Sunday, February 23, 2014

Entry #59 - BAD DREAMS

Title: Bad Dreams

Genre: YA Dark Fantasy


John is a seventeen-year-old boy who’s living a life of hell. His grades are atrocious, his friends non-existent, and his bullies unbearable. So he does the only thing he feels he can do--he ends his life with a bullet.

In Hell John finds himself working in the mailroom. It’s not his ideal way of spending eternity, but luckily his boss sees potential in him, and he’s promoted to the position of Wrath, the giver of nightmares, the bearer of bad dreams.

With his new position, John makes his assignments feel the fear he’s felt his entire existence. He does this until he’s assigned a young girl named Danielle. The reasons she’s been assigned are troubling—and wrong. Now he must decide between continuing this life of torture and scares, or using this dark gift for something else, something that could help this girl who needs him.

First sentence: 

School was tough, everyday was a battle to get out of bed, to face the fears that would become a reality the moment he walked through those doors.  


  1. This is definitely one of my favorites. I would read it in a heartbeat!! Honestly, I wouldn't change a thing about the pitch. I absolutely loved it. The first line feels like it's a bit on long side, imho, but that may be a matter of person preference so see what others say. Good luck with this!

  2. The voice of this pitch is excellent. I only have 2 suggestions. First, the background about John's life isn't nearly as exciting as what happens after his death, I'd suggest starting with something like "Seventeen-year-old John ends his life with a bullet and wakes up in Hell's mailroom." Also, I wasn't sure whether this young girl is a teenager like himself or a child. I think it would be good to clear that up. Otherwise, awesome job.

  3. Tough topic to take on, the suicide that takes him to Hell. I am wondering why he ends up in hell exactly, though. If this is a "all suicides go to hell" thing, then I think that needs to be present in this pitch, other wise a) a kid who was terribly bullied doesn't lead to b) ending up in Hell.

    I like how you show how he has a moral choice to make--it would be easy to act out his rage from his life but he sees this as wrong because of this girl. That said, I think we need a better sense of who the girl is and how the punishment she's been assigned is wrong, because otherwise the stakes are too low. Make me care about the girl and I'll care what happens to her and root for the hero to make the right choice, make sense?

    You spend a lot of air talking about what led him to taking his own life...but I have to wonder, is this backstory, or does the book lead with showing him being bullied and terrorized, and then his decision to take his own life? If the book begins with him right before he's about to pull the trigger, I would tighten your pitch opening and instead give more detail about finding himself in hell and how he feels about ending up there.

    Good luck! :)

  4. I really like the concept of this, but your pitch is lacking. It's choppy, and you aren't making good use of your words. Too many words that don't matter and aren't necessary. This definitely needs more revision. As far as your first line, too much telling. The point of a first line isn't to set up your story. It's to entice the reader. Plus, it's never a good idea for your main character to come across as whiny in the first sentence.


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