Thursday, June 20, 2013

QK Round 4: Jungle Vendetta versus Colorblind

Entry Nickname: Jungle Vendetta
Title: Savage Jungle
Word Count: 60,000
Genre: MG Science Fiction


Twelve-year-old wimp and self-designated videogame pro Kreith Briggs’s birthday is off to a great, but scary start: a wild safari with his Uncle Tonas through the most treacherous jungle in the whole universe. The tour’s real fun, if not a bit creepy, until Kreith discovers he and his uncle have been set up.

The jungle’s got seven of the ten most exotic—and most lethal—animal species in the universe, including the super-sneaky electrocat and the giant land squid. But Wilmur Banx, the host of the tour, holds an old, even more lethal grudge against Uncle Tonas and the other twenty-four safari guests. That’s why he strands each pair of victims in separate places in the jungle with zero protection from the universe's fiercest beasts.

Kreith and Uncle Tonas head toward an old research facility where they can call for help and get off the planet alive. Only Kreith gets separated from his uncle and now he’s got no plan at all. Armed with a trusty new guidebook and his knack for all things techno-nerdy, his and his uncle’s survival—not to mention the lives of any remaining safari guests—rests squarely on his puny shoulders.

First 250 Words:

My heart rate doubles as Uncle Tonas hands me what I’ve been waiting for all day. Heck, all year—a present about the size of my fist. He always gets me the coolest gifts, like that fluorescent slug from planet Zambor last year for my eleventh birthday.

I rip the wrapping paper off the present without removing the bow, lift the lid off the cardboard box, and peer inside. A small electronic chip rests on the bottom.

“What’s—?” I ask.

“It’s a book,” Uncle Tonas says, eyes wide in his huge, muscular face. “Go on, download it.” He leans forward with those monstrous shoulders of his, a cigar between his pointer and middle finger. The total opposite of me. Sure, I’m only twelve years old, but my overly large black sweatshirt and baggy jeans hide the fact I’m as skinny as Uncle Tonas’s pinky finger.

“Uh…okay.” A book? That’s what he got me—a book? I try not to show my disappointment as I pick up the tiny chip and insert it into my Multipurpose Bracelet, my parents and Uncle Tonas looking on from the couch. I should really try to be grateful. It’s the thought that counts, after all.

“Would you like to download the book The Top 200 Most Treacherous Creatures in the Universe?” the MB asks in a voice as gruff as Uncle Tonas’s. I set the MB’s voice to that because it sounds like his and he’s the man, though I’m starting to doubt that after this sorry present…


Entry Nickname: Colorblind 
Title: An Uncommon Blue 
Word Count: 65K 
Genre: YA Sci Fi 


In Télesphore, the glowing color of a person’s palm determines their place in society, and touching hands with another mixes the colors permanently. For the first sixteen years of his life, rugby star Bruno Nazaire hasn't had any trouble keeping his hands to himself. But when a Green boy sneaks into Blue Campus to get Bruno's autograph and is attacked by a guard, Bruno falls into defense mode.

And kills the guard.

Whether or not the slaying was accidental, the rule of law has not been challenged in fifty years and the Steward is determined to make an example of Bruno. That is, if he can catch him.

Bruno's only chance at survival is to become someone else. That means a haircut, a change of wardrobe, and most important, getting rid of his once cherished Blue. Now he’s visiting parts of town he never knew existed, and making friends with people he would've crossed the street to avoid only weeks ago. But the officials hunting him are getting smarter, and in a city enclosed by jagged iron fences, there are only so many places to hide.At the last minute, Bruno’s parents arrange a deal to clear his name and get some semblance of his life back. All Bruno has to do is abandon those in the Red slums that look to him as a leader and let a familiar Green boy die in his place.

Or there's always offense.

First 250 words: 

There are three unspoken rules in high school rugby. 

1. Your team members are family. 

2. You support your family. 

3. This support must be shown periodically with an affectionate slap on the butt. 

After four years as the starting right winger, I had almost gotten used to this. 

Almost. At least I no longer felt the urge to bloody my teammates' noses when they tried it. But in the middle of the hall? No way. During school hours my glutes were off limits. 

I whirled around to explain this to whichever of my idiotic team members was behind me. 

Instead, I found myself face to face with an attractive redhead. 

“Hey, Bruno,” Drea said with a smirk. “Ready for the test?” 

I opened my mouth but no sound came out. 

Even with her super-short hair, Drea was stunning. Before last summer she’d often been mistaken for a boy. But that all ended when puberty hit. With both fists.

I recovered from my embarrassment enough to nod. 

She leaned against the lockers. Her face reflected the light from her blue palm as she twisted an earring. “History should be a breeze compared to pre-calc. I wanted to stab myself in the eye when I got to that section on antiderivatives.” 

I grunted and fumbled with my combination. 

Without warning she came up close and spoke in a half-whisper. Her hair smelled like coconut. “I know someone that likes you. If you hurry up with that lock, we might have time to talk before the final.”


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

    1. Victory to Jungle Vendetta

      This one was so tough, because I love Colorblind and its premise, but I want to go on this futuristic jungle adventure with Kreith.

    2. Victory to Jungle Vendetta.

      This one was tough, but it came down to 'which one sounds more interesting' and an adventure through an alien forest sounds awesome. Not that Colorblind wasn't incredible--just that Jungle sounded more interesting. Not a bad thing, Colorblind; this is a very tough match-up!

    3. Victory to Jungle Vendetta

      Both fo these are cool, and I wish you luck!

    4. Victory to ColorBlind.

      I felt I connected well to the voice and query in both entries. To me, it came down to concept. I'm really intrigued with ColorBlind's premise.

    5. Victory to COLORBLIND

      I love the playful middle grade tone and voice of Jungle so much, but I'm really intrigued with the premise of Colorblind. I'd read both in a heartbeat!

    6. Victory to Colorblind.

      What tipped the balance for me is the message behind Colorblind. It's universal and very cleverky executed

    7. Victory to COLORBLIND

      I LOVE this premise, and I chose it because, of the two, it was the one I really remembered well. Good luck to both!

    8. I love the concept in both of these, this is a really hard choice. I'm throwing my tie-breaker vote to JUNGLE VENDETTA because of the strength of the first page.

      Victory to Jungle Vendetta!

  2. Victory to Jungle Vendetta

    Two amazing worlds. You're both so creative. It was a hard choice, but I still adore the MC in Jungle Vendetta.

    Good luck to you both.

  3. What I love is that the protagonist is male in both of these. The pendulum is finally swinging back!

    Victory to JUNGLE VENDETTA, who got the edge based on capturing voice so well.

  4. Victory to Colorblind on this.

    Not easy choices as we get down to the final rounds, but voice carried the day for me with Colorblind. I love both concepts and think either one could fly, but going up against each other the voice in Color is what works best for me.

  5. Congrats to Jungle Vendetta on the win! I'll expect a signed copy when it's published. Thanks again to Michelle, SC, and Mike for putting on this great contest! My query is so much better prepared to go out into the big scary world.

  6. Thanks to the judges as well. (What a tough job!)

  7. I like how Jungle Vendetta's first 250 establishes the characters and also hints at the pending adventure!