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 Fluttershy! Because here on Balancing Act, we're both quite sweet unless you provoke us, in which case, we are terrifying.
You can check out other teams on the other hosting blogs: Rena Rocford (Rainbow Dash), Kathleen Ann Palm (Rarity), Elizabeth Roderick (Discord), Katie Hamstead Teller (Princess Luna)
Title: (Damaged Goods)
Category and Genre: (YA Science Fiction)
Word Count: (100,000)
As if having a boy’s name isn’t bad enough, Joe is an unusually tall and brawny teenage girl with a debilitating stutter, trapped on a continent terrorized by a menacing army of child-snatchers from a neighboring continent. No one knows why they’re kidnapping the children; all Joe knows is she might be next.
Her people came as war refugees to this continent—Australia hundreds of years from now—where she is born, in secret, to her overprotective father. When her people spur an aggressive retaliation from the snatchers, they mount an attack that leaves Joe completely broken, without loved ones and an arm. With the enemy blocking all access to leave the continent, and her father no longer there to protect her, Joe has no choice but to push through her reclusive nature and post-traumatic stress disorder. The new friendships of a quirky, chatterbox boy and secret scientists give her the emotional and physical tools to battle the enemy, including a highly advanced prosthetic arm. With her joke-cracking ally, she embarks on a desperate quest to free her people from the horrors of the enemy.
Joe’s attention has been solely on the enemy, but she soon discovers something is very wrong with her own people, and worse, those she has trusted the most have been keeping her in the dark about how and why her people are on this continent and how it’s connected to everything about her down to her abnormal size.
First 250 Words:
The constriction around my neck has lessened over time. This doesn’t stop the sickening sweat that drenches me. I fear I’ll throw up. Choke.
Uncle Charly carries himself into the room like he’s stepping in from another dimension. Artificial lights tarnish his orange hair. Halos shine behind him. I gaze into Charly’s eyes. He doesn’t acknowledge my stare.
“Let’s give you some time to get used to not having that on,” Charly whispers after removing the neck brace. He looks away. I think my head will fall off my shoulders even though I’m lying flat. Sleep steals me away.
When I wake, an insect-like buzz vibrates in my ears as the top half of my bed inclines; Charly’s pushing a button. He gently squirts water into my mouth. “Can you try sitting up?”
I test my head—it doesn’t feel like it will topple anymore. I attempt to sit, but my body trembles like crazy.
“It’s normal, you haven’t used your muscles in months,” Charly says softly.
I try again. Something’s wrong. Now that the neck brace is not restricting, I finally look down.
A shudder jolts me.
In place of where my right arm should be, is empty air.
They came to reduce our numbers, again. Except this time, one of our soldiers rode up with a haunted face and two fingers in the air. It took my father a few seconds to figure out it meant two children were snatched away instead of one.