Thursday, August 26, 2010

8 Pitch Entry #38: Jessica Love

Title: Giving In


Genre: YA Contemporary

Chelsea Park has been kicked off of dance team for hazing, even though she swears it wasn’t a big deal. Now, to fill the empty elective in her schedule so she can graduate and keep her strict Korean father happy, pretty and popular Chelsea finds herself in the place she never expected to be her senior year – drama class.

She has her own dorky secret (no one knows how much time she spends playing video games), but she still feels out of place with the outspoken, brightly colored drama crew. Plus, the sister of the girl she hazed hates her, her dance friends have abandoned her, and there are three very different, very dorky boys she finds herself drawn to.

Soon Chelsea finds unexpected home on stage but is still too embarrassed to tell anyone about her new life. It’s not until her popular girl tricks backfire and she discovers the truth about the hazing that she makes the most important discovery: that it’s high time that she makes peace with her inner dork.

8 comments:

  1. Chelsea Park has been kicked off of dance team for hazing, even though she swears it wasn’t a big deal. (ehhhh a char defending hazing? don't like) Now, to fill the empty elective in her schedule so she can graduate and keep her strict Korean father happy,(because graduating wouldn't make HER happy?) pretty and popular Chelsea finds herself in the place she never expected to be her senior year – drama class. (As much as I don't like your main character, you convey her unlikability really well. Catch-22? :))

    She has her own dorky secret (no one knows how much time she spends playing video games)(in today's world, this is no longer dorky), but she still feels out of place with the outspoken, brightly colored drama crew. (ooo - a fish out of water, yay)

    Plus, the sister of the girl she hazed hates her, (um, YAH, I would too) her dance friends have abandoned her, and there are three very different, very dorky boys she finds herself drawn to. (good complication)

    Soon Chelsea finds (an?) unexpected home on stage but is still too embarrassed to tell anyone about her new life.(wouldn't they KNOW she's in the drama elective??) It’s not until her popular girl tricks(awkward-thought this was the verb) backfire and she discovers the truth about the hazing that she makes the most important discovery: that it’s high time that she makes peace with her inner dork. (the truth about hazing is she should embrace her inner dork?! not, say, being a horrible person is HORRIBLE? I dunno, the way this is worded seems glib.)

    This sounds like a great story, just needs a bit of tightening.

    Good luck!

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  2. Chelsea Park has been kicked off of dance team for hazing, even though she swears it wasn’t a big deal. Now, to fill the empty elective in her schedule so she can graduate and keep her strict Korean father happy, pretty and popular Chelsea finds herself in the place she never expected to be her senior year – drama class. (This is more your hook than what you have. Because hazing is a pretty big deal. I think you should rework and combine your first two sentences into the hook. Maybe something like: “To fill the empty slot in her schedule caused by her removal from the dance team—and to keep her strict Korean father happy—pretty and popular Chelsea Park finds herself in the last place she expected: drama class.” Okay, that’s terrible. But I’m leaving it, and maybe it can be used as a diving board for you to combine them. I’m not even sure you need the hazing up front, but you do want to say she’s off the dance team. So yeah. I’ll keep stewing.) 



    She has her own dorky secret (no one knows how much time she spends playing video games), but she still feels out of place with the outspoken, brightly colored drama crew. Plus, the sister of the girl she hazed hates her, her dance friends have abandoned her, and there are three very different, very dorky boys she finds herself drawn to. (I’d tighten some of this. Maybe like: “The sister of the hazing victim—the reason Chelsea got booted from the dance team—hates her, her team has abandoned her, and she’s becoming more attracted to three very different, very dorky boys.” Or some such. If you put the hazing here, it lends more to the main conflict, I think.)



    Soon Chelsea finds unexpected home on stage but is still too embarrassed to tell anyone about her new life. (This needs tightening too. Like: “And Chelsea feels unexpectedly at home on stage, but she’s too embarrassed to tell anyone.” Maybe?) It’s not until her popular girl tricks backfire and she discovers the truth about the hazing that she makes the most important discovery: that it’s high time that she makes peace with her inner dork. (Same tightening issues here: “When she discovers the truth about the hazing, she makes the most important discovery: she must make peace with her inner dork or XXX.” What’s the consequence if she doesn’t? There has to be something to make me go, “Oh, I have to read this to find out if the girl goes dork or goes XXX.” You know?)

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  3. I liked this pitch!
    I agree with the comment above, that I need to know an alternative in the end. Also what would happen if she doesn't embrace her inner dork? I think you could up the stakes there a bit more.
    Tiny thing: could you look for a synonym of hazing? I think you repeat it quite a lot. HTH and good luck! :D

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  4. It sounds like it could be an interesting story, but I don’t get any sense of conflict and there’re too many questions left unanswered. That alone is not reason enough for an agent to request more (i.e. to find out the answers).

    So what if her father isn’t happy? What is the consequence for her? And why is spending too much time playing video games being dorky? If her father is so strict, she probably wouldn’t have any to being with.

    Why did her dance friends abandon her? They don’t sound like good friends to begin with, so I don’t see the problem. And who are the boys? Why is that a conflict? Is she dating them all at the same time? What’s unique about them? Them being dorky isn’t why she’s drawn to them, right?

    The first sentence of the third paragraph is missing ‘an’ before ‘unexpected.’ And the sentence after this is awkward.

    Why does the stage become a home? She doesn’t live there, does she? Is it because of the other students? And is this all because of the class, or does she audience for a performance outside the classroom?

    What popular girl tricks?

    What out for repetitive words. You’ve use dork (including dorky) three times. And if she’s a dork, then why is she a popular kid? Plus you used a form of discover twice in one sentence.
    Clarify these (or most of these) questions and you’re on the way to a great query.

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  5. Hmm--I have to like a character, and this one hazes and feels no remorse. I stopped reading there. Sorry.

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  6. Hey Jessica,
    I love that you have a story about a regular girl who's trying to find her way. This is something a lot of girls will be able to relate to. I also like the state of confusion you cast her in. It's so normal for kids to do stuff without understanding why. It's what makes our young ones so lovable -- not! I read this as a coming of age story where we start out not much liking Chelsea and root for her in the end.

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  7. Thanks for the feedback everyone! I'll answer some of the questions and see if that can help me figure out how to make things more clear.

    Hazing: She's accused of hazing, but she doesn't feel like what she did was bad enough to deserve her punishment. There is something going on that she doesn't know about, but she spends a lot of time soul searching and trying to figure out if what she did was wrong. I don't want it to come off like she left some girl out in the desert and feels totally ok about it, because that's not the case at all.

    Video games: I know many people don't consider this dorky, but my MC DEFINITELY does. She's not just playing Wii, she's super into role-playing WoW-type games.

    Consequence: Well, she definitely risks losing the boy she likes, but this isn't JUST a romance, so I didn't want to put all the focus there. She risks staying an unlikable bitch, which, after reading these comments, obviously NO ONE wants to happen. ;-)

    I'll try rewording it and see what I can come up with.

    THANKS!

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  8. Ok, I did a little tweaking. If anyone is still around, I'd love your thoughts. :-)


    Drama class is the last place that pretty and popular Chelsea Park thought she would find herself senior year, but after she’s kicked off of dance team, it’s the only place that will take her. Changing electives doesn’t mean Chelsea can escape the hazing that got her the boot, though. Not with he sister of the freshman who told on her out for revenge, the brightly colored drama crew not exactly excited to have her, and her team pretty much MIA.

    Soon Chelsea finds herself unexpectedly at home on the stage, and even more unexpectedly attracted to three very different, very dorky boys, but she worries more about what people will think about her new life than about what really matters. It’s not until she finds out the truth about the hazing and learns that everything she knows about being popular is a lie that Chelsea makes the most important discovery: she must make peace with her inner dork or risk losing everything that makes her happy.

    ReplyDelete

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