Friday, November 28, 2014

(36)YA Supernatural: THIRD TIME'S A CURSE

TITLE: Third Time's A Curse
GENRE: YA Supernatural

When fifteen-year-old competitive softball pitcher Tish Reilly and her friends investigate a haunted road, they uncover two bitter ghosts and a long buried secret. While juggling a control-freak mother, a taunting rival, and dating her best friend’s brother, Tish must find a way to help the ghosts move on or they’ll all end up on the losing team of a deadly game.

Some girls you wanted to bean in the head. The girl crowding home plate was one of them. She stood tall, bat at the ready with a cocky leer on her face, skinny as a splinter and just as annoying. I’d faced knockoffs like her all summer long, taunting rivals with long blonde ponytails. I hated long blonde ponytails.

As satisfying as it would be, a softball-sized goose egg wouldn’t win the game. One more strike would.

Brandon’s voice crackled out of the PA system. “This is it folks. We’re coming down to the last play of the gaaaame.” He knew how to work the crowd. “Tish Reilly on the mound for the Stonecutters. Full count. One more strike and the Stonecutters are Chippewa Valley Chaaaampions.”

I adjusted my hat against the blistering August sun, tilted the bill a bit lower to cut the glare. Ponytail was good, I’d give her that. With two hits today, she was looking for a third.

Over my dead body.

Feet planted into the pitcher’s mound, I curled my fingers around the softball nestled in my glove. The game was in my hands, not hers.


  1. I like the voice of your main character and the sense we get of her right at the start. Good use of details that bring this scene alive. Some great descriptions, such as "skinny as a splinter and just as annoying."I thought I'd want to see hints that something supernatural is coming, but I actually like the way you're establishing her real world first. The book jacket will give away the supernatural part! Sounds like a fun story. Great job!

  2. This was a lot of fun! I would definitely keep reading. I loved her voice and especially loved the opening line which made me chuckle.

    I really don't have anything to say. You can't tell it's a supernatural from this opening, but, of course, that's totally fine.

    I dunno. You did a great job!

    Super good luck in the auction!

  3. oh, forgot i wanted to say that the title's super clever!

  4. Hey there!

    This is one of those times where it's super inconvenient to have only the first page, because I actually LIKE that we start with the real world grounding over the supernatural, but at the same time I feel it's hard to judge, because I don't have any real glimpse of what's coming.

    What I can say is that I think your logline is SUPER solid, and also I really love your MC's voice. Easy to fall into, and that's a massive plus.

    I'd be curious how much of a role softball will take in the MC's life/head space once the story gets going. Does she tend to frame things in terms of the sport, does she frame TOO MANY things that way? It will be an interesting line of reader accessibility and less-is-more that you'll have to navigate, but you've got a strong start.


  5. I really liked this and don't really know what type of criticism to give it. I think having a sporty / supernatural MC is great and we could use more of those, and the voice is well done. It's been a long time since I played softball, but this rang true to me.

    I guess my only thing would be, beware the more cliche list of things (control-freak mom, taunting rival, dating a boy) those things feel really expected. I hope there's an unexpected twist to them.

  6. This was great fun to read. I loved the first line - and all the ones that came after! We get to know the MC quickly and are rooting for her all the way. I don't have anything helpful to offer. I'd certainly bid on this if I were an agent!

  7. I love the voice of the MC! It makes for a very strong opening! Now I'm thinking this may just be me, but I actually had to reread the first line because I haven't heard "bean in the head" very often.

    Awesome job and good luck!

  8. This is very well written, but her attitude really bothered me. I can understand her wanting to beat the batter, I can even see her wanting to the bean the batter for a reason. (Maybe she intentionally cleats someone when sliding onto a base, or has just been a jerk in some way.) But from what's presented, she wants to bean this girl for no reason, or perhaps because she a has a blonde ponytail. It just seemed this was a little too personal for her and I didn't like her. This is probably just me, but I figured I'd mention it just in case you want to throw something in there to make the batter seem like she deserves to be beaned.

  9. I love your title! I wonder if you need the "While juggling" phrase in your logline, but then, you probably won't be using the logline for many other things :).

    I liked the opening page, too. There was one spot where I would have liked to be shown instead of told--the line where it says "He knew how to work the crowd." You could show the crowd reacting instead. But that's a minor thing. I also wondered who Brandon is to her, but I'm sure that's explained later. I'd definitely read on to get to the haunted road!

    Good luck!

  10. Yay for girl athletes as main characters! I definitely think we need more of those in YA lit. Tish's voice is really fun, and I was already rooting for after this first page.

    I'm really intrigued by your log-line, though in a longer pitch, I would definitely want to know what, exactly, ties all of these elements (the baseball, the mom, the boyfriend, etc) together, and why, exactly, Tish is motivated to help the ghosts (ie - does she have a personal connection to them somehow? Or does she just want to stop the hauntings?). Of course, I have not read the rest of your manuscript, so you may answer these questions very soon - but, as a general rule, I always think it's important to closely tie the character's emotional arc to the plot arc!

    This is such a fun start and I would completely read on. Good luck!