Saturday, 25 June 2011

Shelley Watters: Birthday Blowout Contest

The extremely awesome Shelley Watters is holding another agent-judged first page contest. This time the agent is Victoria Marini of the Gelfman Schneider Literary Agency, and according to her likes (paranormal romance and mythology being a couple), I'm most likely going to enter the first page of my muse story. But I thought I'd let you guys also take a look at the first page of my shelved novel PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES, just to see what you think. The reason behind this is that Victoria also mentioned liking ghost stories, which this one is.

So first, here's the first page of BITTERSWEET MELODY, my 60k young adult paranormal romance:


One thing I can say for sure is I’m the only muse in history to ever have been grounded. I know this is true because my father told me. Well, more like screamed it at me while gripping the heck out of a lightning bolt, holding it over his head like a maniac. He totally over-reacted, of course. I mean, come on. Revoking my Inspiration License and grounding me for a hundred years? That completely sucks!
Sucks is a word I learned from my sister Calliope. She spends a lot of time with humans and picks up the best phrases. Whenever she comes home from a case she teaches them to me. Calliope’s a lot more fun than my other sisters—and there are many of us, not just three or nine like humans are misled to believe. And the only one who’s ever been suspended from inspiring? That’s right: me. It’s so unfair. My father says I had it coming, but I swear I’m not a trouble maker; I’m just misunderstood.
But that’s all over with now. I’ve served my time and I’m about to get my freedom back. Don’t get me wrong, Mount Olympus is pretty much the most beautiful place ever, but I’ve had it with being locked up here unable to do what I was born to do.

The last step toward my ticket out of here is a meeting with my Inspiration Officer so I can get my license back. That’s where I am now: sitting in his little office of cloud-white walls, rocking back and forth on the hind legs of a rickety chair while I wait for him to show up.

“Good morning, Melody. It’s been a long time.”


And now for the comparison, the first page of PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES, my 60k young adult paranormal:



Strange things go through your head when you’re having an MRI. And I’m not just talking about the electromagnetic currents, although that certainly does cause a flicker of scientific curiosity. I mean things like if my hair will grow out right, or if my mother would let me get my favorite band’s new CD, or who it might be that cleans the insides of these machines, or if Adam and Eve had belly buttons.

That I’m thinking so clearly at all is a miracle, they tell me. The number of patients who can function as well as I can after the type of brain surgery I underwent is not an impressive figure. According to them anyway. Maybe it’s just my amateur opinion, but when someone goes poking metal objects into an organ as complicated as a brain, prodding around in there as if dipping pieces of fruit into a chocolate fondue pot, I’d be impressed if the person who’d been operated on didn’t come out of surgery having attained the glorious functioning level of drooling all over their fecal-stained hospital gown.
“Try to keep still, Faith,” the mysterious doctor hidden safely behind the wall of glass says. Good thing he reminded me. I was just about to break out into a merengue to the beat of the knocking sounds the monster of the machine is making. Oh well, maybe later.
“So, how many people have thrown up in this thing?” I ask.
“I’m sorry, Faith. Do you feel nauseous?”
“No.”

“Is there an unpleasant smell?”
“No. Just wondering.”

So there you have it. What do you think?

18 comments:

Batman said...

I think I need to encourage my YAs to read more....

I like both. I came here from a tweet. Might enter the contest myself if Screenplays are eligible as well.

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Thanks, Batman!

Steena Holmes said...

Nice job. I think your first one could use some tightening in the sentences, maybe just to make them pop a bit more. But I like it.

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Thanks, Steena! :)

Lissa said...

I've read the first entry before, and there's nothing I can say to critique it. It's great and I want to read on out of curiosity but...

I love love love your second entry SO MUCH. I love the voice, the random thoughts, everything! My mother had brain surgery a few years ago, so I am hooked. I want more. I am burning with a desire to find out more. I need it. It's like crack. Don't hold out on me. *begs*

Jehhillenberg (J Elayne Hill) said...

How crazy is it that one of my works has the same title as yours. Maybe we have similar tastes in music. The second one PGMG has more dialogue so it dives right in and I like that, it also has good voice. The first one seems to have an interesting story.

Michelle said...

Greek myths are so much fun, and I love how the voice brings us into the life of a definite not-mortal.

Good luck!

ulleseit said...

OMG these are both fantastic! You ROCK the first person thing, which I am trying to learn. Both pieces have incredible voice and humor and hooks. Darn near perfect. If mine was on paper, I'd be tearing it up...

Shanona Ryder said...

I really do love the voice on both pieces...as someone before me said, you are definitely a master of 1st person viewpoint! ;o)
If I were you, I would submit the 1st one...it's not immediately apparent that the 2nd is a ghost story.
Both entries are very well written.
Good luck with the contest! =)

xox, Shannon

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Thanks for all your comments, you've all got me smiling! *feels good enough to face the day*

Louisa said...

You deserve to be smiling. I agree with the above. Great voice which made me chuckle. I love mythology books! You write very well and kept me hooked from start to finish. I want to know why melody was suspended from her job. I hope to one day find out if you're published. Good luck!

Brenda Drake said...

I loved both of your stories. Actually, I've read the second one before and loved it then. You definitely have the voice. I'm not sure why you shelved the second one, if it was because of lack luster responses from agents, then I'd take that into consideration and use the first. Both stories seem to fall in Victoria's likes. Hmmm, can we flip a coin? I want to read both! Good luck! :D

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Louisa and Brenda, thank you so much!

Yes, I shelved the second one because four agents asked for the full and no one wanted it enough to offer representation. I might go through it again, rip it apart and put it back together.

Brigid Gorry-Hines said...

I really like them both, but I'd be more likely to read more from the second one. I like the first one; it's funny. But although I love retellings of Greek mythology, I can't help but immediately think of the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan, and that might cause readers to draw comparisons. Also the sarcastic tone seems a little "in your face" to me.

I like the second one a lot more. It's also funny, but in a darker and more realistic way. I *LOVE* this part: "I mean things like if my hair will grow out right, or if my mother would let me get my favorite band’s new CD, or who it might be that cleans the insides of these machines, or if Adam and Eve had belly buttons." It's so believable; it's really how people think. And I've never thought about how whether Adam and Eve had belly buttons. So I like that it made me think about something new! I also like the dialogue at the end; it flows well and seems like the way people really talk.

So, that's my two cents. Hope it helps. Good luck! :)

- Brigid

Linda Gray said...

I love both of these. I'm a big mythology geek, and was totally captivated by the funny YA voice from Mt. Olympus. I would definitely read that book. (And I don't read a lot of YA)

Again, the voice in the second entry. Excellent. It would be a shame if you shelved this book. Keep querying! And if you have concerns, maybe hire a good freelance editor to pick up story or character arc problems that you think might be stopping agents. I can't see anything wrong with the writing itself!

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Thanks, Brigid and Linda! I'm in awe of all the positive comments here. Very encouraging! :D

Lori M. Lee said...

I love the second one. The voice grabbed me immediately and made me smile. I'm also super curious about what's going on with her. The first one has a great voice too, but I really connected more with the second.

Sarah said...

I connected with the second one as well. The first seems like an interesting concept, but the voice of the second one was what really hooked me. It seemed much more human and relatable. (probably because the character is human). ;)

Good luck!