Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Entry 10 Nora Coon

Title: Insulin Junkies
Genre: YA contemporary
Contact: Nora Coon, nora.e.coon[AT]gmail[DOT]com

Pitch: Eva knows something’s wrong long before the doctor diagnoses her with diabetes - no seventeen-year-old wakes up having wet the bed for the fourth time in as many days and thinks, “Yep, this is totally normal.” When her parents send her to diabetes camp, though, she discovers that being an insulin junkie doesn't transform you into a saint - far from it.

2nd Line: The door doesn't lock, so I haul the big metal trash can in front of it, hoping it’ll keep some people from coming in, and stand there in nothing but my shirt, washing my underwear.

250 of Ch. 2: I make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich: two tablespoons of jam, two tablespoons of peanut butter, two slices of bread. I wonder if I’ll think of all food in terms of carbohydrates for the rest of my life. I draw up my lunchtime insulin injection - just short-acting insulin, this time - and my hands sweat, my palms prickling, as I try to decide if I can do it myself. I hold the syringe like a pencil, which feels wrong, and then like a joint, which feels even stranger. Just stab your arm, I tell myself. Just do it. It doesn't hurt that much. What's wrong with you, just do it!

I can't. I even touch the tip of the needle to my skin, like maybe it will jump out of my hand and just inject me on its own, but I can't go further. "Mom," I say at last.

She raises her head a little. "What is it?" She's hoarse - how has she gone hoarse since I've been sitting here?

"Can you...?" I gesture with the syringe, and I see her flinch before she collects herself and holds out one mute hand.

I give her the syringe, plunger end first, and slide my chair over next to her, chair legs screeching on the floor. Mom starts to cry when she slides the needle into my skin, and for the first time all morning, I can't help being a little annoyed with her too.


  1. Hi, Nora!

    An MC with diabetes? Win. I would pick this up quicker than a wink. The title is also awesome.

    The second line felt a bit wordy to me. But that might just be your style. It's hard to tell for sure when it's separate from the context.

    I really like the internal conflict going on in the 250-word snippet. I would definitely keep reading. A few things in the final paragraph made me pause, though.

    1. I think it can be assumed that she would not hand her mother the syringe "needle end first." I would strike "plunger end first."

    2. I think she would slide her chair over first, then hand her the syringe. As is I have an image of her walking over, handing her mother the syringe, walking back to get a chair, then sliding the chair over.

    3. I expected some kind of reaction *to the needle* when her mother injected her. As is, she is solely reacting to her mother's behavior. After how much she was stressing over the needle just a couple of paragraphs earlier, I expected, at the very least, a mention of a pinch or a prick, or something that shows me she felt it and "oh it wasn't so bad, why did I make such a big deal out of it." Something like that. *Then* talk about being annoyed by mom.

    Overall, this is a smooth read. Thanks for sharing, and good luck! :D

  2. I like this. The pitch confused me. Other than her being diabetic I'm not sure what it changes in her life or what the conflict is.

    Apart from what was already mentioned, I really like this. I like the voice, her unable to prick herself, being 17 and having to deal with it while her mom obviously can't. Wow. Good luck.

  3. I like this a lot. The voice is strong and I totally relate to her not being able to inject herself and her Mom being kind of grossed out by it too. I'd like to see a little more reaction from her about how it feels when Mom does it, and also how she does. Is it a brutal stab, just to get it over with, or does she insert the needle gingerly, not pressing the plunger hard enough so it really, really hurts?

    I'd definitely read on.

  4. Hi Nora!

    Loved the title and thought the pitch was great.

    Your second line was maybe a tad long - but I definitely like where you're trying to take it.

    Your submit was set-up well and I know I can completely relate to how stressed she'd be about giving herself the shot (I'm 100% afraid of needles, so I totally get it!).

    I didn't have any issue with not seeing her reaction to the shot as some of the other comments have mentioned, as I feel it was more important to see she was annoyed w/how her mom handled it (because Mom's should want and be able to do this kind of thing!).

    Other than that, I really enjoyed your submit and I'd definitely read on. Great job!