Friday, December 2, 2011

#19 Women's Fiction: Nice Girls Don't Date Rock Stars

TITLE: Nice Girls Don't Date Rock Stars
GENRE: Women's Fiction

When 27-year old Ali catches her musician boyfriend cheating with a barely legal groupie, she’s shocked awake. Ali loved Matt’s music since she was a teen, but having rearranged her life and buried her own artistic talents to be with him, she’s now stuck on the corner of Nearly 30 and Nowhere. It’s time to dust off the paintbrush and finish her art degree, if she can learn to believe in herself again after so many mistakes.

I knew that if I ever heard my musical hero perform a song he’d written just for me, it would be a momentous occasion right on par with a wedding proposal, walking down the aisle, or my unborn child’s first kick. It would be blissful. Validating. At sixteen, I fantasized about it constantly, telling people that someday I’d marry the man in the posters on my wall. If I could go back in time and tell that younger Ali that at twenty-seven she’d get her wish, would she have been able to be patient? What else would she have done with her life in that decade in between?

I found out on a warm February night, in a blue-lit San Jose club where the notes of the previous song lingered in the thick sweaty air. It reeked like emptied beer cans baking in the sun. To me, it was D’ior perfume.

As Matt Hartley finished tuning his guitar on stage and the crowd’s din hushed for his encore number, I grabbed Val’s arm. This was it. The song was all I dreamed. But it wasn't just a core-shaking moment long awaited; it was the pivotal precipice on which my entire future would be built.

And the person who began to shake that precipice as I stood on it, mid-bliss, suddenly squeezed herself in beside me at the bar. Shannon, lead singer of Matt’s opening band, fresh off their tour together. The woman who’d been staring at me all night.


  1. I've seen this log line before and loved the premise to this story.

    Let me know when its going to be published so I can buy it. :-)


  2. I think a lot of women will be able to identify with your premise and your protagonist. Who didn't have a crush on a movie/rock star as a teen? I like the idea of a novel that explores what happens when the fantasy is over.

    Great title!

  3. Love the premise, too. I think this has a ton of potential.

    I wouldn't include Matt's last name, just because it's too much info to hang on to at the moment. I'm sure later you'll be including how he's famous and everybody knows his name. But to her, if they've been in a relationship, he's just Matt, isn't he?

    The last para is a bit confusing. It just needs a little rearranging, I think. Or just lose 'mid-bliss' and the commas to make it move smoothly (I couldn't read it out loud without stumbling).

    Again, good premise, and I would certainly read on.

    Best wishes,

  4. A good concept, and one a think of lot of people could relate to. But the writing could be tightened in my opinion.

    The first paragraph feels a bit wordy. The essence is that Ali dreamed of marrying the rock star whose posters she had on her wall, and at 27 she would get that wish.

    Dior doesn't have an apostrophe.

    In the fourth and fifth paragraphs, it feels like Ali is still telling the story from some point in the future. How else would she know she was on a precipice, and that Shannon was going to shake that precipice? I'd prefer less telling that something is going to happen and more things actually happening.

  5. While contemporary fiction isn't really my cup of tea, I will say this opening reads smoothly and you've left us at a moment that's compelling enough to make me read on.
    I spotted a few small errors in tense. (Easy for me to see in others' work, and an ongoing battle in my own!):
    logline: 'Ali has loved Matt's music...'
    'At sixteen, I'd fantasized...'
    'The song was all I'd dreamed....'
    And one little nit. If Ali's so caught up in Matt and in a crowded club, would she have noticed the girl/woman(?) watching her? (I put a question mark beside 'woman' because your logline describes her as so young that I wonder if Ali wouldn't still think of her as a girl.)
    Good luck with the auction and your writing!

  6. This book will generate interest, no question. Women readers are curious about life with a successful musician. The title is very playful and inviting; I worry that the book opens with the relationship disintegrating and the logline indicates it will be about her getting her own career going again. That is a fine idea for a book but I wonder if a lot of people are pumped for more of an "Almost Famous" behind the scenes book. Could the breakup happen further into the story?

    The writing is nice. I like the authentic-feeling mood in the club. The only criticism I have is the precipice image--it's pivotal and her life is built on it, which already is straining but then someone else is shaking it? Might want to rethink this.

  7. I like your writing. I like the questions you ask--gets me interested. Also slightly confused at times.

    Regarding the part about "if I told her she'd get her wish to be married at 27..." I like this, yet am left a little confused also. It sounds to me like she IS already married to this rocker guy. Would it make more sense if the question was: "If I knew the marriage wouldn't work out with that rocker guy, what would I have done with the time in-between?"

    Also at the end I'd like some description of the song he sings her. It's so pivotal I want to know exactly what he sings, so that then the girl butting in can start to shake the foundations.

    It doesn't make sense to me why someone would build a future on a precipice--maybe use another metaphor here? foundation or something like it?

    good luck!

  8. The logline shows voice and personality, and is very compelling. The "what-if" angle makes for a strong opener, but the transition from the "what-if" to the story feels a little forced to me.

    There are so many 'events' she daydreams about that they kind of get muddled and it sets up a confusing expectation about which one of those things the narrative is starting to address. The personalized song that's mentioned at the start of the paragraph gets lost in the shuffle.

    I also don't have a sense of how well she knows Matt at this point. Are they already dating? Have they just met? How serious are they? That'll have a lot of bearing on how much (and exactly what) it means that he's writing a song for her.

    Then, the song is skipped over entirely. There's the hush and the excitement, and then straight to "The song was all I dreamed." I feel like I've been cheated out of experiencing that validating moment with her. Furthermore, I don't have a sense of who Val is, and how her presence adds to the moment. Val and Shannon are kind of thrown in while we're distracted waiting for this great song.

    Strong logline and strong start. A little more focus and taking a fresh look from the perspective of a first-time reader might be a great exercise for fine-tuning the narrative flow.

  9. Not that anyone will probably read this now, but I want to thank all of you for commenting and giving me great encouragement and very useful feedback. I will take it all into account, so thanks for the time you took to share it all with me!

    @S.A.Hussey: Thank you!!! You comment made my week and made entering this contest worth it :-D

    @Lorena: Thanks! And thanks for the phrase "what happens when the fantasy is over." Got my wheels spinning again on a story I've put on the back burner for the past few weeks for another project :)

    @Writer Jo...: Points taken, and agreed about the last paragraph. Probably shows that it was added in much later than everything else!

    @Bron: Thank you; I'll sort those issues out, and I'm struggling a bit with whether to make the first chapter seem obviously in the past or not. I probably will not.

    @Monica...: Thank you! Those errors shall be fixed promptly! :) As for the age of the woman watching Ali, she is *not* the girl Matt cheated with. She's a touring mate of Matt's that Ali's not yet met in person (their tour has just ended) but as the following pages reveal, Ali's pretty insecure and despite how important the moment is, she's noticing being stared at. And it's making her uncomfortable. Part of the irony of her dreaming of this moment all her life is that she's being torn out of it by something like another woman watching her. So I'll find a way to make this more obvious. Thanks!!

    @Nancy: I definitely see where you're coming from. Without going into too much detail, Ali doesn't meet the girl Matt cheated with until the third chapter, and she struggles with being unable to break up with Matt in person as he jets off to take care of his ailing mother. Essentially, it takes her awhile to come to grips with what she's made of her life and why, and on top of all this, she meets another musician in England... so it is definitely a story of relationship issues that go along with dating artistic types in the public eye ;)

    Thanks for your comments, I'm reworking that last paragraph as we speak!

    @Mark Andreas: Point definitely taken - will work this out. And more detail on the song.

    Thank you so much, very greatly appreciated

    @Gabrielle Harbowy: Thank you - I'm definitely having a re-think. I think when I revised this prior to entering it in the contest, I wanted to get to the point of Shannon interrupting Ali's blissful moment so quickly that I took out far too much about the song, Val, Matt, and the details that make it all have any weight. So I will definitely spend some time going back over this to make it more clear and more enticing.

    I truly appreciate each and every one of you. I may have gotten the fewest comments of the bunch, but I think they're each worth their weight in gold. So thank you from the bottom of my heart!!