Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Entry #33: CLASS CLOWN

MS Title: Class Clown

Genre: MG Contemporary


For everyone, the sixth grade is tough. For Clarabell Gritt, it’s a circus. 

With professional clowns for parents, a mime for a brother, and a new school, complete with a bullying frenemy, Clara has a tough year ahead.

When Clara’s family trades in their life with the circus for a small town, the twelve-year old finally has a chance to be an ordinary girl at an ordinary school. She just can’t under any circumstances let it slip that she used to attend what Dad calls “circuschool.” Unfortunately, she keeps failing at this whole normal thing, but how could she know that kids don’t wear bright pink leotards to gym? 

As Clara pulls away from her clown background, she gets farther from her family, but who has time to worry about that when the dance is coming up: the one event that will cement her role in the school’s social structure. 

First Sentence:

Growing up in the circus was hard; school was harder.


  1. I really like this. I especially like the first line of your query and think it would work well as the first line of the book. It packs a bigger punch than your actual first sentence.

    I'm wondering if there is something specific about the dance that makes this such a huge event in her life. If you can be more specific about that I think the query would be stronger. But overall, this is a great pitch.

  2. What I like: I love the clown concept and some of the lines are really fun!

    What I would like: I’m not getting enough of a conflict; I would like more ‘pow’ in the stakes.

    Great work!

  3. The circus is always a major hook for me, and I love the idea of someone steeped in circus life trying to get by among mainstream folk. I feel like your pitch essentially has two beginnings, though. The first two lines/paragraphs are evocative, but they feel a bit extraneous and could easily be cut in favour of starting the query with the third paragraph. This could give you a bit more space to expand on the dance's importance.

  4. Yes, this is just plain fun. And there are hints of a wonderful voice here. Definitely give the stakes a bit more zing though. :) Good luck!

  5. Fun fact: My dad is a magician/balloon man, my step mom is a clown! It's been his full time job since I was about 8. I was actually more popular because of my dad in elementary and middle school. Even in high school people thought it was cool (okay, it probably helped that my dad didn't wear make up but still...) Years later I'd run into someone who was all "HEY! You're the girl with the magician father! He was so cool!"

    So that being said, at first, I really didn't feel for your character. But the pink leotard comment was perfect and I started to see how growing up in *only* that kind of weirdness would be hard to adjust to another kind of normal. Plus, I also realize that circus clowns are a bit different from clowns who do kids birthday parties.

    I do this this is a cute story, I'm curious to see how it's all presented. Good luck with it!

  6. I love this, but would like to know why this dance is so important. There are three paragraphs describing her life and one mention of the dance that can change her entire world. Great job and good luck!

  7. I like the circus spin. Your opening line in your pitch is really good. I agree with TwinB10 that the opening line in your pitch is better than your first sentence. Let us know what will happen (the stakes) if people find out she use to go to "circuschool." I so love that your story sounds like there are funny moments (pink leotards). Also what happens when she pulls away from her family? Does that cause conflict? Does she start to act differently? What does she need to get ready for the dance? The perfect dress, date etc.? Just a few things to think about. Good luck with this!


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