Thursday, May 17, 2012

Team CupidsLC #1 - BEHIND THE SCENES

Title: BEHIND THE SCENES
Genre: Contemporary YA
Word Count: 77,000

Query:

Sixteen-year-old Ally Duncan's best friend may be the Vanessa Park - star of TV's hottest new teen drama - but Ally's not interested in following in her BFF's Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally’s ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father's mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van's on-set assistant to get the cash she needs.

Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But dating a star is way different from being best friends with one. When the actors’ publicist arranges for Van and Liam to “date” for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she's capable of playing in their world of make believe. If she can't play by Hollywood's rules, she may lose her best friend, her dream future, and her first shot at love.

First 250:

The buzzing was insistent, intrusive, and it was making my palms itch.

I forced myself to ignore it, and breathed a sigh of relief when it stopped. But a few seconds later, it started again.

Dammit, Van. I just knew it was her calling, even though she knew I was in school. She’d had an audition that morning for a teen dramedy show, and despite having been in plenty of movies, she was more desperate to land the role of Ditz #3 on Daylight Falls than she’d been to play Brad-freakin’-Pitt’s stepdaughter three years ago.

My phone fell silent, and I prayed she wouldn’t try again. Vanessa knew I hated when she interrupted me during class. Little-known fact: girls who pick up the phone during French do not go to Columbia.

Just when I was finally sure Van had gotten the message, my bag began vibrating for a third time.

“Hey, Duncan, I think your bag is buzzing.”

“I know,” I whispered back to Nate Donovan without turning around, “but what am I supposed to do about it?”

“Have you considered, I dunno, answering it? Man, and to think I actually needed you to tutor me a few months ago.”

“Funny, Donovan. Anyway, it’s just Vanessa. She can wait. Le subjunctif cannot.”

“Vanessa, you say.” Even in a whisper, he sounded obviously intrigued. I rolled my eyes. Nate always got a hard-on at the mere mention of her name.

22 comments:

  1. Awesome!!! Just like poor Nate Donovan I am obviously intrigued. I'm a sucker for a smart girl who gets in over her head. Good luck to you!!

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  2. I know I sound like a broken record, but you're brilliant... and this story has me thrilled for more. Splendid work!

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  3. I don't think I said it before, but love your title too. Can't wait to find out who she choses or if she ends up getting it all in the end. Good job!

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  4. This isn't the kind of book I'd usually read, but your query totally makes me want to know what happens, and your excerpt instantly gets me rooting for Ally. So, yeah -- let me know when I can buy this!

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  5. Love the query - great work! And the voice in the first page definitely makes me want to turn the page to see what happens next! Sounds so fun!

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  6. Definitely some awesomeness going on here. I love this idea and the writing is great too!!

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  7. Some love for my fellow contemp! Query and sample are looking great my friend! I love all the pop culture refs and the commercial appeal of this. A fun read I would love to pick up one day!

    Good luck to you :)

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  8. Loving all these contemporary YAs floating around. Good luck!

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  9. Love this idea!! Good stuff here ;o)

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  10. This is some fun summer reading right here! I can picture all my teens grabbing a copy and heading to the beach!

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  11. Great premise, great hook - it sounds like such a fun read!

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  12. Such a cool concept! Good luck!

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  13. I love the idea of being the teenaged friend of a star and how you would deal with that. Good story, good luck!

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  14. I'm intrigued by the concept and the writing is great. Very well done!

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  15. Interesting concept. I wanted to answer her phone for her in your opening! I think my palms were itching. ;)

    Good luck!

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  16. Nice! I love contemporary YA and this sounds like it would be a super fun read! Good luck!

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  17. I am such a fan of this. I teach in a North Shore suburb of Chicago - my students would LOVE to read this....I would love to read this! This is a book they'd devour in a weekend and come back asking for more written by the author. Good luck to you! Can't wait to see how many requests you receive!

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  18. Ohhhhh, I'm just in love with this. Love the idea, love the voice, love the DRAMA! So excited for you and proud to be on your team! <3

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  19. I vote for you!

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  20. I think there could be something here. I vote for you.

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  21. #1 BEHIND THE SCENES

    Query:

    Nice query! You’ve got a strong hook for a contemporary with the Hollywood stuff, and Ally seems like a really sympathetic heroine. The only sentence that threw me a little was “But dating a star…best friends with one” for a couple of reasons—1) it wasn’t clear to me that “getting to know” Liam meant Ally was dating him, and 2) the star she’s dating and the one she’s been best friends with are different people. I actually think you could cut that whole sentence and just say “But when the actors’ publicist…” – And maybe to make things really clear, use Liam’s name again instead of he in “after he and Ally share their first kiss.”

    First page:

    Overall I really like this page—the dialogue is snappy and believable for high school kids, and you get the situation with Vanessa across through the details rather than spelling out for us that she’s a super-successful teen actress. Something about the first line isn’t sitting right with me grammatically though; I think it’s the nonparallel structure of the three items on the list. I’m not sure “insistent” and “intrusive” are different enough that they both need to be there, anyway. Maybe you can you just drop “intrusive”?

    The only thing I’m left wondering is why Ally keeps her phone on in class at all if she’s so serious, but maybe it has something to do with her sick dad. Or maybe she just forgot today. I’d assume that that gets explained in the next page or two.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! That line in the query was actually a TWV recommendation and wasn't in the original, so I'm happy to remove it. As for the first page, you're definitely not the only one who's not crazy about the first line--I just couldn't figure out how to change it! But the questions you raise in the next paragraph (the answer is yes, it does have to do with her sick dad, although I definitely don't explain that early enough) are definitely giving me revision ideas. Thanks again!

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