2. Son of a Pitch: QUANTUM

2. Son of a Pitch: QUANTUM

Title: QUANTUM

Age and Genre: YA SF

Word Count: 65,000

Query:

Seventeen-year-old student pilot, Willow Ryan, can be in two places at once, but she only gets to keep one set of memories.

While on a solo flight, she is instantly transported from Texas to Ireland where she meets a true gentleman—the stunning Irish local, Liam Tyl. During her visits, he tries to help her unravel the mystery of how she appears and disappears, but their time together is always short lived.

At home, she has no memory of Liam or her time in Ireland. There are chunks of time that she can’t account for—moments with her friends and family. Most importantly, time with her ailing Mom that can’t be replaced.

Liam reaches out to her through letters, and they discover that there may be two versions of Willow. Now she must learn how to navigate between her two realities without losing the new love in her life or her family back home.

First 250 Words:

It was impossible not to be smiling on my way out to the plane. November-Eight-Niner-Zero-Romeo-Golf, sat there peacefully on the ramp, almost as if it had a personality all its own. The airplane looked ready to take to the skies. The wind was barely blowing, which was a bit of a rarity in west Texas this time of year, and the sky looked perfect. It was almost as if it was calling my name, and I couldn’t wait to get in the air.

I performed my preflight with practiced ease and ordered fuel. Once the fueling was done, I climbed into the small, four seater Cessna. Then I started up the engine, got my clearance to taxi and headed off the ramp on my long trek to the end of the runway.

A few minutes later, one final check before takeoff.  Flaps—Up, Trim—Set, Carburetor Heat—Cold, Mixture—Rich. Everything was set. I pushed the throttle all the way to full. After only a few seconds, the airplane lifted off the ground, and the magic of the air beneath its wings made my heart pump faster. The airplane flew with such little effort on my part. How did this hunk of metal actually fly? The physics of flight amazed me. I glanced from the instruments on the panel, to outside where I was merely feet off the ground. Ah—to be a bird, and be able to do this anytime. That would be incredible.

4 thoughts on “2. Son of a Pitch: QUANTUM

  1. Cool premise for YA book and kudos for a 17yo flying a plane. Love the thought of having to wrap my mind around a time concept.

    Reading over the query left me with a few questions so I added them in the mix.

    A dash of sparkle would amplify the tension/conflict.

    Seventeen-year-old student pilot Willow Ryan can be in two places at once, but she only gets to keep one set of memories. (ooh) While on a solo flight, she is instantly transported from Texas to Ireland where she meets a true gentleman—the stunning Irish local, Liam Tyl. (blinked back she feels lost? Add a transition… desperate to see Liam again, Willow learns how to return to him? Or does she always fly to the same area? is she just drawn here?) During her visits, he tries to help her unravel the mystery of how she appears and disappears, but their time together is always short lived. (tinker and tighten here. Does he want to unravel the mystery so she can stay? That might amp up the tension a bit. Make one of them desperate to see the other?)
    At home, Willow has no memory of Liam or her time in Ireland. There are chunks of time that she can’t account for—moments with her friends and family. Most importantly, time with her ailing Mom that can’t be replaced.
    Liam reaches out to her through letters, and they discover that there may be two versions of Willow. (are there physically two versions because she spent so much time going back and forth? or she has two personalities because she’s spent time in two places? Is it possible only one will survive?) Now she must learn how to navigate between her two realities without losing the new love in her life or her family back home. (this sentence needs a bit more punch. These are the stakes… make them roar)

    First 250 Words:
    It was impossible not to be smiling on my way out to the plane. (Not smiling was impossible – look for ways to condense and remove small words. 🙂 November-Eight-Niner-Zero-Romeo-Golf, sat there peacefully on the ramp, almost as if it had a personality all its own. The airplane looked ready to take to the skies (Why? The shine on the wing? The wink off the windshield? personify. ). The wind was barely blowing, which was a bit of a rarity in west Texas this time of year, and the sky looked perfect. It was almost as if it was calling my name, and I couldn’t wait to get in the air. (please define it)
    I performed my preflight with ease and ordered fuel. Once the fueling was done (tank was capped off?), I climbed into the small, four-seater Cessna. Then I started up the engine, got my clearance to taxi and headed off the ramp on my long trek to the end of the runway. (Slow this down since she loves flying – I started the engine. Did the purr or rumble echo through her body? Clearance to taxi came in and I headed down the ramp. The long trek to the end of the runway was… made me… )
    A few minutes later, one final check before takeoff. Flaps—Up, Trim—Set, Carburetor Heat—Cold, Mixture—Rich. Everything was set. I pushed the throttle all the way to full. After only a few seconds, the airplane lifted off the ground, and the magic of the air beneath its wings made my heart pump faster. The airplane flew with little effort on my part but the physics amazed me. I glanced from the instruments on the panel, to outside where I was merely feet off the ground. Ah—to be a bird, and be able to do this anytime without a machine?). That would be incredible.

    First 250 give me the process of flying but throw in a little more of the pilot’s feelings so we can share the experience. Love where this is headed.

    Best of luck! 🙂

  2. I’m loving this critique. 🙂
    You gave me some great insight. Today’s project will be applying all of it, and making changes so that my query and first 250 really shine.
    Thanks so much for taking the time to offer your opinions and ideas.

  3. Interesting premise. The query is fairly clear, except for some details – why a 17-year-old can be this autonomous…what happens to the plane when she disappears from it…things like that. It’s making it hard for me to picture the story. This seems more like a premise for an adult romance than a YA. I’m also missing stakes, and her goal – which I assume would be to figure out where all her lost time is going, because that would be really frightening – needs strengthening, because I don’t really fell her angst.

    And in the 250 – there’s definitely voice here, but I’m getting zero hint of YA, either. It’s very well-written, but a bit of a slow start, especially for a YA. There’s not a lot of tension. Since I see no hint of YA issues in the query or 250, I’m wondering if it would be that difficult to age up the MC? Then I would have an easier time picturing the story.

    Thank you for your entry!

    1. Thanks so much for your comments. I’ve made a few changes to the query and first 250. I’m looking forward to posting them when its possible. Hopefully I’ve explained a bit more and amped up the stakes.

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