Friday, November 28, 2014

(37) MG Contemporary Fantasy: FIX YOUR LIFE!

TITLE: Fix Your Life!
GENRE: Contemporary Fantasy

Thirteen-year-old Megan wishes she could ditch her family. She’s stuck in the middle between her over-achieving big brother and insufferably cute baby sister, and all she gets from her parents is NO. Then the producers of the reality show, Fix Your Life!, steal her super-secret-do-not-read-on-pain-of-death journal and grant her wish. Poof—her family disappears. Megan has seven days to solve a series of clues to bring them back or they’ll be gone forever.

My father flaps a sheet of neon pink paper at me. “What is this, Megan?”

Ambushed. One more step and I would have been out the door.

“How should I know? I can’t see it while you’re waving it in my face.” I’m lying. I know what it is. If the color didn’t give it away, the strips I’d cut into the bottom and written my cell number on would have.

“Don’t be rude young lady.” He holds the paper between his thumb and index finger like it’s something gross. “I don’t recall giving you permission to sell your flute.”

I knew he’d be mad, so I’d figured out my defense ahead of time. “It was mine! You gave it to me.”

“I bought it for you to learn how to play. Musical instruments are not currency in this house. I forbid you to sell it.”

Too late. A lady saw my flyer in the library last week and called. She gave me a hundred dollars for it. That was how much more I needed to buy my new Trek bike, which I’d already done.

“It was mine,” I repeat. I said I had a defense. I didn’t say it was fancy.

Dad was slow, but he wasn’t dumb. “You already sold it, didn’t you?”

“Can we talk about this later? I’m going to be late for school.” I open the door at the same time hoping he’ll say yes. If I’m late one more time it’s detention city.


  1. I'm really super excited about your premise! It sounds so awesome and fun and high stakes.

    In the excerpt, though, there are spots where it feels more YA than MG. Her voice, especially comes off as more mature, like she's closer to 15-16 than thirteen.

    But, this could be me, so maybe some other peeps will comment on it and i'll turn out to be dead wrong.

    Good luck in the auction!

  2. I liked the logline, with its reality show premise - potentially funny, potentially creepy. It definitely drew me in. As for the sample page, the voice was very good. I think MG readers would definitely relate. The MC jumps off the page as a smart but bratty kid and the relationship with the dad reads very true-to-life.

  3. I like how much you get to know this MC in the interaction with her father. He also has some dimension, because her figures it out quickly that she already sold the flute.

    Well done!

  4. The excerpt sounds like a real father-daughter interaction. Sounds like a fun story. Trek bike is on my Christmas list.

  5. I really liked the log line and the authenticity of this family situation. I have empathy for your main character straight away and want to know what happens to her.

  6. You are very good the with the dialogue, and the premise sounds great, but I have to agree with the voice sounding a little old. I'm not sure if it's a major issue though, or if an agent would mind, it's just so well written, it might not even matter.

  7. I enjoyed your logline and thought the dialogue rang true. Like others, though, I thought it was an older voice. Good luck!

  8. Okay, so I'm fascinated. I really love the concept, but I'm also confused about the "supernatural" role of this "reality" TV show, and while I'm sure that's the point, it did slow me down. Is it a game? Or did they REALLY grant her wish? If they really granted her wish, are we operating in a world where that just...happens? Maybe it's a matter of changing the word "reality" to something more ominous/mysterious, etc. but I'd love the understand what kind of world we're playing in.

    That aside, I really liked the opening page, and didn't really think the voice was too old. "Ambushed." was a great little note of "uh-oh" that all kids have.

    Needless to say, I'm intrigued!

  9. Fantastic premise! The first page is also really good. Well-written, and we already see how headstrong and somewhat flawed your MC is, but also fun and likeable. The only thing I'd suggest is that you could perhaps tweak the opening lines very slightly to give them even more punch. Perhaps:

    “What is this, Megan?”

    Ambushed. One more step and I would have been out the door.

    My father flaps the sheet of neon pink paper at me.

    Good luck!

  10. Great premise and great voice! Funny, and bratty, and brave, and brazen.

    I'd agree with Tatum's suggestion for tightening the beginning without loosing any of the details.

    But there is no way she thought she wouldn't get into trouble for selling her flute, though.

    Great start.

  11. This is a terrific premise and one I can see kids relating to - wanting their family gone without really thinking of what that would mean. I'm eager to see where this story goes!

  12. I wonder about the premise. She's not wishing her family gone and POOF! - the tv producers arrive. They steal her diary. Why would they? How would they know who she was or if she even had a diary to steal? I think maybe she has to invite these tv producers into her life somehow. And maybe she does, and that part just didn't make into the log line.

    Other than that, it sounds like a fun ride!

  13. I'm really intrigued by this concept! I like that you balance a fun, clue-solving concept with the some potent emotional undertones - you have the opportunity to really explore the complex family relationships here.

    Like some of the others I am a little bit confused about the setup/world, but I'm assuming this is something you explain in the next few chapters? In a longer pitch, I would definitely clarify how this reality show works so we know what role Megan plays in the scheme (hopefully an active one - before she regrets her mistake, of course!).

    I like how sassy Megan is, but I'm also finding it a little hard to truly root for her on this opening page - and I feel that, especially in middle-grade, the reader really has to bond with that main character. Maybe I'm not connecting to Megan because, in this particular situation, I'm a bit in agreement with her father that she shouldn't have sold her flute and I understand why he's upset? I wonder if there's a way to add more layers to this scene so that we're more aligned with Megan - for instance, maybe she's just a tad guilty about what she did, or her father is being a little more unreasonable. I do like that Megan is not a goody-goody/on the bratty side - so I'd focus on balancing that side of her with other characteristics.

    I'm definitely intrigued to read more... Good luck!

  14. 50 pages please

  15. 100 pages

  16. CLOSED! Full goes to Josh Getzler.

  17. Tricia Lawrence, EMLADecember 2, 2014 at 11:35 AM