Tuesday, May 21, 2013

4 May Pitch+250 Finalist - Whiff

Name: Becky Swanberg
Title: Whiff
Genre: Young Adult


Macy Ames is a junior in high school and has a not-so-super-power: the ability to smell lies. When her mom is accused of a crime, introverted Macy must race to uncover the dusty truth, confront the man who is blackmailing her family, and do it all without falling for the bad guy's son. (Well, two out of three isn't so bad, right?)

1st 250:

I first smelled a lie on August 7, 2011. It was a common lie, though I didn't know it at the time. How could I.

My dad was later than usual and my mom was ticked. With a loud sigh, she clicked the TV off and moved to keep watch over the driveway. I heard the blinds rustle but I didn't look; this scene happened all the time. Our Friday night ritual included dad being late, mom steaming, and me in the recliner with a book.

Then the doorbell rang and everyone went off script.

I pretended not to hear the police. I kept my book open and the recliner up and the light shining like a spotlight in the black of the living room. First, I tried to breathe slowly; then I just tried to breathe.

She knelt by my chair, her face entering the circle of light, and said it was all over.

Maybe she didn’t say that, but that’s what I heard. “Life as we know it has ended, Macy. Welcome to your worst nightmare.”

She patted my arm and I didn’t pull away; both were proof of our shock. Then the first lie came, “Everything is going to be OK.”

She made that ridiculous statement and I looked up, more startled by the scent than her obvious delusion that OK was even an option for us. Her words brought a smell, or maybe the smell brought her words. Either way, a cloud of smoke met and hugged my face.


  1. I love the idea of smelling lies. You have me hooked from your first pages. Great job. Good luck!

  2. Very original idea! Love it! Good luck.

    -Amanda Leigh

  3. This concept is so unique! And I loved the opening lines. Good luck to you :)


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