Friday, December 2, 2011

#44 YA-Contemporary: Here Comes the Sun

TITLE: Here Comes the Sun
GENRE: YA-Contemporary

A lonely wallflower since freshman year, 17-year-old Natalie's life is as depressing as her favorite MP3 playback list. But a senior trip to England changes everything when she falls for a kaleidoscope-eyed Beatles fanatic who has her heart crooning love tunes, forcing her to confront the humiliating event that left her near friendless, before her past sneaks up and snatches him too.

“Here Barf Girl,” Meredith whispers as she bumps my arm. I jerk my elbow off the arm rest and stare at her through my brown bangs falling haphazardly into my eyes. Even though we've attended the same high school for almost four years now, this is the absolute first time she's ever talked to me. I'm not kidding. She's part of the so-called “popular crowd” - I stress the air quotes on that one - and I am, well, not. I have Krista. And that, sadly, is about it.

I blame my nickname. And the awful Brunettes.

Meredith has really short blonde hair and pretty typical blue eyes. They don't sparkle or resemble the ocean or anything. They are simply blue, like a well worn shirt. And she's holding out her hand to me, cupping it a little as if not to spill whatever is inside. I'm sad to admit that my first thought is that she wants me to pee in her hand. Because quite honestly, at this point, I just might.

For the past twenty minutes I've been sitting cross-legged in my seat, my attention focused on the giant, red X glaring at me from above the bathroom at the back of the plane. I silently berate myself for drinking two diet cokes from McDonald's before take off, simply because my mom showed concern about my hydration levels as I cross the Atlantic.

“Take this. It'll help you sleep.”

“What is it?”

“A sleeping pill. Duh! We're all taking them.” She thrusts her well-manicured hand closer to my face, her cream skin highlighting a small, blue pill burrowed inside. “With the flight overnight, we need to be alert for a full day of touring tomorrow.”


  1. I have to admit, even though I love the Beatles, I wasn't particularly drawn in by the log line. It's the sample that hooked me. Great voice. I would definitely read on.

  2. I think you can get rid of the lonely wall flower since freshmen year. We get that from the near friendless part. I am curious what she did to have no friends...

    For me, the 250 words frustrate me...not that that's necessarily a bad thing. We don't know why they call her Barf girl. (Maybe she puked on the plane?) We don't know her nickname. Or why the Brunettes are awful. (Who are the Brunettes?)

    But I do love the MC. I like how she thinks. I'd keep reading even though I'm frustrated.

  3. The logline isn't terribly compelling, but I'd read on based on the 250.

    Would she really think about the color of her own hair though? Maybe about the bangs hanging in her eyes, but not what color they are.... I want to know why they call her 'Barf Girl'.

  4. Just curious about the word "playback-list", not sure I've heard that. Also, is this present day? The word "barf" and the Beatles thing is making me wonder.

  5. Great voice through here. It compels me to want more. I liked the opening line - original and fresh - although you'll want to explain soon as to how the nickname originated. I'd definitely read more!

  6. I agree with the others about the logline. It is informative, and the idea made me want to read on, but needs to be tightened.

    The voice of the MC is good, and the scene is humorous. And that's the stuff that's hard to learn!

    However, we don't get much of a sense of what's at stake for this girl. What the conflict is. And, I'd like to get more of a sense of where the story is headed (log-line aside).

  7. Uh oh, don't take the pill, Barf Girl! Don't do it!

    I love the sample piece. It's the first entry so far that's made me smile while reading. Would definitely read on - what a great voice you have. Good luck!

  8. Don't take the pill, don't take it! Ack! I'm so into this already! (And I'm hearing the song in my head...) I LOVE the Beatles. From the start of your logline you have a great voice. I want to read more, to meet the Beatles fanatic! My only suggestion is:
    "...and stare at her through my brown bangs falling haphazardly into my eyes."
    I would cut falling haphazardly etc. because it seems unnecessary. If she's staring through her bangs, we already know they're in her eyes. I love the line, "I blame my nickname." This is a great excerpt, I want more!

  9. I really love this! Like some of the other commenters, I am VERY interested in why they call her "barf girl" and who the "awful Brunettes" are, and that will keep me reading to find out.

    Good luck!

  10. I liked the logline. But then I'm always drawn in more by character than plot.

    I chuckled at the Diet Coke thing.

    The part about peeing in Meredith's hand gave me pause. Why would you want a person that you condescended to to pee in your hand?

    Anyway, I like the voice here, and the promise of adventures in a foreign country.

  11. You know she's gonna take the pill, and you know it's gonna be bad. But I don't want her to! I like her voice, although I'd lose some of the detailed description of Meredith.

    This is a good start, and the premise is really strong!

  12. I love all the locales YA is launching into these days. England is going to be an awesome change of scene, and the Beatles will be a neat thread to pull through this story.

    So the Barf Girl title and the peeing in Meredith's hand lines kind of put me off. The eww factor was a little much for me. Somehow Barf Girl didn't sound like a natural nickname (although I could be wrong) and so it tripped me up a little. Even Barfy sounds a little more possible (sorry, still gross).

    The second sentence feels a little overwritten. It's like a rushed character description for the reader, instead of what Natalie is actually thinking. I know I'm a little sensitive to this, but it's early on the first page and this is the best chance to hook the reader in. You don't want anything to jar the reader out of the story.

    Other than that, the scene is interesting, although I'm not sure she'd accept a sleeping pill from a girl who'd never spoken to her except to call her Barf Girl (if that's where this is headed). I like the idea of it, and I love that they're on the plane almost to England. Great place to start.

    Sounds interesting and good luck!


    Logline: “MP3 playback list” really threw me. Maybe it’s because I’m an Apple user, but I think there’s a shorthand way to say this to be clearer. How about just “playlist”?
    There are a lot of Beatles references worked in here, which is clever, but I think you could do more with that, if the Beatles are indeed an important, recurring theme in the plot. I suspect this is what you are hoping will set this apart from other contemporary fiction.

    Line notes: I feel like these opening paragraphs are out of order. I’d start with the need to pee, create that uncomfortable situation and how she got into it, and then add your layers of general character discomfort among her classmates.

    Overall: I think you could establish this character a bit more clearly in this opening scene, help us know her (and become invested) instead of focusing so much on describing others.
    I wish you success as you develop this manuscript.