Tuesday, July 20, 2010

3 #1 Kat Zhang

Title: HYBRID




Query: 



Fifteen-year-old Eva cannot move, cannot speak, cannot scream. In her world, two souls are born into each body. She had the misfortune of being the recessive, the one doomed to someday disappear. But Eva never did.

She loses command of her limbs and tongue, becoming nothing more than a voice audible only to Adie, the dominant soul. Eva nearly accepts her fate. One soul fades, the other controls. Anything else is unnatural. Adie yearns to be normal, and Eva cannot deny her that.

But Eva remains.



Everything changes when a friend reveals a startling secret: neither of her own souls ever faded, and she can teach Eva how to regain control of her body. But when these lessons are discovered, Adie and Eva are hospitalized, forced to undergo rounds of counseling and medical tests. The doctors are convinced they are mentally ill and must be cured—using whatever methods necessary.

Even if it destroys Adie’s sanity. 



Even if it means Eva might disappear completely.



Together, Adie and Eva must reveal the truth behind the hospital’s grisly experiments and escape. Otherwise, the doctors' knives may be slicing into them next. 



HYBRID, a Young Adult novel, is complete at 75,000 words.



***



First 250 words (I've made a few tweaks since entering):



Adie and I were born into the same body, our souls’ ghostly fingers entwined before we gasped our very first breath. Our first few years together were probably our happiest. Then came the worries—the tightness around our parents’ mouths, the frowns lining our kindergarden teacher’s forehead, the question everyone whispered when they thought we couldn’t hear.

Why aren’t they settling?

Settling.

We tried to form the word in our five-year-old mouth, tasting it on our tongue.

Set—Tull—Ling.

We knew what it meant. Kind of. It meant… it meant one of us was supposed to take control. It meant one of us was supposed to fade away. I know now that it means much, much more than that. But at five, Adie and I were still innocent, still oblivious.

By first grade, the varnish of innocence began to fade. Our gray-haired guidance counselor made the first scratch.

“You know, dear, settling isn’t scary,” she’d say as we watched her thin, lipstick-reddened mouth. “Not scary at all. It might seem like it now, but it happens to everyone. The recessive soul, whichever one of you it is, will simply…go to sleep.”

She never hinted at who she thought was destined to survive, but she didn’t need to. By first grade, everyone believed Adie was the dominant soul. She’d move us left when I wanted to go right, refuse to open her mouth when I wanted to eat, cry "No" when I wanted so desperately to say "Yes."

3 comments:

  1. Wow. That has to be one of the most original concepts I've seen and I am intrigued. Of course because it is a foreign concept, you have to make sure certain things are clear. I'm especially curious as to how the non-dominant soul will communicate with others.
    In your query, you say in the final paragraph that the doctors at the hospital have secret, nefarious plans. Can you elude to that sooner? Because as it reads now, I am thrown at the last paragraph. It sounds cool, but is not the plot you just spent time setting up for me. Does that make sense?
    The first page is great, having read the query. :) Without it when I glanced before, I was confused as to where you were going. But still curious enough that I continued to watch for more lines...

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  2. This idea is original and intriguing. You’ve done a great job of creating a compelling teen voice, and the desperation and determination are apparent without sounding overly dramatic. I love the first line! I didn’t find it off-putting that I wasn’t sure what was going on at first, it propelled me forward. I wanted to know what “settling” is and why there are two girls in one body. You’ve done a great job of creating intrigue and coercing the reader forward. I didn’t find it confusing; I found it mysterious and captivating. We don’t know what’s going on yet and we don’t understand how it works, but we want to find out!

    I think the query is effective. It does a great job of explaining the idea without being pedantic. I think the sentence about the grisly experiments is best left at the end after the summary of the girls’ situation. Perhaps you could add another sentence with it so that it feels more attached to the girls’ situation. I’d love to read this story. Great job!

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  3. Thanks for the comments, Lisa and Riley :)

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