Judge the Judges: IN A BLINK

Name: Kimberly VanderHorst
Genre: YA Sci-fi
Word Count: 90,000
Pitch: In a future where opto-neural links empathically connect people, blind teen Nash Galeano can’t wait to have his eyes ripped out. But his new eyes don’t work as advertised; and the military wants them back.
First 250:

Joey kept saying they were going to rip my eyes out. Said they’d grab them like two worms wriggling in the dirt and yank them out of their sockets.
            Worms. Joey had a twisted sense of humor like that.
            I booted up my neuro-screen, shaking off the memory. If the transplant worked this would be the last time I’d wake up to darkness. The last time I’d need the nanos they inserted into my ravaged optic nerves.
            The last time I’d wake up blind.
            The hospital room exploded into view as the nanos went to work, rendering the room in pixelated blurs of black and white and gray. I peeled myself out of bed and grabbed my IV pole, grateful for the pair of boxers Joey snuck in for me. Being caged in this place a full week before the surgery was bad enough. Hanging loose with nothing but a thin dress to wear made it a billion times worse.
Smuggled underwear. Now that’s friendship.
            The pixilation smoothed out, resolving into the grayscale view I’d been stuck with for the past decade. I swallowed down the familiar rush of bitterness, reminding myself that Pacific U had finally delivered on the promise they made when I was seven. Implants. Not just a patch job on my vision. Not just reanimation of the dead tissue the parasite left behind. Actual eyes.
            The IV pole trailed behind me, its hover struts humming like the drone of distant bees.

*This won me first place in my category of the LDStorymakers First Chapter Contest. Despite the wake up scene with a side of back-story. ;) 


  1. Thank you for taking the time to both judge the #PitchSlam contest and offer a distraction for us hyper writers.

    I loved the pitch for IN A BLINK (nice title too). How you managed to include both conflict AND voice is freaking brilliant. If only every author had that skill *sigh*

    I didn't love the first page until I got to "Smuggled underwear. Now that’s friendship." - I would devour an entire novel for that. Now that's clever writing.

    I would tag your entry and fight the other teams Spartan style for it.

  2. Hi,
    I loved the first line in the pitch. But not so much the second. I wasn't sure of the stakes here. Instead of saying that the eyes don't work as advertised, you could say or hint what's wrong with them. Since the military want them back, I have to assume the eyes are used for some sort of covert operation? Give us the stakes - what'll happen if he keeps the eyes vs give them back?
    I love the 250 and can't think of anything to change. You show us a teen with equal parts optimism and bitterness. The subtle humor makes it even better. You slipped the backstory in just right.

  3. Thanks, Kimberly, for the feedback you and the other judges gave to many authors. It was very useful in my case, and in appreciation here are my comments. I don't read/write Sci-fi but I like the Title and the pitch. I'm curious to find out how the new eyes work, but you can explain it in a pitch. The first 2 lines are strong. You can cut line 3 out. Writing is very subjective but I will replace "a billion times" with simple "much". What is missing here is who is the MC and his age. I would add this in line 10 like .."grabbed my IV pole and looked at the file about me laying on the table. It said Nash, 17 ..." or something like that or have someone talking to him asking.. "Nash, are you okay?' Otherwise, hopefully you give his name in the 2nd page.