Monday, April 18, 2011

Submission Haley

Name: Haley Whitehall
Title/Genre: SHADES OF WHITE / YA historical fiction with crossover potential

In antebellum south, after Zach is sold, he pretends to be white and battles his faith and a manipulative lover, all to protect his family.

First 250:

Michael grabbed the boy’s arm and pulled him aside. “Yuh tryin to get yo’self sold or worse?” he growled.

Zachariah’s eyes widened. He shook his head vigorously. “Nosuh.”

“Coulda fooled me. De way yuh been talkin,” Michael whispered as his gaze narrowed into a hard stare.

Zachariah swallowed. The hair on the back of his neck prickled. He hated getting in trouble by the man he thought of as his pa. He pulled his arm back in an attempt to free his arm from Michael’s firm grasp but was unable to.

Michael used his free hand to pull up his left pant leg.

Zachariah’s jaw dropped as his eyes caught a glimpse of the disfigured flesh.

“Look real close, boy.”

There was a gouge in Michael’s calf as big as his fist. Zachariah had always wondered why the man walked with a limp. Looking at the scar turned Zachariah's stomach.

“Dog bit me,” Michael explained. “Dat ain’t de only place neider. I was talkin freedom when I’s bout yo age. Den one day I let out. Dam dogs caught ma scent right off. I spent dat nigh in chains in de barn. In de mornin dey took me to de market an had me whipped fo’ all to see. De jailer was awful mean bout it. Massah say he needed to teach me a lesson I ain’t gwine to forget.”

Michael paused. He saw the horror gradually sink into Zachariah’s blue eyes.

Zachariah opened his mouth then quickly shut it.


  1. Very interesting pitch. The novel opens with a good tense situation. Yay. I didn't learn in this short sample where they are or what event got Michael worked up enough to show his scar. Seems like Zach may have said something about breaking free? The situation may be cleared up for a reader in the very next paragraphs, but consider establishing a little about the setting right off--not a long description, but a few details so readers can better visualize this tense scene.

    The heavy dialect distracted me and made this difficult to read. A little goes a very long ways with dialect. I recommend cutting it way back.

    The point of view seemed to go from Michael in the beginning 2 paragraphs to Zach and back to Michael. You may be going for a omni thing here, but it'd be more effective for this reader if it was from one point of view.

    Hope a comment helps.