Title: THE ARTIST’S QUEST
Genre: MG science-fiction adventure
Word Count: 53,000
Is your antagonist hot or cold:
Max’s antagonist is nature. And nature is cold, harsh, unforgiving, and heartless. At least, it is as far as he’s concerned. He’s only really dealt with it the one time, but let’s just say he didn’t have a pleasant experience.
Because of his mother’s love of art—and a secret, heirloom paint set—eleven-year-old Max Buckle wants to be an artist more than anything. But living in Unity, a city where art has long-since been obsolete, makes that pretty much impossible. Especially since it’s the only city left.
After Max’s fool-proof plan to revive art with a painting of his own miserably fails, he’s ready to give up on his dream, certain he’ll never be anything more than a worthless orphan. Then he learns of Rome, an ancient city where art is rumored to still exist, and hope fills his lonely heart. Somewhere across the world is an artist’s paradise, a place where Max could actually belong, and he is going to find it.
But a journey through a wild, overgrown world that could take weeks, or more, won’t be easy. For one, Max knows nothing of “survival.” He’s never even seen a “tree” before, let alone food that doesn’t come from a bag. Not to mention fellow orphan and big-time smarty-pants Eliza is coming, despite his objections, and things quickly go south for the bickering explorers. From the moment they step inside the forest, a pack of hungry wolves starts hunting them down. To make matters worse, returning to Unity isn’t an option, not after a terrible storm ruins their boat. Reaching the safety of Rome is their one chance at survival, but if Max and Eliza can’t learn how to work together—and fast—their journey will end inside a wolf’s stomach.
First 250 words:
Max Buckle sat on a deserted beach outside of Unity, the last city in the world.
He stared at a scrap of paper in front of him, secured in place by a small stone so the wind wouldn’t steal it away. He was waiting for the globs of yellow paint streaked across the page to dry, wondering if it would do the sun justice—the real sun.
It had to be perfect if he had any chance of bringing art back to Unity. He couldn’t afford to mess it up—not when his dreams were riding on his presentation. His future, too. What would he be if he wasn’t an artist?
A nobody. That’s what. Or the world’s worst Programmer.
Max looked back up at the gray sky, wishing the clouds would part long enough for him to get a good look at the sun. Then he’d know if his painting was any good, or at least, if it was accurate. But in the mornings he’d spent sneaking out to paint over the last two weeks, he’d never gotten more than a glimpse.
Doubt settled into his gut as he studied the yellow streaks. Maybe it wasn’t good enough. Maybe he wasn’t good enough. Maybe he was just wasting his time.
Beep! Beep! Beep!
Max’s Watch-It beeped loudly, interrupting his thoughts, and he glanced at the small device on his wrist.
“Oh no!” he groaned.
He was wasting time! School started in an hour, and he was still outside the city walls!