Monday, September 2, 2013

Prep Work #1

GENRE: New Adult fiction
LOGLINE:  Stella Moon wanted sex, drugs, rock-n-roll, and to forget. Jessie Morgan wanted music, friends, family, and love.  Paige Lockhart wanted to bury them both and did by creating a new life for herself, but all that glitters is not gold as she’s about to find out.

FIRST 250:
I held the admission ticket to that party in my seventeen-year-old sweaty palm. A surprise high school graduation gift and early birthday present from my foster parents. Every kid I knew wanted what I held in my hands: two floor seats to see the almighty British band, Flux, perform at the Boston Gardens. The show had been sold out for months; getting tickets damn near impossible, but Ward and June a/k/a Bea and Davis Donovan knew people. They wanted to see me happy for once and got them for me. To say I was happy with their gift would be an understatement. I was ready to explode out of my Walter Dyer moccasins and student Levi’s.  I think if the Donovan’s knew what they just handed me they never would’ve bought the tickets.
They’re good people.  I kid when I call them June and Ward.  I couldn’t have asked for two better people to come into my life. They tried hard to be my everything for me, but buying special gifts and baking chocolate chip cookies didn’t fix what lay shattered inside me. 
My heart.
I had a crushed soul and my angel wings lay broken and in tatters. The only thing keeping me glued together was my music and journal writing.  I had no idea what I wanted to be, or where I would end up after high school, and honestly I didn’t care.  The counselors told the Donovan’s I just needed time.
I didn’t need time.
My whole family was dead.


  1. Logline: I think your logline is great for world building but I’m not seeing clear stakes. I also don’t see how Stella, Paige and Jessie tie together here. When you say “bury them both,” I’m not sure if you mean ruin them or kill them, and I don’t know how creating a new life for herself buried them. Also, I’m concerned that “all that glitters is not gold” might come across as cliche, which is something I have to be careful about myself. My feeling with anything like this is, if you have a doubt at all, don’t use it, and try to find a new, creative way of saying the same thing, something that might work well with your story.

    First 250: While your first three statements are attention getting, I’m worried about that cliche thing again. I also don’t see how they set up your next 250. However, this may be the edgy mood you’re aiming for (in which case, ignore me). Also, you’re calling this NA, but your MC is 17; it’s my understanding that NA is 18+, although I understand it’s a new area that’s just taking off and there are no def. rules. But 17 usually means YA to me.

    In your first sentence, I think the word “that” doesn’t work well. Also, is it a concert or a party she has tickets to? And you could prob. drop the “s” on Gardens. Being a huge Bruin’s fan, I’m thinking T.D. Garden, or Boston Garden. In your sentence: “getting tickets”, I think a “was” is missing after tickets. I’m so picky about sentence structure, sorry.

    I particularly liked the following: “To say I was happy with their gift would be an understatement. I was ready to explode out of my Walter Dyer moccasins and student Levi’s.”

    Again, in the sentences: “fix what lay shattered inside me. My heart.” followed by the soul/wings, etc. I worry you’re heading into cliche territory again. It comes across as too heavy for me and I wonder if a lighter touch might build more sympathy for your MC and give the reader the impression you’re aiming for in a better way. In your first 250, there’s a danger in trying to build too much sympathy; the reader hasn’t had a chance to care about your character, so words like these have less meaning. If you sprinkle them throughout, say, the first chapter, rather than the first 250, you’ll have way more impact.

    I like how your MC holds it all together with music and journal writing. Little touches like this give me a great impression about her character!

    I hope this helps; best of luck with it.

  2. Your logline is making me think all these girls are your MC and she has a split personality, but it's not clear. "Glitters is not gold" is a little clichéd, and I'm not sure what's at stake.

    I like the initial set up, but then she starts diving into backstory right away. The crushed soul and angel wings is getting a little purple on the prose, and doesn't mesh well with the opening scene of anticipation. I think staying focused on the concert would work best, there is plenty of time to get into backstory later. Also, a name within the first page for your MC would help make a connection to your character.

  3. At 46 words and 3 sentences, this logline is the shortest out of the 4 submitted, but it's still too long. And it’s really confusing. Who is this story about? What is this story about? Use Leah Petersen’s logline advice, to determine the answers to those questions.

    As for the excerpt:

    I am not a big fan of the NA genre, so take my opinions as you will. That said, I dislike the first three sentences. It’s cliché and doesn’t grab my interest at all. Even if this was a YA, it would turn me off. And isn’t 17 kind of young for a NA book?

    Actually, I don’t really know what to say about this excerpt. For me, it seems too conversational and young for such deep personal insight. And I think I’d have kept the big, “My whole family was dead” reveal until a little later. Let us get to know the character and care about Stella/Jessie/Paige or whomever this narrator is, let us wonder why she is so broken. It will get the reader more attached to the character.

    This is, of course, just my opinion. Last year, I entered the Baker's Dozen but didn't make it out of the slush pile. I hope some of this helps and wish you the best of luck!