Friday, November 28, 2014

(35) YA Science Fiction Romance: CHASING A STARLIGHT

GENRE: YA SF Romance

Eighteen-year-old Skye Reilly has life all planned out. She got into her top choice school, and she's dating her long-time crush. But when an alien spaceship lands on the lawns of the Washington Monument, falling in love with Ethan, an alluring Celeian, is definitely not in her plans. Neither is meddling with the aliens' secret plot to conquer Earth- or becoming a threat that must be eradicated.

A perfect first date is supposed to end in a perfect first kiss. My first date with Taylor Manning ended with the beginning of the end of the human race.

Just then, though, sitting next to him on a picnic blanket under the moonlight with the nerves bouncing around my stomach like tiny rubber balls, the fate of humankind was the last thing on my mind.

"I hope you like this place." Taylor leaned in closer, gently pulling out a leaf that must have gotten caught in my hair.

Warmth flushed my cheeks. I'd been crushing on him since the beginning of senior year, now only two months away from graduation, he'd finally asked me out.

Hoping he couldn't see the color spreading through my face, I turned my head toward the majestic Corinthian columns of the National Arboretum. Their image reflected in the dark waters of the pond they overlooked. "Are you kidding? It's absolutely beautiful. I've never been here at night. The tour and the picnic....It's all really amazing."

Taylor had arranged a private tour for us. Not something they did for just anyone, but his family was D.C. elite. My family? Not so much. "I guess it's good to be a Capitol Hill brat, huh?"

He grinned, caressing my cheek with the back of his hand. "It has its perks."

My face grew warmer under his touch. The tips of his fingers traveled from my jaw up to my lips, and a tremble went up and down my spine.


  1. I like the premise of the story.

    The first sentence is amazing.

    For me, at least, the romance was a little too much in this opening scene and slightly repetitive. Warmth floods her cheeks. Color spreads through her face. Then her face grows warmer.

    I'd cut at least one of these.

  2. I'm intrigued by the premise, and I want to see more of this story. I agree with Stefanie that the first line is nice, though I'd try to rework the second line. The repetition in "ended with the beginning of the end of" is a little too much for me. Is there a way to streamline this without sacrificing meaning?

    I'd also like to see this exposition streamlined, as well. I think some of this writing can be tightened up by editing little things like this: "Taylor leaned in closer, gently pulling out a leaf caught in my hair," or "I'd been crushing on him for months..."

    Knowing the premise, I find myself wanting to ignore Taylor, or at least speed through his scene so we can get to the Celeian's arrival.

  3. Oh, I forgot. I really like this title, but to my ear, Chasing Starlight flows even better than .

  4. LOVE the opening. It's a great little hook. I'd keep reading based on that alone.

    I think the rest, though, could be cleaned up a bit. Stefanie pointed out one of the things i noticed. There's also a lot of extraneous directionality:

    The tips of his fingers traveled from my jaw up to my lips, and a tremble went up and down my spine.

    Up, up, down. You don't need all of that. You could cut the first one completely, and i think you might be able to come up with a strong verb to replace "went up and down"

    I hope this helps and good luck in the auction!

  5. Interesting premise. Typo in second line you might ask Authoress to fix (school, not shool).
    After reading the logline, I thought you might get to the action faster since the spaceship will interrupt Skye's date. I'm not sure you need the telling of the first two lines since this will soon become obvious in the story.
    Great premise and I'd read on. good luck!

  6. Excellent premise.

    The thing I like the most about your entry is the sweet, wistfulness of the MC. From her emotions, I can tell she really likes Taylor. I imagine this is the (sorry for the cliché) calm before the storm, and will be a moment she'll look back on as her last bit of normal.

    All the best with it. I hope you get lots of bids on Tuesday!

  7. I love the premise and you've got great voice. I'd definitely keep reading. The hairs are standing up on the back of my neck waiting for this kiss to end badly, or not happen at all. My only nitpick on this and it's small, is the second sentence felt a tad clunky. I'm wondering if it might be better to break the thoughts up a little so it's not so much rammed into one sentence. Best of luck in baker's dozen!

  8. Love the premise and the first line. Would love to be able to turn the page right now. Good luck!

  9. Hi there!

    I love the premise.

    Unlike many of the above commenters though, I think the first line (well, technically the second) has one too many beats. 'Ended with the beginning of the end' took me an extra second to process, which really diminished the potential impact of that line.

    That aside, I really enjoyed the rest of this page. I love her voice, the buoyant, teenage girl-ness of it, if that makes sense. I bought it.

    A very small note on the logline itself, but I thought the last line of it was unnecessarily convoluted (actually I found both the last two lines a bit fragmented), but I doubt you'll have trouble getting agent attention.


  10. Cool idea, like so many say, the logline got me interested.

    I also felt that the romance was a little strong, mainly because I wanted to know more about your MC and all I was getting was the boy.

    I didn't like the first few lines like the end in a perfect kiss, I think end with a perfect kiss makes more sense (to me, so I could just be weird), but more than that, I felt like I was reading a second logline between the kiss line and the human race stuff. It felt a little too like "here's the whole conflict of the book" right then and there.

  11. I like the premise of falling in love with an alien while trying to save the world from them. There are so many ideas you can touch on.

    I'd cut the first two pargs. First, you're telling us what will happen before it happens. Second, you're talking to the reader. Your character lives in her world and we live in ours. She shouldn't be talking to the reader at all. As far as she's concerned, we don't exist, unless this whole story has already happened, and now she's telling us about it. If it's happening in real time, she can't talk to us.

    For the same reason, I'd cut the 'I'd been crushing on him' line.

    And if they're on a private tour, where is the tour guide while all this romance is going on?

  12. What I like best about these crits is how everyone has such a different take. I have no problem at all with the first sentences being more directed at the reader, as long as they are engaging, relevant, and set the correct tone (as yours are and do). It draws me in, and the transition into the story is very smooth. Plus, I think it's a pretty common literary device. Anyway, I offer that up, for what it's worth.

    The only issue I had with this otherwise wonderful entry is that there's so much time spent on her attraction to the non-hero. Even if it were the hero, or if this non-hero ends up continues to be a central figure, it's a lot of intimacy to put on a first page before we know the characters. I'd think a little would go a long way, and then you could get to the invasion :)

    As far as the private tour comment from another crit, I think Taylor Manning is the private tour guide, since he's the Washington insider.

    Good luck!

  13. I really like this premise and would love to read on to see what happens. Great job and good luck!

  14. Fun concept! I always love "two different worlds colliding" stories - culture shock is always so fascinating to explore. The voice here feels wonderfully teen here, too.

    This pitch did immediately remind me of another YA book, ALIENATED by Melissa Landers. That's not necessarily a bad thing at all, but I'd check that one out just to make sure you can emphasize what makes your story unique!

    I agree with some of the other feedback about tightening the prose here. Some of the sentences here feel too long and, as a result, they get a little confusing - for instance, the sentence beginning "I'd been crushing on him..." feels as though it should be two sentences. One trick to try is reading your words out loud - that might help you sound out where you can cut unnecessary words or add periods/commas/semicolons/etc to make the words flow a little bit more naturally.

    I want to see how this alien invasion happens... Good luck!

  15. While I like the first line, I feel it's telling me what is going to happen before I even start reading. I'd rather you showed me what is happening later on.