Monday, January 14, 2013

Bouncer Post #13

Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 55,000


Seventeen-year-old Stacey wants to believe that Calvin is “the one.” She wants it so much she’s willing to overlook the fact that they don’t share the same beliefs and values. If only she could have a happily ever after with Cal and become a professional ballet dancer, then her life would be perfect. But the ballet company is far away from Cal and it’s already a struggle to be apart. So she prays for a sign from God to show her which path to take: love or dance. When she gets what she believes to be the sign, she makes her choice final by sleeping with Cal—a lifetime commitment in her mind. “…what’s done, is done.” Shakespeare always has a quote that speaks her heart. No regrets.

Then a friend challenges her with the idea that she might be in love with love and not with Cal at all. It can’t be true because she already slept with him. Breaking up now would contradict everything she believes. But staying with him might be the biggest mistake of her life.

First 250:

We’re sitting on the hood of my Taurus using the windshield as a backrest and gazing at the endless summer sky. Calvin leaves in the morning for a college four hours away and I’ll start my senior year of high school next week. He won’t be home for three weeks. Maybe it wouldn’t seem so awful if we hadn’t spent every spare minute together since we made up in July.

“Make a wish,” I say when the first star of the night blinks on. I wish for him to have a great first week at college and turn my eyes to the pale crescent moon.

Twenty-one days.

I can’t think about that though. I can’t even imagine it. My head rests against his chest as I sit between his legs. My body rises and falls as he breathes and I lose myself in the perfectness of being here in this moment, feeling his heat flood my back. A moment that tastes of forever and happily ever after.

Then I ruin it.

“How can you look at that sky and not believe in God?”

He’s twirling a strand of my long brown hair around his finger. “Stace…” There’s a tiny warning there. He won’t be dragged into that conversation.

The reminder starts to crimp the edges of the perfectness.

Before the frown has time to fully form on my face, he presses his cheek to mine and hums the old Journey song that was playing when we met. A peace offering.


  1. Your query is *extremely* exciting! I think the only thing you could change would be to clarify what you mean when you say "that they don’t share the same beliefs and values." Otherwise...awesome! I hope you get picked :)

  2. That's interesting! The only thing I wondered is why the ballet school would be such an issue if he's already far away from her - would added distance be a problem? Can't she be home when he is?

    I love the title! And the reference to Shakespeare in the query.

    Best of luck to you!


  3. Your premise is very promising. It's relevant teenager experience, your protagonist's voice sounds authentic, and the stakes are really high for your MC. I really like that you didn't shy away from the no-going-back sex issue. All of those elements are difficult things to add if you don't have them already, which you do, so great job!

    That being said, your query needs a bit of tweaking. The first paragraph feels disjointed to me. First, you bring up the philosophical/religious differences. Then the next sentence is about dance school (which, btw, the way the sentence is positioned/worded, it almost sounds like Cal doesn't believe in ballet). The middle of the paragraph seems to suggest the main conflict is choosing between her relationship and her dream. But then the second paragraph suggests the main conflict is between her relationship and her belief system. It's essential in a query for the main conflict/goal to be crystal clear. But I think you can tweak the query easily to do so--just focus on the most important of the two conflicts between her and Cal and mention that the other conflict is adding to Stacey's stress.

    As for your first 250, they are very well written. Your character's voice is definitely there, and I felt immersed in your setting. But I wonder if you're starting in the right place. They're pretty much just sitting and talking, which can be off-putting for an opening scene. And at the same time, you're jumping in with the underlying theme/problem right out of the gate without building it into the character first. If it were me, I'd consider starting in action, with Cal driving off to college or with Stacey getting her acceptance to dance school in the mail--something like that.

    Overall, great job! I think you're very close!