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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Made of Awesome Contest Entry

Genre - Near-Future Science Fiction
Word Count - 80,000

Friday May 17th, 2069

Alabama spring heat blasted Sam’s face as she opened the door and stepped outside; one hundred percent humidity and ninety degree heat. Just trudging across the parking lot to the morgue left her sweat-damp shirt clinging to her like a bad boyfriend.

A ticking was the only warning she had before sprinklers turned on full blast. Black hair dripped into her eyes as she sprinted the last few feet for safety. So much for trying to curl it. Tomorrow she’d sleep in the extra hour.

The morgue door was warm to the touch; by noon it would be hot enough to burn flesh. She nudged the door open and walked into the freezing cold air with the aftertaste of antiseptic death. Sam tugged her hair into a ponytail, spun it around, and tied it back in a bun as she kicked the door shut.

Poised and professional was more than she could manage down here in the central United Territories. Mother Mary, what she wouldn’t give to be back in Toronto!

“Miss MacKenzie? Doctor MacKenzieeeee?” she sang out down the echoing halls. The medical examiner for the case was listed as Lindzey MacKenzie. And where was Little Miss Mac all dressed in black?

Sam hummed the old tune as she sauntered down the hall. A blue and white arrow read, “Autopsy Room – Authorized Entry Only.”

Authorized, that was her. The morgue was county property and the stomping grounds for the local police department - the bureau just shared the space.

I'm so sorry! I was locked out of blogger last week (deleting cookies fixed that), and then I was on vacation. In the meantime, I completely forgot this post wasn't complete! Eeek! So, without further ado...

Shelly Watters is the most gracious host for out MADE OF AWESOME CONTEST. The agent perusing these manuscripts (and hopefully publishing all the ones I've fallen in love with) is the fabulous Judith Engracia of Liza Dawson and Associates.

Thank you Shelly.

A warm welcome to Judith.

The whole list of brave authors is HERE. Go see if you can find a new favorite author!


  1. I am definitely interested in reading more. I would like to see a little more of an indication of the conflict (which I'm guessing is going to be local vs. bureau??) Great character voice.

  2. I love the contrasts from hot to cold and the voice. I too was hoping for more of a hint as to what's coming.

  3. Your first sentence made me think she was walking into an office - maybe you could reconstruct to make me immediately know she's on her way out.

    And while I appreciate the idea of a door hot enough to burn flesh, I'm not so sure it's a realistic interpretation (sorry, that's my impression at first reading!). Maybe one that was hot enough to singe????

  4. in the first 250 you established a quirky, fun/easy going character who is misplaced and while it is the future she is dealing with everyday problems like the rest of us. i like her already. yes, that first line threw me off too, i thought she was walking into an office, but no big deal.

    good stuff
    douglas esper

  5. Great descriptions! I can feel the heat and taste the thick, moist air. The character voice is strong too. I'd definitely read on to see where this goes.

  6. Just trudging across the parking lot to the morgue left her **sweat-damp** shirt clinging to her like a bad boyfriend.-You might omit this since it's almost implied and the sentence is a little smoother without it.

    I don't mind if there's not a ton of conflict in the first 250 words because the character is so fun and spunky. I'd read on just to get to know her better.

  7. Great voice - love the line about her shirt clinging to her.

    The 2nd paragraph confused me - in the 1st I thought she left to walk across a parking lot - and then with the mention of sprinklers I got confused because sprinklers are usually in the grass not in lots, or are the indoor kind.

    And you got me singing, Where is Miss Mac, Mac, Mac, all dressed in black, black , black. I'd read on for sure.

  8. This is great! I loved the descriptions and setting it in a morgue absolutely does it for me! The only line that stopped me was the simile that ended with "bad boyfriend". Do bad boyfriends cling? I had to think about it. Perhaps you could consider "drunk boyfriend". They definitely cling.
    Good luck!

  9. "little ms mac all dressed in black" -loved this line! Has great voice. Great job.

  10. This is really well done -- strong opening lines and scene.

    While I liked the "little miss mac all dressed in black" line, it seems familiar, while the prior sentence almost implies the doctor is a stranger.

    Best of luck!

  11. I'm just wondering why she bothered to curl her hair if she tied it back in a ponytail anyway? Speaking from experience, curling takes a long time. I'd certianly feel bummed if my 'do was ruined by sprinklers.
    I loved the descriptions. I could feel the humidity and then the cool of the morgue. Well done!

  12. The first sentence didn't grab me. "Just trudging across the parking lot to the morgue" definitely grabbed me. I'd like to see a rework that identifies where she's going in the first sentence and also mentions the heat. Beside that first line, I was hooked. Great premise. I don't even care what the conflict is going to be at this point. I just want to see more of this world!

  13. Hi, Liana,

    I suggest starting with your third paragraph - "The morgue door was warm to the touch." The first two don't do your story justice.

    I was intrigued by this and would definitely continuing reading. It feels real.

    Thanks for sharing and good luck!

  14. Thank you for all the comments! I'm still working on reading all the other entries. :o)

    Back from vacation,

  15. I'm intrigued! Great voice. I think you could lose the second paragraph as it's kind of confusing and interrupts the feel of the humidity that you've got going. I could picture myself in that blistering hot climate, sweaty and hating it and then oh, yes, cold water spray!!! If it were me, I'd stand under it for awhile, hair be damned!! Hehe... just saying that it kind of dissolves the atmosphere that you had going. The rest of it I really liked. :)

  16. I'm so interested! I want to know why she's going to the morgue, if she works there or if she's investigating a murder. I agree with the commenter above- if the heat is so oppressive, the character would think the sprinkler spray felt great, not worry about her hair. Great description, I'd like to read more! :)

  17. Super strong voice you have here. One of the best I've read in this contest! The only thing that threw me off was the exclamation point. Like the sentence, but the exclamation seems like overkill. Great work. Best of luck!!