Monday, January 28, 2013

Bouncer Post #80

Genre: Adult literary fiction
Word Count: 65,000


In The Result, twenty-two-year-old Tracey Garside is looking for ambition in all the wrong places. After two years of scrubbing Europe’s tourist toilets, she crash-lands back home in Liverpool, England, with little to do but watch daytime TV and the regeneration of her neighbourhood passing her by. That is, until her quiet and serious little sister Elaine drops a bombshell: She can correctly predict the result of every soccer match in Europe. Anywhere in the country, this would be a big deal, but in Liverpool, the sport is a religion with two rival churches and a bookmaker on every corner, and her gift is nothing short of a miracle. 

Now it’s up to Tracey to persuade her sister to cash in on this talent – no easy task, as the memory of their estranged father’s petty crime, and the girl's involvement in it, still stings. Soon the sisters are running a full-fledged business selling tips, and their dreams are growing as quickly as their stacks of cash. But on the night of the 2007 European Cup semi-final, they risk everything on the biggest trick of them all in a city where grudges run deep. It's not Fever Pitch - a bit more of a Fever Bitch, with two flawed heroines growing up fast. Evoking Alan Warner and Duncan McLean’s novels of coming of age and living on wits alone in the Britain outside the tourist brochures, this is a 65,000-word literary novel about those feet, that family, and giving it all you’ve got even when all you’ve got is in your head.

 First 250:

“Elaine, NOW."

“No,” my sister hissed. “Game of two halves.”

“Fuck that! They’ll suspect something.”

“They’ll suspect nothing. You don’t know enough about football.”

That was the first time she was wrong.

I knew full well it was a game of two halves. I knew what was a corner and what was a goal kick; I knew the offside rule and I knew that lots of people don’t – and if you’re a woman they assume you don’t. I knew that because Chelsea scored one last week and Liverpool scored one here, if no one breaks the overall draw then this whole sorry match is going to extra time and then penalty kicks. I also knew it was a man’s game, no matter how much Elaine may have wanted to make it otherwise. I knew that when I watched her playing on the pitches in Everton Park the lads tackling her were lads on her own side, trying everything to get her to throw up her hands in frustration and run home. Bonus points if they could make her cry. 

I knew she was a nuisance, that she wasn’t very good, that she threw a spanner into every kickabout. I don’t know if she knew, but I did, I knew very well. I knew that these hard men get hurt, they get bloodied, they get maimed. And they get paid loads, more than we would ever see even in a lifetime of bets. I knew I wanted nothing of it if it wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to go.    


  1. This is great... I'm completely drawn in and dying to know what happens. Your query is flawless. Good luck.
    #96- Chris

  2. Agree—this is strong. As an American who doesn't watch soccer I admit to having been lost a couple of times by the sports terms in the first 250. But it had great energy and voice. They and the premise would have kept me reading.

  3. As an American who loves soccer (and has attempted to explain offsides to those who don't get it!) I loved this start. Her voice rings through here. The frustration, the pettiness of the boys, nice, nice, nice. There is not a single thing I'd suggest changing. Fingers crossed for you!

  4. Great writing and voice. Love the dialogue. I too was confused with some of the lingo toward the end. As a result, I'm not entirely sure what is going on in the last paragraph. I'm sure if I had the next few paragraphs I could figure it out, but here are my questions as I read it.
    What is a spanner and kickabout?
    Who are the hard men? Soccer players? Bookies?
    Are the girls already making bets?
    What doesn't she want any part of?

    Because I'm not sure what happened in the last paragraph, I'm not sure where in the story I am. I'm guessing May is back from cleaning toilets, but does she know about her sister's gift yet?

    Hope this helps in some way. Your writing is beautiful and I love the idea.

    Good luck,
    Amy #73