Friday, December 2, 2011

#54 YA Paranormal: Grim

GENRE: YA Paranormal

Sixteen-year-old Libbi meets Aeron like most people meet their local Grim Reaper, when she’s about to die. But instead of collecting her soul and carting her off to the Great Beyond, Aeron saves her life. Pretty freaking sweet, until Libbi learns the one condition of life after meeting Death: she must replace him in one week. And everything about Aeron’s job sucks.

My stalker is back.

I may not be able to see him, but I know he’s here, somewhere. Call it intuition. I hunch over my History final and release the hair from behind my ears. It swings forward like a curtain and hides my face.

Show’s over, buddy.

I can’t look around for him this time, not with Mr. Winkler on ‘cheater duty’. The guy will eventually get bored and go wherever the hell he goes when he isn’t ogling me.

The test is what’s important. I must focus on this test.

The loser’s gaze bores through my auburn shield of hair and my arms erupt in gooseflesh, but I read the next question anyway. Before I get to the multiple choice answers, my eyes betray me and shoot up for a quick scan of the classroom.

Mr. Winkler sits at his desk, scratching at some poor schlub’s paper with red pen, his bald head gleaming in the harsh fluorescent light. God, I hope it’s not my paper he’s destroying. I can’t afford another bad grade in this class.

Kyle’s desk sits directly in front of Mr. Winkler. He calls him Mr. Sprinkler, and after nine months of daily spraying, I suppose he can call Mr. Winkler whatever he wants. He leans forward, runs both hands through his wavy hair and thumps his forehead down on his final.

Everyone else is working. Nobody’s staring at me.

But I know creep-boy is watching. I can feel his stalker stare.


  1. I love the sense of humor n' the bad-a** ATTITUDE of the logline!! N' the story's opening totally backs this up, with a vengeance! GREAT TITLE, TOO!!


  2. Looks good to me! I have a similar tough/prickly heroine, and the one thing I'd look for as I read on would be, "Does she become sympathetic?" I only mention this as critters have called me on it, and I've had to go back and soften her a little.

  3. Your sample definitely draws me in and makes me want to continue on. But honestly, I'd continue reading just because of your logline. Sounds awesome.:)

  4. I love this. The only issue I had was with the logline, I didn't understand that Aeron WAS the Local Grim Reaper. But after I read it a second time I got it.

    The voice is wonderful. I love the snarkiness. Reminds me of my MC. I would most def keep reading and I'm not usually a paranormal gal.

  5. I love the sound of this. The voice is wonderful. I'd keep reading. Good luck :)

  6. Snarkastically delicious. My only problem is with the word "ogle" in regards to the teacher...makes him sound like a perv! :)

  7. The 1st sentence grabs me. The next three paragraphs continue to bring me in. Good voice-especially, 'Show's over, Buddy.' This is realistic of teens. You do need a capital on "Buddy" because MC is naming the stalker. You are also including your setting, which is good.

    In the 2nd paragraph in your simile, 'like a curtain' doesn't work for me because curtains don't swing forward. Though, it's great to use similes. Maybe a different word choice.
    4th paragraph you need to clarify that the stalker is doing the ogling-not the teacher.
    6th paragraph- 'erupt' doesn't work for me, volcanoes erupt. Maybe a different word choice. I do think 'bores' & 'auburn shield of hair' works well.

    I don't understand the 'daily spraying' in paragraph 8. Good detail & action- 'runs hands through wavy hair'. I see this.

    I love 'creep-boy'! So teen-like! Good alliteration in 'stalker stare'. I want to read more!

  8. I friggin LOVE your logline. The last line is a gem. "And everything about Aeron’s job sucks."

    I love the mixture of paranormal and reality in your 250 - the MC's take on her surroundings. LOL at the bit about Kyle.

    Great voice, great premise. I'd definitely read more!

  9. @Amanda G - I think the "ogling" is referring to her stalker, not to the teacher.

    I also love the paragraph about Kyle, but since I don't know who he is or if he's important yet, I wonder if he deserves a place in the first 250, or if his importance to the MC should be established first? This is something I'm wondering in my own MS right now.

    The first four paragraphs have me hooked, and your log line promises an exciting story! I'd definitely keep reading.

  10. I love your logline, I'm hooked! And the voice-Amanda G. pegged it with "snarktastic." Awesome! I want more!!

  11. Excellent logline, wonderful premise, great voice! I'd definitely bid on you if I was an agent! Good luck!

  12. I loved both.

    The scene was really well set up. I wasn't confused about anything, and I could clearly see it all play out. Very nice voice and loads of creepiness for such a mundane thing as a final.

    Good job!

  13. Great voice! Definitely want to read more of this protagonist.

    I (like someone mentioned above) didn't know Aeron was the Grim Reaper until a second reading, and have no idea what "daily spraying" means.

    Otherwise, it's looking veeerrry nice! GOOD LUCK!

  14. I was a little confused by the Aeron/Grim Reaper, too. I know someone called out the curtain simile but I loved it. I think the voice is great. Hooked!

  15. I like the voice, but I'm not really hooked. For one thing, this feels like all the other "dead girls meet the grim reaper/have to become death/collect the dead" stories I've already seen. What makes your MC different?

    Also, I kept wondering as I read this - if the teacher is such a stickler, for cheating, then why hasn't he noticed whoever is watching her?

    Good luck!

  16. Love the way you added a sense of voice to your logline! Drew me right in! And the first 250 definitely didn't disappoint. I think this is another of my favorites! It was just a pleasure to read. Characterization and voice were amazing. Wish I could read more! Good luck!

  17. Good job here. Great flow. Easy to read. I'm hooked.

  18. I love this...the premise, her attitude, everything. I am dying to know what happens next!

  19. I love that when I'm reading your logline, I'm like, "Uh huh, okay...OH SH*T." Totally awesome. the stalker invisible? That's clearer by the end of the page, I think. I'd read on just to clear up the choreography of what's going on - the whole thing feels kind of hallucinatory and trippy, with the paranoia combined with detailed description of random things, which is very effective.

    Awesome work! So So much luck to you!

  20. I enjoyed everything about this, the log line, the concept, the voice. It has a natural easy flow and is something I would definitely continue to read.

  21. Great voice!
    Loved the logline and writing sample.
    Best of luck!

  22. You give good voice :) Well done!

    As someone else mentioned above, the whole how does she know someone's watching her when no one is thing is a little unclear, but I suspect that clears up on the next page.

    Good luck!

  23. I love the premise of the story and being one of the fortunate to read further in the story I can tell it gets better and better.
    Just in these few words I got Libbi's strong voice and indentified with it.
    Good Luck!! I'm crossign my fingers for you!

  24. Very well done incorporating voice into the log line.

    Great pacing in your opening scene and I really like your MC's voice. I'd definitely read more.

    Good luck!

  25. Fab log line! In four quick sentences, the reader immediately knows what they're up against, yet there are still plenty of unanswered questions (why did he pick her? where's he going?) - great job here.

    As many other commenters have said, you have the voice nailed - but of course, I am a huge fan of snarky heroines, so this is right up my alley.

    And I think your set-up is just fine: whether or not someone really is watching her - or even if that someone is invisible - I don't believe needs to be added to the first 250. Just the eerie feeling that someone could be watching her, is all that's important right now - and I think you wrote this well.

    Job well done - easily one of my favorites and I'd for sure read on. Best of luck in the contest!

  26. I love love LOVE your premise, your voice, the attitude, it all rocks. My only suggestions are to watch your narrative flow. Some of the page is reading a bit disjointed, and I think it could be smoother.

    Specifically: 'The loser's gaze bores through my auburn shield of hair' is ringing a little off for me. The rhythm's off and it feels a little forced, if that makes sense.

    The other bit that really jumped out at me is the part about Kyle. It feels tacked on and unnecessary, especially the bit about calling the teacher Mr. Sprinkler and why. It distracts us from the focus of the page, pinpointing her stalker, and while it does set up that everybody else is working, and nobody's staring at her, we don't need a whole paragraph focused just on Kyle to belabor that point. If you removed that whole bit and skipped straight to 'Everyone else is working,' it wouldn't really detract anything from the page, so I'd recommend streamlining and keeping the focus on your MC and her invisible stalker. Keep the pace up and the tension high.

  27. LOVE. Fantastic voice and great setting for the opening. I love Libbi already, and how she's trying to be so attentive to her test while being stalked.

    Terry Pratchett's Death is one of my favorite characters, so it's no surprise that I get really excited about this logline. I'm assuming Aeron is the stalker in this opening--I love that she can sense him and the idea that she thinks she can run from Death. And not only that, but she wants to challenge him ("show's over, buddy"). She's afraid, but she'll also fight back.

    Very hooked.

  28. #54 GRIM

    Logline: I like it. Nice mix of voice and plot, very accessible.

    Line notes: Why oh why do so many teen paranormal heroines have auburn hair? Also, I am not enamored of this level of self-description so early in a ms.

    Overall: I’m interested in reading more. While the concept feels a tad familiar in our paranormal-saturated market (my caveat stands that something really special has to emerge to make anything paranormal work now), there’s a natural ease to this voice, and the pitch is clear.

    Best of success.