Thursday, May 17, 2012

Team CupidsLC #6 - BUT NOT FOR ME

Title: BUT NOT FOR ME
Genre: YA Contemporary 
Word Count: 61,000

Query:

High school junior Imogen Keegan’s life can be divvied up into one of two categories: Things That Freaking Suck and Things That Suck Slightly Less. Seven years ago, her spirited stage-actress mother was killed in a car accident and since then, her anti-fairy tale life has been an endless cycle of self-loathing, bullying, and cheese fries. Now her father has gone and married Evelyn Cinder, whose daughter Ella—gorgeous, but in serious need of a cooter-punch—is making it her mission to keep Imogen in the role of the fat and crazy Ugly Stepsister.

At the urging of her one and only friend, Grant, she puts on her big-girl panties and steps in for the suddenly expelled lead in the school musical just before the final show. Imogen shines for one night, but wakes up to find the school plastered with posters picking at her biggest flaws: her Emotionally Disturbed special-ed label, her super-stubborn plus-sized status, and her completely delusional dream of being a star.

The chances of her happily ever after seem further away than ever, and now she’s on her razor’s edge facing the toughest decision of her life. She must resign herself to be crushed under the ever increasing weight of her pain, or finally accept the starring role in her own life story.

First 250:

I hate buttoning my jeans. 

I would rather skip straight to the inevitable muumuu phase of my life than try to encapsulate my size 20 ass into this denim prison ever again. 

Come on, suck it in. 

I'm not really into wishing on stars, but being able to magic my way into my paint-splattered jeans without feeling like a summer sausage would be a pretty good reason for a fairy godmother. 

Oh, thank God. Houston, we have closure. 

But seriously. The girls in fairy tales—they don't need the help. I mean, why would a completely gorgeous girl have trouble looking fabulous in a dress, or need help getting a handsome prince to take her to the ball anyway? I'm not fooled. Snow White has the attention of seven little men, not because she’s the only one who can reach the top of the book shelf, but because she’s a porcelain-skinned, ruby-lipped knockout. The little mermaid got a prince because she had to shut her trap for five whole seconds and looks fierce in a bikini. And Cinderella? She’s a girl who clearly demonstrates to the prince that she’s got lots of experience on her knees, and doesn’t mind getting dirty. 

Seriously. 

Hot girls get the fairy tales. 

I’m not bitter. Okay… maybe I’m a little bitter. But, at least I have my reasons. Each more tragic and pitiably clichéd than the last. The most obvious—and also the most trivial—is that I am so not a hot girl. At least not according to any human being with eyeballs.

65 comments:

  1. I cannot get over how much I love your first 250, or how much I just wanna give Imogen a whopping huge hug!

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    1. I do too! Thank you for EVERYTHING, Dahlia! :D

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  2. I wish this was a book..I LOVE Imogen's voice!

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  3. Houston, we have awesomeness!!

    Wahoo!!

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    1. Hahaaaa! Thanks, Ann! You're the best!

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  4. Love this SO much!! Can't wait till I can pick it up off a shelf at a bookstore one day! :)

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    1. Amy Rose, you're the sweetest! I want to thank you for all your support and encouagement along the way! :D

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  5. I love the voice here. And I can definitely relate to trying to squeeze into tight jeans!

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    1. Liz! I've heard nothing but awesomeness from you since I started stalking...er... following you at the recommendation of mutual friends! Thanks for the vote of confidence! :)

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  7. (Yes, I deleted my other comment because it had not one but TWO typos. No judgement.)

    I love the voice here! Imogen sounds a bit rough around the edges, but she's clearly struggling. That's a girl whose story I want to hear.

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    1. Thank you, Heather! You know I appreciate all of your constant support!

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  8. I am desperate to hear more from Imogen!

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  9. I want to hang out with Imogen! Very excited to see where this goes.

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  10. I have to say, when I saw all the comments on this entry, I stopped to check it out, and the premise immediately caught my eye. I went back and looked at my notes to see if I'd put this one on my short short list, but I hadn't. THEN I went back and checked out the original entry, and I remembered that my eyes had kind of glazed over when the first two paragraphs of the old query were nothing but setup.

    Long story short: I think you and Cupid have done a fabulous job with this. Nice bit of coaching, Cupid:) And good luck, Kelsey!

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    1. It's mind blowing just how much it has changed! Cupid is a miracle worker, for sure, and I'm so glad that I got the chance to work so hard on it with such a great team.

      Thanks for the kind words, Krista!

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  11. I just want to hang out with Imogen. She's awesome and the first 250 of this are amazing!

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    1. Hey, thank you so much! I'm so glad you like the 250!

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  12. Looking forward to getting into Imogen's head!

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  13. I feel so bad for Imogen. I want to read this and find that everything turns out well for her. Great job!

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  14. I can't wait to read more of Imogen!

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  15. This is so awesome! I love the voice SO MUCH, and I can't wait to get to know more about Imogen! :-D

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  16. "Houston, we have closure." Such great voice in this, and a fabulous query! :D

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  17. You've worked so hard on this and the result is just FANTASTIC! So well done! Proud to be on your team (go TEAMCUPIDSLC!):D

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  18. True story: I was reading this, and laughed out loud so hard that my boyfriend blinked at me and demanded to know what in the world was so funny. That's a sign of a story that WORKS. I LOVE THIS.

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  19. I like this a lot! Great, strong voice. Great job and good luck!

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  20. I don't wanna keep bumping my comment count, but my momma taught me to say thank you! So, I'll just say to Valerie, T.L., MarcyKate, Courtney, Jessica, Shivy, Suzi, and Ally:

    I really appreciate the support, and thank you for taking a moment out of your day to leave a comment of encouragement!

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  21. I've said it before and i'll say it again: I LOVE COOTER PUNCH.

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    1. I have to say that the line 'cooter punch' totally won me over! Anyone who puts that into their story has a sense of humor I'd love to read :) it made me lol! Great job!

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  22. I'm with Sarah here... I said it on FB, and I'll say it here: Cooter punch?!? LMAO!!! :o)

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  23. This new first 250 is SO much more immediately engaging. I love the first line -- that would make me keep reading, for sure! Proud of you, Kels. Can't wait to see where this goes for you.

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  24. The princesses paragraph just kills me - I LOVE it. And cooter punch? Brilliant!

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  25. This has so much voice! Love it. Good luck!

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  26. Ok, when you make me laugh out loud in the first 250, I'm sold. Great job and good luck!

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  27. I love this opening. It's full of voice. I would totally read more ;o) Great job!!

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  28. The second line of your sample is both hilarious and sad, a perfect balance given your theme. Good luck!!

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  29. Fantastic! I love how the voice in the query really captures the voice in the first page...and that's not easy to do. This is just so incredibly engaging.

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  30. Your changes are fantastic! Imogen is a character who is witty and packs a punch!

    Good luck!

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  31. This is incredible - and a very needed book on the shelves at our local bookstores and libraries. I love the humorous voice, that the starring role and rockin' performance has the opposite effect in Imogen's life. I would love to read the entire book!!

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    1. Wow, thank you! As a teacher, I agree that the more characters we can put on our bookshelves, the more we kids and teens we can impact! Thanks!

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  32. Wow. This is a great query. The voice is just perfect and Imogen is such a real character. Plus I love the twist on the traditional Cinderella tale. Good luck!

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  33. This is absolutely fabulous! I LOVE the first line here! Great concept too! Good luck!

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  34. Fantastic, funny and wonderful. What a voice on Imogen.

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  35. "Houston, we have closure." Hilarious! What a voice!

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  36. Ohhhhh Kels. What hilarity! What voice! And I must read on to find out if the bitchy stepsister actually GETS a cooter-punch.

    You've worked your butt off on this, lady, and it's SO going to pay off. I can feel it. Very proud to be on your team! <3

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    1. And I'm so glad to be on yours!! Thanks for being such a supportive teammate!

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  37. I vote for you!

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  38. I love Imogen. And being a current weight loss work in progress, I know how much humor can hide the hurt. Fantastic job!

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  39. I vote for you! I absolutely loved this query and opening -- you had me laughing out loud from beginning to end. Can't wait to read :).

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  40. I ADORE THIS! I wanted to keep reading and I am kind of depressed that I dont have the rest right now. Oh and I VOTE FOR YOU!

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  41. #6 BUT NOT FOR ME

    Query:

    I like your title, which immediately got the Gershwin song stuck in my head, but I wonder how many of today’s teens will connect with it—even the musical-theater aficionados. On the flip side, I guess that “cooter-punch” is current slang? I had to look it up, and was pretty horrified at the definition. I basically lost my empathy for Imogen when I read that, so wonder if you could find a slightly less violent/demeaning way in which she’d like to punish her new stepsister?

    Overall, it sounds like you’ve got a good storyline here, and the query is pretty polished.

    First page:

    The voice is great on this page. I love the “Houston, we have closure” line. =) My only issue is that the discourse on fairy tale princesses gets a little long. I really wanted to know why Imogen was forcing herself into her jeans—where she was heading, and why they’re paint-spattered. I think you could pare down on the interior monologue a bit to get us back into the present scene faster. In fact, I’m not sure that you need the “I’m not bitter…” paragraph at all—everything you spell out there has already been implied by the actions and thoughts earlier.

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  42. Hi Tara!

    Thank you so much for taking the time to leave feedback on my entry! I appreciate your feedback, and I'm sure the rest of the entrants do to.

    I just want to make sure you know that the colloquial use of "cooter punch" by teens today (at least the kids at my school) isn't violent, but is just a joking way of saying you want to pop someone on the head or kick them in the shins--which is a pretty common feeling around these parts!

    HA! Anyway, I just wanted you to know that, so you wouldn't think it was some gruesome act in the context of my story! :)

    Have a great day, and thanks again for the input!

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    1. Whew! So glad you clarified that. I won't even tell you what that word meant about a hundred years ago when I was in school.

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    2. Oh, OK, phew! I didn't look at any of the comments before I wrote mine, but then after I posted and I saw how many people loved that line, I figured I had to be missing something. I guess that Urban Dictionary isn't up to date with all the latest usage!

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  43. I've only lurked so I didn't see the first draft query/first words. I admit my eyes *started* to roll at the Cinderella connection until I realized the protag is the supposed ugly stepsister. What a hook! And you made me LOL for real. Good luck with all your requests!

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