Monday, February 4, 2013

Bouncer Post #117

Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 84 000


Seventeen-year-old Sacha McLeod isn’t looking for someone to rock her
world.  She just needs a new violin string to replace the one she
broke in a tricky section of her audition piece.  But when she hears
Dylan play the guitar, the energy, violence and unpredictability of
the music thrills her and she falls hard for him and his wild,
inventive sound.

Her plans - and her self-confidence – are shattered when she screws up
the audition for a prestigious summer music program. Dylan asks her to
come and spend her vacation with him in the city instead and she jumps
at the chance.  She’s expecting romance, music and passion, but when
she finds herself playing second fiddle to Dylan’s newly acquired drug
habit, she realizes despite what the songs say, sometimes love isn’t
all you need.

Desperate to be close to Dylan, and to understand what’s competing for
her affections, Sacha experiments with drugs on her own, discovering a
well of creativity she didn’t know existed. Her contribution to the
band’s sound brings them into the public eye, but with the extra
attention – and money - drug use escalates. If Sacha can’t figure out
how to leave the band, and Dylan, she’ll lose herself, and her music

First 250

The notes swim on the page, blurring before my eyes.  My bow stutters
across the bridge and I wince at the piercing noise that squawks out
as the E-string breaks.

“Goddamn!”  I want to throw the bow across the room, but I know
better.  I set it down on the table beside me instead.  I glance at
the clock.  Four fifteen.  Great.  I got an hour in.  Maybe a little
more.  That’s going to get this piece nailed.  Not.  Stupid
Shostakovich.  Whoever picked this to be the compulsory piece for the
summer school auditions deserves a kick in the ass.

I place my violin on the table while I scrabble through the paper
envelopes of strings I keep inside the case’s lining.  I know I don’t
have a spare E because I broke one last week too.  In the same
measure.  There’s clearly something wrong with my technique in that
section.  I have to ask Mr. Dobson about that when I go to my lesson
tomorrow.  I’ll have to get a new E-string before then too.  One
hasn’t miraculously appeared, despite my wishes.

With a sigh, I pack my violin into its case, pausing to run a hand
over the warm, golden wood before shutting the lid.  It’s like locking
away my best friend.  It is locking away my best friend.  God knows I
spend more time with my instrument than I do with anyone else.


  1. Wow! Great query and first 250. I especially like your voice.

    Best of luck!

  2. This is amazing. I never read as much Contemp as I would like, but this would be one that I MUST READ! Your query is solid (and heartbreaking). This is a very relatable story. Loved your first 250. Excellent writing!

    Good luck!

  3. I loved this. You're writing is very strong, and we get a really good idea about who your MC is from your 250.

    And I love the whole concept. I think it's the sort of concept we don't see a lot of currently and would really stand out.

    Good luck!

    ~Mandy (#130)

  4. Your query is very clearly written and you've communicated your mc's dilemma well. We also learn some key things about your mc in these first 250 words, which is great. Good luck in the contest!

  5. Great voice on your MC, and as a bouncer said in the last round "a rocker story is always fun."

    I just had a couple questions raised by your query. How does needing a new string lead into hearing Dylan play? A transition there (a la "Dylan, the boy in the music store...") would help. Also, how old is Dylan? This story feels quite different to me if he's a peer teenage rocker than if he's a 28 year old drug-addled musician, you know? These missing (for me) pieces could even be added in the same place as we are introduced to Dylan.

  6. Bouncer Cake is on the case. You're in!