Monday, February 13, 2012

Bouncer Post #98

Genra: YA contemporary fantasy
Word Count: 91,000


Olivia was supposed to be having the best summer of her life—until her best friend Samantha talked her into doing that ridiculous prank. Dressing up like a beached mermaid on the shores of La Jolla, California would have been a lot funnier, and a lot more harmless, if a picture of her didn’t end up in a supermarket tabloid.

Now she’s being followed—by some crazy people who think the picture is real. And Olivia discovers that there are only three reasons why a person would believe she’s an actual mermaid. One, they’ve had one too many wipeouts on a surfboard. Two, there’s a really big secret about earth’s oceans that they are desperate to protect. Or three, there’s a really big secret about earth’s oceans that they would kill to capitalize.

Olivia never thought she’d be caught in a war between humankind and creatures that weren’t supposed to exist. Creatures, no less, that have a deep distrust of humans, a thirst for vengeance, and an innate aversion to eating shrimp.

First 250:

He fell face-first into the sand, coughing for air and bleeding from the stump of his severed pinky. Though the searing pain caused his hand to convulse, he hurt all over the rest of his body as well—he could have other wounds far worse than a missing finger. But none of that mattered at the moment.

He raised his head. The grainy sand stuck to the side of his cheek. In the moonlight, his wet skin was almost glowing. He looked to his fist, where he still held the clam. Brilliant white and bewitching, it felt silky warm in his palm.

He clutched his side, awed at how it felt to breathe, yet hating it at the same time for the painful stitch stabbing at his ribcage. He moved his legs experimentally. They seemed to work all right, though he was doubtful of getting them to support his weight. Everything felt so heavy…

But he needed to get moving. His comrade was dead and the Others were seconds behind him. He sat up, noticing the sound of the surf for the first time. He looked out toward the ocean. The moon’s reflection was bright on the water. The crashing waves undulated onto the sand of the shore; forever rolling, foaming, spreading, then retreating. He inhaled, marveling at the briny tang in his nose and the cold wind in his face. Salt, he realized, had a scent.

The agony in his missing finger reminded him of his urgency. 


  1. Ooh a mermaid story! I've seen a few of those lately- I really like this one. It seems different from the others, especially by giving the mermaids a "thirst for vengeance." Sounds interesting. Good luck!!

  2. Wow! Love the hook about how the girl gets thrown into the world. Totally sounds like something some kids I went to HS would have pulled. Love the mystery about who the man on the beach is - very nice urgency and an hint of tragedy there.

    Good luck!

  3. I've been hemming and hawing about this one. My concern is you're on the late side for the mermaid (see discussion on the Q &A from Friday) but at the same time, you've set up an interesting story. I'm almost wondering if you brought it from YA to MG you'd have better luck with it (marketwise), but I don't know how hard that would be for you to do. I'm pushing you through because it kills me that an author would be told she's behind a trend before the trend even hits the shelves. I'll let the agents decide!

    "You're in!"

    1. Thank you! I hope I give a unique enough story to stand out among the others. I got the idea and began writing this in 2007, definitely before the "genre" hit, and like the people on the Q & A said, I also saw Pirates of the Caribbean and thought, next: mermaids.

      Thanks for giving me a chance!

  4. I like the set-up established in the query and carried out in the first 250. It's not just interesting, the writing is really solid. It definitely puts you on the beach with the man (boy?). I would be careful about using "The Others". Ever since LOST, that word for me conjures up that series and Jack, Kate, Sawyer etc. Oh, and the way she falls into the mermaid world was really imaginative. Great job.

  5. YES! This is written by one of my very good friends, and I am SO excited for her! I've read the whole MS and I have to say it has some totally unexpected twists and turns, and is sure to stand out from any other mermaid story out there! Woo hoo!

  6. Both the query and the 250 words are intriguing, especially the query. But the 250 words struck me as a disconnect from the query--is it a prologue? Also, the TV program Lost refers to The Others. Is this an intentional reference? Nice writing overall!

  7. YAY! I LOVE mermaid stories! And yours sounds really unique. I write about mermaids too, so I'll definitely be keeping an eye on your work. :)

    Love the first 250 words too!