Thursday, August 26, 2010

12 Pitch Entry #6: Meagan Spooner

Title: THE IRON WOOD

Genre: YA Dystopian Fantasy

Sixteen year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky. Her world ends at the edge of the vast domed Wall enclosing all that's left of humanity. The city harvests every child's innate magic at adolescence to sustain the Wall that keeps out the twisted remains of the world. When it's Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns that she is that rarest of things: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.

If she stays in the world she's known, she's doomed to a life of agony as a human battery powering the city. Now, the girl who has never seen the sky must fight her way across the terrible and beautiful ruined landscape beyond the edge of the world in search of a place she can be safe. To guide her, she has only the knowledge that somewhere out there are others like her, and that she must find them in the Iron Wood.

12 comments:

  1. Intriguing. I was enticed by the first paragraph. The second could perhaps be strengthed by giving us an idea of the conflict she'll face once she's out of the city and how this ties in with the magic. What are the ultimate stakes?

    ReplyDelete
  2. The opening sentence caught my eye:

    Sixteen year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky. That dragged me in right away.

    The last sentence is a bit awkward.

    When it's Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns that she is that rarest of things: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.

    I think it needs a bit rewording. The "that" is throwing me off for some reason. I think a simple replacement,using "the" does wonders.

    Only other thing I noticed is that the word "world" is used over and over again. My eyes kept finding them.

    All in all, this sounds super interesting and I'm curious to the others like her and what the Iron Wood is

    ReplyDelete
  3. Your plot is definitely enticing, and your pitch flows fairly well. However, you do need a transition between the part when she discovers she is a renewable and when she ventures outside. Why and how did she did it? Add succinct details to make it more enticing. What does she meet out there?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I loved this pitch! You pull the reader in right away and have just the right amount of detail to show your unique spin on a dystopian society. I would read this in a heart beat!

    Great work - best of luck!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm a sucker for dystopian YAs so the first line and premise snagged me right away.

    I'd change the third sentence though. In the second you say that Lark's 'world' ends at the wall. And in the third, you say that the wall keeps out 'what remains of the world'. It would seem to me that to Lark there is no remainder of a world. There is only the unknown. A possible world, but not one that she knows exists for sure.

    I agree with changing the sentence about being a Renewable. It's awkward. And watching the number of times you use 'world'.

    I'd also like to know more about how Lark has knowledge that there are others like her in the Iron Wood. Does she dream about them? Has she found illicit information regarding them? Does that have anything to do with her choice to escape? Or is she merely determined to get away from those draining her, regardless of where she's escaping to?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sixteen year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky. Her world ends at the edge of the vast domed Wall enclosing all that's left of humanity. The city harvests every child's innate magic at adolescence to sustain the Wall that keeps out the twisted remains of the world. When it's Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns that she is that rarest of things: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped. (great set-up)

    If she stays in the world she's known, she's doomed to a life of agony as a human battery powering the city. Now, the girl who has never seen the sky must fight her way across the terrible and beautiful ruined landscape beyond the edge of the world in search of a place she can be safe. (how's she escape, first? I doubt they just let her sneak under the Wall or something?)

    To guide her, she has only the knowledge that somewhere out there are others like her, and that she must find them in the Iron Wood. (Where'd she get that knowledge? Sounds kinda like Uglies, sneaking out and all...)

    I like this a lot.

    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Powerful images, Meagan.

    Harvesting sounds painful – I can imagine their life force being sucked away, draining them of energy, leaving them weak and withered.

    How long are the non-renewable children used before they’re stripped of their power? What happened to the world beyond the wall? How does she get out? Can the sky be seen through the dome? My questions need answers lol ;)

    You could, if you wanted, drop ‘that’ from the last sentence, first paragraph, ‘…experiments and learns she…’

    The Iron Wood – I’m trying to figure out what it is. Old buildings left to rot after Armageddon?

    I really like this pitch and would love to read the entire novel.

    Great job and good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This sounds like a powerful story, definitely! But it raises some questions for me in terms of plot--are we to take this--" she's doomed to a life of agony as a human battery powering the city"--to be unusual? Because we don't know how the magic you talked about functions, it feels a bit unclear to me.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh this is a great hook! And a very clear query. It just made me HAVE to know more, which is the point right?
    Just a few questions that made the query ever so slightly muddy. What kind of magical powers do these people have? And, if they are the last remaining humans, where did the powers come from? No one I know has innate magical powers (well, some of them think they do...but that's another discussion.) I wonder if this story takes place on Earth after an apocalypse, or on a different world entirely.
    Also, it seems like getting across the 'Wall' is pretty easy. Why doesn't everyone get out? Because of the monsters outside? Because they believe there is nothing out there, except for Lark who knows better?
    But all these questions would just make me that much more eager to read the actual book. Good job!

    ReplyDelete
  10. this sounds spectacular.

    it's a pitch that's meant to entice, so I don't see the point in dwelling on the details. you've already succeeded in two paragraphs by proving that not only can you write, but you have an intriguing, original premise. i'd want to read this right away.

    fantastic job!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow, there have been so many great suggestions so far--you guys are just really insightful and thoughtful. And observant! How could I have not seen that I manage to use the word "world" four times in the space of 175 words?

    I think aside from that pretty easy fix, the main points I'm seeing criticism about are that people want clarification on the magic, and that people want transition between Lark's discovery about her fate and her being outside the Wall. These are really great points, definitely stuff to think about.

    Tahereh! Thank you SO much for taking the time to read and comment. As a dedicated follower of your blog, I can't even say how pleased I am that you like it! Nothing I can change or add, though? No criticism even for a dedicated bestie? <3

    ReplyDelete
  12. hey Meagan!

    aww i'm so flattered you read my blog! *HUGS BESTIE* hehe :D
    honestly, i just reread your pitch about three more times, and i still think it's excellent the way it is. i'd be afraid of changing something for fear of ruining it. you've got yourself something incredible.

    all my fingers are crossed for you!

    best of luck :D

    ReplyDelete

Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)