Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Grab My Heart #10

TITLE: MFO - Mars Farthest Out
GENRE: YA Science Fiction

Mars Jäeger, born into a mystic family on a rebelling colony planet, is orphaned at a very young age. Immediately conscripted into an army of youthful soldiers, he is forced to defend his home world and overcome the stain of his father as the traitor who brought war upon them.

A cluster of rouge suns hung low in the NuMarian sky like over-ripe fruit, after bringing an intolerable heat to the day. But in the shade of the backyard pericitlus tree, Marshall played for hours, unmindful of the broiling air. He was too excited to notice. Tomorrow was his fifth birthday and he expected a lot of presents from his dad. Daddy always brought such weird, wonderful things back from his off-world trips. But Marshall also worried. So many times the stupid trips to the Sol Coterie Family of Worlds capitol on MarsDSPrime, meant Daddy could be way longer than he promised he’d be gone. So far, no calls had come saying he would be delayed.

“Sorry, Marshall,” Daddy would say. “As representative of the EVO colonists of NuMar, my presence at the Senate negotiations is very important. Too many of our people have died for a very unimportant reason.”

Marshall didn’t understand what that reason was even though Daddy tried to explain it. Something about the galactic government wanting rocks only found on NuMar? And they wanted them really, really bad. But Daddy always made one thing quite clear.

“As the only remaining true humans in the galaxy, we EVO only want to live in peace.”


Oh, no! Had Daddy called? “Yes, Mum.”

“Time to come in.”

“Awww, Mum. Not yet. Look. Five suns are still shining. Can’t I play until at least three of them set?”

”No. Marshall. It’s past your bedtime.”



Oops. “Okay. Okay.”


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Three things.

    One, I love the concept! The pitch is direct and compelling. I'd read this.

    Two, there's a little more backstory than I'd like. The first couple paragraphs, instead of creating an immediate connection with the character, spend time explaining politics and setup. This has to be explained, of course, but there's a rule I heard somewhere. "Characters first." Whatever Mars' situation is, whatever his dad's job is, what comes first is his personality. Get us to care. (Sorry if that sounds harsh.) Give us a reason to care. Then tell us the backstory.

    Three, the protagonist's age is a little confusing. This is YA, so I'm assuming either you're very wrong about the genre (not likely) or he'll grow up in the next couple of chapters. If that's the case, it could be clearer. Perhaps in a flashback or something, at least a little bit of narration to show this happened a while ago and isn't the start of the story. In fact, you could (and this is just a suggestion) cut this entirely and tell it in pieces throughout the story. That would solve the age problem, and probably the backstory problem as well. Cutting straight to the heart of a story is your choice, and I don't know the rest of your story so I can't say if it's the right one. But I would consider the possibility.

  3. For your pitch, I think you should mention what Mars is supposed to defend his home world from? It'd give your pitch more urgency. Other than that, I really think your premise is awesome :)

    The first 250 words feel like too much backstory and immediate exposition that can be moved further along in the story. Also, it reads more like a prologue and not so much a first chapter. I'd suggest you should start with "Tomorrow was Marshall's fifth birthday" and then work your way down. It feels like you have a great story here with a lot of depth, and that you're trying to show too much right away. You should start with Marshall and his family first. Then let the world sweep us off our feet after!

    Best of luck! :)