Friday, November 28, 2014

(38) YA Science Fiction: ULTRA/VIOLET

GENRE: YA Science Fiction

15-year-old scientist Violet is lonely living in a dome lab on her own island until a cosmic event gives her the power to create the lab assistants she always wanted–a brilliant green cat and a morphing human. But when 3 men appear with plans to mine her island’s rare minerals, Violet must make them leave or else she, her new family and her island will be destroyed.

Violet paced under the transparent ceiling in her bedroom, wishing the sun would sink faster. In 35 minutes and 42 seconds it would be cool enough for them to go. She untied the knot of hair on top of her head and retied it with nervous excitement. This was the first time she was going to climb the Globe. On the outside. It was a dangerous prospect, but worth it.

If she could fix the Globes, they would save countless gallons of water that was crucial to their existence on the island. It would also mean winning the respect of her mother, and coming closer to entering the shadowy realm of female scientists that her mother ruled.


Her mother’s voice filled the bedroom.

Violet ran down the hall to the spiral staircase that looked like the DNA double helix.

She was waiting for Violet in her lab. “Do you want to go in the Agri-Dome for one more practice run?” she said, raising an eyebrow.

“No, I’m ready,” Violet said confidently. She had tested the invention so many times that she’d filled an entire notebook with the results.

Her mother straightened and smoothed her white lab coat. “Let’s begin,” she said, her voice suddenly official. “What is the question that created the invention?”

Violet took a deep breath and wiped her sweaty palms on her lab coat. “My question was, 'How can I make the cracks on the Globe easier to repair?'”

“Define ‘easier’,” her mother instructed.


  1. I'm definitely pro girl scientists. That's awesome and i would pick it up for that alone. I lover her specificity in regards to her time keeping. That was great.

    I think some of your sentences could be cleaner. An example:

    “No, I’m ready,” Violet said confidently.

    You don't need the "Violet said confidently" bit. It's clear she's confident from her dialogue, and you don't need the tag because she and her mother are the only two talking, and this sentence is followed up by her thoughts.

    Good luck in the auction!

  2. I wonder who 'they' are, who will be going. There is no other mention of Violet taking a companion, and her mother seems to be an invigilator, not an expedition member. Other than that, I'm eager to see how it goes, because Violet seems likely to be smart and brave.

  3. Good premise, too many "ly" words (adverbs) even in just this first 250 words., confidently, suddenly, and though it's not a "ly" word, nervous excitement is just another way of saying excitedly and nervously.

    In the pitch: I'm wondering why Violet, at fifteen, is the only one in charge of making men leave an island when her whole island is under threat.

    Good premise. Just polish the language and tighten the pitch. Good luck.

  4. I thought this opening was really good. It hooked me right away and pulled me into the action. I especially loved the first line. I could picture Violet pacing and watching the clock as the sun set. The idea that there is a ticking clock increases tension right away. Good work!

    Just one small thing: I think you might consider moving or cutting the paragraph starting "if she could fix the globes." All the information is important but, as written, it takes the reader out of the scene. Could you relay the same points if you weave this into the scene?

    Aside from that small point I am hooked and can't wait to read more! Can't wait to see this on the shelves. Good luck!

  5. I'm always a sucker for a great sci fi - especially one with a girl protagonist. I really like the world you have created here. I'm really interested to know more about Violet and her life here.

  6. I'm always a sucker for a great sci fi - especially one with a girl protagonist. I really like the world you have created here. I'm really interested to know more about Violet and her life here.

  7. From your logline I thought we were getting some girl who lives completely alone on an island (I did love the idea though, presented in the logline) so when I saw her mom was there, too, I was like Whoa, shes not alone!

    I know the whole, too many ly's can be bad, but after recently rereading the first harry potter, you know it can be done otherwise if it's done right, but be careful.

    and YAY! scientists!

  8. Hooray for girl scientists and double helix spiral staircases! Loved the title, also. Good luck!

  9. Hi!

    Okay, so this one set of my MG! alert. Not because of the actual writing, but because the concept, and Violet's reaction (using her new ability to make a companion cat and a morphing friend) is far, far more a MG concept to me than a YA one. Just something to be aware of, especially in the current market.

    That aside, YAY for girl scientists.

    On a craft note, the paragraph about fixing the globes is waaaaayyy too much exposition for the first page of a book. We need to be thrown into the moment, not informed of plans and repercussions and rewards. It's a disservice to an otherwise strong opening.

    (Also, a quick title note, I'd be careful, as ULTRAVIOLET is already a YA novel by R.J. Anderson.)


  10. You have a great premise and a promising start to the story, but your first page could use some tightening. As other commenters have mentioned, there are certain words that could be cut and certain sentences that need to be restructured.

    The question and answer round between Violet and her mom was a little confusing; for example, the line about the question that created the invention. Violet's answer kind of threw me and it just didn't seem to work for what Mom was asking.

    But in general you have some great material here and a fascinating log line. Good luck in the auction!

  11. AN interesting premise, but I wondered why she was on the island and why she lived under a dome. What was the original purpose for going there?

    As others have stated, this could be tightened a lot. You could cut parg 2.

    She was waiting for Violet in her lab. -- Could be Mom waited in her lab.

    Maybe eliminate one of the lab coat references.

  12. I'm going to echo all of the girl scientist love here! We need more of those in kid lit! I'm also intrigued as to why Violet is on the island, and how many other people are there (her mom and these other lady scientists?).

    I have to agree that this premise immediately made me think middle-grade rather than YA, especially the detail of Violet creating new friends (including a talking cat). Violet's voice also feels a little bit young - she reads as very wide-eyed and naive, and while that's certainly appropriate, considering she's lived in isolation for (presumably) her whole life, I worry that the YA audience (teens and older) wouldn't necessarily connect to her. I wonder if you'd want to re-imagine this as MG? Or if not, age the voice up to YA? Clarifying your audience could help in pitching this to agents and eventually publishers.

    I also agree that there's a little too much "info dumping" in the second paragraph. Perhaps there's a way to more subtly foreshadow why Violet wants to fix the Globe and impress her mother, rather than simply stating exactly what she wants. One way to do this would be to go right into the interaction with the mother, and show us, rather than tell us, how Violet wishes to prove herself.

    There's a lot of promise here - good luck!