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Abby Goldsmith
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Authors Seeking FREE Betas > 2 chapters of YA science fiction/adventure (completed)

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message 1: by Abby (last edited Apr 25, 2014 11:24PM) (new)

Abby Goldsmith (abby_goldsmith) | 22 comments Hi all,

I need fresh eyes on two different versions of chapter 1 of my completed novel. I'd like to know which version of the chapter works best, and if you see room for improvement. Brutal honesty is preferred. Each version is about 12 pages (3k words). I've rewritten the opening far too many times ...

It starts in our world, a la Harry Potter. It's soft sci-fi, with an epic scope more like fantasy. Beta readers have given it a lot of praise, and encouraged me enough to keep writing--so I've completed five books in this unpublished series.

Here's my latest pitch for Book 1:

Having spinal muscular atrophy is the least of Thomas's worries. He can read minds--and he just found out that he isn't alone. Alien telepaths rule the galaxy, conquering planets by absorbing knowledge. They transport Thomas to his true home; a technologically advanced planet where the greatest scientist in the galaxy demanded him as her apprentice. Among the Torth, Thomas is not considered handicapped or underage, and he's not lonely. He's a genius with a constant mental audience of admirers.

But while Thomas trades his wheelchair for a hoverchair, the Torth brutally enslave his few friends--including Cherise, the girl he loves. Torth aren't allowed to feel emotions or help slaves, and if Thomas breaks Torth laws, the Majority will have him murdered in a heartbeat. He watches from afar while Cherise struggles to make allies in an alien slave ghetto. When Cherise risks her life to beg Thomas for help, he can't even acknowledge her, let alone free her. Not with his ever-watchful mental audience.

Then the Torth sentence Cherise to death and vote to enslave humanity, and Thomas begins a desperate quest. First he must orchestrate Cherise's escape without consciously planning it. Next he must wrench himself away from the addictive hive mind. Without power, as a mere human, he'll need to protect his runaway friends from the trillions of Torth who will hunt them.

And survive. That's always been a challenge for Thomas. Before he goes to war against the Torth Empire, he'll need to steal his medicine back from his scientist mentor. At least he's figured out a way to bypass her safeguards and traps. If there's one thing Thomas is good at, it's instant learning, and he just might stay one step ahead of the most ruthless--and brilliant--minds in the galaxy.

CITY OF SLAVES is complete at 100,000 words. I'm a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop, and my stories and articles have sold to Escape Pod, Fantasy Magazine, and Suddenly Lost in Words.

Let me know if you'd be interested in A/B testing the first chapter!

In return: I'm overextended on beta reading for other people, but I'll look over your query letter, if you have one, and friend you on social media, if you'd like. If you're a writer, I run a little YouTube show called Aspiring Writers, and you're welcome to be a guest.


message 2: by Ben (new)

Ben Hutchins | 4 comments I'd be happy to A/B test your first chapters. I write YA fantasy / Sci-Fi / fiction as well. you can reach me at


message 3: by Sio (last edited Apr 27, 2014 10:25AM) (new)

Sio | 5 comments I'd like to help out as well! Your plot sounds really intriguing and I love SFF. My email is


message 4: by Abby (new)

Abby Goldsmith (abby_goldsmith) | 22 comments Thanks to both of you, and the other readers who responded. It was very helpful! I got 8 out of 9 votes for one chapter over the other. I've revised it and am moving on.

Many, many thanks.

message 5: by Fati (new)

Fati Flanigan | 31 comments Sounds like my kind of read. I would love to test read you first chapter

message 6: by MysticMemories (new)

MysticMemories | 21 comments Are you still looking for beta readers?
If so, I would be interested.
Please just let me know. :)

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