Oct 30, 2017

NoQS Agent Round: Fear Factory

Genre: Adult Science Fiction / Thriller
Word Count: 110,000 words

My MC and MA (main antagonist) are dressed as:

A layer of fog hugged the floor, courtesy of the rented haze generator. Sarah tugged at the elastic waistband on her loose fitting scrubs. Donning a borrowed tunic from work for a Halloween Party seemed like a good idea, until the fog parted and Christine swept into the room in a racy nurse’s outfit.

Christine’s bronze legs traveled a long way up from the floor and tucked into a pair of hip-hugging shorts. A stethoscope dangled above the cleavage that threatened to spill from her gown. If looks could kill, it was a good thing Sarah was a real doctor.


Most people run from their fears, but Sarah MacGowan is willing to fly across the country to face hers. Despite being an accomplished medical student, she is struggling to close the emotional wounds inflicted by a demoralizing experience abroad that earned her the moniker Doctor Death. Desperate to move on, Sarah agrees to participate in Fear Factory, a new virtual reality television show that pits contestants against their worst fears, where she hopes to win back her confidence in addition to the coveted prize money.

When her prescription medicine interferes with the fear-response monitoring used by the virtual arena, Sarah is relegated to the role of spectator where she is forced to watch her fellow contestants suffer unimaginable horrors inside the virtual world. Sarah believes that the opportunity to restore her confidence is lost, until one of the competitors is critically injured inside the arena and her medical instincts propel her into action.

Caught between two worlds separated by imagination and a ruthless technology, Sarah must overcome her fear of failure or live with the guilt of watching another senseless death – just as she did abroad.

First 250:


“Most people run from their fears, but we’re gonna fly you across the country to face yours. Congratulations Sarah, you’re going to be a contestant on Fear Factory, where virtual meets reality.”

The phone slipped from my hand and bounced on the threadbare carpet. Dr. Anders’ muffled voice beckoned from the floor. “Are you still there, Sarah?”

I slid off the bed and fumbled to align the receiver with my ear. “Sorry. Yes, I’m still here. Thank you so much, Dr. Anders. I don’t know what to say.”

“Thanks is plenty, Sarah. I’m relieved that you’ll be joining us for the inaugural taping. For a moment, I was beginning to worry you might decline.”

Doubt tried to gain a foothold in my mind. Everything was moving so fast. It was like spontaneity had sucked down a Red Bull. I didn’t have time to consider the enormity of the invitation. The television show, the prize money, an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas.

“Is there any reason I should decline?”

“No. You have no idea how glad I am that you didn’t. From what you told me, you’ve been through a lot recently.”

I nodded before realizing that he could not see me. Silently, I beat myself up for droning on about my experiences at Projects Abroad. I couldn’t help it. It still dominated my every waking thought.

“That is true, but I am ready to move on.”

“Good. We need you at your very best.”

My best was the one thing I couldn’t give.

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