Monday, January 28, 2013

Bouncer Post #91

Genre: Women's Fiction
Word Count: 89,000


After finding out she’ll give birth to a second son, Victoria Logan is determined to make her third and final child a girl.

Victoria yearns to have a daughter, one who will fulfill her desire for a meaningful mother-daughter relationship, unlike the lackluster one she has with her own mother. She joins an online gender swaying forum, consults with a psychic, gazes up at the moon for just the right cloak of darkness, and tries out different lovemaking positions. During her quest, she battles pessimism from friends and family and a heartache that tests her grit and will.

On the gender swaying forum, she meets Lacey Dalton, the mother of two daughters, scarred by her infant son’s death and possessed with the need to bear another son. Lacey can’t risk a mere fifty percent chance at obtaining him. While considering high-tech options, she pursues a gender selection method her husband is morally opposed to, but that comes with an almost ironclad guarantee, violating the fragile trust in her marriage.

When Victoria and Lacey meet in real life, it’s an experience that offers both women perspective and insight into each other's worlds. For Victoria, Lacey is a reminder that there is no such thing as a sure bet; she must risk her whole heart for a chance at her dream.  And Lacey confronts fate, and realizes that maybe this is the child meant for her.

First 250:

I wanted to hear “It’s a girl!” for Christmas.

A sweet, baby girl that I would sing dreamy lullabies to, wrap in my arms, and snuggle close. She’d be a beautiful spring-time baby born just in time for Easter.

I envisioned my little girl wearing a dress with pink stripes over soft white linen. I could see her chubby cheeks, eyes as blue as mine, and my husband’s dimples. She would be the perfect match to our three-year old son.

“Are you ready to find out?” my husband, Ryan, asked me.

We were waiting at the doctor’s office for the twenty week ultrasound. Our son Wyatt played next to me with two dump trucks we brought along.“BAM!” Wyatt yelled, crashing one dump truck into the other. The loser
rolled down off the polished armrest of the chair, careening to the carpet.

“Wyatt, pipe down,” Ryan commanded.

Our son grinned up at his father, one side of his lips hitched up higher.

Ryan kept a watchful gaze on Wyatt, who resumed playing with his trucks. “I still think it’s going to be a girl,” my husband said, flipping through a sport magazine a little too briskly.

“I hope it’s a girl,” I said.

My husband gazed at me, horrified. “Victoria, the health of the baby is all that matters.”

“I know, of course, that’s the most important thing, but…”

“The baby is whoever he or she is, and we should be happy with whatever we’re given,” Ryan said.


  1. This sounds so unique and very interesting. I'm sure there are many women who can relate to the plight of your characters and reading about it may make them feel like they are not alone in their search for the child they desire.

    Good luck with this :)

  2. Query looks tight to me. And it's an interesting subject matter--I'd never heard of gender-swaying before. Part of me wants to suggest that you add a line about the MC's journey/growth that beefs up the sense that this is a book about something bigger than gender swaying. But the other part thinks that this is book for women (and agents/editors) who find this particular subject matter enticing. I'm torn! Couple of tiny "telling" moments like "we were waiting at the doctor's office..." that you might consider tweaking. And I wonder about the last few lines of reads like it's the first time they've had this convo, but it couldn't be, right? Like your concept! World of gender-swaying sounds fascinating. --Robyn #101

    1. Robyn, thanks, it's funny that when I read it back now that it's been posted it occurred to me what their conversation seemed like, and obviously, he knows what she wishes. Thanks for catching that. And I really appreciate your other comments! Gender-swaying is really like a secret society.

      And Faith, thanks for your comment as well.

  3. I think you're playing around with a lot of interesting emotions here and this story has the potential to really engage your reader. Many parents will be able to relate to this. Nice writing too :) Oh, and going with the previous comment, maybe have her statement be a slip?

    Best of luck!

    (I'm number 81)

    1. Rachael, thanks for your insights. Yes, I think many parents could relate, and even women who are considering having children as well.

  4. This is very fascinating indeed. I had no idea about gender-swaying but it does sound like a secret society.

    I think what Robyn pointed out about the dialogue was a good observation. If we could get a sense that this is a conversation they've had over and over again, it would make it seem a little more realistic.

    Also, the line at the end of the query confused me. I re-read it three times and I still couldn't figure it out. It's the "this is the child for her" bit. What is the child for her? The one she's carrying or the one Victoria has or--? I'm not sure. Is there a way to re-phrase it to make it clearer?

    Otherwise, I think both the query and the first 250 are tight and that you've got a strong concept going.

    -Amber (#102)

    1. Amber, I totally agree. I played with the query right before submitting, thus the last paragraph seems confusing. I'm definitely going to play with it again or even eliminate how it currently is, I was trying to hint at something that used to be point blank said in the query. Thanks for your comments, I really appreciate you looking!

  5. Virginia,

    This looks great! I remember your pitch from Pitchmas and your voice and concept come out so much more clearly in this format. I'm so glad to see your idea more fully explained. The idea of gender swaying is very intriguing! I want to know more.

    I think the query looks good, but I wonder if you need the final paragraph at all. I think it might be stronger without. The first 250 look great! I'd definitely read on!

    Great work and good luck!

    1. Sam, thanks again for taking a look! Yeah, I remember your fabulous Ruby from Pitchmas. I've learned so much from Pitchmas and I definitely think this longer format is much more suitable for my story, since it allows it to be put in the proper context.

      Yeah, I've been looking extra hard at that last paragraph in the query letter too. It used to give away the book's ending, but now that I've edited that part out of it, it kind of lost its point, plus currently it's a bit confusing. Thanks for the feedback!

  6. I think this will resonate with many women - whether they've heard of gender-swaying, or not. And I'm betting there's a deeper story here and a lesson to be learned. I think the query is great - I enjoyed the voice in the 250. Good suggestions above and well-earned praise! Good luck to you.
    (I'm #90)

    1. Carol, thanks. There is a deeper story there, and I'm glad you were able to glean that from the query and the first 250. Thanks again, and I posted on yours before I came back to check on this. Good luck to you too.

  7. Hi Virginia! I know you already know I love your story and can't wait to read it! Best wishes this week:)

    1. Thanks for the wishes, Talynn! It means a lot to have support :)

  8. I'm sure every parent wishing for one gender or the other probably hates the phrase, 'the important thing is that the baby is healthy.' That really must get old, especially if they really have their heart set. I didn't write anything on this query at first because a.) It's pretty tight already, and b.) I'm not a parent. So I'm not sure my biggest observation about your query is valid. I understand the MC's disappointment that her new baby will be a boy, but the sense I get from the query is that she's shoving her two boys aside... Like wiping the slate clean to try again. I miiiiight like to see something in that 2nd paragraph about how 'she loves her boys, but...' This is such a subjective thing that I debated over whether or not to post this. Somebody else might not get that vibe at all.

    The only thing I see that tripped me up writing-wise was the last sentence. I know a couple comments have already mentioned. I think what might work better is to continue the 'For Victoria, Lacey is...' and have the last sentence be, 'For Lacey, Victoria is...'

    That way we get to see how they each affect one another's lives.

    Otherwise, everything is really well written and flows together naturally.

    1. Leila, thanks for your comments, and I'm so glad you posted them! Yeah, I'm debating add the idea of adding the "loves her boys" line to the query, because I think that would make it clearer that in the story, she isn't looking to get rid, or ignore her boys, it's more of wanting to get something she feels she needs, which is to create a mother-daughter relationship by having a girl.

      The idea that a mother could even have a gender preference has been contentious, and that's the other reason I really wanted to write the book, to clear up some of those misconceptions. Most women with a gender preference will love any children they have, and it's more about dream vs. reality, where they might have pictured a different life for themselves than the one that is unfolding.

      Thank you again for your comments, and again, I'm glad you posted them--every little bit helps :)

  9. Hi Virginia,

    Not much to add to everyone else's comments. The query is exceptionally well constructed and your writing seems flawless. I can see every book club in the world adding this to their lists.

    Good luck!
    Amy #73