Monday, February 22, 2016

Son of a Pitch Entry 3: The Proxy Initiative




And away we go! Welcome to Son of a Pitch, Week 2. This week, I'll be hosting ten writers here on my site. Any visitor to my blog is welcome to comment below as to whether this pitch piques your interest and what feedback you have about making it stronger. UPDATE: My misunderstanding. The organizer asks that only the entrant and judges comment below.

Participants are asked NOT to comment on other entrants' posts, only their own. Though, you may, of course, tweet, bribe, coax, share, cajole and otherwise pursue glory for your own pitch. I'll be leaving feedback in the comments, as will other participating writers: Ayden Morgen , Elsie Elmore , Leigh Statham Mara ValderranStacey Nash , Elizabeth Roderick, and Yolanda Renée!


The top twenty will be selected and posted on Friday. Without further ado:



3.
Title: The Proxy Initiative
Category and Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Word Count: 80,000

Query:
The Proxy Initiative is a government cybersecurity contractor founded to infiltrate people's minds through their wetware – computers implanted directly in the skull – and Ethan Pryce is their lead programmer. When he finds out the people he's working for are more interested in their own power than using the tools he developed to fight terrorism, Ethan goes rogue. He downloads a head full of damning data that could destroy The Proxy Initiative and he taps into their system, so the next time they hack someone he'll take over instead.

When unforeseen glitch overloads his wetware, he loses control and his life becomes irrevocably twined with the lives of strangers.

Now, every night Ethan is forced into the bodies of strangers. He experiences the world through their eyes, feels their pain, and controls their bodies while a trio of psychopaths working for The Proxy Initiative hunt these bodies down. To locate the real Ethan, they'll murder and torture him as many times as they have to because he's the only one with the power to stop them.

Due to the glitch in his wetware, the data that he sacrificed so much to get is inaccessible without specialized hardware. Hardware owned and guarded by the very people hunting him down. With only the help of a rebellious young woman he'll have to find a way to destroy the Proxy Initiative before they destroy him and use their technology to create a world that would make George Orwell look like an optimist.


First 250 Words:

Drive full.

The message flashes in my brain. I grab the cable jacked into the base of my skull with sweat slicked fingers and scan the list of documents.

Shit. The Proxy software isn’t downloaded. I rearrange the files and send mental instructions to override the wetware-brain barrier. It will overwrite some personal memories, but I need that software.

My past is best forgotten anyhow.

“It's time, Ethan.” Meridian takes her eyes off the view of Central Park, and rises from my couch, dark face crinkling with anticipation. “Got everything?”

“Not quite. Proxy ‘ware’s incomplete.”

“You didn’t download it first?” Meridian scowls at me. "I thought you were supposed to be smart."

“Just a few seconds.” I flick a nervous smile at her. "You can give me that much more of this life."

Meridian takes in my penthouse apartment. "You got it good here, but you'll adapt." Her face twitches. She's a surprisingly bad liar for a double agent betraying one of the most secretive and powerful companies in America.

"I'm tougher than I look." I puff out what little there is of my chest. "What's it like… being poor?"

"For starters, don't say shit like that or you'll get a punch in the—"

Loud popping noises from the hall outside my penthouse apartment cut her off mid-sentence.

“Time to go.” Meridian draws a pistol from inside her jacket and chambers a round.

"You're going to kill them?"

"You think this is a fucking game?"

13 comments:

  1. Looks like there was a little glitch in the matrix. The carriage return between the last two lines of dialogue was lost in translation. Can you fix it please? I think it makes the ending a bit muddy and confusing otherwise.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Query: Intriguing story. You do a nice job getting to the point quickly. Your stand alone sentence that forms your second paragraph loses some impact when the third paragraph says basically the same thing again. You're trying to tell us everything you can about your story in a very short space, so don't waste an words on repetition. As it stands, I'd cut the second paragraph entirely, since the same info is in the third and fourth paragraphs.

    250 words: A good choice of scene. The dialogue gives me the flavor of the piece and some hints of the conflicts in the story, both interpersonal and in the broader world. I would read more.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Query: I love the premise but the you didn't deliver the crux of your story in the first sentence. Maybe something like this: The Proxy Initiative is a government cybersecurity contractor founded to infiltrate people's minds through their wetware – computers implanted directly in the skull – and Ethan Pryce, their lead programmer goes rogue. (Just a quick change, I'm sure you can do it better.) Then tighten the rest just as Samantha recommended.

    250 words: Excellent scene, except for this sentence. It completely took me out of the story as i tried to decipher it's meaning.

    "You can give me that much more of this life."

    Otherwise, excellent job!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Samantha.

    I guess the second query paragraph is one of those darlings I must kill. Queries are not my forte.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks, Yolanda.

    I debated that line in my head. I know it sticks out a bit, but it sets up his character and one of the conflicts. Basically, he's fleeing his exceedingly powerful employer and all the benefits afforded him as an essential part of the team. He's lived an sheltered life of suburbia and wealth-insulated Manhattan, barely ever even seeing a poor person, but he knows the rebels he's going to flee with can't afford to coddle him. He thinks he's ready and even romanticizes the situation, but at the same time he's apprehensive, because he really has no idea what to expect.

    That's a lot to tell, so I'm slipping in subtle hints along the way. I'll have a look at that line and see if I can come up with something better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understood the reason behind the sentence, it was just the way it was written that took me out of the moment.

      Delete
  6. Query:
    So, all the part so the query are here but the tone doesn’t match the level of suspense a tale like yours offers. Need to find a way to kick it up a notch. The sounds like a fast paced, action packed read.
    Premise is clever!
    So here were my tinkerings and thoughts. use them as a springboard:)

    Ethan Pryce is a lead programmer at The Proxy Initiative. The government cybersecurity contractor responsible for infiltrating people's minds through their wetware – computers implanted directly in the skull. But when Ethan’s superiors misuse the tools he developed to fight terrorism, Ethan goes rogue. He downloads a head full of damning data that could destroy The Proxy Initiative and he taps into their system, so the next time they hack someone he'll take over instead.

    Or

    Infiltrating people's minds through computers – wetware - implanted directly in the skull is the government’s latest anti-terrorism tactic. This project dubbed The Proxy Initiative is controlled/architected/designed by a government cybersecurity contractor and it’s lead programmer Ethan Pryce. When Ethan’s superiors misuse the tools he developed to fight terrorism, Ethan goes rogue. He downloads a head full of damning data that could destroy The Proxy Initiative and he taps into their system, so the next time they hack someone he'll take over instead.

    .and then…

    A glitch overloads his wetware and he loses control. Now, every night Ethan is forced into the bodies of strangers (through their wetware connection?). He experiences the world through their eyes, feels their pain, and controls their bodies. A trio of psychopaths working for The Proxy Initiative hunt these bodies down. To locate the real Ethan, they'll murder and torture as many surrogates as they have to because he's the only one with the power to stop them. (Tried to tinker with your phrasing here )

    His wetware glitch leaves the data that he sacrificed so much to get inaccessible without specialized hardware. Hardware owned and guarded by the very people hunting him down. Ethan must find a way destroy the Proxy Initiative before they destroy him or die trying…. Or something very cliff-hangerish. (coined that one myself)

    Leave them gasping as they read your last line :)

    Your first 250 are solid. I made a few suggestions/changes in the text. Well done!

    First 250 Words:

    Drive full.

    The message flashes in my brain. HERE With sweat slicked fingers, I grab the cable jacked into the base of my skull and scan the list of documents.

    Shit. The Proxy software isn’t downloaded. I rearrange the files and send mental instructions to override the wetware-brain barrier. It will overwrite some personal memories, but I need that software.

    My past is best forgotten anyhow. (oooh)

    “It's time, Ethan.” Meridian takes her eyes off the view of Central Park, and rises from my couch. (HERE tinkered for clarity )Her dark face crinkles? with anticipation. “Got everything?”

    “Not quite. Proxy ‘ware’s incomplete.”

    “You didn’t download it first?” Meridian scowls at me. "I thought you were supposed to be smart."

    “Just a few seconds.” I flick a nervous smile at her. "You can give me that much more of this life."

    Meridian takes in my penthouse apartment. "You got it good here, but you'll adapt." Her face twitches. She's a surprisingly bad liar for a double agent betraying one of the most secretive and powerful companies in America. (nice line)

    "I'm tougher than I look." I puff out what little there is of my chest. "What's it like… being poor?"

    "For starters, don't say shit like that or you'll get a punch in the—"

    Loud popping noises from the hall outside (HERE - deleted penthouse apartment - echoed from above - would assume hall was outside apartment :) cut her off mid-sentence.

    “Time to go.” Meridian draws a pistol from inside her jacket and chambers a round.

    "You're going to kill them?"

    "You think this is a fucking game?"

    Best of luck!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love your first 250 words. Very well done. I love the premise of this story as well. As the others have suggested, work on tightening your query and delivering oomph from the start.

    Best of luck!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Good query! Super cool concept. Couple things only: "rebellious young woman" be more specific about who she is and why she's helping. "Makes George Orwell look like an optimist." However much I like this line, I think you should be more specific :)

    250: Absolutely nothing bad to say. Good, good work.

    Thank you for your entry!

    ReplyDelete
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