Monday, September 17, 2012

GUTGAA Pitch Contest #13: VERITAS

YA sci-fi


Leaving Earth was supposed to be a second chance—not a death sentence. Or so they were told.

For seventeen-year-old Tori Akins, life on the spaceship Ex Morte has always been safe. But when a crew member covered in a purple rash viciously attacks Tori, the security of her universe falls apart.

The ship’s leaders promise that everything is under control, but Tori doesn’t believe them, not when more people are becoming infected and her little sister is also attacked. Tori will do anything to keep her family safe and is determined to find out what—or who—is behind the disease.

The infection mimics the one that destroyed their old world, but when Tori finds out the planet’s virus—their reason for leaving Earth—may have been faked, she realizes there are more lies inside the ship than stars surrounding it. Tori searches the ship for answers and, with the help of her friend Declan, learns that someone is purposefully contaminating the crew. As the number of infected increases, Tori knows that if she doesn’t figure out the truth behind the disease soon, everyone on the ship could end up dead. The problem is, some secrets were meant to stay buried. And someone doesn’t want the truth to be known.

First 150 words:

I race past door after door until they blend into the white walls. Only ten minutes late, but already the corridors are empty. Unlike me, everyone else is already at their assignments like good little crewmembers. I turn left down another hall, identical to the last save for the numbers on the doors, and pick up my pace. If Supervisor Dresden catches me running in late again, she won’t hesitate to discipline me.

Unfortunately, this corridor isn’t empty like the others. My momentum slams me straight into a patroller and I fall to the ground. When I look up the only thing that greets me is a scowl. The patroller’s eyes narrow and his jaw clenches.

“Sorry, sir.” The words leave my mouth in a stutter and I look away, hoping he’ll let me go without punishment. Being late to my assignment is one thing, but pissing off a patroller is a whole other universe of trouble that I don’t want to be in.


  1. Well, I still love this. Getting tired of me contest-stalking you yet? ;-)

    I love the idea that the whole reason they left Earth might have been a lie. Talk about a betrayal!

  2. Love the first line of your query, I'm hooked!

  3. This sounds so thrilling! Awesome job, I love books like this.

    Only two small comments on the query. The first line is great, but I think you can cut the second sentence. It takes some power away from the first, IMO. I think it stands stronger without the second sentence, that's already implied anyway.

    The other small thing is "everyone on the ship could end up dead" could be rephrased to "everyone on the ship could die." or "will die" The flow is a little better w/o the little extra wordiness and it makes it a bit stronger too.

    Otherwise, you're golden! Good luck! This is fabulous!

  4. I love this premise and the stakes are high. CONTAGION in space - Win! Good luck!

  5. PITCH: This gives us a very good sense of the conflict and what’s at stake for the character. I love that line, “…there are more lies inside the ship than stars surrounding it.” If I were to suggest anything for the pitch it would be to give us a little more sense of what Tori’s like. But honestly I think it’s very strong as is.
    FIRST 150: Nice urgency here with her tardiness. I think it could be strengthened by specifying what “discipline” means on this spaceship. I like her phrases “good little crewmembers” and “whole other universe of trouble.” It doesn’t make a difference at this point, but I’m so hoping this patroller will be Declan!


  6. Wow serious stakes here! Great writing!
    Best of luck!