Today we have Todd's query for TERMS OF THE INNOCENTS again, which you first saw here, and I critiqued, here, this time with Todd's revisions.
Preston Taylor is wise-ass seventeen-year-old who thinks he is smarter than the homeless-teens he encounters in Salt Lake City, because his problems aren’t permanent—but he eventually learns that he is just like them. He’s looking for his adult brother who moved out years ago to flee from their mother’s heroin addiction. When she disappears after another binge, Preston is on his own. The street-kids he meets abuse drugs, eat whatever they can find, and sell their bodies to survive. He doesn’t give a damn about their problems at first, because he is above their plight—he knows that his brother will take him in. When he befriends Zack Ellison, a young street-wise prostitute, Preston starts to feel like a big brother himself. Preston makes it to his brother’s last known address only to find that he has moved, leaving him permanently homeless. When Zack begs him to accompany him as a lookout on a date with a notorious John, Preston reluctantly agrees. Zack emerges from the trick broken and bleeding, and despite Preston’s attempt to save him, he disappears into the night and is never seen again.
People look away from desperate teens in this beautiful city with its pristine Mormon temple at the center, and it pisses Preston off. He must even the score with this John even if it jeopardizes his survival. He arranges a date and, while fighting to not be violently assaulted like Zack, kills him. Preston’s tragedy is the evidence that he feels everyone in this city must see, even if it means sacrificing his life.
TERMS OF THE INNOCENTS is a 61,000 word YA manuscript. An earlier version of this story won second place in the Utah Arts Council Creative Writing Competition.
I have two other titles published on iUniverse, and one title published by their Star imprint. I write commercial and radio copy, and am a well-known radio personality in Salt Lake City under the name Todd Nuke ‘Em. I have done presentations for the Utah Library Association and the Salt Lake City Library for my previous books.
The first five pages are below, and the entire manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your consideration.
Please thank Todd for sharing again, and save your feedback for tomorrow.