Friday, November 28, 2014

(33) YA Thriller: LITTLE DO YOU KNOW

TITLE: Little Do You Know
GENRE: YA Thriller

Two years after her boyfriend died on Santa Cruz Island, Ellie reluctantly returns determined to get through her school trip in one piece. While exploring the island’s caves, Ellie and her friends stumble upon an underground lab and find themselves in the middle of an experiment centered on her boyfriend, who is very much alive. When they learn the truth about what’s going on, they must find a way out before knowing too much gets them killed.

All I had to do was knock. In theory this should’ve been easy, but nothing about my “friendship” with Travis was easy. I didn’t have the energy to play this game tonight. Maybe he’d be sleeping and wouldn’t hear. Then I’d have no choice but to return to my cabin and bury myself in my sleeping bag.

Sleep was a better idea anyway. It’d been a long day of cataloguing plant species and sitting through lectures given by tour guides who got a little too excited talking about birds. The only thing that I ever learned from the annual Emerson Prep science excursion was that time can actually stand still.

I tapped on the door as gently as possible. I waited a moment and then exhaled when no one answered. As I turned to leave, the door opened.

Travis leaned against the doorjamb. “What’s up, Ellie?” He muttered in a barely audible tone.

My eyes trailed down and came to a stop at that perfect place where his sweats rested just below his hips. I wasn’t used to seeing him without a shirt and I stared longer than I should have. Hopefully he was tired and didn’t catch that. When my eyes returned to their appropriate position, the smirk on his face let me know that he noticed.

“Do you still want to walk to the beach?” I asked.

Travis lifted his hand to his head and combed down his just-slept-on hair. “I see you brought chaperones.”


  1. Ooh i really like this! I like the romantic/sexual tension between Ellie and Travis. That's very nicely handled and works really well here.

    I guess if i'm really digging for something constructive, i'd like some more setting descriptions. Like, i assume she's in a cabin, but is it like a single person cabin? Is it made out of wood or something else? Is it well-kept up or are their spiderwebs? That kind of stuff that would really help establish your setting more without you having to just come out and say it.

    Good luck in the auction!

  2. Replies
    1. I'm super intrigued by the premise and the 250. The voice is great too! That last line definitely left me hanging. I want to know who's there with her. Great job!

  3. I love your premise, and your first 250 is solid. I particularly like the interaction with Travis and the MC, and I'd definitely read more.

    The following are just a nitpicks:

    Muttering implies the tone is barely audible, so I'm not sure you need both.

    You could tighten "came to a stop" to "stopped".

    I bet your entry will get lots of attention on Tuesday. All the best.

  4. I really like this premise, but I was a bit confused by the final line. Is someone with her? If so, it feels a bit misleading to me as a reader, since we're in first person and I would have expected Ellie to acknowledge/talk to them beforehand. Of course, since it's the last sentence, I have no idea who or what the chaperones are, so disregard if that doesn't make sense with your story. :) My other critique is something that my crit partner and I have worked on - the use of the word 'that.' Like here: The only thing I ever learned from the annual Emerson Prep science excursion was that time can actually stand still.
    And here: When my eyes returned to their appropriate position, the smirk on his face let me know he noticed.

    I don't mean to be nitpicky, like I said, it's something I've worked on with my own manuscript, so now the word jumps out at me.

    Good luck in the auction!

  5. Hi there!

    I really like the voice, and think this is a VERY strong opening, especially those first two paragraphs. But I did share the same question as the above commenter about whether the last line is meant to indicate that someone is with her? I'm assuming she didn't notice, because she would have mentioned/acknowledged them.

    Also be careful with conventional/over-done language in the "my best guy friend is shirtless and suddenly hot" department. It is a well-worn path, and as strong as her voice is, this part felt a touch trope-ish. I'd try to find other ways to convey the tension than the hip bones.

    Also "muttered" has an inherently displeased connotation, so I might say "mumbled" and cut the barely audible, since as it was pointed out, one implies the other.

    A question on the log line: Does everyone know her boyfriend died that way? I have a hard time imagining her school would make her come on this trip if they knew? But now I'm super curious about what happened if they DON'T know.


  6. I really, really like this! It's a great combination of humor, romance, drama, and suspense. Both the logline and the first page do a strong job of hooking me into wanting to know what happens next. Also, the title is great because it adds an air of mystery! Excellent!

  7. This is pretty clean and easy to read and the premise sounds interesting. I wondered if you could work in a line or two about the dead boyfriend, perhaps compare him in some way to Travis, or maybe something Travis does reminds her of him, something to give us an indication of what her relationship with him was like.

  8. I agree with the question on the logline about whether others know her boyfriend died on this island. I wondered the same thing.

    The sample is great! I love the line about time standing still.

    This is super picky, but in the paragraph with her eyes trailing down, it wasn't clear to me until the second sentence that he wasn't wearing a shirt. Maybe: My eyes trailed down his bare chest and stopped ... Also, I'm assuming the sweats are resting below his hip bones rather than his hips.

    Also, same as the others, wondering if she knows there are other people with her or not. Assuming not. The trickiness of having to stop at 250 words!

    Good luck!

  9. You really hooked me with this logline! Mystery...romance...
    I'm eager to find out how the boyfriend died and how this relationship with Travis proceeds. Great beginning and good luck!

  10. I was immediately pulled in. I wanted to keep reading but sadly there was no more. The tension you built between her and Travis is great in this short section. I was hooked.

  11. The logline and this page has me hooked! I also love this line: “…that time can actually stand still”. It feels like there are little hints about the upcoming story, which makes me want to keep reading to see if they come back into play.

    Best of luck in the auction—really enjoyed reading this!

  12. Your concept really hooked me. I love that you have both a plot and character hook here - we want to know what's going on with these weird experiments, and we also want to know how Ellie will react to her boyfriend's death and "revival." The tension in this scene is really great.

    I'll echo the others and say the last line threw me off. I had assumed Ellie was alone - if she weren't, it would make logical sense for her to interact with her companions.

    I was also a bit confused about the set-up of the scene here. Since this is a school trip, I would assume there are many students in each cabin. How did Ellie know Travis would be the one to answer the door? Wondering about this pulled me a little bit out of the story, so maybe drop in a few words to clarify.

    I love where this is headed - good luck!

  13. Would love to keep reading! I bid 50 pages.

    Send to w/ the query in the body of the emai. Subject line: Baker's Dozen - [title].

  14. Darn you, Sarah!I look at another manuscript for one second and you go and steal this from me? I'll get you back :p

  15. CLOSED! Full goes to Sarah LaPolla.