Monday, December 17, 2012

Hangover Round 1 Entry #29

Genre: YA Contemporary

Seventeen-year-old Stacey is praying for a sign from God that her atheist boyfriend Cal is “the one” so she’ll know if she should sleep with him—a lifetime commitment in her mind, or audition for a professional ballet company and live her dream, but lose Cal forever.

On our last night together we sit on the hood of my Taurus using the windshield as a backrest and gazing at the endless summer sky. Calvin leaves in the morning for a college four hours away and I’ll start my senior year of high school next week.

He won’t be home for three weeks. Maybe it wouldn’t seem so bad if we hadn’t spent every spare minute together since we made up in July.
“Make a wish,” I say when the first star of the night blinks on. I wish for him to have a great first week at college and turn my eyes to the pale crescent moon.
Twenty-one days.    
I can’t think about that though. I can’t even imagine it. My head rests against his chest as I sit between his legs. My body rises and falls as he breathes and I lose myself in the perfectness of being here in this moment, feeling his heat flood my back. A moment that tastes of forever and happily ever after.
Then I ruin it.
“How can you look at that sky and not believe in God?”
He’s twirling a strand of my long brown hair around his finger. “Stace…” There’s a tiny warning there. He will not be dragged into that conversation again.
The reminder starts to crimp the edges of the perfectness.
 Before the frown has time to fully form on my face, he presses his cheek to mine and hums the old Journey song, Faithfully.


  1. I had to read the logline a few times. Something feels odd.
    "so she’ll know if she should sleep with him" doesn't sound like the "lifetime commitment." Maybe "Make love" or some other euphemism.
    Also why would auditioning for ballet cause her to lose the boyfriend? Why is this an all or nothing decision?

    I like the beginning of the story however. It paints a clear picture.

  2. The writing itself is solid, but I agree with Sumbee about the logline - I definitely re-read it a few times.

    From the description I'm assuming Stacey's faith is central to her character. Given that, it seems odd for someone with that world view to be asking God to endorse her relationship with an atheist.

    I'm confused that it seems she views sex as a lifelong commitment but doesn't hold the traditional (I'm assuming she's Christian even though it's not stated) taboo against pre-marital sex.

    I'm also not clear on why going to a ballet audition would be a deal-breaker with Cal: "Lecturing me on your belief systems whenever we snuggle is cool, but BALLET?! A man has to draw the line somewhere." ;-)

    I kid, but my initial thought after reading the first 250-words was "He's about to go to college without her? Methinks Stacey won't have to worry about his religious views for very long once he starts hanging out with college girls who don't share Stacey's religion or views on sex."

    I'm sure many (if not all) of these quibbles are answered in your book, but those were my impressions based on these snippets. As always, this is all just MHO, to use or disregard as you see fit.

  3. I was afraid of that reaction to the logline. Future commenters- does this work better:
    Seventeen-year-old Stacey is torn between committing to her boyfriend Cal by sleeping with him, when he might not be "the one" since he doesn't share her faith, or auditioning for a professional ballet company, that is far away from him, without his support and breaking his heart.
    Or should I go deeper into the story with:
    When seventeen-year-old Stacey chooses committing to her boyfriend Cal by sleeping with him over pursuing a career as a professional dancer, she is challenged by a friend that she might be in love with love and not with Cal at all. Breaking up with him now would contradict everything she believes, but staying with him could be the biggest mistake of her life.

    I appreciate any feedback!! Thanks so much!

  4. I agree about the logline - it left me asking similar questions and seemed contradictory in the same ways that others have commented. I DEFINITELY think that the last logline that you have in your recent comment is much better. It clearly defines the choice between the boy and pursuing her career and then brings in another element of a friend who is challenging her decision. I also appreciate the idea of being "in love with love." I can definitely relate! The only other comment I have is that I don't know how realistic it is for this 17 year-old to make her wish that her boyfriend would have a great first week at school. Maybe it's just me and I'm being cynical but I would imagine her wish would be more self-centered - maybe she wishes that he actually doesn't have a good time there or perhaps this is telling the reader something very important about your selfless gal. I don't know but I am interested in finding out.

  5. I went to school with that girl. Faith was everything, and if you weren't at least engaged by the time you graduated high school and on your way to pushing out babies, you were an old maid.

    Funny thing is, she was the first to have sex, and she had it years before the rest of us even thought about it. Sex is okay if it "traps" your man.

    It didn't work for her, and it won't work for this girl either, unless she finds someone with the same oppressive religion. And that is why I would read your book, because I want to see Stacey find her way and realize that rules some man made up to keep women as second-class citizens has nothing to do with REAL faith and to follow her dreams and become a dancer! Go, Stacey- be free!

    See? Good job- you're getting me emotionally involved! Now to nit pick particulars, the first sentence doesn't work for me:

    "On our last night together we sit on the hood of my Taurus using the windshield as a backrest and gazing at the endless summer sky."

    Need to break it up with commas, maybe: "On our last night together, we sit on the hood of my Taurus, using the windshield as a backrest and gazing at the endless summer sky." Otherwise, I think it's good. I definitely am ready to read on!

    PS~ Does she also have hissy fits in science class when we get to evolution?

  6. With you new log lines, there isn't any detail about her 'faith'...and i agree with the others who say that pre-marital sex may make some readers question how 'faithful' the MC is to her religion - unless it's clear that the religion/faith she follows doesn't promote it...
    in any case, i love the idea of 'love' and having to choose between 'it' and something else that's equally important in one's life. is there really any bigger conflict than choosing a person for love over a career?! it's a very real and important theme - add the layer of 'faith' to this and you've got yourself a seriously intriguing story.
    Do YA listen to 'Journey' nowadays?!
    I like the imagery of the two of them entwined on the hood of the shows that they're very intimate with each other. and i think it's what YAs do - especially if they have a vehicle - it's like a mobile hotel room...!
    overall for your log line, i think you need to decide how to get your MC's 'faith' included as it added to the conflicts of your story. As well, I find it hard to 'believe' in your MC's faith if she's got an atheist boyfriend who she's sleeping with...
    thank you!

  7. "in love with love"
    Go with that logline above the other two. That phrase strikes a chord that we have all felt or told a friend that they felt.
    We all want the easy street or the HEA and for a 17 year old sex may be less scary than persuing her true dream of dance.

    Best of luck with this story!

  8. I agree with DJ. I'm keen to learn what becomes of this relationship between religion and atheism. The title leaves me wondering what "This" refers to? Is it in the sense of "Romeo and Juliet"--two people on "warring" sides? I'd read on to find out how you handle the resolution--but I'll be rooting for Cal's side! But I'm also hoping that Stacey makes good choices in life, because she'll be living with them long after any guys she dates disappear. Also be aware that some unkind reviewer may turn your title against you.

  9. Thank you for critiquing my entry (#24). Sorry this is a little late, I've been so busy lately.

    In your comment, the second new logline is the best, although it doesn't talk about her faith.

    I love the relationship between your characters. It's very realistic. The first sentence could probably use some commas. And I agree with Vanessa about him humming a Journey song. Maybe use a song teens are more familiar with these days? Or at least a song from the 90s, when these teens were born.

    Good luck with your story!