Wednesday, September 5, 2012

CAGI Entry #14


Title: CAN'T BUY ME LOVE
Genre: Upper Middle Grade
Word Count: 54,000

Query:

Thirteen-year-old Marnie Mercer thinks middle school would be perfect if she could just address a few critical issues. The lack of cell phone thing, for one. Her yawn-inducing social status, for another. And would it be too much to ask for a first kiss to knock her (discount store) shoes off? But when she inherits a fortune from an unknown great-aunt, she discovers a brand new set of complications.

Now, her best friend is convinced money corrupts, her parents need a loan, and a group of popular girls offer Marnie access to the top of the social pyramid, but first she’ll have to complete their zany pledging checklist.  Soon she’s sneaking locks of her principal’s hair, stealing her teacher’s beloved laser pointer, and throwing a sure-to-get-her-grounded-for-LIFE party.

To make matters worse, she’s finally met a guy worth his weight in gold—only he might not be so interested if he finds out how many commas separate their allowances. Marnie needs to find a way to manage her money and her life while staying true to herself. Otherwise, she can say goodbye to her best friend’s respect, her parents’ trust, and any chance of getting her first kiss from a boy who makes her feel priceless.

Life as a teenage heiress is one mixed bag of crazy.

First 250:

Is it totally wrong to be jealous of someone else’s coffin? I mean, it’s not like I have a death wish or anything but my great-aunt’s casket is seriously blinged out. It has actual diamonds in the handles. When my time’s up, I definitely wouldn’t mind flaming out movie-star-style, like Aunt Glinda.

Maybe if I’d ever laid eyes on her (or at least the casket I assume she’s inside) even once in the last thirteen years, I might be a little more into paying my respects instead of calculating carats, but until two days ago, I didn’t even know I had an Aunt Glinda.

“Marnie, please move it along,” hisses Mom, under her breath.

Whoops! I realize I’ve been standing over Aunt Glinda’s casket for like two whole minutes and there’s a line of people backed up behind me.

“Sorry,” I whisper and speed walk back to our pew.

It’s a little difficult to get worked up for a stranger-relative, but from all the nice things everyone is saying about Aunt Glinda, she sounds like she was pretty cool. And RICH! The diamonds are practically blinding, especially when they catch the sunlight coming in through the stained glass windows.  There are beams of color flying all over the place, like when Mr. Martin goes crazy with his laser pointer in history class. He so doesn’t get that pointing a red dot at Abe Lincoln’s nostril does not make the Civil War more interesting. 

23 comments:

  1. Nice work! I commented on this one during WriteOnCon and still really like it. It's definitely a fun opening with some great voice. One bit I stumbled on was this one: 'I might be a little more into' - no idea why, I think it jus didn't suit the flow of the sentence? Might just be me though.

    In the query: 'The lack of cell phone thing, for one. Her yawn-inducing social status, for another.' These two had a very similar structure, which I know you intended, but again the flow didn't work for me. The rest of the query's great - it captures the same fun voice as your opening.

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    1. Thanks, Jess. I'll play around with reading those lines out loud to see what it is about them that's irksome:

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  2. Loving the voice here! Fresh concept and well written. Good luck!!

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  3. Strong query. It really gets a picture of the protagonist and driving conflicts across. I feel like I've seen a pitch for this somewhere else-- another contest, maybe? From the query and opening paragraph, this seems like it would be a fun read.

    The opening line of the first 250 is hilarious and intriguing. There are a few too many references to the diamonds on the coffin, though. On the first page, you only get so many words, so you want to make sure each one earns its place and isn't repetitive. Are there other images you could use to indicate Glinda's wealth to mix it up a bit and give us a fuller picture of the setting and overall vibe? Flower arrangements, what the other guests are wearing, and what jewelry Glinda has on (if open casket) would all give us a sense of who she was and how Marnie experiences all those things.

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    1. Just realized the casket is closed, so I take back what I said about jewelry. But you get the picture.

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  4. Awesome query!

    This is a very unique premise and I think girls would love this! I'm not sure you need the info in the ( ) in the second paragraph.

    Your 250 is cute from beginning to end.

    Good luck!

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  5. First off, I think the last line of your query should be your hook. I got to the end of the query and smiled when I read it; I loved how it encompassed the scenario. As to the rest of the query, I thought the voice was nice, but you didn't show me aspects of Marie that would help me identify and root for her. She inherits money, and it drives her to be a completely different person...why do I want her to see the error of her ways? Why do I care? If you show her hesitation to doing some of these things, or how she becomes aware that she's changing, that will help.

    The first 250 are great! Really like the voice, and although you start with a question, which I normally don't like, it really caught my eye here just because of what your MC is saying. My one word of caution would be about overdoing the generic teenage "so"'s and "like"s. Too many distract from the sentence flow. Good job!

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    1. Too funny- that last line "Life as a teenage heiress is one mixed bag of crazy" WAS my hook but then I got a lot of feedback that people read the tagline at the start and then were confused with the following paragraph talking about her wearing discount shoes. They assumed from the hook that she already had the money and it seemed to be causing more confusion that it was worth. *sigh*.
      But you've given me something to think about with showing Marnie's hesitation- thanks!

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  6. I remember this one from WriteOnCon and somewhere else...MSFV contest, maybe? Anyhow, I loved it then & still love it! You really nailed the 13 yr old voice. I think this would be a fun read. :)

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    1. I sure hope it is! Thanks for the support!!

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  7. This is very far from the sort of thing I'd normally read, but I think your query and your 250 are damn near flawless. This also is the only entry that's made me throw my head back and laugh hysterically.

    I'd buy this book. And quite frankly, I'd be gobsmacked if you're not getting more full requests than you can beat off with a stick.

    As you may be able to see from my other comments, I am not often this impressed. Well-done.

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  8. Rick and I had a short twitter convo about how perfect this is. Just wanted to let you know--LOVE THIS! Perfect amount of humor. I'm guessing this one will come to blows between the agents :) Best of luck!!

    (entry #1 if you want to stop by:)

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    1. Thanks, Amber! So, so flattered. I've already been to and commented on your entry, which I'm still thinking about days later. It's one that has really stuck with me (in a very good way!).

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  9. Oh wow! I didn't even realize that was you! :) I'll be rooting for ya!

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  10. Great premise, great writing, well done!

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  11. I love this. I love love LOVE this. "And would it be too much to ask for a first kiss to knock her (discount store) shoes off?" Just... YES! And that opening? YES!

    I will be personally offended if this isn't on bookshelves someday soon. I'd buy it for my nieces in a heartbeat :D

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  12. There is so much awesomeness here I don't even know where to begin!! The voice for starters. You manage to carry your voice from query to first 250 words so brilliantly. This is so hard to do. Sometimes the voice is strong in the MS but falls flat in the query. Not here.

    You had me hooked from the diamond covered coffin. It's morbidly funny, but the visual is so strong. Especially how you describe the light glistening off the diamonds. I can totally picture this so vividly in my mind.



    One mixed bag of crazies. Love the line.

    Well done!!! :)

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  13. Great query and opening!! Sounds like a great book!!

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  14. Cute with such a fresh voice. I don't comment on much of MG since I'm not very familiar with the genre, but I wanted to check out the winners who made the agent round. Your story sounds great.

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    1. Thanks! I'm doing this same and seriously impressed with the level of talent on here! Yipes!

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