Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Entry #19: WELCOME H.O.E.M.

Title: Welcome H.O.E.M.

Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy


Fifteen-year-old Mason Clark’s school records are riddled with expulsions. But Mason is also a prodigy, one of a handful of people able to experience memories of the long-dead, through their eyes. When invited H.O.E.M., Mason soon discovers it is a government facility that archives the most important memories in history.

Courtesy of his severe ADHD, he discovers that he is different even from other travelers. Mason teams up with Sadie to experiment on a dangerous mission. He witnesses the violent making of gangster, Al Capone, while saving Sadie from deadly memory complications. He even gets in touch with his feminine side, accidentally tapping into Cleopatra.

Now, The President of the United States has a proposition for Mason and his team. If he can’t stay alive, live up to his title of prodigy, and learn from his complicated past, he will become what he fears most: a complete failure.

First Sentence:

 I stood in the bathroom, staring at the empty stalls, rubbing my hands together with an evil mwahaha.


  1. Good luck with this! I have enjoyed seeing how this pitch has evolved!

  2. Love this premise.

    Here are my thoughts on the pitch:

    Think about really streamlining things and giving us the essential facts.

    I would suggest deleting your first sentence because it doesn't add anything to the story. Perhaps start, "Mason is a prodigy, one of only a handful..."

    If you are going to refer to him as a "traveler" then you have to reference that earlier, as the term threw me off. Can you give us a reference point for Sadie. Is she a fellow traveler? Who is she in relation to Mason?

    Also, you say his fear is being a complete failure - but how does that ramp up the stakes? What will his failure cost him? His friends, family, some destruction for the U.S.?

    Make your sinker clear and compelling and I know you'll get an agent to bite!

    Keeping my *fingers crossed* for you!

  3. What I like: The idea archiving memories is really interesting!

    What I would like: ‘When invited H.O.E.M’ <<missing ‘to’

    ‘discovers that he is different even from other traveler’ <<awkward phrasing

    I got lost in the second passage. There was too much going on for me.

    Great work!

  4. I won't echo the great advice you've already received. Just gotta say this is a fabulous story concept. The first line feels a bit middle grade to me though. Hands rubbing together plus evil laugh is kind of funny, but it immediately ages down the story. Just doesn't feel like YA to me. Maybe think about starting on a stronger, older teen note?

  5. I second Kimberly after reading your query I expected the first line to be in more of a teen voice. I have a hard time believing that being a complete failure is the worst thing that can happen to him when he keeps getting expelled from school. His expulsions don't gel with his no failure attitude. What's really at stake if he fails? Will his family be disappointed? Will he lose his friend Sadie?

    One final point, I want to know how he's different from other travellers.

    I do like the concept as I think it's unique. Good luck!

  6. This has really improved from the last time I saw this.

    I think the stakes really need to be amped up a bit. The last sentence is too long and convoluted.

  7. I remember seeing this in another contest. I agree that it sounds more middle grade than YA. Remember Nathan Bradford's advice, character---conflict---choice. Pick one plot point and use that in your pitch. I think that starting with the ability to be a "traveler" is unique and should be in the first paragraph. Unless you're going to make it MG, I'd leave off the expulsions too. It doesn't add anything into the pitch. You need to explain what HOEM stands for (I think you did in the original pitch). I'm also not sure what having ADHD adds to the story. Start with Fifteen-year-old Mason is a traveler. Then explain what that means. Then what is the obstacle he's facing, then what happens if he doesn't overcome the obstacle (the stakes). Streamline it, tighten it and age Mason down because I can see this being more a middle grade. Hope this helps!


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