Tuesday, May 21, 2013

9 May Pitch+250 Finalist - Fighting Chance

Name: Amy Trueblood
Genre: YA Thriller


After almost killing a boy in her California hometown, black belt Nica McDonald is shipped to the armpit of the South. Nica wants to stay under the radar, secretly take the GED, and blow the one stoplight town. But when she takes down a bully, and finds a dead body in the school bathroom, anonymity is impossible. Rumors swirl about Nica, and when the bully winds up dead, police focus on her. With Braeden , the boy she saved from a beat down, and fellow black belt, Garren, she must find the killer before he takes his next victim – her.

1st 250:

My scars were impossible to hide. The jagged marks carved deep in my knuckles glowed under the fluorescent lights in the convenience store.

I did everything I could to hide my hands. Slide them into my pockets. Lock them behind my back. I hated the white gouges between my fingers and slashed across my pale, freckled skin. Each mark was a small, taunting whisper, reminding me what I’d done.

I shoved the money across the counter while the owner gazed at me with pursed lips under a full white beard.

“You want a bag?” His lingering gaze focused on the thick, red line along my chin that took forty-two stitches to close.

I shook my head, hiding behind my dark hair and grabbed the carton, slipping it under my arm.

I’d been sent on an impossible mission – find soy milk in a tiny town surrounded by acres of dairy farms. My flighty stepmother, Annabelle, insisted we couldn’t survive without it — something about regular milk having growth hormones which destroyed our bodies. It was typical Annabelle. In her mind the entire planet was poisoning us. Personally, I thought it was a load of crap, but I didn’t argue because other than her granola-leanings, she was pretty cool.

The door chimed as I walked outside. The scent of bitter, day-old coffee lingered on the sleeves of my gray t-shirt. The parking lot was empty except for my ancient, silver Honda parked in the last space — a reluctant gift from my dad who didn’t have the time or patience to drive me around.


  1. Very descriptive, tense and dark. Congrats on making it to the next round. Good luck with your story.

  2. Loved this! What an exciting concept :) Good luck!

    -Amanda Leigh

  3. Your writing is wonderfully descriptive. Love the details you include in your opening- I'm already getting a sense of Nica's character. Good luck Amy!

  4. I liked this a lot. I could totally see the scars on her hands, and the way the cashier was eyeing her. The line about stitches was fantastic.

    I had a hard time getting a firm grasp on how the MC feels about Annabelle. Does she think she's annoying and a tad crazy, or does she like her? It can be both...but right now I'm having a hard time picturing them simultaneously.

    You introduce 3 characters in 250 words. They're clearly delineated, but I wonder if you could give us less info about Annabelle, and use that precious word count on the MC instead?

    Good work!

  5. Great pitch--the story already has me before I even read the first 250. I also like the first 250...you have a lot going on in there with descriptions and characters. And, it is done SO well. I already am picturing what she looks like, her relationship with her step-mom--her dad. And of course, I'm thinking, wow, this girl is tough. I wanna know about the scars and even more about the town that is supposed to sound boring but sounds intriguing. The only thing I would say is the last line of the pitch-it's a little lengthy or choppy--I think bc of two additional characters being named named. But the "next victim--her" is great! Good luck!

  6. I love how self-conscience she feels. She made me cringe. Great first 250.

  7. I love your pitch and 250. Love. Great description. Excellent job getting the dark mood going from the first words! My only suggestion (and this is only because I've read a bit further) is to distinguish between the dead body in the bathroom and the bully winding up dead so readers know it's two different deaths.

  8. Thank you all for your comments! I appreciate you taking the time to read my work and give me feedback.

  9. Congratulations on your win! Your story sounds tense and exciting. Well deserved.


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