadly acid.

Yes, safety and old age are Clementine's rewards in Extraction. No one tells her the price is her freedom of mind, the very thing she needs to save those left behind.

My young adult novel EXTRACTION, complete at 60,000-words, will appeal to readers of both science fiction and dystopian. Thank you very much for your time and attention.

Sincerely,
Stephanie
What makes Surface kids worthy to live until age 20? How does the race propagate if all children are killed at age 20? What is the purpose of bringing any kids below and why the number 10? If the Surface children have some value (until age 20) why are they beaten by officials? How can acid from a moon presumably millions of miles away affect the surface of the planet? These are some of the questions that come up for me when I read your query.

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Re: EXTRACTION (YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian)

Post by thewhipslip » December 8th, 2011, 3:28 pm

Your world sounds truly awesome, and I'd probably read pages based on this query just to see what it's all about...BUT I'm not getting a sense of your actual plot from this. You're doing a great world set-up, but not much more. My comments below.

Dear Mr./Mrs. [agent name],

The Developers think sixteen-year-old Clementine is worthless. The Extraction Test is her last shot to prove them wrong. Great opening hook.

Only ten kids will impress the Developers. When Clementine is picked, she gets to ditch the Surface slums and move to the underground colony in the Core. Down there, she doesn't have to ignore the hollow ache of hunger. She doesn't have to fear turning twenty, when most Surface kids lose every last bit of their worth and are carted away for disposal I don't think you need to go into major detail, but give us some idea of what the Surface kids do all day - what is their worth? What has Clementine's life been like prior to being chosen? We need a before and an after, since her being "chosen" to live in the Core seems like the catalyst to your story. She doesn't have to worry about dying from the moon's poison, should the protective shield fail. But she does worry about the boy she never wanted to abandon, her best friend, her everything. She swears she'll find a way to save him before they kill him. This seems like your story goal, but it's not entirely clear. I need more context about the world, I think. Why are the kids being killed? How are they living on the Surface now if the Core is the only true safe place? Give some stakes, some risks.

In the Core, Clementine is safe. Safe from security officials who beat kids in the slum streets. Safe from the giant moon that emits the deadly acid. All of this is repetition you don't need. I want to hear more about the plot. What does Clementine spend the core of the book doing? Saving her boyfriend?

No one tells her the price of safety is her freedom of mind this reads too vague, in my opinion. What does losing her freedom of mind mean?, the very thing she needs to save those left behind.And again, too vague. Give some specifics.

My young adult novel EXTRACTION, complete at 60,000-words, will appeal to readers of both science fiction and dystopian this is sort of implied. If you want to give an example, list two similar books, such as "This will appeal to fans of THE HUNGER GAMES and THE MAZE RUNNER", though try to use books that are a little less popular. Thank you very much for your time and attention.



Sincerely,
Stephanie[/quote]

Like I said, sounds like a cool world but queries should be more plot and character-based. We need to know about Clementine's situation when the book starts, then what changes her situation (i.e. being chosen to live in the Core), the dilemma associated with that (i.e. saving her boyfriend), and what stands in her way (i.e. The Developers & the risks of the world she lives in with the moon)
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Re: EXTRACTION (YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian)

Post by stephanieheart » December 8th, 2011, 8:59 pm

Thanks for your suggestions! There are some questions I don't think the query needs to answer, like the moon thing, and I'm choosing to focus on the first 30-odd pages, when she gets picked for Core life. But hopefully this is stronger:

---

Sixteen-year-old Clementine will die the day she turns twenty. She has one more shot to prove she doesn't deserve it.

Only ten kids will impress the planet leaders in the Extraction test. Intelligence and obedience are everything, but when up against hundreds of other kids who want out, even that might not be enough.

Clem doesn't know how the hell she does it. They pick her, and she gets to ditch a dangerous life of labor in the Surface slums and move to the underground colony in the Core. Down there, she doesn't have to ignore the hollow ache of hunger. She doesn't have to fear turning twenty, when most Surface kids are carted away for disposal, save the lucky few kept alive to procreate. She doesn't have to worry about dying from the moon's poison, should the protective shield fail.

There's only one thing she misses: Logan. The boy she never wanted to abandon, her best friend, her everything. She swears she'll find a way to save him before he dies. After all, in the Core she's not just a worthless Surface kid anymore. She's someone with promise.

What no one tells her is that there's a price to her new life, and it comes inside an injection needle: she doesn't get to keep her mind.

My young adult novel EXTRACTION, complete at 60,000-words, will appeal to readers of both science fiction and dystopian. Thank you very much for your time and attention.

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Re: EXTRACTION (YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian)

Post by thewhipslip » December 8th, 2011, 10:09 pm

I agree that answering too many questions could put the query on overload. This is definitely much better, but I think you still need some explanations.
---

I liked your previous opening better actually. Sixteen-year-old Clementine will die the day she turns twenty. She has one more shot to prove she doesn't deserve it. If you want to keep this hook, I do like the first sentence, but the second sentence reads awkwardly to me. Maybe restructure to say: "The Extraction test is her only shot to prove she's worth keeping alive."

Only ten kids will impress the planet leaders in the Extraction test. This could be cut if you go with my version. Intelligence and obedience are everything, but when up against hundreds of other kids who want out, even that might not be enough. This last sentence read a little too vague still. I'm not sure what the kids want "out" of, since you haven't talked about the Surface vs. the Core yet.

Clem doesn't know how the hell she does it. This is a little too flighty for me. And what is she doing exactly? Again, specificity is all you need here. They pick her, and she gets to ditch a dangerous life of labor in the Surface slums and move to the underground colony in the Core. Down there, she doesn't have to ignore the hollow ache of hunger. She doesn't have to fear turning twenty, This is repetition, so you don't need it. The rest of the sentence needs to be restructured a bit, probably moved earlier in the query. I'm also not sure *why* there is a Core vs. a Surface, and I do think you need that clarification in here if you can fit into a one-sentence explanation.when most Surface kids are carted away for disposal, save the lucky few kept alive to procreate. She doesn't have to worry about dying from the moon's poison, should the protective shield fail If you can combine this sentence with the explanatory sentence about the why there's a Surface v. a Core, then you'll be all set.

There's only one thing she misses: Logan. The boy she never wanted to abandon, new sentence here her best friend, her everything. She swears she'll find a way to save him before he dies. After all, in the Core she's not just a worthless Surface kid anymore. She's someone with promise. Again, if you give more information as to what the Core is meant for, then this sentence will make sense. Otherwise, I'm a bit lost. It's not quite enough to keep me grounded in the query.

What no one tells her is that there's a price to her new life, and it comes inside an injection needle: she doesn't get to keep her mind. Definitely need more explanation here. What is in the injection that's taking her mind away? Be more specific. I think you've got a fantastic query - the structure is good to go - but you do need a mite more info to keep this from being too vague.

My young adult novel EXTRACTION, complete at 60,000-words, will appeal to readers of both science fiction and dystopian. Thank you very much for your time and attention.[/quote]
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Re: EXTRACTION (YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian)

Post by stephanieheart » December 8th, 2011, 11:18 pm

Let's try one more time. :) Thank you SO much thewhipslip, I'm liking this much more.

---

Sixteen-year-old Clementine will die the day she turns twenty. The Extraction Test is her only shot to prove she's worth keeping alive.

The test instructors look for intelligence, obedience, and an elusive quality that they call Promise. When up against hundreds of other kids who want off the planet Surface, Clementine's not sure anything she does will be enough.

But it happens. They pick her for Extraction. For her prize, she gets to ditch a dangerous life of labor in the Surface slums and move to the underground colony in the Core, where Promising individuals live in luxury. Down there, she doesn't have to ignore the hollow ache of hunger. She doesn't have to worry about dying from the moon's poison like kids sometimes do on the Surface, when the protective shield fails.

There's only one thing she misses: Logan. The boy she never wanted to abandon. Her best friend, her everything. She swears she'll find a way to save him before he dies. Except, no one tells her there's a price to her new life, and it comes in the form of an injection serum meant to subdue Core civilians. Clementine doesn't get to keep her mind.


My young adult novel EXTRACTION, complete at 60,000-words, will appeal to readers of both science fiction and dystopian. Thank you very much for your time and attention.
Last edited by stephanieheart on December 9th, 2011, 1:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: EXTRACTION (YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian)

Post by Quill » December 9th, 2011, 1:11 am

stephanieheart wrote:
Sixteen-year-old Clementine will die the day she turns twenty. The Extraction Test is her only shot to prove she's worth keeping alive.

The test instructors look for intelligence, obedience, and an elusive quality that they call Promise. When up against hundreds of other kids who want off the planet Surface, Clementine's not sure anything she does will be enough.

But it happens. They pick her for Extraction. For her prize, she gets to ditch a dangerous life of labor in the Surface slums and move to the underground colony in the Core, where Promising individuals live in luxury. Down there, she doesn't have to ignore the hollow ache of hunger. She doesn't have to worry about dying from the moon's poison like kids sometimes do on the Surface, when the protective shield fails.

There's only one thing she misses: Logan. The boy she never wanted to abandon. Her best friend, her everything. She swears she'll find a way to save him before he dies.
This is much better.
After all, in the Core she's not just a worthless Surface kid anymore. She's someone with Promise.
This can be deleted, as it contains info you've already given.
What no one tells her is that there's a price to her new life, and it comes in the form of an injection serum meant to subdue Core civilians: Clementine doesn't get to keep her mind.
I'd combine this with the previous paragraph.
My young adult novel EXTRACTION, complete at 60,000-words, will appeal to readers of both science fiction and dystopian. Thank you very much for your time and attention.
Good.

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Re: EXTRACTION (YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian)

Post by thewhipslip » December 9th, 2011, 10:15 am

You're almost there! Nice job!

---

Sixteen-year-old Clementine will die the day she turns twenty. The Extraction Test is her only shot to prove she's worth keeping alive. Perfect.

The test instructors look for intelligence, obedience, and an elusive quality that they call Promise. When up against hundreds of other kids who want off the planet I love the addition of "planet" here - it provides good context Surface, Clementine's not sure anything she does will be enough.

But it happens. They pick her for Extraction. For her prize, she gets to ditch a dangerous life of labor in the Surface slums and move to the underground colony in the Core, where Promising individuals live in luxury. Down there, she doesn't have to ignore the hollow ache of hunger. She doesn't have to worry about dying from the moon's poison like kids sometimes removing "sometimes" make it sound more threatening do on the Surface, when the protective shield fails. I almost think you should cut the last part of this sentence after the comma, because it's a bit awkward. It depends on how much info you want to give. "Moon's poison" sounds intriguing enough to me, but it's up to you.

There's only one thing she misses: Logan. The boy she never wanted to abandon. Her best friend, her everything. She swears she'll find a way to save him before he dies. Except, no one tells her there's a price to her new life, and it comes in the form of an injection serum meant to subdue Core civilians. Clementine doesn't get to keep her mind. PERFECT ending there. Love it.


My young adult novel EXTRACTION, complete at 60,000-words, will appeal to readers of both science fiction and dystopian. Thank you very much for your time and attention.[/quote]

Awesome job! It's great as is. I would love to read this.
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Re: EXTRACTION (YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian)

Post by stephanieheart » December 9th, 2011, 5:27 pm

Awesome, thank you guys so much!

This is what I have:

Sixteen-year-old Clementine will die the day she turns twenty. The Extraction Test is her only shot to prove she's worth keeping alive.

The test instructors look for intelligence, obedience, and an elusive quality they call Promise. When up against hundreds of other kids who want off the planet Surface, Clementine's not sure anything she does will be enough.

But it happens. They pick her for Extraction. For her prize, she gets to ditch a dangerous life of labor in the Surface slums and move to the underground colony in the Core, where Promising individuals live in luxury. Down there, she doesn't have to ignore the hollow ache of hunger. She doesn't have to worry about dying from the moon's poison like kids do on the Surface.

There's only one thing she misses: Logan. The boy she never wanted to abandon. Her best friend, her everything. She swears she'll find a way to save him before he dies. Except, no one tells her there's a price to her new life, and it comes in the form of an injection serum meant to subdue Core civilians. Clementine doesn't get to keep her mind.

My young adult novel EXTRACTION, complete at 60,000-words, will appeal to readers of both science fiction and dystopian. Thank you very much for your time and attention.

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Re: EXTRACTION (YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian)

Post by thewhipslip » December 10th, 2011, 2:51 pm

I love it! Nice job. Good luck with your querying - I'm sure you'll do well!
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

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Re: EXTRACTION (YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian)

Post by wilderness » December 14th, 2011, 7:22 pm

This sounds really cool, and I think you are just about ready to query. I am very intrigued about the quality they call Promise. Just a few nitpicks below.
stephanieheart wrote:
Sixteen-year-old Clementine will die the day she turns twenty. The Extraction Test is her only shot to prove she's worth keeping alive.

The test instructors look for intelligence, obedience, and an elusive quality they call Promise. When up against hundreds of other kids who want off the planet's Surface, Clementine's not sure anything she does will be enough.

But it happens. They pick her for Extraction. For her prize, she gets to ditch a dangerous life of labor in the Surface slums and move to the underground colony in the Core, where Promising individuals live in luxury. Down there, she doesn't have to ignore the hollow ache of hunger. She doesn't have to worry about dying from the moon's poison like kids do on the Surface.

There's only one thing she misses: Logan. The boy she never wanted to abandon. Her best friend, her everything. She swears she'll find a way to save him before he dies. Except,(no comma) no one tells her there's a price to her new life, and it comes in the form of an injection serum meant to subdue Core civilians. Clementine doesn't get to keep her mind. Hmm, maybe be more explicit about how this serum affects her goal to save Logan? I'm not sure the phrase "get to keep her mind" is quite right--maybe explain how it subdues you?

My young adult novel EXTRACTION, complete at 60,000-words, will appeal to readers of both science fiction and dystopian. Since dystopian is generally a subset of science fiction I would just say dystopian. Thank you very much for your time and attention.

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Re: EXTRACTION (YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian)

Post by theWallflower » December 15th, 2011, 2:17 pm

Sixteen-year-old Clementine will die the day she turns twenty. The Extraction Test is her only shot to prove she's worth keeping alive.
I like this line. Names the character right away, what she wants, and what she needs to do to get it. Don't change it.
The test instructors look for intelligence, obedience, and an elusive quality they call Promise. When up against hundreds of other kids who want off the planet Surface, Clementine's not sure anything she does will be enough.
Why is surface capitalized? Is the planet named Surface? Or did you mean to say planet's surface and made a typo? As an agent, I wouldn't know.
Why does Clementine doubt herself? What's her evidence for the doubt?
But it happens. They pick her for Extraction. For her prize, she gets to ditch a dangerous life of labor in the Surface slums and move to the underground colony in the Core, where Promising individuals live in luxury. Down there, she doesn't have to ignore the hollow ache of hunger. She doesn't have to worry about dying from the moon's poison like kids do on the Surface.
I don't think you need "for the prize" -- that's implied.
And now I see that Surface is the name of the planet, but maybe you can reword that first mention so it's doesn't look so victimized.
I think you might be spending too much time on the backstory. I want to know about the present-time story. What happens after she's picked for extraction?
There's only one thing she misses: Logan. The boy she never wanted to abandon. Her best friend, her everything. She swears she'll find a way to save him before he dies. Except, no one tells her there's a price to her new life, and it comes in the form of an injection serum meant to subdue Core civilians. Clementine doesn't get to keep her mind.
I don't think "The boy she never wanted to abandon is necessary". It's implied when she you say she misses him.
Likewise injection serum. You can't inject a solid into your body (usually).
And again, not sure what the story is. You started with Clementine wanting one thing, and now that she got it, she wants something different. Think high concept -- if you were describing this as a movie, what would the character want for the majority of the movie and what does she do to get it.
My young adult novel EXTRACTION, complete at 60,000-words, will appeal to readers of both science fiction and dystopian. Thank you very much for your time and attention.
No dash between 60,000 and words.
I don't like you saying "it will appeal to..." it sounds presumptuous and full of yourself. Just say the novel is of the sci-fi dystopia genre.
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Re: EXTRACTION (YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian)

Post by stephanieheart » December 17th, 2012, 3:15 pm

It's been a LONG TIME since I asked for help with this, and you lovely people responded. I just wanted to thank you all once again, so, so much. EXTRACTION recently sold in a 3-book deal to St. Martin's/Macmillan for publication in Spring 2014. :D You can find it on Goodreads.

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Re: EXTRACTION (YA Sci-Fi/Dystopian)

Post by wilderness » December 17th, 2012, 5:03 pm

Wow, that is so awesome! Congrats!

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