Monday, April 18, 2011

Submissio Shallee

Name: Shallee McArthur
Email: shallee.mcarthur [at] gmail [dot] com
Title and Genre: Devolutionaries -- YA dystopian

Pitch: Ash must sacrifice his ability to talk in order to hone his telepathy and save his grandad from a Government experiment on thought control.

250 words: Grandad lied to me a lot. I’d known that for a long time. But standing at the counter at the Distribution Center, I decided everybody lied.

“You only gave me four potatoes,” I said.

“Well, you only gave me four Produce coupons.” The clerk tossed her braid behind her shoulder. She smiled, making her pox scars wrinkle across her face. Was she flirting with me while she cheated me?

I ignored the smile. My eyes went to the shelves that stretched behind the counter, piled high with tin cans and semi-fresh produce. Including two more potatoes that should be mine.

“I gave you six coupons.” I glared at her through the damp brown hair hanging in my eyes. The ceiling fans circled above me, totally useless.

Her smile faded. “Maybe you dropped some. I only counted four.”
“Look, my boss doesn’t give me enough—“ I clamped my mouth shut.

Working in Kessler’s bike repair shop should have given me more coupons than it did, but Scavengers had an unspoken rule. We didn’t rat each other out to the Government. I didn’t want Kessler’s death on my head.

I glanced toward one of the military policemen in his blue uniform. He scanned the silent line of people that trailed out the door and bounced the butt of his automatic rifle in his pox-scarred hands like he was bored. Nobody made a sound under his watch. We knew the rules: silence and order. We knew the punishment, too. That gun was loaded.


  1. I like the title and the first page flows well. There's immediate tension and a sense of desperation. You also do a great job of showing. The only think I'd change: Distribution Center. It sounds like a large warehouse, rather than a ration market. Great job!

  2. I like this. The pitch gives me a good sense of his goal and motivation. Saving one's grandparent is worthy, but I hope you have developed their relationship enough so that the stakes seem high. I'm kind of thinking, if the old guy gets thought controlled, so what? (I know, horrid, but hey . . .) As long as he is important enough for the mc to lose his voice over, then this is great. Nice opening to the dystopian world.

  3. The writing is the first 250 is really quite good. Loved the subtle descriptions--like the wet hair and the glance at the ceiling fan. Great way to show and not tell!!

    The pitch confused me a little but I may be looking too deeply into it--the first question I had was whether his granddad is telepathic, too? How would keeping his mouth shut keep his granddad's thoughts under control? Or keep the gov't from controlling them? Again, I could just be overlooking something or missing the point. I find pitches so hard to decipher and even harder to execute sometimes.

  4. Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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