Monday, February 16, 2015

Sun vs. Snow Critique Blog Hop

Michelle Hauck and Amy Trueblood  are hosting a Sun vs. Snow Critique Blog Hop for anyone interested in polishing their  pitch and first page for upcoming contests. Since my pitch is not stellar and I entered my query and first page into Pitch Plus One, I thought getting some feedback on the first page would be a great way to polish it in case I get into the next round (and for querying next month).

To play along, make a post on your blog with your 35 word pitch and first 250 words, and then go to this link to put a link to your post for the other entrants. Everyone will crit five entries before and five entries after their own post. For more info, go to Amy's site or Michelle's site. So here's my pitch and first page, slightly tweaked since posting:

MG contemporary
41,000 words


With her beer-guzzling dad in work release, a shy tween can finally socialize; his return pits her desire for friends against her fear of humiliation. 

Revised Pitch:

With her embarrassing alcoholic father in jail, a shy tween can finally socialize, but when he returns claiming he’s sober, she must decide whether to trust him or revert to her safe hermit status.


     I slouch in my seat, avoiding Mr. Henderson’s eyes as though that will make me invisible. Today he is cheerful and chirpy and enjoying himself way too much. He leans on a corner of his desk in front of the class, randomly assigning partners for our oral history reports.

     “Sam Flores, your partner is—” His broad chest expands in a dramatic pause while the round white clock on the wall behind him ticks away the seconds.

      The suspense holds my lungs hostage. My fingers clench the edge of my chair hard enough to hurt. Sam is a good student, but so cute he’d make my tongue trip me into a huge puddle of embarrassment.

     Mr. Henderson calls on someone else. My deep sigh is part relief, part disappointment.

     Someone who likes to talk would be a good partner—the more my partner says, the less I’ll need to say. Maybe no one would notice my nerves turning me to stone.

     “Serena O’Hara, you and Katie Bell will work on women of the Revolutionary War.”

      Katie’s blue eyes radiate satisfaction, as though we got the best topic. I should be happy to get someone so smart. But she’ll want to spend hours making sure we are way over-prepared. Katie also moved into my neighborhood over the summer. What if she expects to meet outside of school? For a second my heart 
clenches, ready to bolt. We can’t. Not at my house.

     I take a deep breath. Relax. We can always meet at the library, or something.

Questions: Does the reworked pitch show more that my MC is afraid her dad will embarrass her in front of others so when he's gone she'll make some friends, but when he gets back, she'll feel pressured to withdraw from them to avoid giving him the chance to embarrass her? Does this page show that my MC is shy and nervous about attracting attention?