Monday, April 18, 2011

Submission Melissa

Name: Melissa Barlow

E-mail: MelissaBarlow777(at)yahoo(dot)com

Title: KNIGHTS OF AVALON - YA Urban Fantasy

Pitch: When Justine’s friend turns out to be the reincarnation of Guinevere and is kidnapped by Mordred, Justine will wield Excalibur to save her.

First 250 words:

“Hi, Justine. I’m sorry to be calling so late.” The voice on the other end of the line sounded scared, exhausted. It was my best friend’s Mom.

“Gwen’s not with you, is she?”

I scrambled to get my bearings in the darkness, the cell phone clutched in my hand. I was in my bedroom, the Bruce Lee posters on the walls told me that much. I peered at the alarm clock, the numbers flashed 3:11 back at me. Dread prickled at my skin. This wasn’t good. This was one of those calls you never wanted to get. Not at 3am on a school night. Not when everybody was talking about the murderer out there, targeting the brightest and most brilliant teens in New Jersey.

“No,” I said, fighting to keep calm. “Why would she be?” I was jumping to conclusions. I had to hear Mrs. Martinez out, let her explain why I had nothing to worry about.

“You haven’t heard from her at all?” There was a desperation to Mrs. Martinez’s voice a desperation I couldn’t bear to hear.

“No, what happened?” I asked, throwing the blankets back and sitting up straight. My heart started to pound. Fear forced me wide awake. “I mean, we talked earlier this evening. That was it.” It was three in the morning and the mother of my best friend was calling to find out where her daughter was. Only I had no idea.


  1. Ok. I just wrote a very thought out lengthy reply and then blogger froze and erased it. Lovely.

    Basically, I was saying that I love the premise! I'm all for a good retelling of an old favorite.
    Overall I think this could be a tense opening, but you've got a good bit of telling rather than showing going on. Sentences like "fear forced me wide awake" is telling us that fear is the emotion rather than showing us through her actions and feelings. I have a great link I can email you with more detail on that.
    You can tighten up lines like the first one by saying something like, “Hi, Justine. I’m sorry to be calling so late.” Gwen's mom sounded exhausted. A quick glance at my alarm clock told me why. three AM. This couldn't be good.

    I also think that the tension would be hyped up if you tell us about the serial killer first. Maybe start with:
    It was all over the news--three bodies, all girls, all from my high school. Gwen's mom's phone number flashing on my caller ID at three in the morning...
    And then bring in the conversation. Something like that.
    Also, anytime you write the words "was" or "were" sit back and think if there is a more active way to write that line. Those words generally take the reader a step back away from your MC, and that's definitely not something you want to happen with a first person POV.

    No a bad start! Good luck!