Sunday, 3 June 2012

Critique contest Entry no. 1.

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Title: Abandon
Genre: YA Post-Apocalyptic Dystopia
When Darcy Hallow is attacked on her way home, she is taken to a training centre and told that she will now take her sister's place in Riverside city, where the first born teenagers from each household, between the ages of 14 and 18, are sent to tackle mutants and monsters, protecting their home. But when Raina Hallow goes missing in action, Darcy must complete her term in service and fulfil the requirement. So until Raina is found, Darcy must fight and survive in the deadliest city on earth. She will find out what happened to her sister…or die trying.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hi, and thanks for entering!

    I like this concept and it's good to see both external and internal conflict for the protagonist. I think with a little editing it could be even better. 'on her way home' doesn't tell me much and slows down the first line a little. 'between the ages of 14 & 18' also doesn't seem entirely necessary because you're saying teenagers, and again the sentence would be quicker without it.

    Do you mean they're sent to tackle monsters in order to protect their home? I'm assuming you do, but at the moment it sounds like the monsters are the ones protecting their homes.

    Also it's not clear what you mean by 'missing in action.' Was Raina chosen to tackle the monsters first? If not, you could just put 'goes missing'. I'm assuming though that Raina was picked first, but because she's gone missing Darcy's been kidnapped to complete Raina's service. If that's the case it sounds like the events are being laid out backwards. Go to your inciting incident - the thing that kicks off the story - and work from there. It sounds like you've potentially got a few good inciting incidents, it just needs to be clear how the story flows on from them. :D

    I would also be careful of phrases like training centre and 14 - 18 because it sounds very much like The Hunger Games.

    Still an intriguing concept, and I bet you've got some great characters here. Good job!

  3. I hate it when someone goes ahead of me and says everything I wanted to say. Kat is right about the two points needing clarification: monsters guarding home, missing in action.
    I think you have a lot of room for some interesting twists and action--great story idea.
    That last line seems a bit thrown in and a little anticlimatic. There's a lot of room to up the drama with it as well as better transitioning. What about: Along with searching for her lost sister, Darcy must fight and survive in the deadliest city on earth. And she will either find her sister or die trying, which is what the enemy is counting on.

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  5. Some great elements in the premise which pique my interest. What kind of monsters and mutants? Why do the teenagers have to fight them? What's the deal with the training centre? I'm assuming it's fairly rigid if they have to attack her to take her there. Throw in the element of the missing sister and it seems like a great mix.

    However I also agree with the comments made above. If you could get the description to flow more chronologically it would help. Does she find out about her sister's disappearance before or after she is attacked?

  6. Hi - I concur with what people have said before so will only add a couple of things. The first sentence contains 6 phrases. Better to have shorter sentences that sound punchy and are easier to keep track of. You really really really want to avoid sounding like a Hunger Games knockoff (you may even want to make some adjustments to your ms), so I suggest you delete the 14-18 tribute thing entirely. It's not really essential to the pitch anyhow - just indicate the mc is replacing Raina.

    Give the detail as to who attacked Darcy, and for what purpose. Otherwise it is an inciting incident with no logic to it. Anyways, I suspect this is a cool thing that is truly individual to your story - tell us what it is!

    Some things are redundant in the pitch - you have so few words. For example, below, nearly all I did was cut.

    When Darcy Hallow's sister goes missing in action, Darcy is forced to replace her and protect their home from mutants and monsters. Until Raina is found, Darcy must fight and survive in the deadliest city on earth. She will find out what happened to her sister, or die trying.

    Strip out the extra wordage, and this sounds fabulous! If you put in a couple of details to flesh out the specialness of your world, you've got a winner.

  7. Really cool concept! I also love the name Darcy Hallow--by her name alone she sounds like she'd be awesome.

    (Disclaimer before I get into the actual critique: I haven't read any of the above comments, so if I repeat anything they say, I apologize.)

    Anyway, the first thing I noticed was that your first sentence was really long. To the point I had to stop and reread it several times to get the full meaning.

    Second, I noticed that you repeated the part about her needing to take her sister's place. I don't think you need to relay that information more than once.

    Third, I think you might be starting in the wrong place. In a pitch this short, you want to make every word count.

    From reading the whole thing, I think much of what Darcy is going through hinges on the fact that her sister goes missing. The last line tells me that Darcy has an emotional connection with her sister and wants to find out what happened. With that in mind, I actually think you should open your pitch with that. That's the information that really stuck out to me. Her sister is missing, and now Darcy has to take her place fighting monsters. The attack you mention in the very first line doesn't seem important to me at all, especially since you don't mention it again or go into detail, so I would cut it.

    Can I say again how much I love Darcy's name? Cause I do. I really do. And I love the concept. Best of luck reworking your pitch :-)

  8. I completely agree with the above comments.


    The first sentence is a complete run-on. Try splitting it up and cutting it into a few sentences.

    I'd try steering clear of references that might lead to ideas of the Hunger Games. Try making this as unique as possible.

    Not much else that other people haven't mentioned. Good luck! :)

  9. Nothing to add to what hasn't been mentioned before. The first sentence does need to be split up.

    The plot seems intriguing though and with a little polish, this could work very well.