Sunday, March 2, 2014

Entry #11: CLASS CLOWN

Title: Class Clown

Genre: MG Contemporary

Word Count: 34,000


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

After her clown parents leave the circus, Clara attends a normal school for the first time, which is like all she's ever wanted with delicious, processed cherries on top.

Despite a few hiccups that totally weren't her fault (because teachers should really say that most kids don't wear neon leotards in gym), Clara is determined to seize her golden ticket to normalcy: the school dance. Everything will be prefect if she can just get a date and keep this whole growing-up-in-the-circus thing a secret.

When her parents show up to school in clown costume, Clara has one extraordinary obstacle on her quest to be normal. When the circus is so closely linked with her family, Clara must choose what she’s willing to let go for the life she thinks she wants.

First Page:
Most kids think their parents are total clowns. I guess I do too, but that’s because my parents are clowns, like… literally.
         I guess they were clowns until they retired and sent me soaring towards everything I’ve ever wanted. School. Normalcy. Fitting in. This was my chance, and I wasn’t going to blow it.
         When Dad pulled up to the curb at my new school in central Indiana—which just screams normal—my hands shook.
         “We’re here, kiddo,” Dad said. He looked at me through his wide-rimmed glasses. Usually, I couldn’t help but smile at Dad; he had one of those big toothy grins that dared you to do anything but smile back. Today I couldn’t smile back. The knot in my stomach was too large, and his cheeks were too tight. He hopped out of the car, and opened the back door for Red, my little brother. Red reached his hands out into the air and tensed them, like he was grabbing a vertical rope. He jumped out of the car, still holding the invisible cable. Sometimes I wish Red weren’t so weird. Did he have to be an aspiring mime? Did he have to wear that stupid, black turtleneck every single day? Apparently so.
         I thought about this day a lot: my first day of school, ever. I guess I imagined a welcoming white stone building or a rustic outdoor campus, something neat and pretty, but Buzz Aldrin Middle School didn’t look like that.


  1. What a fun premise! I think the pitch is well written. Except beware in the final paragraph, you have echoes, "When her parents" and "When the circus". And "one extraordinary quest" seems vague to me. How about something more specific, from Clara's pov? So it's funny or awkward or weird like the beginning paragraphs. "When her parents showed up to school in clown costume, it was the circus all over again. But everyone was pointing and laughing at her instead." Or something like that, if you understand? Make it more personal.

    Good strong opening. Describe the school for me. What is normal? Is it gray? Is it boring? Is she so excited to see gray and boring? "The knot in my stomach...and his cheeks were too tight" confused me. Do you mean HER cheeks were too tight. If you meant dad's cheeks were too tight (so he's feeling stressed himself), then rephrase. Separate? I'd like to know how old Red is? Red, my eight year old brother... the visuals of Red miming is great and funny.

    "I thought about this day a lot" or I HAD thought about this day a lot? The former would mean she's been looking back on this first day of school a lot. The latter, that she had been thinking about it a lot before and now here she is.

    A very fun MG premise and a strong start in both pitch and opening. Good luck!

  2. Pitch was good though I thought pages were a little more clear.

    I like the premise. I hope that you can manage not to go too over the top with the clown stuff though because I'd like to think that her parents still have some sense of what normal is… not too much of a parody of parents I mean. I loved her brother in this small opening. Loved him. I would try dialing back on the "likes" I don't think you need it to sound like a teen. Deleting the line, Today I couldn't help smile back would delete some repetition. It's clever. She's a fish out of water, so hopefully she's a character teens can relate to, even if her experience is different. Find the similarities in FEELINGS. Good luck!


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