Monday, September 17, 2012

RD 1 Agent Pitch Contest #17 - HAROLD - THE KID WHO RUINED MY LIFE AND SAVED THE DAY

Harold - The Kid Who Ruined My Life and Saved the Day
MG contemporary
36,000

Query:

Harold has ruined twelve-year-old Jake’s life for the last time. So what if Harold has Asperger’s and is a genius when it comes to baseball trivia and sixth grade Algebra. Jake’s D-O-N-E.

Harold collects baseball facts like the Smithsonian collects dead things and Jake is convinced that Harold also has a talent for killing Jake’s social life. But Jake has finally found a way to put some distance between himself and Harold—middle school. His plan is to not only ditch Harold, but also the Titans, Jake’s baseball team. It seems the best the Titans can do is second place and he’ll do whatever it takes to find a spot on the number one team even if it means leaving his friends and his dad, the coach, behind. Once he’s rid of Harold and playing shortstop for a winning team, being one of the cool kids is in his glove.

Jake meets Mr. Williams who was once a Little Leaguer himself. Only no one would play his team because in the 1955 South, white teams didn’t play black teams. Mr. Williams tries to convince Jake that Harold’s knowledge of expert plays might help Jake’s team beat the undefeated Comets. And Lucy, the girl who sits beside Jake on the bus, tries to show him that winning isn’t everything and that friends like Harold are pretty special. Even though Jake thinks Lucy is annoying, he suspects she might be right and kind of awesome to sit by.

First 150 Words:

On the first day of sixth grade, I cracked open the front door and looked outside. The bus stop was empty. So far, so good. I’d figured Harold’s mom would drive him this year like she did when he was in kindergarten. Harold had trouble when it came to new things. Well, that was one of his problems.     
          
I walked toward the stop and from behind I heard, “Hey Jake! Wait up! It’s 8:03. Bus Number 6 will be here at 8:07.”
          
I walked faster and called over my shoulder, “Thanks for the update, Harold. I didn’t know I was so early. Tomorrow, I’ll sleep in a whole 4 minutes.”
          
Harold caught up with me and said, “I woke up at 6:33, but Mom said I couldn’t come out until I saw you.”
          
Great. Where is that bus?
          
“Hey, Jake, have you ever heard of Harvey Haddix?” he asked while he rummaged through his book bag.

9 comments:

SugarMagnolia said...

Thanks for participating! My plan is to read through all the entries and then begin my comments and critiques. I will give out my top ten my votes when I'm finished.

Best of luck to you, and stay tuned!

Cat said...

The sample is wonderful, and I love the fact that you're having a challenged boy as the MC's friend/foe. Unfortunately, the query is all over the place. You need to focus on ONE thread of your story, in this case Jake and Harold's friend-/fiendship. Tell us what Jake's biggest goal is (getting rid of Harold? Join a winning baseball team? Being cool? You name a few here), and what's keeping him from reaching it (Harold?). Then tell us what's at stake when he's not reaching his goal. That's all you need to entice an agent.

Violet said...

I loved this. My nephew has Aspergers, so I admit I might be a little biased ;)

Your query was lovely--great voice, and very well-written. The opening words are what sealed the deal for me, though. Harold's obsession with the time. . . that is classic Aspergers. And Jake's reaction was so honest and authentic. Well done!

YOU HAVE MY VOTE!

SugarMagnolia said...

(Hi again! I plan to give out comments during this round, and then I'll give out my top ten votes as soon as I have critiqued everyone's queries.)

I love the opening line to your query, and your voice already shines int the first paragraph. The story sounds like it has many life lessons, and I'm always a fan of boys and baseball.

That being said, I feel like your query reads something like a cross between a query and a synopsis right now. There is so much information--and there are so many characters--that it's hard to keep everything straight. Is there any way you can chop out some of the excess and condense the pitch down slightly?

I also think it would be helpful if you would explain Jake's relationship to Harold in the query, because I initially thought Harold must be his brother.

A very strong start, though. Nice job!

The Rooster said...

This last vote has been the hardest. The people on this blog are all super talented!! Your story sounds fabulous. I love your first 150 and think your MC's voice really shines.

I'd clarify the boys relationship with each other in the query (friends I'm assuming) and tighten the query just a bit. Really put your MC's voice in there.

YOU HAVE MY VOTE.

Hopey said...

TIE BREAKER VOTE - YOU MOVE TO THE NEXT ROUND!

Dana E said...

Thanks SO much!

Brenda Drake said...

I was so happy to see you made it to the next round. I LOVE this one so much, it was one of my favorites on my Pitch Madness team (though all were my favorites - LOL) Here' the critique I promised.

I think you just have to remove Lucy from the query. keep it focused on Harold and Jake, and how Jake will do anything to become popular. Sort of like this (work it in your voice - Also you might want to rework that reallllly long sentence of mine in the last paragraph.)...

Harold has ruined twelve-year-old Jake’s life for the last time. So what if Harold has Asperger’s and is a genius when it comes to baseball trivia and sixth grade Algebra. Jake’s D-O-N-E.

Harold collects baseball facts like the Smithsonian collects dead things and Jake is convinced that Harold also has a talent for killing Jake’s social life. But Jake has finally found a way to put some distance between himself and Harold—middle school. His plan is to not only ditch Harold, but also the Titans, Jake’s baseball team. It seems the best the Titans can do is second place and he’ll do whatever it takes to find a spot on the number one team even if it means leaving his friends and his dad, the coach, behind. Once he’s rid of Harold and playing shortstop for a winning team, being one of the cool kids is in his glove.

When Jake meets Mr. Williams, who was once a Little Leaguer himself, only no one would play his team because in the 1955 South, white teams didn’t play black teams, Mr. Williams shines a different light on Harold. He believes Harold’s recall of expert plays might help the Titans beat the undefeated Comets. As the two frenemies work together to get the Titans prepared for the championship game, Jake begins to see that friends like Harold are special and that winning isn’t everything.

Dana E said...

Brenda,

THANK YOU! You are SO kind to come by and give a critique. I love that you remembered Harold!

It's so awesome how you, Deana, Cupid, Authoress, and the others take the time to support and encourage writers - the known and not-so-known.