Tuesday, October 2, 2012

151 Debuts in GUTGAA's Small Pitch Contest

I'm ba—ack... after a two-week hiatus volunteering at the Toronto International Film Festival AND of course working on polishing a brand new draft and query for 151. Now that the restructuring is complete, the copy is edited, and the manuscript finally polished to a near-final Beta state, I figured I'd return to the Contest scene during the month of October to test the new 151 out.

My first charge into battle is for the final event of #GUTGAA: the Small Press Pitch Contest. 151 is Entry #19 in the contest, so make sure that you drop by the blog entry post and leave your comments on my pitch!! I'd really appreciate hearing your thoughts and critiques — it only helps me make my work better.

And finally, I present to you the new query and first 150 words of my YA sci-fantasy novel, 151. This is tweaked a bit from the contest entry above, hopefully for the better. As always, please do let me know what you think by commenting below!

151 (YA sci-fi/fantasy, 84k words)


Seventeen-year-old Aeneas doesn't belong to a Colony. As the bloody scars on his back remind him, he was one more than needed. One more than necessary. He lives as a thief in the lawless Ilium Underground, a haven for mobsters, freaks, and outcasts from the Colony Spires above. When the band of pirates that raised him is slaughtered in cold blood, he finds himself lost, on the run, and worst of all, alone.

It takes the chance rescue of Casseopea, a beautiful young Apprentice from the Colonies, to make the running stop. Obsessed with obtaining the ancient and powerful Key of Ilium, the Chieftain of her Colony has sent her into the Underground to search for it. If she can survive long enough to find it, she'll pass her Trials and stay part of the 150. If she fails, she'll be banished to the Underground for good. On the run or not, Aeneas is just the help she needs.

But the Key is more than just a token relic. For Casseopea, it will be vital to sparking a rebellion against her Chieftain and freeing the members of her Colony. For Aeneas, it will not only unlock the secret behind his scars, it will reveal the startling truth about where he belongs.

First 150 Words:

“What d’you know of the Key, boy? Tell me, or you die.”

Aeneas looked up into the bulging brown and purple eyes of the man called Gore, one of the most powerful Titans of the Ilium Underground. The yellow scar that ran down the tip of the man’s bulbous nose throbbed in time with his heavy breathing as the question hung in the air between them. Aeneas’ dark curls were drenched from the sewage leaking from above, and his wrists were cut by the metal chains that tied his arms behind his neck. His steel-coloured eyes were almost drained of life.

“The Key of Ilium!” Gore snorted. Saliva dripped from the sides of his mouth and down his winding goatee. “Where is it?”

Aeneas’ mind clouded with confusion as he searched through his memories from the past 17 years. A shiver ran through his body. “Don’t… know anything about any key…”