Friday, February 27, 2015


52,000 Words
YA Contemporary


Melissa is in a living hell over the whispers about her vomiting mid-hookup last week. She wants revenge, and to get out of Valley Pines.

When her closeted-pot-dealing bestie Jack suggests they create an app based on school scandals, she’s game. On “Chaos” students can anonymously post rumors for points; the more points they get, the more buzz they can access.

Chaos goes viral. Then Melissa discovers Jack wants to use it to spread an illicit video of a teacher who knows he deals.  If Melissa agrees, a student’s reputation will be ruined – just like hers.

Melissa gets a conscience and pushes Jack to reconsider, but he snaps: he releases the video and starts stalking the teacher. Melissa has to stop Jack from reaching his lethal goal, or she’ll end up with handcuffs as a graduation present, looking at Valley Pines from behind bars instead of through a rearview mirror.

First Page:

In high school there are girls who are gods. They command everyone’s attention with a swish of their skirt, a pout of their lips, and a wink. My little sister Stephanie, and her friends are those girls. Pay atte­­­ntion, they say. Look at me, they beg.

You don’t want to cross these girls when they’re angry. These girls will key your car, spit gum in your hair, and pour diet Coke in your locker. Only diet, they’re not like you, fatass.
I am above all of the girls. I am above them because I know all of their secrets. I know everything. When you know things in high school it rattles you. You can feel it in your bones when you look at someone. It’s this shuffling sound in your ears that never goes away.

My phone bleeps. ‘1 new message’ flashes on the screen.

Anything interesting on the tangled web last night Birdie? 

Jack Stewart always calls me Birdie even though my name is Melissa. He says it’s because it’s good to have a little birdie tell you secrets.

Just Gabbie Vanhout drama, and my Nathan Whettlesfield fiasco. I text back.

Last night, I was reading, an anonymous gossip site made by a couple of seniors from back when the Internet was still dial-up. Mostly it’s just bullshit posts about people looking to find the latest party, or just spread lies. But sometimes you hit confessional gold.


  1. Oh this new pitch gave me chills!

  2. Pitch: Like the changes. I think it shows she's not so innocent at first, which matches your page better and then expresses her change of heart.

    250: Great voice, great foreshadowing of your plot. Good luck! (#7)

  3. I third the previous comments. The new version is a tighter, punchier version of the original.

  4. Can I fourth all previous comments? Love the changes you made, and excited by how well you executed everyone's advice. This one is stronger, clearer, and even the stakes make more sense int h the order they're portrayed. Great revision!

  5. First of all, I love HS drama and Mean Girls/Cruel Intentions/etc, so I would pick this up in a heartbeat! I love the voice in the pitch and 250.

    Fifthing the comments that your changes address the comments made previously very well.

    Pitch: I was a bit thrown by the stalking bit. I assumed the central drama would be about posting the video-- why does Jack decide to stalk the teacher? And what is the lethal goal Melissa has to stop Jack from-- is he trying to kill the teacher?

    Just wondering about the sequence of events/Jack's motivations-- the teacher knows he deals, so Jack wants to keep that under wraps. He has the illicit video-- does he threaten the teacher with it first or does he just want to post it regardless to discredit the teacher first? And since it does get posted anyway, what leads to the stalking-- the video presumably isn't enough? Or is Jack just crazy?

    Anyway, no one else made these comments, so it may just be me!

    No comments to the first page. Can't wait to see this in print and best of luck in the contest!


  6. I love the voice. The girls sound so badass, it's funny. I wonder what they will eventually do to the MC. The pitch really hooked me. That's a great idea. I wonder how you will develop the theme of cyber bullying and if someone will go as far as attempting suicide. Something to consider: the introduction of adults in a YA novel is not as interesting for teens. Be careful to let the kids handle everything. This is a very contemporary subject and I am sure agents will want to have a look at it.
    SUGGESTIONS: In the first sentence of the pitch, you might want to precise that the popular girls caused her barfing incident and she lost the hottest date ever, just to make it stronger. I do not think it is a good idea to mention she wants to go away. You need a strong heroine for this story, not someone who flees as soon as things get heated, even after she gets her revenge, especially after she causes problems. And I would not mention Jack's dealing problem; it just does not help understand how he is suited for the "job.
    In the first page, I would replace "Look at me, they beg" by something in the order of "Notice me, their gaze order you" because these girls obviously never beg; they command attention. In the second paragraph, I would just say "You don't want to cross these girls"(dot) rather than get in their way when they're angry otherwise they sound random and less fascinating/intriguing. You want to give the impression they are always in control, even of their emotions. Badass, not moody. I would not say "I am above" but rather something in the order of "They disregard my actions because I know their secrets." You want to give the impression the MC is given a pass/a Joker, not that the MC is better than they are, which would conflict with the whole impression you want to create. I suggest capitalizing "1 new message" and the message itself to let the reader know it is displayed on a machine. You might also introduce Jack better. Who is he? Finally, I would have liked a better transition between the moment you introduce the badass girls and the MC. I mean, I was expecting something happening with the badass girls and this was a little disappointing, even startling. So, bad transition.
    FINALLY, I love the conflict and the theme. This story sounds like something teenagers would want to read about. For some of them, this is an everyday occurrence. And of course, who does not like geeks.

    1. Hi--thanks for your comments!
      The popular girls didn't cause Melissa to barf, they are just whispering about the fact that she did. Also no one knows Melissa knows all of these secrets--Chaos and its creators are anonymous.
      Thanks for your feedback I really appreciate it!

  7. Pitch: is great overall. I suggest clarifying two things: (1) if the rumors about Melissa were true (1st sentence), and (2) why Jack's intention to expose the teacher turned to wanting to kill the teacher.

    +1: small tweaks: 1st paragraph, gods don't beg, they command. 2nd paragraph breaks the narrative structure by addressing the reader directly. I suggest rewriting the paragraph so it's consistent with 3rd person close POV unless breaking to 2nd is this something that happens throughout the novel.

    Most of all *Drool* Gossip Girl *grabby hands*
    (#14 OSN)

  8. Love your new pitch! It explains Jack's motivations and heightens the stakes for Melissa.
    Great job!
    #10 The Land of Joy and Sorrow


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