Monday, February 20, 2017

#SonofaPitch: Query #5: Beneath Green

For my regular readers, these are some special posts this week as part of a pitch contest I'm providing feedback for. My normal musings will return next week.

For participants, welcome to my blog! I'm happy to host you and excited to see what kinds of stories you've written. Please remember that only the author of this piece and the participating judges are supposed to comment. All other comments will be deleted.

We're Team Hera! Because here on Balancing Act, we're both bad-ass and warm and nurturing, and we'll fight to bring out the best in our crew, um, team. :-)

You can check out other teams on the other hosting blogs: Elsie Elmore (Team Droids), Elizabeth Roderick (Team Leia), Kathleen Ann Palm (Team Darkside), Rena Rocford (Team Rebels), and of course, our organizer and Grand Poobah, Katie Hamstead Teller.

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Title: BENEATH GREEN
Genre: Adult Science Fiction
Word Count: 64,000

Query:

Aev, a Journeyman Architect, hides from invaders terraforming her authoritarian planet, discovering it’s better to die on the surface than rot underground.

Launching world-evolving mists, the terraformers turn Aev’s homogenous white world green. It’s genocide, and she’s lost everything—her family, her home. Now, in the shadows underground, she cowers. From her own desperate people. From the enemy.

To subsist, she scavenges food, water, a place of her own in the catacombs under the city. Slaughtering to survive. As her people burrow deeper, she knows the only way out is up. She has to escape the new green planet, or become a part of the terraformed world. So when her enigmatic mentor asks if she wants “off this rock,” she must trust a cutthroat with a crippled ship.

Otherwise she’ll be left to rot in the dark.

First 250 words:

She saw the stars, the planets. Crystallizing. Unmoved. Microscopic incandescent white voids in the dark sky. Shining far from her. The black-hole ships retreated. The invading fleet ebbed into the obsidian sky. She stood under the reformed surface of her planet, watching from a small entrance not collapsed by the bombs.

Hope burned in her chest. Like the ember of a fire on a damp night, barely smoking. There was much to do before the remaining occupying forces started hunting survivors.

Aev waited quietly in a darkened corner for the dust to settle. The wailing. To stop. But that might take days. When the sick in her stomach passed. The squeezing in her chest released. She rose and walked to the nearest exit out of Underground. The green mist the invaders released hovered outside. Wrapping her world.

She only knew drawing. Buildings. Bridges. Graphite and paper. Lines and geometry. She didn’t know. Death.

A thought twitched in her head. Dark. Cold. Green.

Rebirth.

She didn’t know. Survive.

She needed food. Water.

Her shoulder still screamed red with the pain of dislocation. Something had broken when she set it. The thin bone across her chest. The collar bone. She couldn’t lift her arm.

A crowd gathered. To stare at the banks of green mist outside the door, burning away the smooth white polystone bombed into rubble. Creating layers of dust. The mist boiled in the breeze, thinning.

The stars shone above the mist. Bits of broken blue silcryst in the sky.

18 comments:

  1. The Query: Your opening sentence needs a stronger hook. “Aev, a journeyman architect” doesn’t really mean much without any context, so you begin to lose momentum before you build it.

    But invaders terraforming a planet while it’s still inhabited has tension and sympathy. Try to get to these emotions more immediately. Something like: “When invaders terraform her planet without evacuating the inhabitants first, Aev is forced underground.”

    There’s some good strong engaging language in that second paragraph. “World-evolving mists” tells me what’s happening very succinctly. “Genocide” is a scary and empathy engaging word, as is “cowers.” The quick picture of the desperation of her life underground is good.

    The transition to the opportunity for change and escape is a little more muddled. We’re told that “she knows the only way out is up” which implies that she’s the one with the vision, but then there’s an “enigmatic mentor” she must trust. I’d like to have a clearer vision of that part of the tale.

    First 250 words: The opening two paragraphs have some beautiful description. It’s a nice way to let me into the main character’s point of view: showing me how she sees this. Her resoluteness and purpose.

    The third paragraph continued to be effective in terms of emotion, but the breaking up of the sentences into smaller fragments didn’t always flow for me. For example: “The wailing. To stop.” I’m not sure why those are broken down like that instead of attached to the previous sentence: “the dust to settle, the wailing to stop.” Same with “When the sick” and “The squeezing.” Fragments can be a powerful way to convey frame of mind, but choose your breaks where they serve you best. Here they feel a little too random, like listening to William Shatner read lines.

    You’ve engaged my sympathies pretty well here in these opening lines, though. I feel for all these refugees of their own planet and am anxious to see what action Aev takes.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ok. Samantha, thanks so much for the input! This is great. I think this might help. I "beefed" it up a little. Hopefully it makes it better!

    Query:

    When invaders terraform her authoritarian planet without evacuating the inhabitants, Aev slides into the dark underground, discovering it’s better to die on the surface than rot waiting for the inevitable death-squad raids.

    A Journeyman Architect under the prestigious tutelage of her father, Aev is uninterested in her homogeneous world. But when the stars go dark, and day becomes night, Aev’s cold world crashes.

    Launching world-evolving mists, the black, Beetle-like armored terraformers turn Aev’s homogenous white world green. It’s genocide, and she’s lost everything—her family, her home. Now, in the shadows underground, she cowers. From her own desperate people. From the enemy. In fear of starvation and execution. To subsist, she scavenges food, water, a place of her own in the catacombs under the city. Slaughtering to survive. Following a dangerous new mentor around her new underground world.

    But, as her people burrow deeper, she knows the only way out is up. She must escape the new green planet, or become a part of the terraformed world, either dead on the surface or waiting for death underground. So when her enigmatic mentor asks if she wants “off this rock,” she must trust a cutthroat with a crippled ship. Otherwise she’ll be left to rot in the dark.

    First 250 words:

    She saw the stars, the planets. Crystallizing. Unmoved. Microscopic incandescent white voids in the dark sky. Shining far from her. The black-hole ships retreated. The invading fleet ebbed into the obsidian sky. She stood under the reformed surface of her planet, watching from a small entrance not collapsed by the bombs.

    Hope burned in her chest. Like the ember of a fire on a damp night, barely smoking. There was much to do before the remaining occupying forces started hunting survivors.

    Aev waited quietly in a darkened corner for the dust to settle. The wailing to stop. But that might take days. When the sick in her stomach passed, the squeezing in her chest released, she rose and walked to the nearest exit out of Underground. The green mist the invaders released hovered outside. Wrapping her world.

    She only knew drawing. Buildings. Bridges. Graphite and paper. Lines and geometry. She didn’t know. Death.

    A thought twitched in her head. Dark. Cold. Green.

    Rebirth.

    She didn’t know. Survive.

    She needed food. Water.

    Her shoulder still screamed red with the pain of dislocation. Something had broken when she set it. The thin bone across her chest. The collar bone. She couldn’t lift her arm.

    A crowd gathered. To stare at the banks of green mist outside the door, burning away the smooth white polystone bombed into rubble. Creating layers of dust. The mist boiled in the breeze, thinning.

    The stars shone above the mist. Bits of broken blue silcryst in the sky.

    ReplyDelete
  3. When invaders terraform her authoritarian planet without evacuating the inhabitants, Aev slides into the dark underground, discovering it’s better to die on the surface than rot waiting for the inevitable death-squad raids. (If it's better to die on the surface, then why is she going underground to die? And what are these death-squad raids...those sounds fascinating...are they different from the terraforming invaders?)

    A Journeyman Architect under the prestigious tutelage of her father, Aev is uninterested in her homogeneous world. But when the stars go dark, and day becomes night, Aev’s cold world crashes. (She was never interested in the world? Being a part of it, being an architect, or just the world itself never interested her? The stars go dark because of the invaders? Then she realizes that she was taking it for granted?)

    Launching world-evolving mists, the black, Beetle-like armored terraformers turn Aev’s homogenous white world green. (Whoa...that's cool...I mean terrible! But cool!) It’s genocide, and she’s lost everything—her family, her home. Now, in the shadows underground, she cowers. From her own desperate people. From the enemy. (She hides from the invaders...are they searching for the people underground?...and hiding from her people...why?) In fear of starvation and execution. (Who wants to execute her?) To subsist, she scavenges food, water, a place of her own in the catacombs under the city. Slaughtering to survive. (Slaughtering...what?) Following a dangerous new mentor around her new underground world. (Who is this dangerous new mentor, why is he dangerous, why did she decide to follow him?)

    But, as her people burrow deeper, she knows the only way out is up. (They go deeper because of the terraforming? Why can't they live after the terraforming, is it making it uninhabitable for them? Is the way it's uninhabitable working its way down into the ground? They have to go up...but to where?) She must escape the new green planet, (Do they have a way off the planet?) or become a part of the terraformed world (they can't live there? Will the invaders kill them?), either dead on the surface or waiting for death underground. So when her enigmatic mentor asks if she wants “off this rock,” she must trust a cutthroat with a crippled ship. Otherwise she’ll be left to rot in the dark. (I like the moment of decision here and stakes. Rotting in the dark sounds...not nice. I am intrigued by this idea. Just confused a bit. What is the main story? What does Aev want? I want to be set with her character. She's how old? She dreams of what? She fears what? I can't decided if she belongs or if she's a outcast...or has outcast herself. Then the invaders come...and she goes underground. The bugs turn the world green...how does she know. Does she go up and see? Are the bugs looking to wipe them out, do they care that there is a race of people there? Is this sci-fi? Or is it fantasy? Sounds a bit fantasy to me.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These questions are great. I'll see what I can use to help out my query! Thanks tons for the input!!!!

      Delete
  4. She saw the stars, the planets. Crystallizing. Unmoved. Microscopic incandescent white voids in the dark sky. Shining far from her. The black-hole ships retreated. The invading fleet ebbed into the obsidian sky. She stood under the reformed surface of her planet, watching from a small entrance not collapsed by the bombs. (Oh! Nice descriptions! Reformed surface...and bombs. Her world is gone. Does she think of what it had been? So she's under the surface, but at a door?)

    Hope burned in her chest. Like the ember of a fire on a damp night, barely smoking. There was much to do before the remaining occupying forces started hunting survivors. (Oh dear. Hunting is bad. What does she have to do?)

    Aev waited quietly in a darkened corner for the dust to settle. (Darkened corner of where?) The wailing to stop. (all the people still on the surface? Ugh.) But that might take days. When the sick in her stomach passed, the squeezing in her chest released, she rose and walked to the nearest exit out of Underground. The green mist the invaders released hovered outside. Wrapping her world. ( Green mist...very cool! She's looking out the door, or has she stepped outside?)

    She only knew drawing. Buildings. Bridges. Graphite and paper. Lines and geometry. She didn’t know. Death. (What about what her world had been? Had she been designing buildings for her world?)

    A thought twitched in her head. Dark. Cold. Green. (Dude. The color of death. nice!)

    Rebirth.

    She didn’t know. Survive. (these two fragments together don't work for me...I think Survive belongs on the next line with She needed food...)

    She needed food. Water.

    Her shoulder still screamed red with the pain of dislocation. (How did that happen? OUCH!) Something had broken when she set it. The thin bone across her chest. The collar bone. She couldn’t lift her arm. (REALLY OUCH!)

    A crowd gathered. (where? Outside or are they all at the door in this underground room?) To stare at the banks of green mist outside the door, (oh, they're all inside!) burning away the smooth white polystone bombed into rubble. Creating layers of dust. The mist boiled in the breeze, thinning. (OMG THE MIST IS EATING AWAY AT THEIR BUILDINGS? THAT'S COOL! And terrible...but cool.)

    The stars shone above the mist. Bits of broken blue silcryst in the sky. (Nice!)

    ( I am a bit lost with the underground...and rooms and doors. Is it like a bomb shelter? I do love the descriptions! Some imagery that will stay in my brain. But I want a better feel for Aev. I get very little from her. Her shoulder hurts...she draws...but how does she feel about the world outside, about the world it isn't anymore. How does she feel about the people with her...who's there? Anyone she knows? What does she want? What did she want? She's going to learn to survive? What about the work they need to do before the aliens hunt them down? I really want to know what happens!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. These questions are great. I'll see what it stirs up. I appreciate you taking the time to look at this.

      Delete
  5. From the lovely Elsie Elmore...via me!

    When invaders terraform her authoritarian planet without evacuating the inhabitants, Aev slides into the dark underground, discovering it’s better to die on the surface than rot waiting for the inevitable death-squad raids. (total anhiliation? The death-squads are going underground to look for survivors?).

    A Journeyman Architect under the prestigious tutelage of her father, Aev is uninterested in her homogeneous world. (Why? Does it have something to do with her father?) But when the stars go dark, and day becomes night, Aev’s cold world crashes. (Does her Journeyman Architect knowledge know how to fix this?

    Launching world-evolving mists, the black, Beetle-like armored terraformers turn Aev’s homogenous white world green. It’s genocide, and she’s lost everything—her family, her home. Now, in the shadows underground, she cowers. From her own desperate people. From the enemy. In fear of starvation and execution. To subsist, she scavenges food, water, a place of her own in the catacombs under the city. Slaughtering to survive. Following a dangerous new mentor around her new underground world. (So, total flip – when I read the white world turns greens then read about food = I wonder if the food she’s searching for is all genetically manufactured/produced if there’s no green. And if so, then on the surface? )

    But, as her people burrow deeper, she knows the only way out is up. (they have to fight the terraformers? That’s not an option?) She must escape the new green planet, or become a part of the terraformed world, either dead on the surface or waiting for death underground. (do the terraformers and current inhabitants share resources? Is there any unity within her race?

    (So when her enigmatic mentor asks if she wants – if her mentor is not the cutthroat – I’d leave him out. ) The offer to get “off this rock,” means she must trust a cutthroat with a crippled ship. Otherwise she’ll be left to rot in the dark…. Her only other option is to rot in the dark? (amp up very ending a bit more?)

    great sounding story line – the query is in good shape and you’ve made great progress from the first post. I had a few questions as I read, but a touch of clarity and you’re rock solid. Love the creativity)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so very much Elsie (and Kathy for being the courier!). This is great stuff.

      Delete
  6. Also from the lovely Elsie Elmore...via me!
    First 250 words:

    Aev saw the stars, the planets. Crystallizing. Unmoved. Microscopic incandescent white voids in the dark sky. Shining far from her. The black-hole ships retreated. The invading fleet ebbed into the obsidian sky. She stood under the reformed surface of her planet, watching from a small entrance not collapsed by the bombs.

    Hope burned in her chest. Like the ember of a fire on a damp night, barely smoking. There was much to do before the remaining occupying forces started hunting survivors.

    Aev waited quietly in a darkened corner for the dust to settle. The wailing to stop. But that might take days. When the sick in her stomach passed, the squeezing in her chest released, she rose and walked to the nearest exit out of Underground. The green mist the invaders released hovered outside. Wrapping her world. (When she’s looking for the exit, is she going out there? so it wasn’t dangerous for her to breathe?)

    She only knew drawing. Buildings. Bridges. Graphite and paper. Lines and geometry. She didn’t know. Death. (Is that what she saw on the surface?)

    A thought twitched in her head. Dark. Cold. Green.

    Rebirth.

    She didn’t know. Survive.

    She needed food. Water.

    Her shoulder still screamed red with the pain of dislocation. Something had broken when she set it. The thin bone across her chest. The collar bone. She couldn’t lift her arm. (So, since she’s thinking about it, what will she do? Deal with it later? Find materials to make a sling? )

    A crowd gathered.(in relation to her – are they near – does she avoid them? – do they not mingle?) To stare at the banks of green mist outside the door, burning away the smooth white polystone bombed into rubble. Creating layers of dust. The mist boiled in the breeze, thinning. (based on that description, I’m thinking she wasn’t going outside – then if she was searching for an exit from the underground, where would that lead?)

    The stars shone above the mist. Bits of broken blue silcryst in the sky.

    This has a great vibe to it. Had a few questions as I read. Really liks the picture created in your opening. Great start.

    (All suggestions/thoughts/opinions are humbly offered. Thanks for sharing your words. )

    ReplyDelete
  7. Gently tweeked version of my query and 250 lines.

    Query:

    When invaders terraform her authoritarian planet without evacuating the inhabitants, Aev slides into the dark underground, discovering it’s better to die on the surface than rot waiting for the invader’s inevitable death-squad raids underground.

    A Journeyman Architect under the prestigious tutelage of her father, Aev is uninterested in her homogeneous world, walking through a prescribed life. But when the stars go dark, and day becomes night, Aev’s cold universe crashes.

    Launching world-evolving mists, the black-clad, Beetle-like armored terraformers turn Aev’s homogenous white planet green. It’s genocide, and she’s lost everything—her family, her home. Now, in the shadows underground, she cowers. From her own desperate people. From the enemy. In fear of starvation and execution. To subsist in the catacombs under the city, she scavenges food, water, a place of her own. Slaughtering to survive. Following a dangerous new mentor around her new underground world.

    But, as her people burrow deeper, she knows the only way out is up. She must escape the green planet, or become a part of the terraformed world, either fighting on the surface or waiting for death underground. So when her enigmatic mentor asks if she wants “off this rock,” she must trust a cutthroat with a crippled ship. Otherwise she’ll be left to rot in the dark.


    First 250:

    She saw the stars, the planets. Crystallizing. Unmoved. Microscopic incandescent white voids in the dark sky. Shining far from her. The black-hole ships retreated. The invading fleet ebbed into the obsidian sky.

    Hope burned in her chest. The ember of a fire on a damp night, barely smoking. There was much to do before the remaining occupying forces started hunting survivors.

    Aev waited quietly in a darkened corner for the dust to settle. The wailing to stop. But that might take days. When the sick in her stomach passed, the squeezing in her chest released, she rose and walked to the nearest exit out of Underground. She stood under the reformed surface of her planet, watching from the small entrance not collapsed by the bombs. The green mist the invaders released hovered outside. Wrapping her world.

    She only knew drawing. Buildings. Bridges. Graphite and paper. Lines and geometry. She didn’t know. Death. Dark. Cold. Green.

    She didn’t know.

    Survive.

    She needed food. Water.

    Her shoulder still screamed red with the pain of dislocation. Something had broken when she set it. The thin bone across her chest. The collar bone. She couldn’t lift her arm.

    A crowd gathered near the exit. To stare at the banks of green mist outside the door, burning away the smooth white polystone bombed into rubble. Creating layers of dust. The mist boiled in the breeze, thinning.

    Aev shuddered at the touch of a woman’s hand. A woman wearing a turban of the farmers of Qor.

    ReplyDelete
  8. My thoughts. I am no agent, but I have seen my fair share of queries while reading subs for one of my publishers and while querying my own works. So, I hope this is of some benefit to you.

    I have used your most recently updated version for this critique.

    Query:

    When invaders terraform her authoritarian planet without evacuating the inhabitants, Aev slides into the dark underground, discovering it’s better to die on the surface than rot waiting for the invader’s inevitable death-squad raids underground.

    ****This is a great start. I'd like to see something with a bit more voice and oomph though.***

    A Journeyman Architect under the prestigious tutelage of her father, Aev is uninterested in her homogeneous ***homogeneous to what? Earth? So they are humanoid? Make this clear.*** world, walking through a prescribed life.
    ***I had to read this a couple of times. At first I thought you were introducing a second character. Make this sentence a little clearer***
    But when the stars go dark, and day becomes night, Aev’s cold universe crashes.
    ***If she's underground, how does she know, and how does it affect her?***

    Launching world-evolving mists, ***ok, so continuing on, I realize the last paragraph is before the terraform incident. Make that clear somehow before here.*** the black-clad, Beetle-like armored terraformers turn Aev’s homogenous white ***if it's white, it's not homogenous to Earth, so what is it homogenous to?*** planet green. It’s genocide, and she’s lost everything—her family, her home. Now, in the shadows underground, she cowers.***I'd use a semicolon here or you have short, fractured sentences*** From her own desperate people.*comma* From the enemy.*comma* In fear of starvation and execution. To subsist in the catacombs under the city, she scavenges food, water, a place of her own. Slaughtering to survive. Following a dangerous new mentor around her new underground world.

    But, as her people burrow deeper, she knows the only way out is up. She must escape the green planet, or become a part of the terraformed world, either fighting on the surface or waiting for death underground. So when her enigmatic mentor asks if she wants “off this rock,” she must trust a cutthroat with a crippled ship. Otherwise she’ll be left to rot in the dark.

    Sounds intense! Just some tweaks from me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I will take a look at how your feedback can help me out! It's invaluable.

      Delete
  9. It wouldn't let me post all at once, so here's you 250 words:

    First 250:

    She saw ***saw is a telling word. Change this to show us and make this opeing line more active** the stars, the planets. Crystallizing. Unmoved. Microscopic incandescent white voids in the dark sky. Shining far from her. The black-hole ships retreated. The invading fleet ebbed into the obsidian sky.

    ***Great description!***

    Hope burned in her chest. The ember of a fire on a damp night, barely smoking. There was much to do before the remaining occupying***-ing -ing here. Reword. Something like 'the remainder of the occupying...'** forces started hunting***cut started, just hunted*** survivors.

    Aev waited quietly in a darkened corner for the dust to settle. The wailing to stop. But that might take days. When the sick in her stomach passed, the squeezing in her chest released, she rose and walked to the nearest exit out of Underground. She stood under the reformed surface of her planet, watching from the small entrance not collapsed by the bombs. The green mist the invaders released hovered outside. Wrapping her world.

    She only knew drawing. Buildings. Bridges. Graphite and paper. Lines and geometry. She didn’t know. Death. Dark. Cold. Green.

    She didn’t know.

    Survive.

    She needed food. Water.

    Her shoulder still screamed red with the pain of dislocation. Something had broken when she set it. The thin bone across her chest. The collar bone. She couldn’t lift her arm.

    A crowd gathered near the exit. To stare at the banks of green mist outside the door, burning away the smooth white polystone bombed into rubble. Creating layers of dust. The mist boiled in the breeze, thinning.

    Aev shuddered at the touch of a woman’s hand. A woman wearing a turban of the farmers of Qor.

    Awesome world building to set up the story! Great job! Just watch out for those little passive and show vs tell phrases.

    Goodluck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The funny thing is I spotted those, well, my CPs did, and I already fixed them in the doc! Totally on the same page! Thanks again!

      Delete
  10. More tweaks.

    Query:

    Invaders terraform without evacuating Aev’s authoritarian planet, so she slips into the dim underground. Leaving behind the clean surface world with only her mother’s last words, “Survive, at any cost.” But Aev discovers it’s better to fight on the surface than rot in darkness, waiting for genocide.

    As a Journeyman Architect under the prestigious tutelage of her father, Aev is uninterested in her homogeneous white world, walking through a prescribed life on the surface. But when the stars go dark, and day becomes night, Aev’s cold universe crashes.

    Launching world-evolving mists, the black, Beetle-like armored terraformers turn Aev’s stark planet green. After a riot to escape off-planet, she loses everything—her family, her home. Now, in the shadows underground, she cowers. From her own desperate people. From the enemy. In fear of starvation and execution. To subsist in the catacombs under the city, she scavenges food, water, a place of her own. Slaughtering to survive. Following a dangerous new mentor around her new underground world.

    As her people burrow deeper to evade the invaders’ death-squads, she realizes the only way out is up. Escape the green planet, or become a part of the terraformed world, either fighting on the surface or waiting for death underground. So when her enigmatic mentor asks if she wants “off this rock,” she must trust a cutthroat with a crippled ship. Otherwise she’ll be left to rot in the dark.


    First 250 words:

    She watched the stars, the planets. Crystallizing. Unmoved. Microscopic incandescent white voids in the dark sky. Shining far from her. The black-hole ships retreated. The invading fleet ebbed into the obsidian sky.
    Hope burned in her chest. The ember of a fire on a damp night, barely smoking. There was much to do before the remaining invaders hunted survivors.

    Aev waited quietly in a darkened corner for the dust to settle. The wailing to stop. But that might take days. When the sick in her stomach passed, the squeezing in her chest released, she rose and walked to the nearest exit out of Underground. She stood under the reformed surface of her planet, watching from the small entrance not collapsed by the bombs. The green mist the invaders released hovered outside. Wrapping her world.

    She only knew drawing. Buildings. Bridges. Graphite and paper. Lines and geometry. She didn’t know. Death. Dark. Cold. Green.

    She didn’t know.

    Survive.

    She needed food. Water.

    Her shoulder still screamed red with the pain of dislocation. Something had broken when she set it. The thin bone across her chest. The collar bone. She couldn’t lift her arm.

    A crowd gathered near the exit. To stare at the banks of green mist outside the door, burning away the smooth white polystone bombed into rubble. Creating layers of dust. The mist boiled in the breeze, thinning.

    Aev shuddered at the touch of a woman’s hand. A woman wearing a turban like the farmers of Qor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  11. Let's try this again:

    Query:

    After they terraform her planet without evacuating, invaders force Aev from the stark upper levels of the city into the dim underground. Clinging to her mother’s last words, “Survive, at any cost,” Aev discovers it’s better to fight on the surface than rot in darkness waiting for genocide.

    As a Journeyman Architect under the prestigious tutelage of her father, Aev is uninterested in her homogeneous authoritarian world, walking through a prescribed life with an assigned marriage and segregated home. But when the invaders make stars go dark, and day become dusk, Aev’s cold universe crashes.

    Launching world-evolving mists, the black, Beetle-like armored terraformers turn Aev’s white planet green. She loses everything in a riot to escape off-planet—her family, her home. Now, in the shadows underground, she cowers. From her own desperate people. From the enemy. In fear of starvation and execution. To subsist in the catacombs, she scavenges food, water, a place of her own. Slaughtering to survive. Following a dangerous new mentor around her new underground world.

    As her people burrow deeper to evade the invaders’ death-squads, she realizes the only way out is up. Escape the green planet, or become a part of the terraformed world, either fighting on the surface or waiting for death underground. So when her enigmatic mentor asks if she wants “off this rock,” she must trust a cutthroat with a crippled ship. Otherwise she’ll be left to rot in the dark.


    First 250:

    She watched the stars, the planets. Crystallizing. Unmoved. Microscopic incandescent white voids in the dark sky. Shining far from her. The black-hole ships retreated. The invading fleet ebbed into the obsidian sky.

    Hope burned in her chest. The ember of a fire on a damp night, barely smoking. There was much to do before the remaining invaders hunted survivors.

    Aev waited quietly in a darkened corner for the dust to settle. The wailing to stop. But that might take days. When the sick in her stomach passed, the squeezing in her chest released, she rose and walked to the nearest exit out of Underground. She stood under the reformed surface of her planet, watching from the small entrance not collapsed by the bombs. The green mist the invaders released hovered outside. Wrapping her world.

    She only knew drawing. Buildings. Bridges. Graphite and paper. Lines and geometry. She didn’t know. Death. Dark. Cold. Green.

    She didn’t know.

    Survive.

    She needed food. Water.

    Her shoulder still screamed red with the pain of dislocation. Something had broken when she set it. The thin bone across her chest. The collar bone. She couldn’t lift her arm.

    A crowd gathered near the exit. To stare at the banks of green mist outside the door, burning away the smooth white polystone bombed into rubble. Creating layers of dust. The mist boiled in the breeze, thinning.

    Aev shuddered at the touch of a woman’s hand. A woman wearing a turban like the farmers of Qor.

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