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IndigoCypher
May 7th, 2013, 03:28 AM
My little, currently 31,000 word YA fiction project. This is the prologue. (Note: I did not come up with the basis for this plot, a friend of mine on Roleplayer's Guild did and let me write a novel out of it.)

PROLOGUE

It all started with an idea.
Doesn’t everything? Didn’t the Empire State Building, the Titanic, space exploration, the Internet, the Roman Empire, nuclear fusion, and all the wars ever fought start out as an idea? Just an idea, a dream, an interesting thought. That’s all they were.
Now we follow a very interesting idea. An idea pitched by one Leanne Richardson, a pretty, intelligent young woman seven years out of graduate school with a degree in sociology and a diamond ring.
“Ever wondered what would happen if kids ruled the world?” Leanne had loftily asked her husband after the birth of her second rambunctious child Bo, who was playing “kingdom” in the living room, with a pink bath towel tied around his neck and a Burger King crown on his little head. The Richardson’s firstborn Leo, at six, was quietly doodling in his room.
Her husband sneered. “Sure. Would suck.” Bo looked up, alarmed. “Stink. Would stink,” Mr. Richardson, an author, said, correcting himself.
“It would be interesting,” argued Leanne. “Past studies have shown that juveniles actually possess many of the higher thinking and reasoning skills to efficiently run a given society, so long as they—”
Mr. Richardson cut her off, blaring the TV. “Yeah, yeah. You know I don’t understand this science crap, honey. Tell it to your friends over at the genius bar.”
So Leanne did.
It took a while—almost five years—, but support was gathered, lobbyists sent, a federal approval and grant, well, granted, and a city constructed on the outskirts of sparsely inhabited Montana (south of Jordan and north of Forsyth, directly to the southwest of Glendive), in the general layout of London. Only geographically, though. The dark, dank metropolis looked nothing like the iconic English capitol.
The UCE, or Universal Children’s Experiment, was in full swing. Most of the time, with the consent of the guardian, sometimes without, kids were collected from every place imaginable and “relocated” to the UCEC, an imposing, walled, derelict city in central Montana, where they were left to their own devices. No guidance, no help—just a city, some food, clothes, materials, each other, and a big crate of weapons.

Jeko
May 7th, 2013, 08:29 AM
Hi Indigo Cycpher,

I'd say the introduction is effective before the second question, which is unnecessary as it doesn't communicate much and ruptures the tone. 'Didn’t the Empire State Building, the Titanic, space exploration, the Internet, the Roman Empire, nuclear fusion, and all the wars ever fought start out as an idea? Just an idea, a dream, an interesting thought. That’s all they were.' I don't think any of this is needed for the story to be established or progress.

I find the plot line to be a little far-fetched - not very believable. Also, since you're telling me how it all began, I lose interest. This reminds me of the Gone series of books (a lot), and what made those effective was the constant mystery of we don't know why this has happened.

So I wouldn't start with an honest, factual introduction. Perhaps begin in the perspective of a child who has been relocated to the UCEC. And maybe find a way of making the creation of the place a more interesting story, feeding off some kind of evil perhaps, as this is a very evil concept and one our current world would never allow. NSPCC would be all over it.

I would also work on a better name for the place. Is UCEC an initialism or an acronym? Either way, it is not memorable. The Gone saga had the FAYZ - Fallout Alley Youth Zone - which I thought was a bit iffy myself, but it worked for the story because it was easy to slot into conversation. 'It's just the FAYZ, man...'

Hope this helped,

Cadence.

IndigoCypher
May 9th, 2013, 04:23 PM
First off, thanks for your feedback, I'll take all of that into consideration when cleaning up my final draft. Second, in answer to your questions and comments:

1) The first chapter and all subsequent chapters are told in 3rd person perspective, focusing on different children in the UCEC, with two really main characters.

2) Child abuse agencies are all over it, though the kids (and the reader) don't know it until later on, because they're totally cut off from the modern world.

3) UCEC is an acronym. It stands for Universal Children's Experiment City. In conversation, kids call it the City (or the hellhole, if they're feeling creative)

Also, to clarify, here is the first paragraph of the first chapter:


Grimm Moore sank into his leather office chair, tired and frustrated. The rebels in the Rogue’s territory had captured another city block, this one containing a valuable weapons depot filled to the brim with ammo and guns. A platoon of Rogues was on the case, but the rebels had dug in pretty well. That warehouse of theirs was like a fortress.

Thanks!

Jeko
May 9th, 2013, 04:39 PM
The first chapter and all subsequent chapters are told in 3rd person perspective, focusing on different children in the UCEC, with two really main characters.

Start with them, or at least with something about them. They're who your readers should be rooting for (or, at least, those they are with), so you want to get to them as soon as possible. They're where the story, and the action, is at.


Child abuse agencies are all over it, though the kids (and the reader) don't know it until later on, because they're totally cut off from the modern world.

I'd make the creation of it a more evil thing that you make it out to be in the prologue. It's too casually done at the moment.

Maybe there's an evil corporation responsible for all these social experiments, and now they're going large-scale! Something like that. Something exciting. This is YA fiction, so if an idea isn't awesome, it's got to be awesomer.


UCEC is an acronym. It stands for Universal Children's Experiment City. In conversation, kids call it the City (or the hellhole, if they're feeling creative)

So is it U-kek or U-sec? It would make more sense as an initialism to me (you-see-eee-see), but that makes the name have little impact. Either way, it's a forced abbreviation. How is the experiment universal, anyway (it's not a word you can just toss around)?

'The City' has been done before and is a bit mundane. 'The Hellhole' is closer but doesn't back a realistic punch.

It might be worth focusing more on what the kids call it that what it's actually called. Maybe use the original name as an object of spite or sarcasm - make it more than just a name. Likewise, for the colloquialism the kids use.


The first paragraph is far more interesting than the prologue and I would simply begin there. Reminds me of the start of 'The Ranger's Apprentice' - a man doesn't like his situation and the narrative explains why. You immediately have character(s) and hence links from the setting to the character and you also have some lovely exposition on the setting.

All in all, the prologue, like most prologues, is completely unnecessary. It adds nothing and takes plenty away from the story.

mblank
May 10th, 2013, 04:38 AM
Hi Indigo,

I figured I'd check something of yours out and return a little feedback. I like where you're going with this. The idea is really interesting and presents a lot of possibility. However, so I don't reiterate, I agree with a lot of Cadence's comments. It's really hard for me to suspend the disbelief I feel about an all child city when it's presented in such a factual manner. If you begin with a close up of the kids, you hook the reader's emotions and make them more likely to believe a far-fetched (albeit quite interesting) plot line.

Good luck with the rest of the novel! I hope to see more of it up here :)

Pelwrath
May 30th, 2013, 08:41 PM
I found this interesting and as for the listing of other ideas, I perceived that as potential stage setting. Some of those mentioned were good, bad, both or disasters. As for believability, I'm not concerned as this is in the children's/young adult section and if believability Is needed then many TV show and books would be suspect. Do be consistent though. The older the target audience the more grounded you should be. What makes "A series of Unfortunate Events" more or less believable than "LOTR"? ? I'm rather new to actually writing and well need a lot of help, so my comments might well be worth little. English/grammar isn't a strong point. I encourage you to write what you like and feel, then edit and rewrite.

IndigoCypher
June 15th, 2013, 10:00 PM
Thank you all for your opinions. After consideration, I've decided to cut this prologue entirely. My book now opens with Prime Minister Moore, a 15-year-old boy, one of the leaders of the three factions in the UCEC. I'll post more as I edit and revise it. Thanks!