Monday, September 17, 2012

Rd 1 Agent Pitch Contest #35 - I WILL NOT KILL MYSELF, OLIVIA

New Adult


Jimmy Wharton has it all: good-looks, a room full of surfing trophies, great end-of-school marks and a beautiful girlfriend named Olivia. Yet despite seemingly living a wonderful life, Jimmy falls victim to a ghastly depression. At first Olivia tries to be supportive, but as Jimmy is sucked deeper and deeper into the vortex of his illness, the strength of their love is fiercely tested, and after the “bridge incident”, it may never be the same.

My 98,000 word novel I will not kill myself, Olivia is a chilling exploration of an illness that afflicts as many as one in five Westerners. It will appeal to fans of gritty love stories like Luke Davies’ Candy, dramatic coming of age tales like Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, and anyone who’s suffered from clinical depression, particular young adults aged 18-30.

First 150 Words:
I picked up the sharpest piece of glass I could find on the side of the road and put it to my throat.

‘No!’ someone screamed, running towards me.

‘Stay back!’ I yelled, holding out the glass.

The man froze, raising his hands in the surrender sign.

‘Pl-please . . .’ he stuttered. ‘Please don’t do this. Whatever happened . . . it can be fixed.’

‘What the fuck do you know?’ I yelled. ‘You don’t know what it’s like to be me! You’re not crazy! You don’t wanna kill yourself one week and chase hallucinations the next! What the fuck do you know? What the fuck do you know?'

'OK, OK,’ he motioned, patting the air. ‘I’m sorry. Just please don’t do this. Please.

The crowd all tried to talk me into dropping the glass but once again I brought it to my neck. I pierced the skin, felt hot blood drip onto my hand.


Daniel said...

Hey Deana, something went wrong with the formatting here - the second "What the f*** do you know?" line should be part of the preceding para. Not the end of the world if you can't change it, just wanted to point it out so that everyone knows.


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!

Deana said...

OK, Daniel, I think I fixed it for you:)

The Rooster said...

Okay, so when I first read through the query I thought it was a little bit short. BUT it does the trick. I know what the story's about and what will happen. If you move on to the agent round you may want to clarify what makes him depressed and a little bit more about the "bridge incident".

After reading the first 150 I'm HOOKED. You managed to make me care about the character in like 50 words and by the end of the 150 I'm mad that it's ending. I want to know what happens next. Great job!

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.)

This sounds like a very powerful novel, and I love the comparison you've made between the other two books. I also like the fact that you've managed to include a target market (18-30) without sounding hokey.

My only query critique is the fact that I feel like I need an inciting incident for Jimmy's ghastly depression. I know clinically depressed people don't often need a huge catalyst like a death to incite their downward spiral, but I still think I need *something* to give me a better idea of what Jimmy's going through.

It can be something as simple as the onset of a general feeling of malaise or uselessness. I just think I need a bridge to get me from "Jimmy the happy surfer" to "Jimmy with the glass at this throat." You know what I'm saying?

Great job, though. Very difficult and brave subject matter.

Daniel said...

Hi guys,

Thank-you very much for your comments, I really appreciate the feedback.

SugarMagnolia - I know exactly what you're saying about the inciting incident, and did feel that this was a potential pitfall of the query when I submitted it. I guess the reason I didn't give any insight into his depression is because it was a rather bizarre sequence of events that led him to the point of wanting to slit his throat, and I didn't feel I had the space in the query to properly go through them. However, in line with your advice I will do my best to clarify things for future query letters.

Also Deana - so sorry to be a pain about formatting once again, but when you made the correction you accidently changed one of the words - "f**k" in the second "what the f**k do you know?" is meant to be in italics. I know this sounds extremely pedantic but it does make a difference to the first 150 so just wanted to point it out.

Thanks so much guys, really appreciate all the help and feedback.


Daniel said...

Sorry Deana just to reclarify, I mean the last "what the f**k do you know?" that ends the third last paragraph. The word "f**k" should be in italics.

Thanks so much

Deana said...

I've got it fixed for you, Daniel:)

Daniel said...

Thanks a lot, Deana :)

Wendy Lawrence said...

Great query and great introduction. I love the characters and the story idea.mgood luck with this one!