St. Nicholas Day 1st 150 Workshop (for PB & MG authors)

Hello all,  As promised I have something special lined up for those of you who are Picture Book and/or Middle Grade authors. I’m calling it St. Nicholas Day 1st 150 Workshop. Many of you will know of the Post-it-Forward pitching … Continue reading

Nestpitch2015 – Agent Round Time!

snoopyeasterNestpitch2015 has been a lot of work and a lot of fun. It’s also been a wonderful opportunity to ‘meet’ a lot of talented people from across the globe.

The Teams have worked hard, both whittling down the submissions and then working with their authors.

And now is the Agent Round –WooHoo!

A special thank you to all the agents who have given or their time – without you guys there would be no #nestpitch.

Each Team has Mentored a group of talented authors for the past month or so and now it’s time to show off our simply smawesome submissions.

You’ll find each teams submissions on the links below.

Agents, let your tempting chocolate treats flow.

Authors, get ready for the best part of the Nestpitch cycle

And twitter/blog followers, feel free to show your support via facebook, twitter or leave a supportive message here for your favourite submissions.

Here we go!

#TeamPlotBunnies
#TeamEvilBunny
#TeamUnbreakable
#TeamBasketCase
#TeamEggslent
#TeamHotCrossBooks
#TeamSugarRush
#TeamOneBasket
#Team2Beat

easter-rabbit-eating-vegetables-beautiful-gif-photography-great-atmosphere-funny-pics-233-1And don’t forget to check out the Unmask the Agent comp. It starts in a few days & there’s a $20 Amazon gift voucher up for grabs!

Nestpitch 2015 Submissions are Now Closed!

writer-moments1

Thank you to everyone who submitted, we have been blown away with your talent and creativity! – #Nestpitch2015 is now CLOSED

To all who submitted, keep an eye out in the next week as Teams will be requesting more material and any author may get requests from more than one Team

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE – YOU’RE ALL SMAWESOME!

So have you prepared your emails, checked them twice… ‘cos we want your pitches, both naughty and nice…

Oh wait, that’s the wrong jingle isn’t it? You know what? It’s my blog and I’ll mix jingles if I want to – 🙂

Time to hit that SEND button – because the Submission Window for #Nestpitch2015 is NOW OPEN! I have created an auto-reply (sorry it says vacation reply that was the only option), therefore everyone should get a reply confirming their submission has been received. I will be checking JUNK MAIL also (just in case). If your email ends up in junk mail, I’ll move it over & send you a quick reply. Please note, a second email from the same email address in the same day WILL NOT get a second auto reply.

Submission Window Closes Good Friday (Friday 3rd April 2015)getoverit

10pm Aust. Eastern Standard Time

7am USA New York Time

12 noon London UK Time

For Complete Guidelines please refer to the post a few weeks back which you’ll find in the recent posts list along the side, however I have also included a brief overview below:

tumblr_lp9tthzs0f1qz7hmlo1_400How to submit your Pitch:

Email address: nestpitch@outlook.com

Please follow the guidelines. Last year some people put their first 300 words at the top or mixed up the order. Please do not do this. There is a reason for the order and failure to follow the below will likely mean your submission will not pass Round#1 (refer below).

Send the following in your email:

In the Subject line: Nestpitch2015 Sub and your name/author name

In the body of the email type these words: 

By submitting this pitch + first 300 words I agree to allow the Nestpitch blog and/or any other affiliated blogs to post my submission on an open forum for the purposes of critique and feedback.  I understand this can be for the life of the blog(s).

Manuscript Title:writer-moments13

Category/ Genre:

Word Count:

35-word Pitch:

QU (in your MC’s voice), if your MC was an Easter Egg, what flavour would s/he be?:

*First 300-words of your MS:

*1st 300 = if your MS has a prologue, then your 1st 300 starts from your prologue. Also, finish at the end of a sentence. This is 300-word MAX, so your last word is 300-words. If your sentence finishes on 292-words, submit that. If your sentences run into 30 or more words, then you might want to rethink the length of your sentence(s). Broken sentences do no one favours.

Example of a Submission:

Subject line: Nestpitch2015 Sub – Nikola Vukoja

By submitting this pitch + first 300 words I agree to allow the Nestpitch blog and/or any other affiliated blogs to post my submission on an open forum for the purposes of critique and feedback.  I understand this can be for the life of the blog(s).

Manuscript Title:      Easter Bunny goes to Vegastumblr_m949z4q9Ib1r1fva4

Category/ Genre:      MG/ Fantasy

Word Count:             26,000

35-word Pitch:        After losing all his eggs in a card game to March Hare, the Easter Bunny heads for Las Vegas where he plans to win enough money to buy back the world’s Easter Eggs.

If your MC was an Easter Egg, what flavour would s/he be?  I’d be every flavour, colour, shape and size imaginable; I’m the Easter Bunny… geez!

First 300-words of your MS:

Easter Bunny Blah Blah…

Send your submission to: Nestpitch@outlook.com (please note the submission close above, submissions emailed after the submission window closes will not be accepted)

giphyFormatting: Either Times Roman or Arial (we are aware that there may be issues with some email accounts regarding font, please do your best to use either Times Roman or Arial, or something as close as possible to these two). No indentions. Single spacing. One space between each Paragraph.

Prologues: Your prologue is where your first 300 words begin.

Word Count: Rounded to nearest 1000. For example, 86,000 not 85,798  and 72,000 not 72,221

*And remember, its one submission per Author, in any genre for the following categories MG, YA, NA, Adult. No picture books, memoirs, chap or chapter books, or short story anthologies & only NOVEL FICTION (not novella). – & please do not forget we want Category & Genre.

As with last year, your manuscript must be polished and as grammar/spelling perfect as is humanly possible. And, aside from twitter pitches, critique groups and workshops, your pitch + first page(s) cannot have been featured in another pitching to agents style contest in the last 12 months (#PitchSlam 2015 is an exception, please read guidelines and/or ask questions if in doubt).

OK, so that’s all the technical stuff out of the way. Now for the fun!aa5a4d147a12181ce8b0705fe43c0175

We are all super excited to see what lands in the email box of the next 48 hours & can’t wait to get our hands on your words! Good luck to everyone … and remember… everything is subjective and everything has a home; somewhere. #Pitch comps are but one way to find an agent and/or move forward with your writing career.

Play nice, its fun but its also a lot of work for the Team, all of whom have given of their time for free, and the impression you want to leave is a positive, professional one; so again… play nice 🙂

BottyShake_randomgoodstuff

Abracadabra, Shim-Shalala-Sham: Agent Reveal – Now!

snoopyeasterHi all, 

have you been waiting for this? Yeah, I know you have… and truly, it will have been worth the wait 🙂 A MASSIVE thank you to all the agents participating, to those who couldn’t join us this year but wished us well and to my Nestpitch team for all their support and hard work. So here they are, in no particular order, an even dozen of them!

Val Noble1.         Valerie Noble

Associate Agent, Donaghy Literary Group

While studying chemistry at California State University, Long Beach, Valerie mastered the art of doing proper research, particularly for technical writing. Her love of science and reading merged when she began penning her first novel in the midst of her studies. In true scientific fashion, Valerie researched all there was to know about publishing. Valerie loves science fiction and fantasy (think Kristin Cashore and Suzanne Collins) but reads everything under the sun.

Valerie is particularly interested in Young Adult and New Adult in the following genres; Science Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fantasy & Historical Fiction

You can find Valerie here: http://www.donaghyliterary.com/ or on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/NobleValerie

Saba2.         Saba Sulaiman

Junior Agent, Talcott Notch Literary Services

Saba is the newest member of Talcott Notch Literary Services. She joined the team as an Assistant after working as an editorial intern at Sourcebooks, where she worked primarily on their romance line. She holds a BA from Wellesley College and an MA from the University of Chicago.

Saba’s looking for up-market literary and commercial fiction, romance (all subgenres except paranormal), character-driven psychological thrillers, cozy mysteries, and memoir, in both adult and YA. She’s also actively seeking Middle Grade, particularly contemporary realistic stories.

You’ll find Saba here: http://www.talcottnotch.net/ Here: http://sabasulaiman.com/

and on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/agentsaba

uwe stb3.         Dr. Uwe Stender

President, TriadaUS Literary Agency

A Full Member of the AAR (Association of Authors’ Representatives), and active on social media as well as a guest speaker at several major conferences, Dr. Uwe Stender has an impressive list of clients, both fiction & non-fiction. Uwe joins us again, having been a Nestpitch Agent in 2014.

On Uwe’s current wish-list is YA, MG, adult mysteries/thrillers, literary fiction, any non-fiction.

As well as many conferences and several online competitions you’ll find Uwe here: http://www.triadaus.com/ and on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/uwestender

Jordy4.         Jordy Albert 

Literary Agent, The Booker Albert Literary Agency

Co-founder of The Booker Albert Literary Agency, Jordy holds a B.A. in English from Pennsylvania State University, and a M.A. from Millersville University of Pennsylvania. She has worked with Marisa Corvisiero during her time at the L. Perkins Agency and the Corvisiero Literary Agency. She enjoys studying languages (French/Japanese), spends time teaching herself how to knit, is a HUGE fan of Doctor WhoSherlock and Supernatural, and loves dogs.
She is interested in Middle Grade contemporary or action/adventure, while in YA and New Adult, she is looking for sci-fi/fantasy (romance), contemporary romance. Jordy loves an awesome kick butt hero/heroine, especially when they have to work their way out of a tight spot. While it isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, she tends to shy away from novels with trigger topics, such as suicide and any type of abuse.

For adult works Jordy is looking for smart, sexy contemporary romances that leave her breathless. She is also looking for Historical Romances (she definitely has a soft spot for Regency).

For Jordy too this is her second year with Nestpitch You can find Jordy here: http://www.thebookeralbertagency.com/ and on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/bluedragonfly81

Patricia-Nelson-296x3005.         Patricia Nelson

Agent, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

Patricia joined Marsal Lyon Literary Agency in 2014. Previously, she interned at The Angela Rinaldi Literary Agency and in the children’s division at Running Press.

Patricia received her bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary in 2008, and also holds a master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in Gender Studies from the University of Texas at Austin.

Patricia represents adult, young adult, and middle grade fiction.

Patricia’s Wish-list: Adult: women’s fiction, historical fiction, and accessible literary fiction, as well as contemporary and historical romance. YA: she’s open to a wide range of genres, including contemporary/realistic, magical realism, mystery, horror, science fiction and fantasy. MG: she’s seeking stories both realistic and fantastical that are full of heart, humour and/or adventure.

You can find Patricia here: http://www.marsallyonliteraryagency.com/ and on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/patricianels

PictureCate6.         Cate Hart

Junior Literary Agent, Corvisiero Literary Agency

Cate is a Junior Agent with Corvisiero Literary Agency. This is Cate’s second time with #Nestpitch, with lasts year resulting in Cate signing a new client.

Cate mainly focuses Young Adult and Middle Grade novel length commercial fiction although she is happy to consider select New Adult, Historical Romance, and Mysteries. In YA, NA, and Adult she prefer’s stories with strong romantic elements, or even better, a heart-pounding romance.

You can find Cate here: http://catehart.com/ on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/CateHart

and the Agency here: http://www.corvisieroagency.com/

Dawn-13137.         Dawn Michelle Frederick

Literary Agent & Owner, Red Sofa Literary

After having worked in the publishing industry for many years, including being a published non-fiction author and associate agent with Sebastian Literary Agency, Dawn branched out on her own and established Red Sofa Literary.

In addition to her literary agent duties she also volunteers with her local library system. As well as many years experience in the industry, Dawn also carries a B.S. in Human Ecology, and a M.S. in Information Sciences from an ALA accredited institution.

You might find Dawn drooling over a exceptionally written MG or YA while surrounded by friends of the fluffy and fury kind. 

You can find Dawn here: http://redsofaliterary.com/ and on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/redsofaliterary

mollieL8.                 Mollie Glick 

Agent, Foundry Literary & Media

After graduating from Brown University, Mollie began her career as a literary scout, advising foreign publishers regarding the acquisition of rights to American books. She then worked as an editor at the Crown imprint of Random House, before becoming an agent in 2003. Mollie represents New York Times bestsellers and International Bestsellers but she also takes great pride in breaking out a number of debut novelists each year. Her list includes literary fiction, narrative non-fiction, popular science, memoir and YA projects.

You can find Mollie here: http://www.foundrymedia.com/ and on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/mollieglick

Processed with VSCOcam with b5 preset9.         Maria Vicente

Associate Agent, P.S. Literary Agency.

Maria is a creative and editorial agent, providing support to her clients through all stages of the writing and publication process. Maria is dedicated to managing authors’ literary brands for the duration of their careers. Her reading preferences vary across categories and genres, which is reflected in her client list. She is actively looking for literary fiction, young adult, middle grade, illustrated picture books, and nonfiction projects in the pop culture, design, and lifestyle categories.

She has affinities for literary prose, strong character development, original storytelling formats, and anything geeky. Maria’s website includes articles about publishing and writing for current and potential clients, which she shares daily on Twitter

You’ll also find Maria here: http://www.psliterary.com/ and on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/msmariavicente

Camilla10.       Camilla Wray

Agent, The Darley Anderson Literary

Camilla joined the Darley Anderson Agency in July 2007 and was named as a publishing Rising Star by The Bookseller in 2013. At the Agency she represents debut, bestselling and award nominated authors in the UK and the US. She specialises in commercial fiction and represents crime, thrillers, suspense, high-concept accessible fiction, women’s fiction, love stories, YA and children’s fiction. She is always looking for characters to fall in love with, plots that keep her guessing and tales that teach the reader and leave them buzzing, crying and dying for more.

Camilla studied English Literature and Psychology at Cardiff University, specialising in Novel Writing. After gaining a distinction from the University of the Arts, Camilla went on to work for a national newspaper before joining the Darley Anderson Agency.

Camillia is another who has joined us again, having been involved in 2014. You can find Camilla here: http://www.darleyanderson.com/ And on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/camillawray

Christa11.       Christina Heschke

Agent, McIntoch & Otis, Inc.

Christa graduated from Binghamton University with a major in English and a minor in Anthropology. She started in publishing as an intern at both Writers House and Sterling Lord Literistic, where she fell in love with the agency side of publishing. Christa has been at McIntosh and Otis, Inc. in the Children’s Literature Department since 2009 where she is actively looking for picture books, middle grade, and young adult projects. She is a fan of young adult novels with a romantic angle, and strong, quirky protagonists.

Within YA, Christa is especially interested in contemporary fiction, horror and thrillers/mysteries. As for middle grade, Christa enjoys contemporary, humour, adventure, mystery and magical realism for boys and girls.

You can find Christa here: http://mcintoshandotis.com/ and on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/christaheschke

Agent bio picture12.       Jessica Schmeidler

Agent/Founder, Golden Wheat Literary

Jessica is currently mainly interested in speculative fiction however she dos encourage writers to submit Christian romance, thrillers, and suspense novels. Works of faith-based* speculative fiction, including dystopian, sci-fi, and paranormal encourage. Christian thrillers and suspense are always welcome. In other words, if your novels tend toward Christian themes, Jessica is the agent for you.

You can find Jessica here: http://www.goldenwheatliterary.net/ and on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/goldenwheatlit 

I think you’ll agree that this is quite the WOW list of agents; completely SMAWESOME wouldn’t you say?

Now, aside form checking out their bios and profiles and (of course) following them on Twitter if you haven’t done so already, there’s another reason to ‘get-to-know’ your agents – yep that’s right! We will be running Match-the-Mask-to-the-Agent again this year. The Secret Agent Bunny Masks will be revealed after Easter, and yes there will be an Amazon Voucher up for grabs for the first correct answer. More details to come after Easter.

thHoppingBunnyBut for now, all you need to concentrate on is your pitch + first 300 –words & remember, we are looking for POLISHED manuscripts.

Submission date is April 1st to 3rd 2015. Email for Submissions is nestpitch@outlook.com & for all the details & guidelines go to:https://nestpitch.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/nestpitch2015-is-your-manuscript-pitch-ready-then-april-1-2-3-go/ For a list of your Mentors & Slushies go to: https://nestpitch.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/nestpitch-2015-teams-simply-smawesome/

And one final thing. There have been some comments/questions regarding violence (etc.) in manuscripts. While it is true we do not accept the promotion of violence, hate-crimes, racism, bigotry, misogyny, etc. is a good thing, there seems to have been a little confusion by some authors. Of course there will be violence (etc.) in some genres, in fact it’s expected. I had a very long explanation planned but (after discussing with my fellow Nestpitch Team Mates) have decided to sum it up like this (words borrowed from one of our Mentors):

“…We want stories that make us laugh and cry. Stories that make us weep and scream. Stories that transport us to strange planets and different times. Stories that make you think and feel. Stories that are sexy and scandalous, that are quirky, creepy or noir,  stories that fill the imagination with mystical, mythical creatures and exotic cultures and locales, ones that change us or make us ask questions… in other words we want it all…”

I hope this goes some way toward clarifying that it’s not so much the journey as it is the mode of transport and the destination. And if that’s still unclear, please refer to the below flow-chart created and designed by another of our Mentors – it pretty much says it all (& yes a bit tongue-in-cheek):

Screenshot 2015-03-26 09.47.57

Now, spend the weekend sharpening & polishing & reading out loud and then re-writing where needed because the countdown to author submissions is ONLY DAYS away!

HappyEaster4

#Post-it-Forward & #NestPitch2015 – It’s almost upon us!

bunny-sheep-herderFirstly Post-It-Forward.

The submission window open March 8th and is only open for 12 hours so don’t miss out! Go here: https://nestpitch.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/post-it-forward-2015/ for more info.

HappyEaster4

So what’s #Nestpitch ?

It’s a writers comp based on a special Easter tradition throughout central and northern Croatia – making Easter Nests.  On the afternoon or eve of Easter Saturday children go out into the garden and collect leaves, grass, twigs, flowers and then make a “nest” for the Easter Bunny – that’s where he places his Easter-Egg-Presents. The children go to bed that eve wondering if the Easter Bunny will like or love their nest, because the best nest gets the best and biggest eggs!

With that in mind, we’ve structured #Nestpitch where the ‘NEST’ is your pitch + 300. You ‘pitch’ your nest to the Secret Bunny Agents. If they like your ‘nest’ they’ll leave you a request ‘treat’ – in other words the best nests get the most and biggest pitch-treats 🙂 

2085389aafyxdeldhHow does it work?

You will send your pitch + 300 (refer below for full instructions) and the Mentor + their team of Slushies will selected their favourites to go to Round Two* 

*Yes we’ve changed the rules a little – this year there will be two rounds and the Mentoring TEAMS will work closely with their final selections to help their authors strengthen each authors manuscript.

The first is the Mentor/Team System.

In 2014 we had some AWESOME submissions however, there were a few agents who, on requesting pages and query letters, felt the quality/voice and even lack of grammatical errors (etc.) did not translate beyond page one, two or three.

So this got me thinking.

The concept of Easter Nests & Secret Bunny Agents will remain, however the selection process will be MUCH TOUGHER. 

This year there will be TEAMS. One Mentor + two Slushies.snoopyeaster

Each Team will read all the submissions* and from those will select their top 5-8 submissions.

Each Team will then request the first 2,500-words of each manuscript from their chosen 5-8 pitches; and, after much discussion, and perhaps requests for more information/pages, each Team will pick 4-5 submissions to go into the final round (the agent round).

Prior to being open to agents, each Team will work closely with their 4-5 author’s, helping them polish their first 2,500-words, giving feedback and critique.

The author’s will then take what they have learned and revise the rest of their manuscript – before the agent round.

agent cat rejection*Please follow the submission guidelines. Entries who fail to do so may have their submission voided. Although this may seem tough, it’s a fact of a writer’s life, submission guidelines are there for a reason, whether they are competition, agent or publisher guidelines.

You will find a comprehensive rules & conditions guideline post one week before submission date (April 1st), however, below is a brief overview to give you all a head start.

A list of the Teams & the participating agents will be posted right after #Post-it-Forward – look out for it!

31. Kitten LoveHow do you play?

First and foremost FOLLOW THE RULES – as mentioned, they will be updated a week before submission date – however below is an overall run down:

#NestPitch

This year we will be open to all categories EXCEPT Picture Books (MG, YA, NA & Adult)

The Pitch window will be open for 48 hours, thereby allowing everyone, regardless of where you live in the world, to prepare and submit a pitch.

funny bunny 1The Pitch will be made up of three parts.

(i)                 a 35-word pitch

(ii)               answer to a question (in your main characters voice)

(iii)             the first 300-words of your manuscript

There will an email address dedicated #nestpitch – this will form part of the RULES.

Selection Process:

(i)                 All submissions will be read by me first to ensure each submission has followed the rules/guidelines.

Two main rules

a.       Only manuscripts which HAVE NOT been featured in another online competition are eligible to enter. This DOES NOT include workshops, critique groups or similar. It also DOES NOT include twitter or any other tag-line style pitches either. Please feel free to ask if you’re in any doubt

b.      Submission MUST follow the submission format. The format will form part of the rules & guidelines update a week before submission date. We accept that sometime email de-format fonts and tabs, this is fine. What we don’t want is people forgetting to put CATEGORY & GENRE (for example) or not answering the question; that sort of thing

(ii)               All pitches who have followed the rules (#round1) will then be forwarded to each Team. Each Team will create a Team Name -For example#TeamWinnerWinnerChickenDinner that’s how you’ll be able to find them on Twitter or Facebook.

(iii)             Each Team will select their top 5-8 submissions. Note: some teams may select the same pitch(es) so it is possible your pitch will be requested by more than one Team. Teams will contact the author’s that have made Round #2 and request the first 2,500-words

(iv)             Internal cat-fight, erh discussions will take place and each Team will select their top 4-5 author submissions (#round3). Expect to also see teasers and cryptic clues via Twitter & Facebook (*don’t forget to follow the Mentors and Slushies, lots of fun to be had!)

(v)               My Team #Team2Beat will be the Bandit Team. I bet all of you have a brother or sister who always stole your favourite Easter Eggs – well that’s what we’ll be doing – sort of. We will be looking for hidden or missed gems. They could be from the slush-pile or from #round2 & we’ll feature them. #Team2Beatmay have as few as one submission featured or as many as five – it all depends on how many diamonds in the rough we believe have been missed.

(vi)             This year there will again be a Amazon Gift Voucher Prize for the submission with the highest number of requests and another for Matching the Agents with their Masks (more on that at agent reveal).

Below is an overview Schedulefunny bunny 3

Post-It-Forward 35-word Workshop opens 8th March

(for more info go to: https://nestpitch.wordpress.com/2015/02/12/post-it-forward-2015/ )

NESTPITCH:

Submission Window Opens April Fools Day (April 1st 2015)

10pm Aust. Eastern Standard Time

7am USA New York Time

12 noon London UK Time

Submission Window Closes Good Friday (April 3rd 2015)

10pm Aust. Eastern Standard Time

7am USA New York Time

12 noon London UK Time

Teams send out requests for 1st 2,500 words Sunday 12th April

Authors reply by Tuesday 14th April

Final Selection Sunday 10th May (Mother’s Day)

Agent request open Monday 11th May to Tuesday 12th May 2015

Agent request(s) sent out to authors Wednesday 13th May 2015

Authors to send requested pages to Agents by Friday 15th May 2015

Don’t forget to come back March 8th for your change to sharpen your 35-word pitch, it could be the difference between getting selected or not!

eabunnyflowers

Friendly-Fire-Feedback no.1 Young Adult Magical Realism – Comments Welcome

catfightFirst Page Workshop

For those of you who submitted their first pages and/or those that didn’t but are following this blog, you’ll know that today is the first of three blog posts on 1-pages feedback. There will also be one on the 21st and the 28th of July. Just a quick reminder, I am in Australia so we are (currently) 14-hours ahead of the USA EST, so, depending on where you’re located, you may see this on the evening before.  I have selected 2x YA and 1x Adult, all in different genre’s, in this way I hope more people will get something from the feedback. I have included the 1-page without my notes and then with my suggestions below. This way you can read the 1st page without my notes interrupting your rhythm.

21st July will be an Adult Psychological Thriller  &  28th July will be an  YA Contemporary

And of course, comments are most welcome, in fact I insist! (lol) – please note, comments will be moderated, so play nice 🙂

14th July

 Category/Genre: YA Magical Realism

Word Count: 77,000

Colton ditched me for his girlfriend when we got to the party. I pulled down the service trail we used to sneak into the beach at Hanna Park, and I’d kept my headlights on to keep from scraping my car on the palmettos. The low beams swept across the row of cars and the tree line to land on her short, tanned legs.

She dragged Colton out of the car the second he opened the door, and they disappeared before I even cut the engine. That feeling of abandonment burned. Now I had to show up alone. People only invited me to these parties for two reasons: 1. Colton was my best friend, and 2. I came in handy as a designated driver because my liver’s shot from this genetic disorder.

I headed down the wooded path toward the yellow-orange glow of the bonfire. When I topped the dunes, my feet sank into the dry sand. Hanna Park was protected from the condos farther south, making it a refuge for locals, and the memory of coconut sunscreen clung to the breeze. Off to my right the party raged, a jumble of bodies around the fire and a bad playlist blaring from mini speakers. But to the left the night was all black water and white moonlight catching on the breakers.

I kicked off my shoes and walked to the shoreline, but my toe caught when I crossed onto the hard-packed dampness. I pulled a thin red ribbon from beneath my foot. It slipped from my fingers and caught on the wind, swirling toward a girl sitting alone on a rental chair.

I should’ve gone to her. Taken my chance to talk to a girl one-on-one. But a jab of knuckles hit me square in the back as Jake Morgan jogged past. I gritted my teeth and tried not to flinch.

“I thought I felt my gaydar going off! Glad you could make it, Evan Evans.” Jake’s high-pitched laugh rang in my ears as he pulled a piece of driftwood toward the fire.

“I’m gonna punch you in the ovary, Morgan.” It was a quote from the movie Anchorman, and a fair comeback, but some girl shot me a dirty look.

Anger knifed its way through my chest. I shoved my hands in my pockets and stared at the crashing waves. I don’t know why I thought senior year would be different, but two weeks in and it was all the same. I had no real friends except Colton. I’d never had a girlfriend. No wonder people thought I was gay. It was time I walked out of the shadows. Before the night was over, I had to ask a girl out. A little liquid courage seemed like a step in the right direction.

I cut through the crowd of the party, fished a can from the cooler, and cracked it open before my conscience could stop me.

“Dude.” Colton appeared from nowhere and grabbed my arm. “What are you doing?” 

With my Notes:

Colton ditched me for his girlfriend when we got to the party. I pulled down the service trail we used to sneak into the beach at Hanna Park, and I’d kept my headlights on to keep from scraping my car on the palmettos. The low beams swept across the row of cars and the tree line to land on her short, tanned legs.

She dragged Colton out of the car the second he opened the door, and they disappeared before I even cut the engine. That feeling of abandonment burned. Now I had to show up alone. People only invited me to these parties for two reasons: 1. Colton was my best friend, and 2. I came in handy as a designated driver because my liver’s shot from this genetic disorder. (I’d recommend not telling us everything instantly, by finishing on Liver’s Shot, it has the reader thinking and making conclusions. It doesn’t matter if they are right or wrong at this point, only that they become invested)

I headed down the wooded path toward the yellow-orange glow of the bonfire. When I topped the dunes, my feet sank into the dry sand. Hanna Park was protected from the condos farther south, making it a refuge for locals, and the memory of coconut sunscreen clung to the breeze. Off to my right the party raged, a jumble of bodies around the fire and a bad playlist blaring from mini speakers. But to the left the night was all black water and white moonlight catching on the breakers. (nice line, very good imagery)

I kicked off my shoes and walked to the shoreline, but my toe caught when I crossed onto the hard-packed dampness. I pulled a thin red ribbon from beneath my foot. It slipped from my fingers and caught on the wind, swirling toward a girl sitting alone on a rental chair( I have no idea what a RENTAL CHAIR is?)

I should’ve gone to her. Taken my chance to talk to a girl one-on-one. But a jab of knuckles hit me square in the back as Jake Morgan jogged past. I gritted my teeth and tried not to flinch.

“I thought I felt my gaydar going off! Glad you could make it, Evan Evans.” Jake’s high-pitched laugh rang in my ears as he pulled a piece of driftwood toward the fire.

“I’m gonna punch you in the ovary, Morgan.” It was a quote from the movie Anchormanand a fair comeback, but some girl shot me a dirty look.

Anger knifed its way through my chest. (Why is Evan angry? I got lonely, frustrated, irritated, but I didn’t get angry?) I shoved my hands in my pockets and stared at the crashing waves. I don’t know why I thought senior year would be different, but two weeks in and it was all the same. I had no real friends except Colton. I’d never had a girlfriend. No wonder people thought I was gay. It was time I walked out of the shadows. Before the night was over, I had to ask a girl out. A little liquid courage seemed like a step in the right direction.

I cut through the crowd of the party, fished a can from the cooler, and cracked it open before my conscience could stop me.

“Dude.” Colton appeared from nowhere and grabbed my arm. “What are you doing?”

1303815445_bunny-noseFinal thoughts:

If you mix this up a bit then you can finish with Evan ignoring his *medical advice* of never drinking… opening the can and having Colton come over.

Over all, I liked this. I liked the MC and the way you were weaving him through the crowd of people, but I’m a little worried it does sound like “the lonely outsider with the most popular kid in school best friend” which is why I’d recommend taking out the genetic thing in the beginning and adding it later on. I know it might seem it should be the other way around, but think of it this way.

That first para or two should be the meet&greet of the MC. Let the reader invest in them and/or the story (each genre dictates different things). Once you get to para 3/4/5 there should be a hint of what’s to come, or who else might have a stake in this story. By the time you are on page 2, the reader should get a feel for what makes this MC different/believable/interesting enough to care.

If you give too much in para 1-2, it can be information overload, and the reader may well forget something vital. But if you give nothing by page two that makes the MC unique and/or interesting, the reader may think the story is a rehash.

It is a balancing act, and it is also very much individual taste/personal opinion – it’ll be interesting to see what other’s think.