Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Entry #11: ELISPETH

Title:  Elspeth

Genre:  Contemporary YA

Boys just aren’t worth the headaches, sixteen year old Elspeth McCaffrey tells herself.  Adjusting to life after spending a year abroad has been rough--the one thing her therapist and she agree upon.  After long, dull days at school, she spends her evenings alone, curled up in bed with her IPod, attempting to drown out the memories and feelings of the night her life had forever changed--the night she had been date-raped.  
While her best friend, Charlie, and her ex-boyfriend, Matt, want to be close, Elspeth desires nothing more than a pillow to cry on.  The future ceased to exist after her rape and every night she wishes she wouldn’t wake up in the morning.  Why then do feelings surface when Matt meets her eye or when Charlie grabs her hand?  Feelings that show she has life.  If only she could believe once again

First Sentence:  

I took a deep breath in and as I spoke the words “I was raped” the man sitting across from me smiled. 


  1. What I like: I think there are interesting elements –study abroad, male best friends, but I would love to see them come alive in the query.

    What I would like: The first sentence is creepy but should be broken up.

    Great work!

  2. I agree with Eliza (I'm doing that a lot today!). The query needs a bit more life in it, and the first sentence would work much better as two. :)

  3. Starting with "boys just aren't worth the headaches" sets me up to think this story isn't going be as serious as it is. I don't think the first line gels with the rest of the query since she's so obviously struggling to come to terms with what happened to her. What's at stake for her if she can't believe again? Is she at risk of suicide? Is she afraid the boys will find out about what happened to her? I think you have a chance here to really up the emotion in this query. Perhaps start the query with the day she was raped or the moment she tells the person who smiles at her. With that being said your first line is creepy and I like it. However I do agree with the ladies above that it would work better as two. I would read more.

  4. In agreement with Eliza and Kimberly (this is becoming a hobby). I like the creepy in your first line, but think it needs to broken up into separate sentences.

    As for your pitch, it sounds like a lot of intense emotional elements at play. I do concur that your first line in your pitch implies a much funnier story than it sounds like you have. I'd also like to see the connection between a year abroad and the rape - did it happen while she was away, or did she take a year off to try and forget? This could tell us a lot more about her character. It would also be nice to see what she does want - are there old goals/wants aside from boys that the rape overshadowed? Is she afraid to still want these things and pursue them?

    I think you've got a lot of emotional meat in your story, now the trick is to let that shine through your pitch. Best of luck!


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