Monday, April 18, 2011

Submission Larisa

Name: Larissa Hardesty

Email: lchardesty at yahoo dot com

Title and Genre: LURE -- YA Paranormal

Pitch: Entire SD town is reading to death--literally. Mitch's hatred of reading saved him, but can he embrace his Lakota heritage & save the town?

First 250 Words:

*You have got to be kidding me.*

“Pssst. Mitch.” Melissa jabbed something pointy into my shoulder.

For the fifth time this period.

I sighed and reached back for the note. If I didn’t, she’d just keep poking me with the dang thing until I took it. I probably had a bruise already from the first couple of times when I tried to ignore her. An encounter with Melissa was the first item on my To-Don’t list.

I glanced down at the note she’d passed me. Chris. Forward and to the left. I wondered if I could pass this one left and have Nikki pass it to Chris, but when I turned to Nikki, she was engrossed in some stupid novel, reading it under her desk. I scowled. Mr. Rose seemed oblivious as he enthusiastically explained complementary angles, but I was sure he’d notice me passing a note that far.

Melissa shoved my shoulder. “Come on!”

I stifled the urge to turn around and punch her. Every time she touched me, my stomach rolled and the hairs on the back of my neck rose.

“Pssst. Chris,” I whispered, leaning forward.

Chris turned, and I held the note out.

And Mr. Rose took it.


“Mitch. I’m surprised at you. I know you don’t exactly struggle with this subject, but I expect you to be respectful enough not to pass notes in my class.”

My body flushed. Damn Melissa and her stupid notes.


  1. Hi, Larissa!
    This sounds really interesting, and I love that the MC is Lakota. In your pitch, I don't understand what embracing his Lakota heritage has to do with reading or why he would have to embrace it to save the town. That's all a bit vague. 140 characters makes it very difficult, I know.

    I really can't say much about the opening. It's not bad, but it doesn't really catch my attention. The writing is good, and most readers can relate with Mitch in the classroom setting. Your dialog is great, and I like the narrative voice. For some reason, I'm really curious if Chris is a boy or a girl.

    I'd keep reading this to find out more about the MC and the town. Depending on what kind of story this is, you could set the tone with some hint about the paranormal element. Something to make it seem creepy, or strange? I picture more people reading. Like Mitch walking down the sidewalk and even old men sitting outside the gas stations are reading. Which could very well come later. :) Mitch could even quickly comment when he sees Nikki reading that more people than usual had their noses in books that morning.

    This opening is good as it is, but I would like to see something that shows the hook within the next couple of pages.

    I would definitely keep reading.

  2. I've said it before when I've seen this book pitched in other contests, and I'll say it again-- I LOVE the concept of Lure--I honestly don't see how agents/editors wouldn't jump on the premise :)

    You might start the page with action rather than dialogue: Melissa jabbed something pointy into my shoulder for the fifth time this period. "Psst, Mitch!" I reached back...etc.

    I think you can cut this following sentences and keep the same effect: I wondered if I could pass this one left and have Nikki pass it to Chris, but when I turned to Nikki, she was engrossed in some stupid novel, reading it under her desk. I scowled.

    I really enjoyed this excerpt!

    Maybe change the pitch to say "can he embrace his Lakota heritage to save the town" ("to save" rather than "and save") just to clarify that embracing the culture is necessary to save it. Otherwise, it comes across as a bit random.

  3. The wording in the pitch needs some work, but the idea of a town reading itself to death really intrigued me, so I kept reading. :) That just sounds like such a cool idea. And a book about a character that hates to read? Genius. :)

    The 250 words themselves didn't draw me in enough though. I think the MC had a fun voice, but the scene itself was a little generic. Obviously, if I knew where the scene was going I could maybe give some better feedback. But I really wonder if this starts in the right place. Is this scene really crucial to the rest of the novel?
    I liked the glimpse of the girl who was so engrossed in the book that she wasn't paying attention, because that made me think of the pitch. I want more of that. I want to really see that the way people read in this town is beyond normal levels, that it's downright weird. I know it's difficult to get that into the first 250 words, but if you can try to pull in that paranormal element from the get-go, you may want to.
    Great premise. And your writing is good. Just find a really solid place for the story to start that will pull me in and MAKE me keep reading. :)