Wednesday, October 18, 2017

PitchWars Critique - SHADOWS OF OBLIVION

I LOVE being a mentor for PitchWars. BUT there is one bad part - having to choose just one manuscript to mentor when there are so many with so much potential.

And so, wanting to give something back to those who chose Mindy McGinnis and myself as one of the mentor teams to submit to, we decided to offer first page and query critiques on our blogs. Our decision to do this via our blogs, rather than a private email, is so that (hopefully!) everyone can learn a little bit from this feedback.

And for anyone out there looking for personalized feedback, I also offer manuscript critique services which you can find more out about here.  

Dear Mentor, 
Kelsi is looking for a purpose, something bigger than herself, but she never expected that wish to come true. Blackmailed into kidnapping a student from Earth, Nero is faced with the unlikely decision of revenge or humanity while hunting a mysterious organization that kidnaps people and vanishes without a trace. You've lost me. Kelsi wants what specifically? And then what happens to her? Establish that before moving onto Nero. You also need to be more clear about how and why and where these two people (beings?) intersect.
Justifying his decision to hide Kelsi onboard his spaceship Nemesis, how is she onboard his ship? When is this taking place? Nero’s gray morals are brought into question by his crew and himself. specifically what morals and brought into question specifically how? He’s always done the wrong things for the right reason in this pursuit, but now the Grey Men who are the gray men? have taken it a step further, taken what specifically one step further? comprising the one thing Nero swore he’d never do; what is the one thing he swore he'd never do?!?!? it’s time to pay them back in kind. Pay who back how? I am so lost here.

Paragraph break here. Faced with the reality of never returning to Earth, Kelsi must choose between hopelessness and accepting what fate has dealt her. Together, they she and Nero? delve into the mystery of the Grey Men, who they are and what they are after, but there are consequences for such actions. what consequences? As the Nemesis crew struggles to overcome the obstacle what obstacle? set forth by the Grey Men, Kelsi is forced to question if all of this If all of what is a misunderstanding? I am still not clear on what exactly happened to her. is a misunderstanding, or if she was meant to be there all along.

Camille is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of the University of Southern California with a B.A. in English: Creative Writing.
Combining action/adventure and heart  I'd cut this, unless you mean to say romance in which cause say that with light science fiction, The Shadows of Oblivion title should be in caps, a young adult science fiction is complete at 120,000 words. WOH! That is on the long side for ya fiction - even SFF. I'd see about cutting that word count down. 
Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Wishes,

The Shadows of Oblivion
Chapter 1
Paradise; whoever named the grimy, enclosed, shadow of a city didn’t think it would end up like this. Not that Nero minded. He slid from the corner of the adobe structure back into the dirt street. Despite the violence and the deadbeats, the constant state of upheaval Paradise could never seem to shake, he still preferred this city to the ceaseless clamor of Henrik or gilded cosmopolitan of Mojo. It'd be nice to get a bit better sense of Paradise before you move onto naming other cities. The comparison doesn't really help define what/where/when Paradise is
The warehouse that enclosed Paradise, protecting it from the relentless winds and sand of the planet, was crumbling at the rafters. Spots of sun and windblown sand eddied through the openings, falling in the air around Nero as he walked towards the main artery of the city. Turning up the collar of his trench coat and ducking his chin inside, he avoided the blast of hot dirt that came at him, the hungry sand eager to find a resting place. This is nice description. I can "see" this. 
Nero shook the sand off his coat as he walked down the main thoroughfare, cautiously avoiding the children who scurried in and out of the shadows. The unseasoned wannabes trying their luck on Vurrik didn’t stand a chance against the ravaging pickpockets who ruled this city of villains and scum. villains and scum seems a little overly harsh when talking about children - even if they are pickpockets.
Ev’s sat on the corner of the central crossroad, along with many other cantinas and gambling houses. Nero didn’t slow as he crossed the intersection, weaving his way through Paradise’s congestion with ease. Many of the traders stepped out of his way. Towering above the bulk of the crowd, his battered trench coat nipping at his heels, Nero cut an intimidating figure. The writing here is good, although there are definitely places where I think you could cut a sentence here or there and not loose anything. Basically we have a lot of description of Nero walking and the city. You mention Nero's trench coat twice - once when he turns up the collar and then again here in this last paragraph. Does it need two mentions? Considering the word count on your full MS, I'd recommend having a critique partner help you find places to cut.