Monday, September 17, 2012

GUTGAA Pitch Contest #28 - Dark Bringer

107,000 words

Sometimes it makes sense to fear the dark.
In the enclosed city of New Theta, where imagination can string particles of darkness together to form monsters, people fear the shadow fiends just an unguarded thought away. Imaginatives--those who fantasize--are criminals. Lights blaze 24 hours a day. Electricity is king.

The dark doesn't bother Jenvee Cohan, an electrical linesperson who maintains cables in shadowy tunnels. Ever since she inadvertently summoned the darkness that spirited her grandfather into the Void, the netherworld outside the city, she's sworn off imagination.

That is, until a conjured nightmare throttles Agent Reese Bannon, the Bureau of Light Enforcement’s chief dark-buster in Jenvee’s sector. She breaks her vow by saving the agent’s life. He should be grateful Jenvee’s selfless act keeps him alive. Instead he tags her as his number one person of interest.

And the trouble only begins there. Jenvee’s rekindled imagination refuses to return to sleep mode. The specks of darkness won’t leave her alone. Always capering about, they cajole and needle her to give them form. As persistent as the specks and as famous thanks to news videos, Reese, the guy she’s secretly had a crush on, investigates her, further illuminating her guilt.

Reese has his own problems--starting with an extreme attraction to Ms. Cohan he just can’t shut down. He’s falling for her against his better judgment, his professional ethics and the fact that she’s an Imaginative like his brother Patrick.

Years ago, Patrick messed with the dark and died in the Void, an event that cleaved Reese’s life in two: the brief happy before and the grief-stricken crusade after. Determined to keep the dark from claiming Jenvee, Reese plans to dog her every action—to do whatever it takes to save her.

First 150 words:

Nobody said as much, but Jenvee assumed her fatal flaw--her affinity with the night particles--made her first choice for the tunnel crawl when the lights in New Theta’s Third Ward flickered and went out.

She wouldn’t ask. Not in the middle of a crisis. Not ever, really.

Although she was the newest linesperson, having only received her electrical engineering certificate last May, she strapped on her tool belt and rushed to the maintenance access to repair the faulty wiring.

Hand over hand, she scrambled down the aluminum rungs set into concrete. The illumination from above dwindled steadily until her steel-toed boots left the last rung and clicked on the access tunnel’s poured stone. Her fellow workers closed the hatch, cutting her off from the now-distant patch of battery-powered daylight and from their immediate help. She had to go alone. More people meant more minds for the night particles to play with.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. OK - second attempt at a comment, since I messed up the first time. I really liked the premise of this query and the concept of a world where darkness can be turned into monsters. The shadowy tunnels sounded cool. The first 150 words had a great sense of atmosphere. I'd keep reading!

  3. This is possibly the finest writing I have seen this year. I am really intrigued by this piece. It's creative, fresh and has an interesting series of hooks. The idea of a world where darkness threatens is a concept we have all faced in our nightmares. Stringing seemingly sentient darkness particles together to create "monsters" certainly takes me back to my childhood fears.

    A linesperson as the main character is a fresh occupation and very interesting. Too few stories have the promise of possibility as this one does. It's nice to see someone who removes the swords, and super-powered-villains to spin a lively story, with strong plots and strong characters.

    The author has certainly worked to polish this piece, and it seems to promise a story of depth and creativity that I will be very pleased to read.

  4. I think the first 150 are strong and intriguing. I think the query can be tightened down some - it's quite a bit longer than a standard query. Good luck!

  5. This was amazing. I loved everything about the query and first 150. If I could buy this book today, I would. LOVED!

  6. Great concept! You've got my vote!

  7. I love the changes to the query! Great job :)

  8. Lumpy Space PrincessSeptember 18, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    Love the premise. The idea of shadow fiends and Imaginatives is intriguing. Even though I'm unclear on how exactly that works and how one "swears off" imagination, I'm curious enough to find out. Great writing too.

    You've got my vote!


Hey, do you ever wonder why they call it 'your two cents?'