Friday, February 27, 2015

Entry #19: THE LEDGE

MG, Action and Adventure
HATCHET meets IF I STAY. When 13yo Bryce finds a hidden treasure map, he doesn't mean to steal it from his Grandpa and he doesn't mean to unearth a secret that will effect their entire family. While backpacking in the Rocky mountains with his big brother, Jack, and Grandpa, the brothers' sibling rivalry clouds their judgment and all Bryce's plans for an epic adventure go downriver. While the brothers must work together to survive the wilderness and each other, Bryce is determined to find what the map is hiding. But when a horrible climbing accident leaves Bryce unconscious, Jack must find a way to save him, and Bryce must choose life or their family secret will never see the light of day. Told in dual-POV.
First Page:
While treasure hunting through stacks of dusty boxes in Grandpa's barn loft, I found a plastic bin behind a china cabinet. Grandpa had said it was okay to explore up there when I told him I was bored, but still, I felt like I'd done something wrong when I found the map.
I popped the lid off the bin and walked my fingers over the hanging file folders, certain it was just a bunch of boring stuff, until I reached to replace the lid. A narrow wooden box was tucked away between the stacks of paper. I pulled the box out and unlatched the golden clasp with a click. My heart picked up speed with blazing excitement while I fumbled through baby pictures I'd never seen before. They were rubber-banded to a piece of paper; a hand-sketched map of a river, a house, and a lake. Beside the lake was a tree, and beside the tree was an X. My heart flashed. A real treasure map?
The spiral staircase to the loft creaked and groaned under someone's weight as I flipped through the photos again, unsure if they were baby pictures of me or my big brother, Jack.
“Bryce, you up there?” Grandpa yelled.
I jumped up and stuffed everything into my back pocket without thinking.
“Yeah,” I shouted, stepping over an old typewriter. “Coming!”
Grandpa's head appeared just as my toes reached the edge of the metal steps. I held my
breath to slow my breathing, hoping he wouldn't notice.


  1. This pitch is much better than before. Excellent revisions.

  2. Pitch: Excellent revision! (On side note, I found a copy of Hatchet my kids left laying around and read it so now I completely get your comps!) Only change I'd suggest is remove the last comma.

    250: We get a more immediate glimpse of setting, but make the first paragraph more active. Maybe even start with the 2nd paragraph and drop in bits (like he's in Grandpa's barn, Grandpa gave him permission to explore) from the 1st so you tell us he found the map and then show us afterwards. Otherwise, I love this and the details. Good luck! (#7)

  3. Pitch: Good! Although, I don't think you need the second "doesn't mean to".

    1st page: I also don't think you should mention the map right in the second sentence, it kind of takes away the suspense. I think you also have a lot of details in the 2nd paragraph that maybe you could space out? Just some ideas. Good job and good luck!

  4. I would second all the other comments. Great job.

  5. Pitch: I didn't read this submission from last round, so I'm coming at this cold. I'm confused by the competing issues here, so I'm going to try to simplify it: Two boys and their grandfather go hiking in the Rocky Mountains. Something happens to Grandpa. (?) Now the boys must learn to navigate the wilderness on their own. When a climbing accident leaves one of them unconscious and close to death, the other must find a way to save him before (the temperature drops and hypothermia sets in?) Told in dual POV. Is that close to being right? Sounds like an exciting adventure and a great sibling story with extremes of endurance and emotions. Marketable, for sure.

    +1: IMO, needs more work on a hook. I suggest starting with something like: "I stole a treasure map from my grandfather's attic." Then describe the map and the wooden box that held it. Also, I'm pretty sure when Bryce stuffs those things in his back pocket, it's intentional. He wants to hide what he found. Nice job on setting, tone, pacing, and characterization.
    (#14 OSN)

  6. I agree this is a good revision, but I think you can tighten up the sentences and structure for the pitch to really polish it up. Maybe cut down the repetitive two "when" and the two "while" sentences. There is a solid pitch in there, it is just bogged down a bit.

    I like the first scene as an opener, but agree it doesn't start in the right place. Perhaps you could start with Bryce's anxiety over getting caught or feeling a sense of guilt when he really should not be. Draw us into that barn loft right out of the gate.

    Good luck!

    Mike Hays (#11)

  7. Thanks for all the feedback everyone! I really appreciate it. This contest is so worth it--all of the eyes on our pitches and openings is invaluable! I can revise to start as he's exploring the barn loft, instead of finding the map.


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