YA WIP-Dystopian

Note: This project was set aside due to the flood of dystopian submissions in the market. I haven’t totally kicked it to the curb, though. The first draft is finished, so when I have a break between contracted projects, I’ll go back in. Love these characters too much to say goodbye permanently!

Here’s the exclusive snippet I shared from a work in progress at The Deadline Dames for our one year anniversary extravaganza! Lots of comments there. Also, like the two other fiction tabs, this idea came from a writing challenge on this blog from the lovely, Heather Dearly. 🙂  It’s dystopian and let me just say this now, Rae kicks serious butt. I love her!

Note: I had a couple of questions about the time it takes me to finish a novel. It depends. Some I’ve written in three months and some of the earlier ones took much, much longer. For me, it’s all about committing to a project. Once I free my focus for one project, I dive all the way in.  When I shared this snippet, the book was only an idea based on a crazy writing challenge. I wanted to share something new at the Deadline Dames in celebration. I set it aside to work on other projects last year, then picked it up again to fully focus on it in November. So…if I add in the few times I added scenes during the year, it’s probably a 4 to 5 month project.  Of course this will depend on my agent and if she has changes to suggest. But that’s a good general idea of the time. 🙂

Unnatural Selection

(A Surviving Scrap City novel)

The greasy pall that settled over Scrap City thickened at dusk.

My eyes burned.  Blinking, I let the tears fall. They’d leave crazy tracks in the dirt-caked oil on my cheeks, but I couldn’t care less. Besides, losing my death grip on this sweet piece of sheet metal wasn’t happening.  It was longer than my legs! I’d fought two other Scavs for the prize and had a bloody gash on my arm to show for it.

They looked worse.

Tugging on the metal, I propped my foot against the brick wall. The grungy piece of tooth lodged in the tip of my black boot cheered me. Scavs have to be a helluva lot quicker to make it in the warehouse sector.  My smirk slid into a grimace as the blood dripping down my wrist made my fingers slippery. Sharp steel sliced that tender, webbed skin between my finger and thumb.

Maybe today’s take would be enough for another pair of gloves.

The gnawing hunger in my little brother’s expression this morning flashed through my mind. Gritting my teeth, I tightened my grip and heaved, trying to tear the metal from the wall.  Stupid kid who’d attacked me had run off with my cutters.  It had taken me a good week to clear the brick and old newspapers piled in front of this find and now I couldn’t let go—not even when I heard the first warning siren.


Sweat poured down my temples as a cry of frustration built in my chest.  The Salvager’s doors would be barred in an hour!

Floor grit crackled as someone stepped behind me. I sucked in a breath, let go of the metal, bent and kicked my left leg back. Hard.  A surprised male grunt sounded, followed by the crunch of a body hitting the piles of trash. Most Scavs hunted in packs, so I palmed my knife and spun around to fight.

But there was only one.

Squinting, I took in the long, lanky legs sticking out of the rubbish, the short, black hair with the splash of purple in the bangs.  “I know you. War or Bomb—something ridiculous like that.” I tightened my grip on the knife because it kept slipping in the blood. “The metal is mine.”

“Bomb?” He lifted one dark eyebrow.

I shrugged, eyed the tall piles of debris for his friends. I always saw this guy with one or more of his team.  It was a cool deal—two to pull the sheets and dig for remnants, two to keep lookout. “Don’t all the kids in your tribe have bad ass nicknames?”

“Tribe?” He winced and put one gloved hand on his ratty shirt.  It had a wicked boot-shaped smudge across the red.  He climbed out of the pile of brick, broken furniture and newspaper.  Most of the paper was brittle, yellow and it stunk to Mount High from years soaking up the burning oil fumes.  All the metal from the printing presses had been salvaged long ago.

“Are you capable of more than one syllable at a time?”

“Some call me Chaos, but I don’t answer to it.  The name is Kerr, Rae.”  He took a step toward me.

I brought up the knife, tensed my legs. I wore heavy, black boots for a reason. Scavenging built muscle, but I was still skinny. I’d taken down many a Scav with these clunkers. “How do you know my name?”

“I asked.”  He reached into his pocket.

I flipped my knife into a reverse grip.

“Take it easy.” He held up a piece of blue material. “It’s for your arm.  Keep bleeding like that and you’ll attract the cats.”

Fear skittered down my spine.  Can’t believe I hadn’t thought of that. We called the creatures cats, but they weren’t, not really. Heart pounding, I stilled the urge to scan the trash and looked at the scrap he held out.  It seemed clean, so I snatched it.  “I won’t put the knife down until you back up.”

Kerr held up his hands, took a few steps back.  “Why don’t you let me help get that piece off the wall so you’ll get to the Salvager in time?”

I leaned against the brick, slid my knife into its holder and quickly wrapped my arm.  “Don’t trust you, Chaos.” I couldn’t help the slight sneer that slipped into my tone with that name.

“Fair enough. I’ll leave so you’ll finish. Don’t want to get caught out after curfew, do you?” As he talked, he tugged off his gloves and tossed them toward me.  “Be seeing you around, Rae.”


I’ve had this image of Rae in my head a long time.  Had her name picked out, most of her story down. Then I came across this image. This is so close to how I pictured her, I felt one of those creepy, premonition chills when I saw it.  Couldn’t be more perfect. http://browse.deviantart.com/?q=rashel&offset=0#/d12c83p

And the music that flat out goes with this story is mostly harder, industrial type rock. Think Nine Inch Nails. But there are several tracks from this band, Ladytron.

13 Responses to YA WIP-Dystopian

  1. Pingback: Quickie « Rinda Elliott

  2. Pingback: Just Gotta Stretch My Arm… | Rinda Elliott

  3. Kayleigh says:

    Wow. I’d heard Rachel Vincent mention you on her blog and her Twitter quite often, and why I only just checked out your Twitter and blog today, I don’t know.

    Now I’ve only read this snippet and your short story “Now They Run From Valen Greer” but I’ve already decided to buy every book of yours in the future. And why are you still not published? Your style of writing is amazing!


  4. relliott4 says:

    Thank you! This snippet was originally posted at the Deadline Dames. I also have two longer excerpts from my Norse YA book and one or two from my adult book there. You can find them under excerpts.

    So glad you enjoyed the sneak peeks! I’m working hard on the published part–promise.

  5. relliott4 says:

    Oops. Have to take that back. I have three from the Norse YA. Here’s the first if you get curious. 🙂


    • Kayleigh says:

      Huh, turns out I read it ages ago. I reread it anyway :). And I LOVE Deadline Dames–I’ve been reading the blog for months.

      Good luck getting published!

  6. Marlene says:

    I just saw Rachel Vincent writing about again, so I decided to check out your work. I must admit I’m kind of surprised that you haven’t published any novels yet, you write really, really well! I’ll be keeping an eye out for the release of this novel, it has some great potential, and I’m already hooked.

    Have a great writing process!

  7. relliott4 says:

    Thank you! I do have an agent who shares your surprise, so we’re definitely trying. I have a lot of stories to tell and can’t wait until people can read them. 😉

  8. Somerlea says:

    I admire your writing style a lot. After I read it, I craved more. Can’t wait for you to get published! You already have a fan in me. So you have an agent? That’s awesome! Any tips you can give? Other than being talented like you? Also, I love your pic of Rae. I have a fav pic of my heroine too if you want to take a look at it. Just a warning; I don’t see her dressed as revealing in my head. After all, she is only 16. I call the leather outfit she wears “armor.” Not only does the leather offers her protection, it also helps to raise her powers. Oh…and the guns? In my vision, I imagine one strapped to her thigh in a leg holster filled with Holy Water. But that’s it. Let me know what you think. I have never showed this pic to anyone before. Thanks! Somerlea

  9. Somerlea says:

    Oops, helps if I post the code…..

  10. relliott4 says:

    My only tip is to keep working on your craft and to keep submitting. I’m so glad you enjoyed the snippet of Unnatural Selection! Thanks for your kind words. Your heroine looks tough. 😉

  11. Rachel says:

    Oh you must pick this back up! I loved the snippet. In just a few short lines I could already begin to picture this world. Rae is a character who I’d definitely want to get to know better.

    • I think about it a lot. I have to rework the plot heavily–get rid of a character who made things too easy for Rae and Kerr. Funny enough, it’s my mother who won’t let this manuscript go. She read this and another snippet of worldbuilding and brings it up CONSTANTLY. Cracks me up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s