Monday, September 10, 2012

Pitch Polish #51

WORD COUNT: 59,000


Seventeen-year-old Rae has spent her whole life with the ability to
smell when a relationship will sour just by looking a photograph of
the couple (rotting fish, anyone?). She calls it her “lovesense” and
uses it to anonymously run a love guru business at school. But after
seventeen years of smelling way more stinky socks than roses, Rae is
ready to give up on love altogether.

 Until, that is, she finds a fifteen-year-old picture in her attic
that smells of apricots and honey. Even better? She's in the photo.
Rae seeks the identity of her mysterious playmate with a dedication
she usually reserves for her 100-meter hurdles, but as the semester
progresses, all she’s finding is trouble. She’s falling for her goofy
teammate, Sam—even though he’s already been crossed off her list of
possibilities, and, with just weeks until the city-county track
championships, her love-guru business is exposed. She is forced to
convince all her friends (and the administration) that she isn't a
psycho gypsy freak—or, worse, that she hasn't been taking advantage of
them for years.

Suspended from school, banned from the track championships, and
alienated from her classmates, Rae has one last opportunity to set
things right before her chance at love rots like stink on cheese.
Lovesense is a YA Magical Realism novel complete at 59,000 words.

1st 150:

No more reading relationships at work, I remind myself as I tap my
cross-trainers in time with the photo processor’s whir, whir, flip.
It spews three hundred prints of Mary Brighten and her fiancĂ© but I’m
not looking, especially after last week’s debacle with Mom’s friend
Barb. Trust me, being the first to know that your mom’s best friend’s
husband is leaving her for their pool boy sucks the big one.

Craning my neck I see the “Alfred’s has the Answer” digital clock:
forty-seven minutes ‘til the bride waltzes in. The whir is louder than
our cheesy elevator music, and my nose, even though I’m telling it no,
is taking in bigger and bigger breaths. I pop another Altoid into my
already crammed mouth. I don’t want to know! Think about Barb. But I’m
like a crack addict needing my next hit. And there isn’t an addiction
recovery program to save me.


yo said...

Hi! I just wanted to say I read your submission and I thought it was perfect You use beautifully the magical realism and I really wanted to read more.
The way she smeeled relationships reminded me how the MC character of like hater for chocolate altered everyone's emotions with her cooking.

Patrice said...

You had me laughing within the first few lines of your query. Loved the first 150 words too.

You structured your query so well, setting it up with how she can smell love disasters then leading to her downfall that I had already guessed would be at the end. Now I want to know how everything's going to be sorted out.

Great job!

--Please, check out my Pitch, #27, if you have the time :)

Unknown said...

Hi there, coming to return the crit favor! I remember your query from WriteOnCon ;-)
by looking a photograph (missing "at")
to anonymously run a love guru business (a little awkward - maybe to run an anonymous love guru business?) Also how does this actually happen? I think you had something about tampon dispensers or ? in your original query? I think you could omit the anonymous entirely and it would be fine - if you leave it in there's some need for clarification.
in her attic, that smells of apricots and honey - Yay! You told us what love should smell like this time!
reserves for her 100-meter hurdles - I would omit "her" because they're not just her hurdles are they? She's running with others, right?
even though he’s already been crossed off her list - why?
her love-guru business (not hyphenated previously, be consistent)
opportunity to set things right (s/b either set the record straight or make things right)
rots like stink on cheese (I don't quite get this, it's not the stink that's rotting it's the cheese, I think this needs tweaking)
my nose, even though I’m telling it no,is taking in bigger and bigger breaths. (reads a bit awkwardly - maybe more like "my nostrils, even though I'm telling them not to, are pulling in gusts of air like a Thoroughbred's at the finish line" or something like that, you're funny so you should be able to come up with something better than my suggestion.
I think your idea is really cool and you have a very natural teen voice. Were you listening to "Love Stinks" when you came up with the concept?

Liana Brooks said...

Commenting as I read...

Good opening, I'm not a huge YA fan, but the opening line has a great hook an attitude. I'm intrigued.

I'm not sure I love the rest of the query as much. It sounds a little too standard YA issues.

---First 150---

Again, a good opening.


Tons of potential. As an agent I'd request pages to see if you have the follow through.

Good luck!

Jane Ann McLachlan said...

This is excellent. I would like to read this book. Start submitting.

Trish Esden said...

I love the concept and the 150. I do think the query could use some streamlining and a bit more clarity. You mention the photo in the attic, but then that thread isn't mentioned in the rest of the query. Can you clarify this connection? I'm also confused by the mysterious playmate. Is this a person with her in the attic photo? Perhaps clarify that the photo is of several people and how old they are. Playmate sounds like a young child. I was visualizing her with an older guy.

Sounds like a fantastic story!

Unknown said...

I enjoyed your 150, you have captured a realistic voice.
I like the first and third paragraph of your query. I tried to clarify and condense it a little. I hope you find my thoughts useful.
How about:

Until, she realises an old picture in her photograph album smells of apricots and honey. Rae uses the energy she reserves for athletics when she tries to track down the identity of her mysterious playmate, but as the semester progresses, all she finds is trouble. She’s falling for her goofy teammate, Sam—even though he’off her list of fruit-flavoured, relationship possibles—and, with just weeks until the city-county track championships, the truth behind her love-guru business is exposed. Rae must convince her friends (and the administration) that she isn't a dangerous freak.

Jennie Bennett said...

I love this so much! I want more, really. Whoever you are please let me know so that I can read this when it hits the big time.

I honestly want to give you some constructive criticism, but honestly you've gotten some good advice already and I personally wouldn't change a thing.

I really, really loved it :)

Unknown said...

What a unique heroine! I hope she finds her sandbox love.

Nicole Zoltack said...

This sounds like fun! Cute and silly. Loved your 150 words. Wanted to keep reading.


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