Thursday, June 20, 2013

QK Round 4: Elementary Girl versus Supergeeker

Entry Nickname: Elementary Girl
Title: However Improbable
Word count: 72,000
Genre: YA Alt History Mystery


“People see, but they do not observe.” And to Marigny Sheridan, that is elementary. The Saturday night Sherlock Holmes radio broadcast is a staple in the Sheridan household for one simple reason: deciphering people provides all the entertainment she’ll ever need. That is until the Queen’s 50th Jubilee Contest twists the knickers of every eligible teenager in the Empire, and Marigny is unexpectedly selected to become the Colonies' new Saturday night entertainment.

Marigny has no interest in some cockamamie contest. After all, there’s no need for celebration when the British Empire is still going strong well into the 21st century. All she cares about is that her fellow contestants are easy to read. Especially the bitchtastically annoying girl from Australia and the street-smart player from Hong Kong. But as soon as she settles in, her Sherlock senses start to tingle. Something doesn’t smell right. And it’s not the smog over London.

The contest wouldn’t be so ridiculous if she could win riches to support her family. But no, the prize is marriage and Marigny isn’t quite ready for that yet. Even if it is to an heir to the throne.

The only boy she bothers to trifle with is Simon Whitaker, a cocky Islander with a dashing smile and slick charm. In the midst of lock picking the contest host's hotel room and butting heads with constables, they discover someone is pulling the contest strings. But when Marigny unearths an Empire secret, she must either bury her inner Sherlock to avoid exile or follow her hunch and lose Simon forever. As far as Marigny's concerned, winning is just as bad as losing.

First 250 words:

Given the time I’d had to consider it, I would much rather be sentenced to death. Poison or hanging, I had no preference. Yes, it’d be slow and agonizing, but really, that would be merciful compared to what they had in store for me. I wish I hadn’t ever won the damn Sweepstakes for the Colonies. Really, I wish I had listened to my gut and stayed in Maryland.

"Marigny Sheridan,” the brown haired man said, catching my attention. Mostly because he butchered my name. Mare-ig-nee? He said it like I was some horse and iguana hybrid. I wanted to say, “The ‘g’ is silent, idiot,” but I doubted that would have helped my case. I swear he even smelled holier-than-thou, like some volatile mix of expensive perfumes and the dirty stench money leaves on your hand. 

With a sharp breath, the man said, “Before we proceed, do you have anything to say for yourself?” If I spoke, it would undoubtedly seal the likelihood of my exile.

Gazing down at the sloppy clothes I’d thrown on that morning, only one thought came to mind: “I wish I could go out in something a bit more flattering.” But then again, I was all out of wishes at that point.


Entry Nickname: Supergeeker
Word Count: 60,000 words
Genre: YA Fantasy


Fifteen-year-old Talis Brooks has been called a lot of things. Geek. Sad Virgin. Chesty McNoBoobs. But when puberty kicks in overnight, Talis doesn’t just go up a cup size, she gains the strength and agility of a superhero. Suddenly she can toss around 250-pound bullies, fight like a ninja and her butt totally fills out her jeans.

Talis knows what could happen if she doesn’t keep her new powers a secret (government conspiracies! Lab experiments on her brain! Uncomfortable probing!) But when pretty boy Cole is almost stabbed by rogue band geeks, a masked Talis can’t help but save him. Cole and his friends have become targets of a mysterious gang of social misfits, out to take down the popular elite. With her classmates in danger, Talis creates a secret identity to protect them-- even the mean evil bitches out to socially destroy her.

Now Talis is stuck in a love triangle between her, Cole, and her superhero alter ego, her every super move is being tracked and tweeted, and, oh yeah, there’s that psychotic gang situation.

As the gang’s attacks spiral out of control, Talis must figure out a way to stop them before someone, you know. . . dies.

First 250 words:

I just don’t want to die. Of humiliation. Besides getting straight A’s, that’s pretty much my only goal this year.

Coach Marshall, evil fiend in tiny man shorts, is out to thwart my plans. When he divides us up for volleyball, he puts me in with the Beautiful People. This is not where I belong.

Marshall busts me sneaking onto my usual court—the one with my asthmatic friend Jane, Weird Cape Billy and the kid wearing a helmet. My people. He waves me over to the last court. “Talis, I told you, you’re over there today.”

“Coach—” I say, but he’s already moved on, yelling at two freshmen beating each other with the soft baseball bats.

Obviously whoever made PE mandatory isn’t an easy bleeder with little to no physical coordination. I put it off until sophomore year, hoping I’d get breasts before having to engage in the horror of group showers. Unfortunately, puberty is eluding me.

I take my time walking over. I pull up my gym shorts, which are always sliding down, even with the top rolled. I try to look busy, pretending to read the safety guidelines listed on the wall. While I’m admiring the rules and regulations, I get a weird tingly feeling on the back of my neck, like someone’s staring at me. When I look, I lock eyes with just about the worst person possible.

“Are you lost little girl?” Shawna Soto, tyrant of the sophomore class, master of the well-timed slut bomb, purveyor of eating disorders, is talking to me.


  1. This comment is reserved for judges. Go get 'em judges!

    1. Victory to Supergeeker

      Loved both of these (I sound like a broken record, but it's true), I'm just so connected to Talis, cause I was that girl in PE and I always wanted super powers. Great job to both!!

    2. Victory to Supergeeker.

      These are incredible, but Supergeeker had an amazing voice, was funny, and interesting (not that EG wasn't, but SG was more so). It's two incredible entries against each other; don't take it as to mean "I'm not interesting at all!" Because you got this far. So it must be pretty interesting XD

    3. I can't vote in this one due to conflict, but good luck to you both!

    4. Victory to Elementary Girl!

      I just love this concept so much!

    5. The world-building and voice were great in both of these. But for me, because I have to choose, the situation set-up in one just nosed past the other.

      Victory to SUPERGEEKER.

    6. I hate this round- it's too much amazing to choose and I want to read both of these too!!!

      Victory by the slimmest margins to SUPERGEEKER.

    7. Victory to Elementary Girl.

      This was by a hair kombatants. A HAIR.

    8. Can't vote due to conflict but these are both EXCELLENT. Good luck to both!

    9. Victory to ELEMENTARY GIRL.

      I definitely preferred the voice of EG to SG. EG was one of my favorites from the beginning (though SG was and is still awesome!). Great job you guys!

    10. These both have so much humor in the first page. They are killer! I find myself leaning one way, then changing my mind and wanting to pick the other.

      Tiebreaker victory to Elementary Girl!

  2. Victory to Elementary Girl

    Grr, this was so hard. I love you both. You've got to know that. It's the alternate world that draws me. I really want to find out what it's like. Even though Supergeeker, your humor slays me. Wish I could vote for you both.

  3. I really enjoyed the voice in Supergeeker's query and first 250. Talis is a character I probably could have been in high school.