Friday, February 27, 2015


93,000 words
YA Dark Comedy
Mashup: Tina Fey’s MEAN GIRLS/Lauren Oliver’s ROOMS/Meg Cabot’s MEDIUM. When Bethany Sultry pictured her future, she never imagined her life would end in a car crash when she was sixteen, not as her popularity was rising, and certainly not one hour after she was crowned the junior class homecoming queen. When ownership of the crown transfers to her high school nemesis, Bethany refuses to rest in peace with that bitch wearing her bling. But how far will she go to defeat her rival if the price of victory is damning her own soul to hell?
When I die, I don’t so much go into the light as have the light suck me up like a dust bunny in a cosmic vacuum cleaner. I zoom headfirst through an immense translucent tunnel four times my width. A hum loud as a jet engine presses against my inner ear. The smell of ozone pinches my nasal cavities. Veils of colored air blow through my scalp, wind along my spinal column, and exit cold through the soles of my bare feet. My body curves into a tucked roll. The light dims. I burst into a stark white room and land on my feet in crouched position. The floor is solid and warm.
I see my boyfriend’s dead sister. She waves. Her name is Moon. She’s sucking on a lollipop, the big kind with the swirls. Her hair’s done up in three ponytails. I’m pretty sure she has a glitter tattoo on her cheek but it’s hard to see against the pale blue tint of her skin.
I straighten up and ask, “Is this heaven?”
Moon pulls the lollipop from her mouth and points it at the only other living being in the room. “Meet Cal. He’s an angel.”
Being in the presence of an angel is awesome, especially when that angel smells like warm apple pie with cinnamon crumb topping. His cheekbones are higher than mine. I want to lick one.
Cal narrows his eyes at me. “I’m your celestial probation officer.”
I resolve not to lick any part of him.


  1. Love that you added the comp titles.

  2. The voice in the pitch and first 250 is spot-on! Good luck!

  3. There is something horribly wrong with this story. LOL. But you did it on purpose, and yes, it's funny! Why would people transfer the crown from a dead person? Yuck! Any same person would say no or think it's bad luck or respect the memory of the dead. Not in you story! I think these people live somewhere over the cuckoo's nest. I also loved the way you saw people in the Hereafter. It's silly and funny, just the way you wanted it.

    The only suggestions I would make is not to use the present tense. I don't think it works, especially because in the first sentence it sounds like she dies over and over again, which is really weird, and confusing to me and I do not see the reason for the closeness. Also, I think you might have started the story at the wrong place. Although I loved the Out of the Body experience (for lack of other expression), I think it did not impact me as much as if I had read the scene that precedes the death first. I mean, the main characters are not the people the MC encounters in the other life, the main characters are the MC and the new crown girl, so introduce them. Especially, I'd like to know if the MC is a girl and what her name is and what kind of life she lives until she dies. It's always best to introduce the name of the MC before introducing the name of other characters.

  4. So funny! I love this, and the voice is perfect. My only advice is to consider adding some details to the pitch about the sorts of things Bethany does to her rival. Good luck!

  5. Parts of the query made me LOL ("that bitch wearing her bling"). Love the set-up and the stakes. I'm assuming the goal stated in the pitch (getting her crown away from "that bitch") will change mid-novel, but I like kinda not knowing--think it makes for good mystery as the MC learns and grows. Nice job!

    I love the first 250 words! Great voice! The only part that slowed me down was the repetitive sentence structure in the first paragraph. Don't get me wrong--the descriptions are great, vivid! I was just wondering if the structure could be played with a little.

    Good luck!

  6. Pitch: I like this version even better.

    250: I agree perhaps it would be better to have a pre-death scene with the main characters; however, the revisions you've made have strengthened this page. I especially love the last paragraphs. Good luck! (#7)

  7. Love your revisions! Both in your pitch and in your 250 words. Love your concept and your voice, too, but the changes really bring the opening into focus. I haven't read your pages, so to me, this starts at a perfect place.
    Good luck!!
    #10 The Land of Joy and Sorrow

  8. I like this. It sounds like a funny story. I think your pitch has all the right information, but I think the sentences might be a tad too long/wordy. You might consider breaking up the sentences so they dont read like run-ons.

    I love the first line of your 250. :)

  9. This is fun stuff, really enjoy the voice and the immediacy of the opening. For the pitch, I'm wonder if you might include a detail about the obstacle(s) Bethany faces on way towards getting what she wants. A little hint of what she's up against, because I'm sure it's funny.

  10. Hello there!

    THE PITCH: I'm not familiar with your comp titles, but I definitely find the premise intriguing. I think it's a fun twist on contemporary themes and I can certainly appreciate the humor you're injecting into your story. On the subject of your comps, I'm not sure that I'd open with them. I want you to hook me with your story first and then, if there's any question of your tone at the end of the pitch, use the comps to help clarify. Would it be possible to open with a bit of humor, too? I know there's typically not anything funny about dying, but I feel like your book aims to be the exception to the rule. I think the setup, "When Bethany Sultry pictured her future, she never imagined her life would end in a…" just begs for a funny punch line. Maybe the car might have crashed into something ridiculous that could conjure up an amusing image?

    FIRST 250: I'm not sure if I need the pre-death scene (I'm assuming you'll get there eventually) and I imagine opening on a dead person is part of the hook you're aiming for. What I think these opening moments are lacking is a true sense of your character's 'guts.' There's a lot of good description, but not quite a lot of character moments until the very last line.

    Best of luck and thanks for sharing!

  11. This is just so good! The pitch grabs you from the comp titles and refuses to let go. The first page is spot on and sets the tone perfectly. I wish I had some advice to help you make it better, but all I can say is "Good Luck!"

    Mike Hays (#11)


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