Monday, September 17, 2012


Young Adult Dystopian


In three days time Kitty Turner will turn thirteen and earn her shadow. Or more precisely, a Shadeling will come for her in the dead of night and sew a shadow to her heel with a needle of bone.

If she screams: she will die.

If she opens her eyes: she will die.

Anywhere else this would be considered sadistic, yet on Luminance it’s just part of growing up. Founded after ‘The Consequence’ by the villainous entrepreneur Mr. Splicer, Luminance is a post apocalyptic refuge which rests on a titanic convex light source nicknamed ‘The Bulb’. From his black plated spire, Mr. Splicer fulfils his twisted utopian ideal by creating synthetic shadows to control his population. Now every child who turns thirteen is ‘shadowed’ and sent to work in the Shadow Factory: a sinister workhouse where Mr. Splicer’s evil creations are housed.

It is there that Kitty Turner will uncover a secret that will set her free, but ultimately prove her family’s undoing.

THE SHADOW FACTORY is a 68,000 word, young adult dystopian novel that paints a disturbing picture of life after a nuclear apocalypse, through the eyes of an indoctrinated, yet headstrong individual.

First 150 Words:

They called it The Shadow Factory. They gave it that name because it’s the place where the shadows are made. Simple isn’t it? It’s like that so we don’t forget.

We must remember that the things behind us and beneath our feet aren’t natural. They’re woven from nightmares and blackness, manufactured in The Shadow Factory and sewn to our heels with special thread. Once the light from the huge bulb beneath our feet goes out, they separate from us and watch us sleep, hanging over our beds like evil silhouettes.

My name is Kitty Turner and I’m twelve cycles old. A cycle is ten harvests long and a harvest of glow grass is thirty five Bulb days long. They’re called Bulb days because I live on Luminance which is a titanic convex light source. Its nickname is ‘The Bulb’ and it’s owned by Mr. Splicer. Ever since The Consequence, Mr. Splicer has ran Luminance. 


  1. Needless to say there has been an error which caused the first paragraph or so of my query to be repeated. I seems my cantankerous hotmail account has let me down in my hour of need :/
    I hope you can all do me the courtesy of ignoring this unfortunate glitch,

    Thanks everyone and good luck!

    1. Glitch has been fixed--I deleted the repeating paragraphs. Thanks for letting me know and good luck!

    2. Thanks so much Robin! I appreciate it :)

  2. Hi there! Congrats on GUTGAA!
    Wow, your entry sounds very interesting and original. For some reason, it reminds me of Peter Pan. :)
    Love the start of your query. Very high stakes. But when you go into the world building in the second paragraph, I got lost. Perhaps if you stayed in the MC POV throughout, it may read easier.
    Also, there is a lot of telling in the first 150. Maybe you can start in a scene of action and gradually bring the reader in.
    Best of luck with your book!

  3. I love this concept sooo much! The first paragraph of the query gave me chills :)

    My only suggestion for the query is that your first three paragraphs are so amazingly descriptive, that suddenly it feels like a letdown when you get to "Anywhere else this would be considered sadistic," because now it's like we've stepped out of this awesome world you've established. (Presumably most of your characters don't know that it would be considered sadistic elsewhere -- they've probably gotten used to it, right? Then you tell us Mr. Splicer is twisted and villainous, but he's sewing shadows to little kids, so we're already right there with you ;) )

    I'd suggest something like this:

    On Luminance, this is just part of growing up. Every child who turns thirteen is given a synthetic shadow and sent to work in the Shadow Factory: a sinister workhouse run by Mr. Splicer where evil creations are housed.

    Kitty's shadow is supposed to control her, but it can't stop her from discovering a secret in the black-plated Shadow Factory that will set her free--but also prove her family's undoing. (Maybe some detail about what kind of secret it is? About Luminence, the factory, or Mr. Splicer himself?)

    Congratulations on making it through this far! I hope you keep going, your story sounds awesome :)

  4. Hi,
    I agree with the others. Fantastic premise, and I already feel for the MC. My only concern is that the query seems more about the villian and less about the MC. You could tighten the paragraph about Mr. Splicer and give us a clearer indication of the stakes from the MC's standpoint.
    I really like the last paragraph of your 150. Somehow, those stark words from the MC shows us her misery so well.
    The first 150 would be a good spot to show us the MC's character, too (which you mentioned in the last part of the query).
    Best of luck

  5. I love this premise. It's so rich and original. Your description is vivid and intriguing. I agree with others' comments about tightening up the query, though again, the idea is so unique that I think it's an attention getter regardless. In your first 150, the only thing I would change is the end of the last para. It starts off sounding like Kitty is repeating what she knows (there are this many days in a cycle, etc) which is consistent with what a 12 year old might say, a sort of catechism. But it does start to feel like exposition with the last 2 sentences. Maybe rearrange so that info comes later and we get more about Kitty earlier. Even so, I LOVE this. And YOU'VE GOT MY VOTE!

  6. Hi,
    This premise is great! So unique; I love it! And I especially love the opening of the query; very chilling. I do think the last line of your query is somewhat redundant, because we already know from the rest of the query what it's about. The last part of the 150 also leans a little toward telling, but I think this is great. I'd read it! Good luck :)

  7. PITCH: This concept is really unique and has a lot going for it. However, the pitch focuses too much backstory and not enough of Kitty’s goals and stakes. Some of the phrases are rather cumbersome with adjectives, like “titanic convex light source,” “black plated spire,” and too much information for the pitch.
    FIRST 150: Like the pitch, the first 150 depend too much on backstory and worldbuilding, not enough on Kitty herself. I want to connect with the character right away, and I want to be in a concrete place and scene. Show me those, then work in the details of her world, slowly, offering tiny hints that keep me intrigued without confusing me. It’s a delicate balance, but judging from the quality of the writing, I know this writer can do it.

  8. This sounds really intriguing--love your premise!

  9. Hey all,

    I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who read my entry and especially to those who took the time to offer such great support and advise. I'm taking it all on board and will revise my material with all of your suggestions in mind.

    Thank you so much Hopey for your vote, I was absolutely ecstatic when I saw it and best of luck to all of those who are progressing to the next round.

    Thank you Robin for hosting my entry, Deanna for the opportunity to participate such a great contest and last but not least a big thank you to Lyndsey Lewellen, Ru, Suja, Brianna, Missus Braidyhead and 'the typer writer' for such encouraging support for THE SHADOW FACTORY!

    Kind regards,

    Kyle G