Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Grab My Heart #4

TITLE: Feral Prime
GENRE: YA Ownvoices Science Fiction

Ava, a deaf programmer, and Bren, a blind pilot, set off to stop rogue robots from attacking their city. But when their override program threatens another city's livelihood, the friends take opposite sides on which home to protect.

Ava couldn't deny it--Bren had great boots. Thick, steel-toed, oil-stained juggernauts of footwear. If only she would get them off the dashboard and actually pilot her animech. But, no. Apparently, in Bren's mind, driving a giant mechanized wolf was best done with her feet up, a wireless com in one ear, and her hand deep in a bag of spice crisps.

Ava repositioned herself in the clunky passenger seat. It wasn't like she had a clue what the wolf-mech's--what Fang's--blinky buttons and switches did. And she sure as heck couldn't walk across the Wastes herself. So for now it was put up with her best friend's oddities or put off her life's dream. She adjusted her visor and tried to relax a little. Tried to focus on the world outside Fang's windshield. A world which, up until twelve hours ago, she'd only seen in data files.

Alpha Outpost was the largest scrapper hub around, which made it a haven for travelers and the place to buy anything not approved for sale back in the domes. There were shops for salvage. Shops for tools. Shops for mods and weapons. Ava even spotted a flickering sign advertising pre-programmed nano-tech. Everything was so... not as scary as her mom had insisted. She pressed a gloved hand against the clear alloy, as if she could coax some excitement up into the cockpit with her. Watching the station's bustle was like floating above a carnival. Well, if Dome Central's sky image was switched to "concrete slab with light bulbs," anyway.


  1. Love the pitch, clear and to the important points, while being interesting. Like the hints of humor. Bren comes across as a strong character without her even speaking! I would read on!

  2. Agree with the above. I would definitely read on, and I feel like I have a strong sense of both characters, even without much dialogue.

  3. I like the pitch, and the characterization of Bren (and Ava) in the first paragraph is great. But the third paragraph is exposition, and I think it's best to avoid a lot of exposition in the very beginning of a novel. Also, at this point Ava and Bren seem to just be sitting in the vehicle. I'm not sure what their goal is - and I think it would be more effective if it was clear what they were trying to do.

  4. LOVE your opening! I agree with everyone else that I think you want something to happen before giving us this exposition. (Keep in mind most readers will have read the back jacket of your book and thus may already know some of this.) You drop some information, like that Bren is Ava's best friend, when I bet you could work that in to be more subtle. Not every opening has to be action-packed, but I bet you could at least intrigue us with an interesting sight of this cool world you have.

    Note to Authoress: My screenname on my submission form doesn't match, it was katydid, entry #2.

  5. "It wasn't like she had a clue what the wolf-mech's--what Fang's--blinky buttons and switches did." This seems a little out of the blue. If it's a running joke, running argument, or just a nickname given to the wolf-mech, it would be better to set it up before sticking it in. Remember, none of us have seen your story before. We don't know anything about these characters. We're starting from scratch, and as a person so familiar with your own novel, it's easy to overlook that.

    Quibble aside, I disagree about the backstory problem. Yes, there's setup, but it's necessary setup. This is a fantasy story after all--we can't just plop the reader in a new world without any context. Backstory is a problem if it's boring, unnecessary, or too long. Yours is none of these. At least if it stops there. If not, you might think about dialing back a bit.

  6. I thought this was well written, and what you gave us of set-up worked, but what's missing for me, is believability. Bren, who is blind, is operating Fang. How? I'm perfectly willing to believe she can. I just want to know how she does it?

    I also want to see how these two manage/work together. If I see that within the first page or two, then I'm more apt to believe and read on. Without it, I'm not trusting you'll pull it off. It would be easier to believe if the deaf girl was the pilot, and the blind girl was the programmer. However you work it, show us on page one how Bren operates Fang, and how these girls work together.

  7. Your pitch intrigues me-what a unique concept! The thing is, we don't know about the characters' uniqueness from the first few paragraphs, and I'm thinking that flying without being able to see, and an MC who is deaf is pretty important stuff to set things going, you know? There were also a few sentences that could use some reworking. This sentence: "Everything was so... not as scary as her mom had insisted," is a bit awkward sounding, especially with the ellipsis, and kind of makes her sound younger than the teen shes' supposed to be. And I had a problem with the sentence Bookworm81 mentions, but I'm on the fence about the exposition in paragraph three because I like your writing! :)