Friday, December 2, 2011

#50 YA Paranormal: That Succs

TITLE: That Succs
GENRE: YA Paranormal

When fifteen-year-old romantic Emmy Duivel puts her first date in the hospital—with a kiss—her mother tells her the devastating truth: she’s not human and there is a price to pay for it. In order to accept what she is, she must give up her dreams of true love, and her feelings for classmate Paul, who has secrets of his own.

I stared in the mirror, wondering how Lily could possibly consider the piece of cloth she’d given me a dress. It covered less than my t-shirt.

“Do you have it on yet?” she called through the door. “Come on out. I wanna see it.”

My cheeks reddened just thinking about walking out of the dressing room with the dress on. “O-okay. Uh, just a minute.” I gave the hem one more tug, but it was as far down as it was going to get, which was less than five inches from my underwear and way too short for public viewing. Then I had to tug the top again, since every time I pulled on the bottom, the top came down, too. I give up.

I stepped to the door, when what I really wanted to do was take the stupid thing off and put my clothes back on. Sadly, I didn’t have much of a choice. If I didn’t come out, my best friend would insist, loudly, and by the time she got her way, there’d be a crowd.

With a sigh, I opened the door and stepped into the dressing room hallway. My shoulders curled in as I tried to keep as much of my body inside the “dress” as possible.

“Oh, honestly, Emmy. Stop hunching. You look fabulous.” She pushed me in front of the three-way mirror at the end of the hall. “See? You are totally hot.”

I looked, but all I saw was way too much of my own skin.


  1. I love, love, LOVE the title!! N' the sense of character you create, right out of the gate, has me HOOKED! Definitely DYING to read more!!


  2. For the logline I would get rid of 'there's a price to pay for it.' We get that from the first line as well as the third.

    I really like the first 250 words. Been there done that :)

    Your tense changes in the third paragraph when you say 'I give up'. Either put it in italics or say 'I gave up'.

    I'd keep reading.

  3. I like the logline. I'm already trying to figure out what/how Emmy is going to deal with who she is.

    I also like Emmy as a MC. I think her voice sounds very natural. I'd read on.

    Good luck!

  4. I wish the text reminded me more of the logline. I'm SURE you'll get to the fun supernatural stuff soon, but why not start off with a bang? Why is this scene so formative that it should be first? I say come out swinging, and with a premise like your logline's, I think it would be great.

  5. I love this. The title and the logline show so much voice. And I like how we're able to see a bit of Emmy and how she sees things before everything changes for her. It really gives you a sense of her and makes you want to root for her.

    Good luck!

  6. I agree with Amanda. I love the premise, love the voice. Can you plop us in the thick of the action? Or at least give us a hint that something is a little off with her? (Disregard this if you're about to do so in the next sentence. lol) :)

  7. I love the title and logline. I liked the voice in the opening, but felt it could have used a little bit more ... maybe in sensory (is she cold? shivering in the dressing room, barefoot?) and also why is she getting this dress and who else is she worried about seeing it?

    Good luck!

  8. The title means nothing to me; I assume it's a reference to something...?

    Logline: I really don't get it. Why does being supernatural mean she has to give up love? I assume that you mean she'll kill anyone she loves, or something, and that's a curse of some sort. Romance isn't really my thing, so I'd put this back.

    Opening: I have had that exact same reaction to a lot of clothes. The voice is dead on, but I'd put this back on the shelf just because I don't want to spend any time in real life clothes shopping, much less in a book.

    Overall, I think the excerpt is good, and the logline needs a bit of work. It may get somewhere; overall, it's just not my thing, so take this with a grain of salt.

  9. Yay, I love romance. Great logline, I'm interested! The first 250 were good, I like that she's modest and she seems like a great MC already. I'm with Karen, though, I would like a little more action hopefully in the next paragraphs, just so this opening lets us know that this will be a paranormal story. :) Best of luck!

  10. Your logline really drew me in. I like the premise, and I get by the title that the mc is a succubus. I wasn't as intriqued by the excerpt. Like some of the other commenters, I wanted a hint of paranormal flavor in the opening page, some hook, or indication of the cool stuff to come.

    Good luck.

  11. I'm not fond of pitches start with When, it's too common. Maybe:

    Fifteen-year-old romantic Emmy Duivel's kisses are deadly. After putting her first date in the hospital, her mother reveals the devastating truth: Emmy’s not human. But accepting what she is means giving up her dreams of true love, and her feelings for classmate Paul, who has secrets of his own.

    The first 250 have good voice and open with a scene many can empathize with. I find myself wishing it had more intrigue somehow--but I'm a paranormal hussy and want to be teased from the get-go. ~_^

  12. I like AE's log line suggestion above, but make sure it's clear Emily is the one who puts her first date in the hospital, not her mother. :)

    Totally sympathized with Emily in the beginning 250, and her voice comes through very well!

  13. I do like the fact this is about a succubus (I presume), and your writing flows smoothly.

    Wondering, like some of the others, whether this is the right place to start. But I like the writing enough that I would read on a bit further to see where this is leading.

  14. I love how strong your voice comes through in these opening pages, and that's hard to do.

    I identified instantly with Emmy, her insecurities and the pressures of friends. Which is an interesting twist since her kiss can kill a person!

    Also, I liked how I felt I was getting to know who Emmy was as a person before she goes and hospitalizes her date.

  15. Okay so I've been X-men obsessed since I was, like, eight, and your first sentence has me thinking, "OMG it's ROGUE!" So I'd pick it up just based on that.

    I'm loving the characterization and voice on your first page. I'd be interested to keep reading just so I could find out more about the relationship between the girls.

    So much luck to you!

  16. I love the voice, and the characterization of Emmy is great. In a very short space, you've made her personality come alive.

    I have concerns about the premise, largely of the "will this stand out from the crowd" type. Kissing as a form of magic/supernatural power transmission is seen so frequently, and recently (insert X-men reference here). What makes Emmy different? Also, if this is inherited, how did her mother keep from killing her father when they had Emmy? I'm not saying these questions would keep me from reading - I love the voice - but I would really want to see unique ways of handling this so it didn't feel like anything else I'd read before.

    Good luck!

  17. I love the title and based on what I think this is about, I would be interested, but the first page didn't hook me. I didn't feel a strong sense of voice and it seemed like a generic ya opening. There isn't anything unique about her bff forcing her to try on a dress she's not comfortable with. I would have liked it better if the friend had already convinced her to buy it and now she's staring in her home mirror dreading walking out and showing her parents or something like that. I just feel like nothing happened in this one page and there wasn't something strong enough to hook me--voice, action, mystery. I wanted more.

  18. Your writing is great - I love that I get such a clear sense of the MC's personality right off the bat. I don't mind the starting with something non-paranormal, I think it sets the stage of her normal life before everything changes and we can really see what she ends up losing.

    I agree about the "I give up" - it threw me a little thinking the tense had changed or something. But overall, this is really great!

    Good Luck!

  19. I love your protagonist's voice! The log line felt a little weak to me, but other than that, this seems like a fun read. =)

  20. Unlike some other comments, I have to say, I'm drawn in by the fact that there's no paranormal anything happening right away - it means I can take time to relate to the character - albeit in a humourous, relatable context with action from the start (bonus) before getting into worldbuilding. Sometimes that works for me, sometimes not, but I think it works here. Well done!

    I'd take this off the shelf and keep on reading. You've got a great way of getting right into this young girl's head, and I can completely relate to her feelings. I've definitely been there as well. Peer pressure at it's most embarrassing! And I dig that she's aware of the fact that she's not comfortable in her skin. I hope she's able to tell her friend that at some point!

  21. Love this idea, but my first thought on the logline was why didn't her mother tell her sooner? It seems to me that putting a date in the hospital is a quick way to being discovered and disrupting their life under the radar. Would her mom really wait until she was fifteen to tell her this?

    I like the opening and connected with both Lily and Emmy. I think you could do without the fourth paragraph. To me, it sounds like she's telling the reader, "I wouldn't normally do this, but here are my reasons." This is the first page, so instead of telling me what she wouldn't do, I'd like to start with getting to know her and what she WOULD do.

    I think you can just drop the paragraph entirely, since her reluctance is already obvious. You could trim some of this in the same way (ie "less than five inches from my underwear" means you don't need "way too short for public viewing" since I already got that). Then there's more room on the front page for getting to know Emmy and seeing more action.

    Loved the last line of this opening. Very nice!

  22. I have to say, I'm pretty shocked that this one didn't get a bunch of bids. I thought that the clever title and the nice voice set this up to be a fun, romantic-comic story with a paranormal twist. I would certainly have requested to see more pages, for what it's worth.

  23. I like your concept and logline, though I'm wondering why Lily's mother didn't tell her daughter she was a succubus before the date. I'm sure there's a good reason in the text. Perhaps you could just say 'Lily learns' or something in the logline, rather than say it was her mother who told her.

    As for the excerpt, I like it, but I don't know if it's front-page material. Ideally, your novel should start when your MC's life changes. I understand you don't want to start with Lily kissing and hospitalising her poor boyfriend, but I'm sure there's some other scene that would serve as a better starting point.

  24. #50 THAT SUCCS

    Logline: Noting the title, I kind of want this writing to be humorous. I’m not sure whether it will be. Can you infuse a bit of tone to this pitch so readers know if it’s taking itself seriously as paranormal, or if there’s an element of comedic farce?

    Line notes: Clean overall, though as indicated above, I’m not sure what the tone of this manuscript will be. I’d love to get more mood or tone.

    Overall: My caveat to this critique is that I’m generally shy of paranormal with “creatures” right now, and I suspect our mc is a succubus. That’s a racy, dangerous creature, and I wonder about appropriateness for Teen Fiction. Because there is so very much paranormal in the market right now, and our lists our saturated with similar fiction, however, something very special has to emerge in the writing and concept to tempt editors/publishing houses. I might read a few more pages to see what special thing this has to offer. If indeed there’s a strong comedy element or some other distinction from familiar paranormal genre, please do make sure it’s clear in your pitch.

    Best of success.