Monday, September 17, 2012

GUTGAA Pitch Contest #39: THE VIDDEN

YA Dystopian


Devonny is Vidden, an elite genetically enhanced faction of a futuristic society. At the age of sixteen she is commissioned by the Tagen to enter the Vidden Army for training. When one of her fellow recruits dies of a high fever, and another disappears, Devonny begins to suspect that the Tagen are plotting a way to get rid of those they deem unworthy.

After months of training the last mission the recruits must undergo is survival training in the Hinders, a place full of disease ridden marauders---zombie-like creatures---called Awders. Devonny is the only one who can sense when an Awder is near. When their former commander turns up as an Awder, Devonny knows something is horribly wrong. She is even more horrified to learn that her blood is the catalyst for a deadly virus the Tagen will use to “vaccinate” the population, a virus they are planning to give the citizens in order to eradicate the deadly disease.

Devonny must stop them from using the virus, but first she has to find a way to save herself and her fellow recruits.

First 150 Words:

A small line of other sixteen-year olds I recognize from the Academy wait to be let in. One boy in particular catches my eye.


I pretend not to notice and avert my gaze making sure my screen is up. The racing of my heart magnifies the rush I feel at seeing him.

One of the girls cries.

As soon as its my turn I stride up to the desk.


A soldier with short cropped hair on the sides and a long braid in back sits behind the desk. He has a large silver T on the right shoulder of his gray jumpsuit. He is Tagen.

"Devonny Wilcox."

He checks a list and directs me to another room with a jerk of his chin.

A metal exam table is in the center of the room. A woman stands near it with a clipboard in her hand.

I take a shaky breath and step forward. 


  1. Hi,
    I like your MC already, from just the first 150. And I like how you immediately pull us into the plot.
    The query has clear stakes. But I'd suggest avoiding using so many names. Like, you could delete 'Hinders' and just say '...survival training in a place full of...'
    Best of luck

  2. Hi there! Congrats on getting into GUTGAA.
    Your story sounds very interesting. I can already feel the tension between your hero and heroine.
    However there is a little redundancy in your query. I especially see this in the last sentence of the second paragraph. I understood what you were saying until after the comma where the further explanation actually confused me.
    Also, I think you may need a few more commas in places.
    Otherwise, I love your premise and good luck with your book!

  3. I love your first 150 too - pulls us right into your world and the plot. Makes me want to read more! Your premise sounds exciting. I wonder if there is a hook to start this query that pulls us into the action a bit more like your 150 does! The last line was exciting: "her blood is the catalyst for a deadly virus the Tagen will use to “vaccinate” the population" Perhaps move this earlier up?? Just a thought! (I am admittedly a horribly query critiquer!!) Good luck in the contest!

  4. Love this premise! And Devonny is an aweomse name :) I think the first 150 are very good as well and certainly hooked me! I do second Suja; I think naming everything in the query does make it a bit confusing; I would leave something of those out. Otherwise, very cool1

  5. PITCH: This is intriguing with the futuristic world, and the warrior girl protagonist. My only concern is with that second paragraph—there seems to be a lot going on, and with the new nouns the pitch introduces (i.e. Vidden, Tagen, Hinders, Awder) it took some focus on my part to keep it straight. There may be too much going on in the second paragraph, and I’d recommend deleting the part about her commander turning into an Awder and going straight to her blood being a catalyst for the deadly virus. Great stakes, with inbuilt tension.
    FIRST 150: Ooh, great hook. I love how there isn’t too much information & new nouns thrown at me. There are, however, some tiny warning signs that this piece might not be ready for submission. There’s a typo – “its” should be “it’s,” and some of the paragraphs feel awkwardly placed. The girl crying, for example. Because it’s a one-sentence paragraph, I feel like it’s referring to the paragraph above it, so is she crying because of Brendan? But that doesn’t seem to make sense; I’d expect she’s crying because of what they’re about to do. Also, personal preference, I’d describe the soldier behind the desk, and then have him say, “Name?” That said, it sounds like this is a strong character—we’ve already seen she is brave and composed when the situation has another person in tears. This sets her up as a hero already.

  6. Thanks for the comments, I'll incorporate them into my query and first words. As far as "its" goes, I don't know why it showed up that way here because I checked my original and it was "it's." Ah well. I like switching "Name?" after the description! I appreciate the help.