Thursday, August 26, 2010

8 Pitch Entry #22: Stina Lindenblatt

Title: Lost in a Heartbeat


Genre: YA romantic suspense
Most seventeen-year-old girls keep the normal type secrets: boy/girl crushes, whispers between best friends. But Calleigh has a secret that could cost her best friend her life.

A stalker assaulted Calleigh after first seeing her at a swim meet. She can’t tell anyone why she quit swimming; he promised he would kill her and her best friend if she did. But after looking over her shoulder for the past ten months, Calleigh finally think she’s safe—until her attacker shows up at her part-time job. The only person she can tell is Aaron, a former competitive swimmer. He kinda figures things out—never a good idea to approach a girl with pepper spray and not give her some kind of warning first.

Aaron wants Calleigh to start swimming again, so he comes up with a plan: pretend they’re dating and maybe the psycho will leave her alone. But as she starts falling for Aaron, she discovers they’re linked in a way she could never have imagined—a connection that could be deadly for Calleigh.

8 comments:

  1. Oh! This novel sounds like it will tackle some hardcore issues.

    Two things I'm kind of confused about. So in your hook, you mention she has a secret that threatens her best friend? I'm assuming its the attack, but it comes off kind of cliche. Every attacker threatens family and friends. Maybe something else?

    Also, I am dying to find out how she is linked to Aaron. God ... I hope the attacker is not like his dad or something. Ew. But nice twist if so.

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  2. Yikes. This is suspense. The lede is great. I immediately feel worried for Calleigh's safety — precisely what I should be feeling.

    But then I question the judgment of her not reporting the guy (especially if she knows who he is); not sure that sends a good message to young women. (Disclosure: I'm working on a project with sexual assault educators and have learned a lot — too much — about this recently.) Pretending to date someone is no way to discourage a predator, particularly one that has threatened to kill your friend. It could provoke him.

    That said, the query was generally well done because the author has made me want to know more about what happens to Calleigh and Aaron -- and their deadly connection.

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  3. Most seventeen-year-old girls keep the normal type secrets (I'd just say 'normal secrets'): boy/girl crushes, whispers between best friends. But Calleigh has a secret that could cost her best friend her life.

    A stalker assaulted Calleigh after first seeing her at a swim meet. She can’t tell anyone why she quit swimming; he promised he would kill her and her best friend if she did. But after looking over her shoulder for the past ten months, Calleigh finally think she’s safe—until her attacker shows up at her part-time job. The only person she can tell is Aaron, a former competitive swimmer.(why can she tell him? won't the attacker kill them now?) He kinda figures things out—never a good idea to approach a girl with pepper spray and not give her some kind of warning first. (nice. I'd rearrange so we know Calleigh doesn't just tell him.)

    Aaron wants Calleigh to start swimming again, so he comes up with a plan: pretend they’re dating and maybe the psycho will leave her alone. (why would this work?) But as she starts falling for Aaron, she discovers they’re linked in a way she could never have imagined—a connection that could be deadly for Calleigh.

    I want more about the attacker. He's vague and needs more weight for me to think he's a real threat. I also don't understand why she wouldn't have gone to the police at some point - if she knows who the guy is enough to recognize him at her job, surely the threat to her friend would be neutralized if she just *got him arrested*. Needs a bit more to make it believable.

    Good luck!

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  4. I am so interested in this story after reading this!

    Most seventeen-year-old girls keep the normal type secrets: boy/girl crushes, whispers between best friends. But Calleigh has a secret that could cost her best friend her life. (The repetition of "best friend" is a little awkward...could you rephrase?)

    A stalker assaulted Calleigh after first seeing her at a swim meet. She can’t tell anyone why she quit swimming; he promised he would kill her and her best friend if she did. (Did he attack the best friend also? Or just her? What does her best friend have to do with it?) But after looking over her shoulder for the past ten months, Calleigh finally think she’s safe—until her attacker shows up at her part-time job. (I might lose the But at the beginning of this sentence. It's a bit awkward.)

    The only person she can tell is Aaron, a former competitive swimmer. He kinda figures things out—never a good idea to approach a girl with pepper spray and not give her some kind of warning first. (I would try to combine these somehow to make it clear that she tells Aaron only because he figures it out, not because she just feels like she can.)

    Aaron wants Calleigh to start swimming again (why does he care?) , so he comes up with a plan: pretend they’re dating and maybe the psycho will leave her alone. (I'm also confused about how this will work? It seems like it would make a crazy attacker even MORE upset) But as she starts falling for Aaron, she discovers they’re linked in a way she could never have imagined—a connection that could be deadly for Calleigh. (This is such a great place to leave off...I'm SO interested now!)

    Great job! Good luck!

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  5. OOh, this sounds like a great story. The query definitely builds the suspense. Great job.

    Most seventeen-year-old girls keep the normal type secrets: boy/girl crushes, whispers between best friends (about?). But Calleigh has a secret that could cost her best friend her life.

    A stalker assaulted Calleigh after first seeing her at a swim meet (assaulted like raped or attacked or harassed?). She can’t tell anyone why she quit swimming; he promised he would kill her and her best friend if she did. But after looking over her shoulder for the past ten months, Calleigh finally think she’s safe—until her attacker shows up at her part-time job. The only person she can tell is Aaron, a former competitive swimmer. He kinda figures things out—never a good idea to approach a girl with pepper spray and not give her some kind of warning first.(Why was he the only person she could tell?)

    Aaron wants Calleigh to start swimming again (why?), so he comes up with a plan: pretend they’re dating and maybe the psycho will leave her alone. But as she starts falling for Aaron, she discovers they’re linked in a way she could never have imagined—a connection that could be deadly for Calleigh.

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  6. Most seventeen-year-old girls keep the normal type (of) secrets: boy/girl (The boy/girl things seems awkward just say crushes) crushes, (you should add one more thing...just feels incomplete) whispers between best friends. But Calleigh has a secret that could cost her best friend her life. (Try: But Calleigh has a secret that could cost her best friend's life.---The other way reads a little awkward)

    A stalker assaulted Calleigh after first seeing her at a swim meet. She can’t tell anyone why she quit swimming; he promised he would kill her and her best friend if she did. But after looking over her shoulder for the past ten months, Calleigh finally think she’s safe—until her attacker shows up at her part-time job. The only person she can tell is Aaron, a former competitive swimmer. (Why him?? Are they close or did he have a run in with the stalker?) He kinda figures things out—never a good idea to approach a girl with pepper spray and not give her some kind of warning first. (The last line seems awkward and unnecessary--try something like: After noticing her strange behavior he figures things out...OR something like that)

    Aaron wants Calleigh to start swimming again,(Just as the other person said why does he care so much?) so he comes up with a plan: pretend they’re dating and maybe the psycho will leave her alone. But as she starts falling for Aaron, she discovers they’re linked in a way she could never have imagined—a connection that could be deadly for Calleigh.

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  7. Alright, I'm intrigued. I want to read it.

    I like the first sentence, although I'd tweaked it and others have covered that.

    My big issues are:

    Calleigh's best friend. You say that Calleigh's secret could kill her best friend... and then we never hear anything about that best friend again. On top of that, if anyone threatened my best friend, I'd kill them. She would kill for me too. And there's no way in hell that a cute guy could get me to do anything that might put her at risk. So there's something lost in the translation of your pitch. One moment Calleigh's holding her bff's life in her hands, and the next, she's willing to pretend to be dating a boy so she can go back to swimming - which is where the dangerous stalker found her to start with.

    Calleigh refusing to tell anyone, including the best friend whose life is at stake. My bff and I are like Thelma and Louise. We're incapable of escaping each other, even when we try to withhold info. Having Calleigh not warn her own best friend kind of makes her look like an ass. Plus I agree with Debra that it sort of sets a bad example for girls. I wouldn't necessarily change the fact that she doesn't tell the authorities, but be careful with WHY she doesn't. And consider having her at least hint about the danger to her best friend.

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  8. I concur with other posters. Develop the reason behind the threat against the best friend or make one compelling enough to explain her silence. Some women do not report assault, so I think that's fine. If we got a sense of her character first, as opposed to the generalization in the first line, it'd leave fewer questions and bring us more into the story.

    I also feel like I can guess the end - Aaron is the relative of the stalker. If not, good surprise, but I still can't think of a logical way other than the too obvious means of Aaron having a connection.

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