Wednesday, July 18, 2012

#4- The Silo (YA speculative fiction)

After a global disaster strikes, seventeen-year-old Lizzie Wallace is kidnapped from the rubble of her high school in Los Angeles and flown across the devastated country. Her new home is an underground silo hidden deep in the Adirondack Mountains. In this modern-day Noah's Ark, the children are paired--male and female, ranging in age from ten to eighteen. They are the future, each one chosen for their special skill to rebuild society. There's only one problem--Lizzie doesn't have the skill they think she does.

Her repeated failure at the one thing that she's expected to contribute to the group cements her belief that she doesn't belong there. Even her growing attraction to eighteen-year-old Brand doesn't stop her from plotting to escape the silo and return to the family she knows is frantic about her. But when the man who brought her there is killed, Lizzie learns a secret that changes everything she believes about the silo and her place in it.

SILO is 84,000 words of YA speculative fiction that will appeal to readers of Under the Never Sky and Divergent.

I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California and am a member of SCBWI. I worked in television production for almost a decade on various shows including “Home Improvement” and “Spin City” before leaving to start my own non-profit.  I currently teach Humane Education throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District.


Jennie Bailey

First 500 words:

The first explosion rocks the room, sending my books flying off the desk.  The second makes the ground tremble and the lights flicker.  Ms. Clark drops the dry eraser and grabs the corner of her large desk.  I brace for a third and don't have to wait long.  This one flings the glass specimen jars from the walls, smashing them onto the concrete floor.  The smells of formaldehyde and death fill the science class.

"Everyone remain calm," Ms. Clark says, her voice shaky.

"Should we get under our desk?" I ask.

Ms. Clark, now frozen in place, doesn’t respond.  I don’t wait for an answer, crawling under mine.

“Lizzie,” Christopher calls to me, but in the chaos I can’t find him.  Bodies swarm everywhere in panic.  Doesn’t anyone remember the drills we’ve been practicing for a decade now?  We’ve been hearing about The Big One since we could walk.  They’ve trained us for this.  Get under your desks, curl into a little rock, and remain calm until the earthquake stops.

Only this isn’t stopping.  The ground shakes again and the lights go out.  Screams and sobs reverberate over the din of the creaking building, its beams groaning in protest.  Hazy patches of sunlight cut through the room and I wonder how long the windows will hold.

I feel a hand on my arm, strong and warm.  I don’t even have to look to know whose it is.  I have every callous on Christopher's hand memorized.  And the wart he keeps cutting off that stubbornly grows back on the inside of his thumb.  I grab his hand, lacing my fingers through his, and squeeze tight.

“I never expected it to be this big,” Christopher says, his breath warm against my cheek.

“It isn’t,” I say. “This has to be more than an earthquake.” 

Our eyes meet and he nods his agreement, which only makes the breath freeze inside of me.

More than an earthquake. 

Ms. Clark shouts something, but I can't make out the words over the crashing, popping, and screaming.  I chew on my bottom lip as my mind races. We have to get out of here

If this is a terrorist attack, the air outside might not be safe to breathe.  But if we stay here, the rubble will bury us.  I would rather die of toxic fumes than a long, slow suffocation underground.  I need air, blue skies.

"I'm going," I hear myself say.

"Wait, Lizzie! Where?" Christopher asks.  Our hands still linked, he holds me back.

"We need to get outside," I say, louder so that the whole class can hear.

I get up, but don't let go of Christopher.  With my other hand, I grab my backpack and make for the door.  No one follows us.

We’re almost to the hall when the ground rumbles again, deeper and angrier.  It spreads up the walls, into the ceiling.  Christopher yanks me backward, pulling me tight against him as a chunk of concrete whistles past, blowing my hair against my cheek.


  1. Got my attention! Please send a full synopsis and the first three chapters to with the subject heading: Xmas In July: The Silo.


    Carly Watters

  2. This one really stands out to me, I'd love to read further! Could you email the complete manuscript to lcarson(at)friedrichagency(dot)com? Subject line can be "Xmas in July" to help me find it, thanks!


  3. I'd love to read more of this. Please email me the ms to melissa[at] .

    Melissa Sarver
    The Elizabeth Kaplan Literary Agency