Friday, November 29, 2013


TITLE: Startripped

Blinded in a freak accident, seventeen-year-old Camria is tempted by a mysterious young man's offer to restore her sight, in exchange for her memories which she discovers are not her own but belong to another girl who lives light-years away.

I usually don’t have a problem putting my makeup on. After I recovered from the accident as much as I could, a team of therapists helped me deal with everything else. One of them taught me to count each touch of the brush to my eyelashes, each stroke of color to my lips. I’ve practiced enough I can face the world now without having someone check to make sure I’m presentable.

But today I keep messing up.

My hands are shaking, and the brush keeps jerking and hitting the wrong spots. I’m dreading this party. I’ve had to wash my face off and start over again so many times that I just leave the water running in the sink. My face feels raw.

As I start again, a sharp rap rattles the bathroom door.

“I’m not ready yet!”

My younger brother pushes the door open anyway. “Mom wants to know what’s taking so long. Everyone’s waiting for you.”

“If you’d stop interrupting me, I’d be ready by now.”

He doesn’t take the hint. “Why do you bother standing in front of the mirror?”

“Go away, David.” Usually I would call him Shorty, which he hates (he’s thirteen and anxious he hasn’t hit his growth spurt yet), but I’m trying not to be the bitter, mean person that I feel like inside.

“At least you don’t have to see yourself anymore. We still have to look at you.”

“Out!” Forget trying to be nice. Forget going to a party where everyone will feel sorry for you because you lost your sight in an accident. A bad car accident is the official story, because the real reason is classified.


  1. I like this twist on the classic "getting ready" opening. You immediately feel for the mc, and I love the reveal at the end about the real reason for her blindness being classified. That definitely makes me want to read on. Really good job!

  2. Wow. I have very little to say on this one other than: I'm in. I'd keep reading, no question. As Adrianna said, a nice twist on the more generic "getting ready" opening. We learn so much about this character in a very short span, and yet it all comes out of her character. And her voice is strong. Very nicely done.

    Best of luck with it!

  3. Another great entry. I think the logline could use some work, though. First, a nitpicky thing: the comma should be moved from where it is now to right after "memories." As is it jars the flow of the sentence.

    As for big-picture, while the logline is interesting, I'm not getting a sense of character stakes or goal. The premise of the memories not being the MC's is awesome, but what does that mean? What does the MC have to do and what horrible thing will happen if she doesn't achieve that? Focus on that.

    A tiny nit on the 250: You can remove the sentence "He doesn't take the hint." It's inferred when her brother keeps talking anyway.

    Other than that this is a fun, well-written entry. Good luck with it!

  4. Hi, there!

    Wow, this is super intriguing. I'm not a huge SF reader myself, but you definitely make me want to keep reading. (It's a huge compliment for any writer to convert someone!)

    I think the synopsis has a lot of promise to it.

    As for the sample, I like that we know right away that she's blind, and that it isn't kept from the reader. I also love, love that last line: "A bad car accident is the official story, because the real reason is classified." I want to know what the real story is so badly.

    The only thing that I thought was really off-putting here was the brother's comment, "At least you don't have to see yourself anymore. We still have to look at you." This seems way out of left field. Even if he is a cruel person (because that's a hugely cruel thing to say, especially to your sister), that's the type of insult that comes at the climax of a huge fight. Here, it is just seems evil for the sake of being evil. It might be something you save for later. That said, I do like that it sets up their relationship as still being tumultuous--I'm perhaps just wondering if there's another way to show that.

    Nice work--and good luck! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Great premise and I would definitely keep reading. The logline I think is a little vague -- would like more detail in it, like what is the freak accident, but it's still intriguing as it is. Love the idea.

    I think the writing is strong, and I really like the idea of something as "normal" as a teen girl putting on make up is now a trial.

    I actually like the brother's comments, because they sound so typical, which to me shows that perhaps he still treats her the same as he did before her accident -- which is actually a good thing!

    Great stuff. Good luck!

  6. I was going to say the same as Judy Clemens about the brother. Typical sibling teasing and he is not treating her differently, which actually she should appreciate.

    I hope the classified truth isn't kept from us after this, because that would feel artificial to drag out.

  7. Love this choice of scene for the first 250! Your MC has a distinct voice, and it does a great job of showing her adjustment to the new "normal" of her life post-accident.

    If it's been a while since the accident, I think the brother's comment works just fine as a typical younger brother insult — it's mean, but it actually showcases the difference between how normally her family treats her and the awkward, pitying reactions she's expecting at this party.

    Love the hint to the mystery at the end.

    And for some small suggestions:

    I'd specify "occupational" therapists in the second sentence, since the word therapist makes most people think mental health.

    In the logline, we're missing the stakes at the end. It's cool that her memories aren't her own, but what are the consequences of handing over these memories — or choosing not to?

    Great job, and best of luck!

  8. I agree with the others above, great entry! But also the logline could use a bit of tightening and brightening.

    1. "as much as I could,"
    This could be said differently that has more impact and shows relationship to her blindness/accident.

    2. Show the stakes, will she be able to reach this girl whose memories are in her mind? What if she doesn't?

    3. Needless to say, I'm pulled in, in this world, is it even possible to travel two light years away? How did someone get her memories?! Well done.

    As far as the opening:

    1. So effective in showing the MCs life/shortcomings/struggle.

    2. The one exception to the comment above, "My face feels raw." Can you add a word or two to show us this?

    3. And that last line, you nailed it!

    Good luck!

  9. Love this concept! It's so unique - I'm hooked by the log-line.

    The 2nd line of the 250 threw me. I read it as the therapists helped her learn how to do everything BUT the makeup..."everything else". But then it goes on to explain how they taught her to do makeup as well.

    Also, I have to agree with Brett. I have boys and they fight and banter all the time - all the time. But I cringed at the "At least you don't have to see yourself anymore. We still have to look at you." It seemed a bit too cruel to be only a sibling jab.

  10. I really like this and would keep reading. The sibling jab didn't seem to harsh to me at all. I could totally see one of my sibs saying it to me, depending on how long it had been since the accident.

    I'm not crazy about the logline, though. I wish there was just more. As it's written, it seems like the most important aspect is that she's tempted to regain her sight, but I think the bit about someone else's memories is the real oomph there.

    Good luck!

  11. I like where this starts, and I like the stakes portrayed in the logline--the temptation to regain her sight in exchange for memories.

    The writing is assured. The sibling rivalry sounds spot on (yes, younger brothers can be mean). Finally, I love the mystery implicit in the final sentence here--a great hook, as we read on to find out why the reason for the "accident" is classified. And read on, I would.

    Good luck with this--I hope you get some bidding love in the auction.

  12. This makes me want to read more. The entry raises the right kinds of questions for me and I believe the sibling interaction, although harsh, is not out of the ordinary. My own children can be mean to their siblings, but are mostly dramatic and sarcastic. The dialogue here feels authentic.

    I'll echo the great job with the last line. What is classified?

    Bring it on and good luck with bids!

  13. This is a great post. The mystery you've presented in the log line made me want to read more.

    The mean exchange between brother and sister pulled at my heart strings. I love that their relationship is already so clear.

    I would have liked there to be a bit more 'science' in the first 250 words. Maybe the hint of an advancement here or there. Something to ground the story immediately in science fiction.

    All in all this is a terrific post. Good luck!



  15. Congrats on the full!

    I love the concept here, and absolutely adore the voice of the mc, especially the way her blindness is introduced (which really gives a tremendous, wonderful twist on the cliched "mc looks in mirror in order to describe what they look like to the reader"). Just beautifully conceptualized.

    However, there is some definite tightening you can do, to smooth out the flow of the piece. And I was also a little jarred by the slightly out of place insult from the brother. I thought that came across as an insult/tease he'd save for a more heated sibling argument. Or, perhaps just make amp up the joking aspect of that comment, which is what I think you were going for. In that case, simply tweaking the wording might help there.

    And, finally, the kicker of 'classified' had me applauding, great job!!!