Sunday was the second write-in with my crit group. Fewer of us showed up due to weather, work, or plans, but the food was good and company delightful. And the writing, oh the writing. Potential has started, and it's coming alive.
So, what is Potential?
Imagine a world where children and teenagers are bought and sponsored by companies like they were Nascar vehicles, based entirely on the potential the youth show for future fame. What if Jennifer Lawrence had been introduced to the world sporting a McDonalds logo? Or Lorde? If you waited for people to get famous, the cost of sponsoring them would be much higher. Buy low, sell high. Sponsor a Potential, encourage their training, reap the rewards if they make it big. This is where the idea began.
Sixteen year old Synclaire "Syn" Ritchie has no talents, nothing anyone would want to sponsor at least. She's decent with a camera, but why sponsor a photographer when you could have an actor? A singer? An inventor? A politician? She's short, she's small-chested, her hair could be mistaken for a tumbleweed on a bad day, and she just has no talent. All she's ever wanted was to get a sponsor, enough for her to go to college and maybe make something of her life would be great, but to go to Promise Academy, oh how glorious that would be. To be one of the lucky few whose sponsor buys them the glamorous life on the west coast while they train for their inevitable fame. But that's even less than a pipe dream for Syn.
The prospectors come every five years from kindergarten to 10th grade to find students with potential for the sponsoring corporations. This year is the last time Syn has to suffer through being told she's not good enough to make her dreams a reality. Until she's sat down and told a sponsor has a proposition for her. The biggest designer clothing company in the country, Coolture, wants to see if it's possible to mold someone without potential into the star of the year. She's their girl. The impossible becomes reality, and in a few weeks, Syn's on the plane to Promise.
So that's Potential. It's a YA dystopian that takes place about 75 years in the future. A flesh-eating contagion started in 2035, killed millions, crippled more, and is still active through transmission to each newborn generation in 2089. Prosthetic limbs are as common as smartphones and the world has changed to accommodate them. There's a lot more going on in the world than Syn knows about, but as dystopians are wont to do, she's about to get dragged into the middle of it all.
I know YA dystopian is a flooded market and by the time I'm done, selling it may not be an option, but this is my story. It is what it is and I don't dare change it for anyone but myself. Maybe I'll write it well enough that publishers will want it anyway, risks be damned. All that matters right now is to write it and have fun doing so.
In the words of Syn's best friend, "Personally, my lady, I am a walrus."