Thursday, August 26, 2010

8 Pitch Entry #43: Britt Leigh

Title: Shot on the Wing

Genre: YA


A high school senior journalist probably won’t win the Pulitzer Prize. But feisty Angela Bennett will make headlines when she exposes the seedy underbelly of high school basketball recruitment. Her assignment: the BirchDown BullDogs (and as Angela will tell you, not capitalizing the “d” is a fact error). The Dogs are the town’s saving grace, but not how Angela envisioned launching her reporting career. But the cute JV star at least gets her romantic life on the court.

When Angela accidentally leaves her still-hot tape recorder in the office after an interview with the varsity coach, she stumbles onto a college recruitment scandal involving sex, money, and drugs. Angela must then prove her story, face the repercussions at school and from Ian, and then later in the community, state, and even nation. Everyone’s versions of truth are presented through different media – class notes, bathroom wall graffiti, social networking media, and even news scrawl. With all of these sources, it’s ultimately up to you to decide who has the real message.

8 comments:

  1. As a former high school editor,I absolutely love this premise! The stakes are extremely high, and I think using different media throughout would up the interest for your readers.
    I wondered about a couple things: 1) I didn't understand the statement about capitalizing the 'd' in Dogs, and; 2)maybe consider starting the query off with 'Feisty Angela Bennett makes..' instead of referencing the Pulitzer. It sounds like it will be a big story, so I think starting the query off with a solid statement packs more punch than stating something that probably won't happen.

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  2. A high school senior journalist probably won’t win the Pulitzer Prize. But feisty Angela Bennett will make headlines when she exposes the seedy underbelly of high school basketball recruitment. (fun)

    Her assignment: the BirchDown BullDogs (and as Angela will tell you, not capitalizing the “d” is a fact error). The Dogs are the town’s saving grace, but not how Angela envisioned launching her reporting career. But the cute JV star at least gets her romantic life on the court. (great voice)

    When Angela accidentally leaves her still-hot tape recorder in the office after an interview with the varsity coach, she stumbles onto a college (you said high school above, which is it?) recruitment scandal involving sex, money, and drugs. Angela must then prove her story, face the repercussions at school and from Ian, and then later in the community, state, and even nation. (this sentence could be broken up and the idea of it spreading could be made more compelling.)

    Everyone’s versions of truth are presented through different media – class notes, bathroom wall graffiti, social networking media, and even news scrawl. With all of these sources, it’s ultimately up to you to decide who has the real message. (ooo, like Rashamon! Cool!)

    Overall, I'm not sure what to say. This is well-written but I'm not being drawn in. The idea of the different stories is really cool, but the actual subject, college recruitment scandal, sounds kind of boring/trite/standard. That said, I'd probably want to read it to see how you do the various presentations, etc, so maybe that's your hook? I dunno. Not really helpful here, sorry.

    Good luck!

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  3. Hi Britt,

    I think this is a great idea. Very timely storyline, especially when you throw in the social media slant, which is so very relevant these days! This screams YA hit! Be warned: my critique is mostly piddly things!

    In the first paragraph, I'd make the first two sentences into one and lose the word feisty. It's not that it's a terrible word, but it seems a bit overused when describing a smart or clever middle-grade or teenage girl, maybe "determined" or "quick-witted". I'm not saying these are the best word choices either, but I just see feisty A LOT!

    Love this: "... and as Angela will tell you, not capitalizing the “d” is a fact error." Immediately tells me this girl is no dummy!

    "When Angela accidentally leaves her still-hot tape recorder in the office after an interview with the varsity coach" Maybe change "still-hot" to "still-running". When I think of something as still-hot I think it's something that's just been turned off, but is warm from running a while. Like I said, PIDDLY! ;)

    Okay, last thing, regarding "Angela must then prove her story, face the repercussions at school and from Ian". I'm guessing Ian is the JV star boyfriend, but not sure, so you may want to add "But, Ian, the cute JV star..."

    I think you did a great job--seriously. Anything I suggested is so minor, it's up to you if you want to change it or not! Keep me posted on how things go for you! I see good things coming!

    xoxo -- Hilary

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  4. What a great premise and your voice comes through on this. I agree with much of the above - have a few nitpicky things to add.

    "The Dogs are the town’s saving grace, but not how Angela envisioned launching her reporting career. But the cute JV star at least gets her romantic life on the court." You may want to fix the sentence structure so you don't have a but in each sentence.

    Also I believe it is stumble upon.

    Also you man try or a more active voice here: Everyone's versions are told in different media,

    Hope this helps, it sounds like a great book

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  5. This sounds like a great story, but it’s really confusing. Too much is going on in this query and I’m having a hard time following it.

    What specifically was her assignment? It wasn’t just interviewing the team, was it?

    How are the Dogs the town’s saving grace? What’s wrong with the town?

    And please kill the cliché about getting her romantic life on the court. Actually, unless it’s part of the conflict, you can drop the romance from the query. It sounds like an after shot, and is adding to the confusion of your query.

    Cut ‘still-hot’. I’m not even sure what you mean by it. The sentence makes more sense without it.

    Things start to go better with the query, but keep it simple. Stick with her facing the repercussions at school and from Ian (now that sounds more interesting. I had to read the query twice to get that). The second to last sentence leaves me thinking, “So what?” And what do you mean that I have to decide? Is there not going to be an ending to the story?

    Try to keep this query simple, then it won’t be so confusing. Great voice!

    Good luck! :D

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  6. I agree with cutting the first line, and changing still-hot to still-running. Good storyline--but I'm hoping you resolve the ending in the book, not leave it open for the reader.

    Overall, you did a great job!

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  7. Loved the tension and the guts she has to report the scandals she perceives going on, but I agree that I had to re-read lines a couple times to catch certain things. Maybe shorter sentences. The bulldog line was cute (and that was my former high school mascot so...you know...cool) but was an eye full. I wasn't sure which "d" in the sentence you were referring to at first. Had to re-read it a couple of times. Overall I liked it. I must say though that if you hadn't said she was in High school right off I would have thought she was talking about College basketball with all the sex and drugs. I can see why she'd want to bring them down. :) Good luck!

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  8. A high school senior journalist probably won’t win the Pulitzer Prize. But feisty Angela Bennett will make headlines when she exposes the seedy underbelly of high school basketball recruitment.
    --
    Not sure I like the term 'seedy underbelly.' It seems a bit trite.

    --
    Her assignment: the BirchDown BullDogs (and as Angela will tell you, not capitalizing the “d” is a fact error).
    --
    The part in parentheses made me smile. From this, we know where she stands on grammatical injustice. :P

    --
    The Dogs are the town’s saving grace, but not how Angela envisioned launching her reporting career.
    --
    Why are they the town's saving grace? Is it a crappy town?

    --
    But the cute JV star at least gets her romantic life on the court.
    --
    I had to reread this one three times before I figured out the gist. It's a neat setup but I think the syntax could be clearer. Maybe if you said it another way. Don't sacrifice clarity in the name of clever phrasing.

    --
    When Angela accidentally leaves her still-hot tape recorder in the office after an interview with the varsity coach, she stumbles onto a college recruitment scandal involving sex, money, and drugs. Angela must then prove her story, face the repercussions at school and from Ian, and then later in the community, state, and even nation.
    --
    Ok, but who's Ian? Why is the whole nation getting involved in this? I get that it's an interesting progression from community to state to nation, but I don't understand why it's of such significance on a broad scale.

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    Everyone’s versions of truth are presented through different media – class notes, bathroom wall graffiti, social networking media, and even news scrawl.
    --
    Interesting take, but I'd not reuse 'media' twice in the same sentence. Any other words possible?

    --
    With all of these sources, it’s ultimately up to you to decide who has the real message.
    --
    Wait, huh? This isn't clear what you mean. Is this left open-ended? Hmm. Not something I'd read, but it's unique. I guess it'd depend on how all the puzzle pieces fit together and if it were still a satisfying ending.

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