Saturday, December 4, 2010


GENRE: YA Paranormal Romance

Sixteen year-old Teagan returns from visiting her twin sister in the hospital with a key to a crayon diary she hopes will unlock a mystery. Nine years earlier while playing hide and go seek in her grandmother's study she found her sibling with a puppet on one hand, and the words find me written on the other--lying in a coma.

Teagan cared about being a pitcher first, a girl second--maybe that explained why her boobs remained straight A's just like her marks in school. The perky darlings allowed her the freedom to whip a softball fast. Almost as fast as the punch she threw at her friend Mike for kissing her sans permission slip after she tossed a shutout earlier today. Nothing soft with her knuckleball. She grinned knowing Mike's shoulder hurt more than his pride. ‭

The reason she fouled his romantic play was as simple as 1-2-3.‬ One year, two months and three days. The age differences between them. Too bad his parents didn't drink that bottle of wine a year earlier. She found him cute, especially when he shivered as their lips touched.

Now, the fifteen-year old forbidden fruit would see her for the first time in a dress, her hair combed and not hidden under a cap. She'd dressed like this to visit her twin sister, AKA sleeping beauty in the hospital knowing somehow it made her happy.

Well she didn't have to make Mike happy, so she stepped off the bus and pushed a crunched up baseball cap onto her short red hair, thinking his budding boxers suffered enough protein stains for one day. They waited for her on the front porch, Mike, his sore shoulder, and Rachel, her best friend.

“Why we messing around with voodoo dolls?” Mike asked.

“They're not voodoo dolls.”

“Good because I forgot my chicken.”


  1. Really really well written (and you can trust me for being critical). I like the premise and I'm glad the first 250 didn't dive right into it. You set up a backstory first, the paranormal will be the surprise later. Plus, the last line made me lol.

    I bet you get a bid. Way to go!

  2. You've got a really great, strong voice that gives Teagan a lot of personality. I like the way she's given Mike so much thought as a potential that she knows their age difference to the day. It helps signal that he's important and that something might happen between them, despite what she says now. It cues the reader to pay attention.

    The conflict between "he'd see her without a cap" and "she didn't have to make him happy so she put on a cap" was confusing and could be written more clearly. Also, if she doesn't care about her boobs, I couldn't figure out why she'd call them "perky darlings" - I found it jarring because darlings implies that she likes them quite a bit. If she likes them because they've been kind enough to stay small, I'd go for another word.

    Those were the only two snags for me, though. The voice captures her character and matches the external clues to her personality perfectly. It really dives you into the story, and I like the "normal" set-up and then the hint that we're not going to have to wait too long to see the paranormal elements kick in.

  3. I made it past the "straight A's" that doesn't quite work but ya lost me at "perky darlings." And then I peeked ahead and saw "forbidden fruit." Arrgghh. If this is tongue in cheek and intentionally awful-cliche-ish, I'd unleash it later, after you've shown more of what the character is like.

    But, hey, other readers may love this style - just not me.

  4. I think this is just one of those cases where I just don't dig this particular type of thing. So I've preceded my comments with this disclaimer.

    I found the logline a bit weird. I couldn't wrap my head around why Teagan's only trying to save her sister nine years later. From the logline, the diary's key is the triggering event... but I've got to ask, is it really? Or is there something else at play, because it seems too mild an event to trigger something like... Teagan finally trying to find her sister after nine years. (I liked the second line)

    As for the excerpt, I'm a bit like Sara J Henry. The perky darlings was the place where you lost me. I'm not sure whether a sixteen year old girl would think of her boobs as perky darlings. The forbidden fruit line also gave me a pause. It just doesn't sound teenager to me.

    But your voice is strong, and I've gotten a good sense of character even if I don't like it enough to continue. Good luck with this. :)

  5. The "straight A's" line made me laugh but the "perky darlings" made frown. It doesn't sound like something a teenager would say. The same with "forbidden fruit."

    However, I already like the MC, so I would read more.

  6. A few things:
    -I have no idea what the words "lying in a coma" refer to in the logline. The sibling? The puppet? The words?
    -In the first paragraph, "today" should be "that day" as you are referring to something in the past.
    -In the third paragraph, it sounds like you are saying her twin sister is also known as "sleeping beauty in the hospital knowing somehow it made her happy." I think you need a comma here somewhere if that wasn't your intention.
    -I don't understand the budding boxers comment. It kinda sounds icky though.
    -I can't tell who is speaking the last two lines of dialogue. Her? Rachel? Mike?

    Otherwise, this is okay but it takes four paragraphs until we have some action in the moment. It would be nice to get there a little quicker.

  7. I liked the log line. I thought it set up a neat mystery.

    The excerpt read like you were trying hard to be clever. The phrases already mentioned seemed more likely to come from an adult than a teen, and yeah, the boxer comment was icky. I mean, is she really thinking about the stains in someone's underwear? And do teens say 'sans?' Romantic play? It just seemed the story was lost for the sake of the clever phrases.

    I do think you have something here, but for me, the story started when she got off the bus.

  8. Very cute and I actually like the perky darlings....but self hating sarcasim is my super power.

    I don't care for the protein stains that seem to be waiting on the porch, new paragraph please.

    One other small thing, if shes in a dress, she won't have a cap with her. Let him grin at her. Helpless and embarassed by girly girl attire is better than dress and cap. Enduring his adoration? mean! She may punch him just for mentioning how pretty she is.

  9. I love the concept!!! Your character's voice is great, but I agree with Barbara that you've tried too hard here. I was too busy deciphering some of the clever phrases to get into the story. Maybe cut back on them a bit or else it feels overwritten.

    The first sentence jarred me right off the bat because the fact that she has small boobs has little to do with the fact that she's a pitcher. Just a happy coincidence. Also, don't most teenage girls want older boys to notice them and invite them to the prom, etc. I don't buy it that that's the reason she won't go for Mike.

    I'd keep reading, though. Nice job!

  10. I have to agree with Barbara: for the first page, the clever phrases were on overload. You definitely have a distinct character with a unique voice, but they're getting a little lost here.

    I like the idea of a younger guy as love interest, if that's what Mike turns out to be.

    As per the logline, it seems to give more backstory, but no hint as to the core conflict, why this all matters now, and what's at stake. I'm also wondering who/what the villain/antagonist is.

    Sounds like a great story! Good luck!

  11. Logline:
    Wow--cool logline!

    Line comments:
    -The last line is cute

    -I don't think this is the right place to open. The voice is spot-on, but the story isn't there. It's softball, and straight As, and kissing, and age differences--not paranormal romance and quest to save sister.

  12. The voice felt almost too strong, but I suspect that may be a comment on my taste and not the writing.

    That said, the dialogue did make me want to read on and see what happens next--and I like the mystery setup in the logline.

  13. The voice felt almost too strong, but I suspect that may be a comment on my taste and not the writing.

    That said, the dialogue did make me want to read on and see what happens next--and I like the mystery setup in the logline.

  14. You need another em dash after the word "sibling" in your logline or it sort of reads like the words "find me" (which need quotes, I believe) are in a coma. You could also lose the word "go" from hide and go seek as it's just called hide and seek, at least that's what my kids call it.

    I'm with others in that "straight A's", "perky darlings", and "protein stains" is offputting. I do find the overall abrasiveness of the MC offputting as well, but I'd be willing to read on for another couple of pages to see why only because I love that last line of dialogue.

  15. Being a ball player myself I can see where the straight A's are a benefit:) That being said, I agree that there's too much cleverness in this first 250 - but that's not a comment on your writing, which I find entertaining. The voice is right there, and I like that.

    I found the logline highly intriguing but also a bit confusing - the idea of a crayon diary, a puppet, and child sister in a coma was pretty awesome, but the way the sentence was put together was a little awkward.

    Still - quite powerful concept, and great voice. Good job.

  16. I really like the title and the logline intrigues me.

    The writing is clever, but doesn't feel natural. I can't identify with your main character because these thoughts don't seem like they're coming from a real teenager. Especially the parts about the parents and the wine and the stains in the boxers.

    I like your last sentence.

  17. You won me over the minute you made me laugh. I love the snappy, crisp flow of the 250 words. It shows the spunky attitude of the main character.

  18. I bid 20.
    Melissa Jeglinski
    The Knight agency


  20. What is a crayon diary?

    Last sentence of the logline is a little awkward. Consider rephrasing if you use it again.

    The voice started out quite nice, though a little clunky, but got clunkier with some grammar slipups enough that I started to lose my place and be brought out of the story.

    I'm not quite sure where this excerpt is going, however--and reference to his "budding boxers," even in teen romance, is a little graphic for the first page. I'm not really feeling sympathetic for the conflict here--and it's kind of confusing why she doesn't want Mike to make a romantic play, but goes to hang out with him all dolled up.

    I'd rather first see her visit with her sister, or perhaps jump right into the voodoo doll thing, because the paragraphs before that just feel unneccessary.