Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Entry 14 Carol Anne

Title: The Picasso Project

Genre: YA Contemporary


My name and email: Carol Anne Shaw shawshack(at)shawshack(dot)ca

Pitch: The world hasn’t been kind to Eddie DuMont. He knows more than his fair share about betrayal, abandonment and fear. The first lesson came when his abusive father left home a few years earlier, and the second, soon afterwards when his mother was hospitalized with mental illness. Now it’s just Eddie and Maya, his fourteen-year-old sister, living in a beat up 1984 Buick Le Sabre in a clearing in the woods. The rules are simple when you live the way they do. Lay low. Trust no one, and make sure you have plenty of Duct tape on hand.


2nd line: Eddie knows he’ll remember the stupidest things about this day, like the white enamel saucepan on the stove that’s full of ravioli and the way the tomato sauce has bubbled over the sides.

250 of 2nd chap: 


“Why do I have to wear this stupid coat, anyway?” my sister asks. She’s at that age where she thinks it’s cool to walk around in tee shirts in the pouring rain and get soaked.
"Because you do," I tell her, "so don't argue."

"Eddie, why do you have to boss me around so much?" She thrusts her arms angrily into the sleeves when I hold up the green coat for her to put on. As coats go, it's not bad. Almost new, down filled with pockets and zippers everywhere, and the best part was that it was only eight bucks. Some days you just get lucky.

"Someone's gotta do it."

She flips me the bird and starts to walk off toward the trees.

"Wait up," I call after her. "You forgot your lunch."

I push the plastic grocery bag into her hand and she looks inside it hopefully, like by some miracle there’s going to be a massive corned beef on rye sandwich or a couple of super-sized brownies inside it. Right.

"Yuk, muffins again? These are totally stale, Eddie, and that banana looks completely rotten. No way am I going to eat that!"

"Listen, your ass is scrawny enough as it is,” I tell her. “Eat something.”

Maya is really starting to piss me off. She's always in a bad mood these days. Maybe it's girl stuff. She just turned fourteen so I guess all that weird hormonal crap is probably going on, not that she'd tell me.

6 comments:

  1. Hi, Carol!

    I really like your title. Definitely unique. I would have liked to know how it ties in with the story, though. I don't see any connection to it in the pitch.

    Love the detail in your second line. Very nice.

    I don't see anything wrong with the writing or flow in the 250-word snippet. The only issue I have is that the viewpoint character is coming off a bit unlikeable with how he's treating his sister, whether she deserves it or not. That very well could be balanced out with something likeable on the next page, so. Take that with a grain of salt. This early in the story, it wouldn't keep me from reading on.

    Thanks so much for sharing, and good luck! :D

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  2. Hey, Carol! I really like this! I want to keep reading because the pitch made me laugh!

    This line was the best:
    "The rules are simple when you live the way they do. Lay low. Trust no one, and make sure you have plenty of Duct tape on hand."

    For the 250 words, I don't see anything I would really change. I get the sense of Eddie having to step up and be the parent for Maya. I can feel all the responsibility on his shoulders, which can make him grouchy, so him treating his sister that way is understandable. I agree with Lydia that there should be a balance though. I'm sure you have it balanced out, it's just hard to see with such few words.

    Great writing!

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  3. Hi Carol, I'm a little confused between the title, the pitch and the writing you had to submit. I would like to know if Eddie and Maya had a good relationship before losing their parents. Where did Dad go that he couldn't come home after mom was put into a hospital. I like your word choices sounds very realistic, but at this point I'm not sure if I would continue reading. I do give every book I read the 100 page test. If it hooks me in those 100 pages I read on, if not, I put it down. Good luck, I'd like to read it again when you have it more together.

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  4. What a cool title! I wish I knew how it relates to the story.

    Short pitch: I felt this was too long for a short pitch. That’s really my only critique of it. I think you could combine some of your sentences, try to tighten it up and give it that extra punch. I really like the last part about laying low, trusting no one, and having duct tape!

    Second line: Your second line is really good, but it made me wonder if it is a prologue? I ask because it’s written in 3rd person but the 1st 250 of the 2nd chapter is written in 1st person.

    250 Words: I like that Eddie is really protective and caring of his sister, yet at the same time the sibling thing comes out when he tells her “your ass is scrawny enough as it is.” That was great and very authentic.

    There’s one place that I felt had some repetition:

    I push the plastic grocery bag into her hand and she looks *inside it* hopefully, like by some miracle there’s going to be a massive corned beef on rye sandwich or a couple of super-sized brownies *inside it.* --I suggest taking out the second “inside it.” The sentence reads the same without it.

    About this line:
    Almost new, down filled with pockets and zippers everywhere, and the best part was that it was only eight bucks. –“best part was” and “it was only” is passive, and “was” is past tense while the rest of your writing is in present tense. A suggestion: Almost new, down filled with pockets and zippers everywhere, and it only cost eight bucks. I think the “best part” is implied when you say “it only cost.” This is just my opinion though.

    Another sentence that caught my attention:
    “Eddie, why do you have to boss me around so much?” --If she’s a sassy 14 year old with attitude, would she be asking him why, or would she say something more like: “Eddie, stop bossing me around!”

    So they live in a car and have no parents, but what now? What is the conflict beyond surviving? How do they plan to get out of it? Do they even have hope of bettering their lives? These are questions I found myself asking while I read. I have to commend you on making me care about your characters. I’m rooting for them, and I’ve only read this little bit! Good luck revising and in the contest!

    --ashleydmaker

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  5. Like the others, I don't get any sense of what the title means from the pitch. But the pitch makes it sound like a book I'd read.

    I was a little confused by the POV switch between the second line of the first paragraph, and your 25 words. The first was in 3rd person, the rest in 1st. Or maybe the first chapter is in another character's POV? That's the case in my book, and if that is how it is, then it makes perfect sense. Otherwise...

    The writing is good and I get a real sense of the tension between brother and sister. I'd read on.

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