Writers Voice Contest Entry 140

Query Letter:

Eighteen year old Naomi Williams is awaiting a transfer to an adult prison when she receives a mysterious visitor.  The man reveals that he’s one of the government officials responsible for her imprisonment, but that’s the least of his bad news.  The violent boyfriend Naomi was convicted of murdering was the son of a Renegade leader.  Now the Renegades—an American terrorist organization—want her dead.

Her best chance for survival lies with the secret government organization to which her visitor belongs.  Naomi is assured that working for the government will allow her to fight back against the Renegades and avoid further jail time.  All she has to do is survive the necessary training and she’ll be given a job in the field. 

Then she meets James, a gang member who manages to inadvertently interfere with several of her assignments.  When he discovers the nature of her employment, Naomi knows she has only bought herself more trouble.  Now Naomi is saddled with a boy she’s still not sure she can trust and a government that doesn’t know James is in on their secret.  And with the Renegades closing in on her organization, she must decide which matters more—James’s life, or her own.  

First 250 Words:

  The clank of her cell door opening startled Naomi upright.  "Williams, you have a visitor," the guard said.

  Naomi stared blankly at her, legs dangling off the edge of her bunk.  "What?"

  "You have a visitor," the guard repeated.  "There's a man here to see you."

  "But it's not my parents' day to visit, and my dad–"

  "You.  Have.  A.  Visitor."  By now there was no masking the irritation in the guard's voice.  "Get your ass up and come with me."

  Picking herself up off her bed, Naomi attempted to straighten her wrinkled uniform before her hands were cuffed.  A small calendar on the wall, checked off boxes counting the length of her incarceration, read September 4th, 2025.  The guard held her by an elbow as she escorted Naomi through a maze of hallways to a small visiting area at the front of the facility.  

  The room was about half full with girls and their families or friends.  They talked in low voices, their volume occasionally flaring up on a shout or a curse.  Laughter was all but unheard of here.  

  It took Naomi all of two seconds to identify the man who'd come to see her.  He sat by himself at a table in the farthest corner of the room.  His posture was perfect, better than hers, even though her mother had snapped at her to sit up straight for years.  As the guard led her up to the table, she noticed his expensive-looking suit and his neat, close-cropped hair.    


25 thoughts on “Writers Voice Contest Entry 140

  1. Good luck!

    Hi Iris, I’m visiting your blog from the Writer’s Voice Contest (entry #58), and I wanted to wish you the best of luck! Nice to meet you.

  2. Yay Renegades!

    Something we have in common, although mine are distinctly more medieval, but just as fierce. Apparently.
    Cool concept, strong, appealing voice – just one problem – can’t see a title. I’m beginning to think it’s me …
    Jacky (#130)

  3. Hi Ellen, just dropping by to wish you well in the contest! Interesting query, I like your first 250 – it conveys a real sense of seriousness. Guess that being imprisoned is not the fun it’s cracked up to be…. Good luck!

  4. Just wanted to circle back around here and let you know that your entry was on my short short list. In fact, I almost picked it to fill the tenth slot on my team. I think your premise is so great, and your first page positively crackles with the promise of life-changing conflict. I remember seeing this somewhere else a while back (Nathan Bransford’s forums, maybe?), and as much as I loved the first page then, I love this one even more.

    But therein lies the reason I decided to go with one of the other entries: Since I knew you’d been querying this one for a while, I just worried that some of our agents might have seen it before. But really, that’s the ONLY reason I didn’t pick you, so I very much hope that you’re about to get an offer. This is just the kind of book I’d love to read in print:)

    Best of luck!

    • Hey! I know I’m late responding to this–have been out of the country for the past eleven days–but I really wanted to let you know how much this meant. I remember entering one of your contests a while back, where you gave me some really superb feedback, and I wanted to say thanks for the continued encouragement.

      I’ve done a lot of rewriting on this manuscript, and I’ll be querying again once I have everything in its proper place and ready to go.

      I really appreciate your praise and your taking the time to leave a comment. Thanks for the opportunity to participate in The Writer’s Voice!

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