Can You Leave us Breathless–Contest Entry

Title:  The Recruited
Genre:  YA thriller

Excerpt: 

A few gunshots went off behind him and James sucked in a breath.  These were Renegades all right.  And if they got their hands on him they’d shoot first and ask questions later.  He’d hoped to lose them with his detour, but when he stopped for a moment the pounding of their footsteps told him they still followed.

With few other options, James followed the hallway along the side of the building and into a large room.  Rows of desks, interrupted only by filing cabinets and cubicle walls, filled the space, creating a giant maze.  His field of vision only extended so far in the darkness, but James knew if he kept low to the ground and wound his way through, he could escape without being discovered.  A room this large had to have more than one exit, he thought. 

He began cutting through the desks, sticking a hand out here and there to swing himself around the edge of a cubicle or change directions.  Halfway across the room, he heard the footsteps approaching from the hallway he’d just left behind.  Knowing he had seconds to hide, James rounded a corner and ducked behind one of the desks, wedging himself between an office chair and the wall. 

“Where is he?” the first man’s voice asked. 

“He’s got to be here,” the second man replied.  “Couldn’t have gotten very far.”

“Then we’ll hunt him out.”  The first guy said this with a sharpness that indicated exactly what James had feared.  They caught him and he was toast.  “Tell the others to keep searching.” 

There are others?  Covering his mouth with one hand to minimize the sound of his breathing, James tried to come up with a plan.  If he couldn’t find Naomi, he was dead.  If the Renegades—and there was no longer any doubt that these were—found him, he was also dead. 

This is a little late to the party, but at least I'm getting it in before midnight on the 21st.  Comment, offer constructive criticism, whatever you wish.  I'm up for anything!

Querying, NaNoWriMo, and Updates Galore

So, I'm well aware that it's been a while since I've posted.  Blame my crazy schedule this year, the social life I'm attempting to have, and mostly my epic procrastination skills.  Apologies. 

Anyway, because I hate when people DON'T do this, I'll be discussing topics in the order by which they are listed in my heading.  First of all, querying.  In the month or so since I've posted, I've received another 50 page partial request, which made my entire week.  I'll be waiting another few weeks to hear back from this agency, and I'll be hoping the news is favorable.  In the meantime, I also received a rejection on the previous partial I had out.  The agent contacted me not long ago with a very nice email about how they just didn't feel quite strongly enough about my novel.  No hard feelings on my end–she was super nice about it.  

Still waiting on the full request, and will probably continue to wait for another month or so.  Again, I'm okay with that, although I keep switching moods in regards to the manuscript and what I think will happen to it.  I mean, I sincerely hope something good comes out of that request, but at the same time I'm nervous.  Then again, I highly doubt that can be helped.

NaNoWriMo planning is coming along.  I'm going to be a rebel this year and start writing soon–and I do mean soon.  Why, may you ask?  There's really only one reason for it, and that is because I like to have a feel for my characters, and the style I plan to use for the story, before I actually have to pump out a ton of words in a month.  Last year's Nano was a failure for a lot of reasons.  Even though I managed to hit 50k, I came out hating the story and everyone in it, mostly because of two mistakes.  One, I tried to adapt a really good short story for novel purposes, and two, because I tried to start writing on November 1st.  

This year, I'm intending to have some written beforehand so I have the basics as firmly within my control as they ever are.  Then, when I crank through 50k–please, God, I hope–I'll be able to advance the story from where it's already going.  Hey, it worked for The Recruited.  With any luck it will work for Nano '11 too.

Finally, the thesis.  I have about 26 pages written of this so far, and I'm really liking how it's coming along.  I learned a lot putting in as much time on The Recruited as I have, and it's making it much easier to produce a zero draft that has far less stuff wrong with it this time around.  It also helps that I'm editing and getting feedback as I go, which wouldn't necessarily be right for any story, but feels right for this one.  

Now if I could only finalize a title for this bad boy, I'd be in really good shape.