Monday, April 18, 2011

Submission Jen D.

Name: Jen Duffey


Title and Genre: BOYFRIENDS, SPIES, AND LIES- YA Contemporary

Pitch: Art school seems like Carissa’s perfect escape--until she finds out her parents are paying her boyfriend to be her bodyguard

“Ms.Stein”. Mr. Jurgensmeyer, our art history teacher, eyed me with irritation. It was the third time that day I’d slipped into a daydream and missed his question. I knew if I did it again he’d blow up.

I shook my head hoping to clear my thoughts and focus on what he’d written on the board in front of us. “I’m sorry, what was the question?” I asked again.

Mr. Jurgensmeyer repeated the question and somehow I bullshitted my way through the answer. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Eric’s shoulders move up and down with laughter. We shared our first class and sat next to each other. Usually he kept me awake and alert; today he’d fallen down on the job. I knew I’d have to give him a hard time after class.

Eric packed up his bag and ran out of the room before I had my books packed. I chased after him in the hall.

Not realizing he stopped, I slammed into his back. “Damnit.” He chuckled.

“You know if you’d slow down you wouldn’t have run into me.” He turned and steadied me.

“Bastard.” I punched him in the shoulder. True to Eric, he didn’t even flinch. Then again I couldn’t put much force behind it while standing on my toes to reach him. I should have gone for the stomach instead. “Why didn’t you help me out today?”

Eric shrugged. “Things on my mind I guess.” With that he sauntered off down the hall.


  1. Interesting pitch! Definitely makes me want to know why she needs a bodyguard at art school.

    The first line catches my attention at "eyed me with irritation". Tagging the emotion or in this case the expression is "telling" rather than "showing". I'm sure you can find a good strong verb to stick in there like "glared at me over his wire-framed glasses". Sometimes, I think you can get away with tags like that, but always something to watch out for.

    The line: I knew I’d have to give him a hard time after class.

    Anytime you write "I knew" or "I thought" take a step back and think about it. Usually, you can just say "I'd have to give him a hard time after class." If you say that, we know that the MC knew she was going to have to do that. Hopefully that made sense. Things like "I thought" or "I knew" generally take the reader a step away from the character and you don't want that. You want the reader to be as close as can be to your narrator.

    When the narrator says Eric sat next to her and they shared their first class, you can leave that information out. We can see from the scene that he's there and that they obviously share that class. Maybe try something like: ...usually kept me alert and awake during first period. Art History this early in the morning? No amount of caffeine can keep me awake.

    With that you can also leave out the mention that the teacher is her art history teacher in the first sentence, which would smooth that out a little better.

    I like your voice, the playful relationship between the MC and Eric, and I'd continue reading to find out what's up with Eric.

  2. LOVE the pitch. :) That's what made me read the rest.
    The character's voice is good and I like the set up with the playful bf/gf relationship.

    The scene itself is a bit generic though. It didn't grab me as much as I'd like. I gathered from the pitch that getting in to the art school is maybe the inciting incident in the story, so maybe the opening scene starts with her getting the envelope and opening it with her bf. (Or is this school she's already in the art school?) Or I guess from the pitch that maybe things don't go so well with Eric and that's why art school is an escape? Could we get hints of that?
    I wish I knew more and could give more feedback on where the story could start...I just don't feel pulled in quite enough by the current scene. There should be something that's different about the day that starts the book, and I think the reader should get a hint of it from the first 250wds.