Thursday, February 19, 2015


YA Fantasy/Retelling

Sixteen-year-old Leah Roberts knows Bigfoot is real. She’s been watching three of them in the wilderness behind her home for years. When the Sasquatch bring a new family member out of the woods, it’s not another furry giant. It’s a human boy.
Suddenly Leah’s not sure this is a secret she should keep. The boy has no memory of his past, but Leah can’t shake the feeling of familiarity when she’s with him. Entranced, she enters a world where the line between human and animal is blurred, where she can forget about her family and their tragic past.
But in one catastrophic moment, the truth is revealed and everything changes.
The boy isn’t who she thought he was. Her family isn’t who she believes they are, and when everything falls apart, Leah realizes she is far from the only one who’s been keeping secrets as big as the legends themselves.
First 250:
The first traces of indigo line the sky when I hear them call through my open bedroom window. Distant whoops echo through the forest, growing closer by the minute.
Ignoring the glowing 4:30 on my clock radio, I slip out of bed and slide socked feet down the faded wooden floor of our old farmhouse, knowing from experience which creaky boards to avoid. Dad’s voice enters my head, as if in anticipation of my actions.
Cardinal Rule One: Don’t lie. God will know and I will, too.
Cardinal Rule Two: Don’t go into the woods. Ever.
There’s no excuse for what I’m about to do, and breaking several house rules will be the least of my problems if I get caught.
Down the stairs and into the kitchen, I grab a plastic grocery sack and fill it up with apples from the bowl on the counter. As I reach for the flashlight, a throat clears. Turning ever so slowly, I see my father sitting at the dining table, just on the other side of the closed glass doors separating it from the kitchen. In the dim lamplight, I didn’t even notice him sitting there, peering down at paperwork spread in front of him, both hands threaded through his sandy blond hair.
He hasn’t seen me. Not yet.
Dad reaches for his white coffee mug. One glance up is all it will take. My hand could reach for the flashlight drawer or the doorknob, but there’s no time for both.


  1. Bigfoot! A whole family! Awesome premise. I also love how your mc needs to chose between the flashlight and the door, or risk getting caught.

    I tripped over the second sentence in your pitch b/c I thought of Bigfoot as singular, but then it transitions to plural. Also in the last paragraph of the pitch b/c of the change in tense b/tw "thought" and "believes."

    Great job! Good luck in the contest!

  2. I love, love, love this concept and can't wait to meet these Sasquatch! There's great tension in this first page and it definitely leaves me wanting to read more. My only suggestion would be to play around with the wording of this sentence: "Dad’s voice enters my head, as if in anticipation of my actions." I love the idea of her hearing her father tell her about the rules she's about to break, but this sentence feels a little awkward to me. Good luck!

  3. Wow! Beautiful writing, and so creepy and exciting! Like Rebecca, I tripped over the Bigfoot (hee hee) as singular in the pitch. Bigfoots? Bigfeet? I have no idea. I'm sure this is an issue you've encountered in your manuscript and have managed to sort out. If nothing else, I think you could clarify by saying "three of the beasts" or something like that in the next line. Best of luck!

  4. Great story about a feral child who is more than a stranger, but a mystery to be solved. The writing is strong and I like the use of the senses, especially the diversity of sounds: the whoops in the woods, Dad's voice, the creaking boards. I like the sneaking around, which makes me think this story is filled with secrets and escapes.

  5. Good Evening Author,
    First off... Bigfoot... Love it already!
    I'm feeling a little sassy tonight so I must ask.. if Bigfoot doesn't wear clothes do they at least have some for the boy?
    I am really looking for the big punch in the pitch that leads me to the end. It is the discovery of who she really is? What is the dun dun dunnnn moment that we are building up too?
    Is she the only one who comes to the realization or is this an everybody sees it and now there is tension?
    Your flow is really good; I can picture it as I go.
    Rebel teen doing what dad says not to do; classic. It never gets old.
    Keep up the good work. The commenters above me hit on some great points as well!
    Good Luck!
    Fellow Contestant & Writing Friend #35

  6. Love your voice and your highly unorthodox mythology! There's so much I can tell about your mc from the first 250 words. Sneaking out of the house, breaking the rules, being called by the mysterious "others." From the start, the elements of suspense and danger draw me into your story, and once I know she would choose the doorknob over the flashlight, the tension becomes nerve-tingling.
    I wonder if you even need this: "Dad’s voice enters my head, as if in anticipation of my actions." It would be nice to go from Leah's sneaking to her reciting the rules.
    I'd also suggest replacing one of the instances of "reach" (this is very, very minor.)
    A definite page-turner!
    #44 The Land of Joy and Sorrow

  7. Hello-

    As a big, big fan of Bigfoot - I've played him on stage a few times! - I'm very excited about your concept. For my two cents, I like "Bigfeet" when talking multiples, but that also comes across as a bit silly. I like the comment above to rely on words like "beasts" or "creatures" or some variation of those, too. I like the opening paragraph of your pitch and the switch to your second paragraph as well. I'm curious about what 'world' Leah enters. Are you referring to the woods? Something metaphorical? Something magical? I think the final line in your second paragraph is the only one I want more from. "But in one catastrophic moment, the truth is revealed and everything changes." I don't think you need to give up every detail, but I do think there's a possibility of making that particular line a little more specific. Your closing paragraph is very strong, but I might suggest a minor tweak to the closing line, "she is far from the only one who’s been keeping secrets..." I think "she isn't the only one who's been keeping secrets…" works just as well and simplifies things, too. On a minor side note, I see that you've described the genre as a fantasy retelling. I'm sorry if I missed the hints, but what story are you retelling? That might be something to dial up in your pitch, too.

    As for your first 250: the opening line is fantastic and really sets us off in a specific, sensory-enhanced mood. I don't understand the need to detail Leah 'ignoring the glowing 4:30' - beyond the fact that she's getting out of bed early - and I'd much rather keep with the sensory momentum that continues on through the first paragraph. Maybe you can just make the early thing one of dad's Cardinal Rules? Do those come up later in the story? Rules can be a nice device to play with. For the sake of my own OCD, I prefer a list is made up of at least three items, so maybe dad's third Cardinal Rule can be something like, "Rule Three: Especially in the middle of the night." It plays off of your second rule AND it informs us when she's up (bypassing the need to mention the alarm clock). Just an idea. The only other thing that throws me off is the line, "a throat clears." I understand it's her father making the noise, but describing it in that fashion makes it sound like a detached body part. Like the throat is just hanging out and clearing itself. Is there a way to reword that?

    Thanks so much for sharing - best of luck.

  8. Pitch:
    This is a really cool concept! I love the first paragraph. The second leaves me wanting more. Why does this world blur the lines between human and animal? Also, what does your MC need to do next? There's a lot of tension here, but I think explaining what she needs to physically do will make the pitch more ffective. =)

    First Page:
    The writing is very strong. So strong that "ever so slowly" almost comes across as cliched and lesser than your other descriptions.

    Good luck--looking forward to buying this when it's published!

    Domenic (#28)

  9. I love the concept, but I have to reiterate Garrett's comments above; the inciting incidents complicating the conflict are too vague to hold interest. Enhancing those will give the same charm as the Sasquatch do. Details don't necessarily need to give the story away, and their inclusion always hypes up the experience and effect of a pitch.

    That said, I adore the voice in your 250! Great job!

    Good luck! And thank you very much for the comments on mine :)


Please leave your courteous and professional comments for the writer! We'd love to hear from you! : )