Monday, September 17, 2012

GUTGAA Pitch Contest #17: AWAKENED

YA paranormal


Seventeen year-old Emma Potter’s life is thrust into chaos the moment she flips a truck over her parent’s car, saving them from a fatal accident.  Now she’s forced to live in a new town and face a new realty. Where people can move things with their minds, control fire, teleport, manipulate the elements and make people see what they want them to.

Just when Emma’s starting to get her telekinesis under control, the real secrets around her life are revealed.  The moment her powers were triggered, a war began, and whichever side she chooses will win. As the gravity of the situation threatens to consume her, she gets help from Max, who has an uncanny ability to always be there when she needs him. This relationship is essential as Emma struggles with the burden of carrying the fate of a race on her shoulders, which she knows nothing about. She can’t choose a side when even she doesn’t know where she stands. And the longer she remains in the middle, the more desperate the two sides become in trying to force her hand.

With the impending war on the horizon, Emma must hurry to master her powers and find strength within herself she didn’t know existed. Because how can she defend herself with a power she just acquired, against people who have been training for this confrontation their entire lives.

First 150 Words:

There’s a pivotal moment in everyone’s life. A moment you can look back upon and say that is what changed everything. For me, that moment occurred today.

The day started off innocently enough. It was the second of January and the end of my Christmas vacation. My parents and I were visiting my Aunt Teri in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. We’d been there for the whole break and were returning home to Milwaukee.

This morning I got up and got ready. I didn’t feel any different, nothing to warn me of what was to come. I threw on my favorite worn jeans and comfy red sweater and went to have breakfast with my parents and Aunt Teri.

My feet dragged as I went downstairs, wishing I could put off leaving. I really enjoyed my visits with her. She’s my favorite aunt. Actually, she’s my only aunt, but even if she wasn’t she’d still be my favorite.


  1. Congrats on getting into GUTGAA!

    I'd like to start by saying I really like the whole secret superpower concept as I think it's something everyone finds themselves daydreaming about at some point in their lives :)
    The idea of Emma starting a war by activating her powers is a great idea and I was expecting the book to be about the ensuing desperate struggle and the tragedy that arises from it. However you kill the suspense straight away by saying whatever side she chooses will win. It's at that point that I found myself thinking 'well...what's the point of me reading it then?' It's like the actual decision of whose side Emma should take is at the forefront of 'Awakened' rather than the actual war or Emma's relationship with Mark, which seems quite a strange choice. I know this probably isn't the case in the novel but that's just how it sounds from the query. Perhaps if you altered the query slightly to shift the emphasis to the whole 'wartorn lovers' concept then it would sustain the suspense which you already built up beautifully.
    That's my only gripe really and the only reason I've gone into so much detail about is that I feel it would be such a shame to let down what sounds like a great MS (loving the voice!) by downplaying some of the key elements of the YA genre straight away i.e. romance, conflict etc.

    Good luck! :)

  2. I LOVE Emma's voice and can totally feel her somber mood in the first 150 words. If she loves Aunt Teri that much, i want Aunt Teri as my aunt.

    The query is so intriguing. So much is put on the girl's shoulders. Its such a great twist on a girl who's coming into herself. Really great job.

  3. Hey Girl! You know I love your MS! For anyone who doesn't know, I'm one of the lucky CPs of this author. I'll email you with a couple of thoughts, don't want to give away your story! Good luck my friend!

  4. realty should be reality and the last line of the first paragraph in the query is a fragment. Other than that, this sounds solid. Enjoyed the voice in this.

  5. PITCH: I love the high stakes—an entire race depends on her! Definitely compelling. I would love to know more about Max, whether he’ll be a romantic interest or not. There are some punctuation and syntax issues here that could easily be fixed (the last sentence of the first paragraph, for example, is a fragment, and the word “realty” is in there which should be “reality”).
    FIRST 150: There’s some foreshadowing going on here, which is well done. Also, I do believe we need a vision of the ordinary world before thrusting the main character into the big action promised in the premise, and the writer has shown us this world. There are some nice details in here, the worn jeans and comfy sweater, and the dragging of her feet. I think these could even be expanded upon with more sensory details…but before those changes are made, read further: For all the promise of high stakes and action in the pitch, the beginning starts off a little slowly. Is there a place closer to when the truck nearly kills her family? That might be the place to start. The paragraphs in this excerpt feel a little like backstory, which can be worked in later, after we’ve been hooked by the inciting incident.