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Son of a Pitch, round 2, begins! Welcome to Team Dark Side.

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Eleven posts, for eleven entries. Four other blogs are hosting more! The comment section is for Son of a Pitch authors to leave their thoughts. So please do not comment unless you are a Son of a Pitch author. Thank you!

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Onto entry 9!

Title: TRADING STITCHES
Category and Genre: YA Horror
Word Count: 81,600
Query:

With every near-death incident, the men in fifteen-year-old Marc Cheeks’ family are rewarded with increasing superhuman strength, but a darkness grows on their soul as well.

Alcoholism consumes his father. Insanity institutionalizes his uncle. Cancer stole his grandfather. Following a near-fatal stabbing, Marc fears what darkness awaits him.

After his dad commits suicide to escape a deep pit of depression, Marc enlists the help of friends and his crazy uncle Lester to decipher his father’s last words, “It doesn’t have to be a curse.” A cryptic family journal offers Marc his only lead: a person defined as a curse-ending soulmate. Uncle Lester has his own theories on a cure, but he’s not willing to share with Marc and defers to the written pages.

The journal teaches Marc methods to cheat death and grow stronger, but pieces of himself slip away into violence and apathy. He’s becoming the worst parts of his father and his uncle, and the collateral damage includes a body count. Forced to make a desperate plea to Lester, Marc discovers his uncle believes he can ultimately cure his own insanity by killing Marc.

To save himself and his friends, Marc must defeat an uncle more dangerous than crazy and find his soulmate before the family curse claims another victim.

 

First 250:

I slouched low in the dry cracked leather passenger’s seat seeking refuge from judgmental eyes.

“Did I really need to starch this shirt?” I yanked the collar’s fibers away from the spot on my neck rubbed raw.

“I don’t know, Marc.” Dad fluttered his whiskey chapped lips and leaned his shoulder into the driver’s door. “That’s a question for your mom.”

He only mentioned Mom when he didn’t want to answer a question.

Wasn’t there some rule people didn’t use a kid’s dead mother against them?

Dad didn’t get the memo.

I cringed as our Nissan’s balding tires skidded into the school’s gravel parking lot. The truck’s rickety fender clung by a single rusty screw, a painful daily reminder of the past four years. It begged to be fixed, but Dad ignored it.

He sought refuge in denial.

I rolled my eyes at the wave of students who parted twice as wide as necessary to safely let us drive past.

Idiots.

It used to be no one would accept a ride from us, but now they wouldn’t even get near the truck.

We jerked to a stop and Dad leaned back pinching the bridge of his crooked nose. “Do other dudes hear you talk like this? It’s gonna get you beat up.”

“How’s that different from any other day?” I picked at the exposed yellow padding brushing against my thigh.

“Guys pestering you?” His stare followed a cheerleader’s skirt.

“It’s called bullying.”

 starwarskylowalk

 And now my critique. Yes, I am doing it right now, if you don’t want to read my thoughts, stop here.

First, a disclaimer…

Hi, my name is Kathy. I am not a writing god or expert. I will tell you what works for me and what doesn’t. I will put in honest reactions. Please take the comments that make sense to YOU for YOUR ms. Please disregard any comments that aren’t relevant. I will ask a butt-ton (seriously, I don’t know exactly how much a butt-ton is, but it’s a lot) of questions to spark your creative brain. Any questions that I ask that give you an AH-HA moment run with all those ideas! The questions that don’t send lightning to your mind…ignore. Please listen to all the other wonderfully talented people who will stop by.

Thank you for sharing your words. Your words are important. You are awesome!

Query:

With every near-death incident, the men in fifteen-year-old Marc Cheeks’ family are rewarded with increasing superhuman strength, but a darkness grows on their soul as well. (With every of their own near-death experience or with those they cause or with the experiences in general? If it’s their own near-death experiences…how many times can one almost die? And they want superhuman strength…why?)

Alcoholism consumes his father. Insanity institutionalizes his uncle. Cancer stole his grandfather. Following a near-fatal stabbing, Marc fears what darkness awaits him. (Dude. That sucks. I LOVE IT!)

After his dad commits suicide to escape a deep pit of depression, Marc enlists the help of friends and his crazy uncle Lester to decipher his father’s last words, “It doesn’t have to be a curse.” (why do they always have to wait until they’re on their death bed to offer answers? So unhelpful) A cryptic family journal offers Marc his only lead: a person defined as a curse-ending soulmate. Uncle Lester has his own theories on a cure, but he’s not willing to share with Marc and defers to the written pages. (Marc defers to the pages or Lester?)

The journal teaches Marc methods to cheat death (Okay, it’s them cheating their own death? So is part of the curse being constantly almost killed?) and grow stronger, but pieces of himself slip away into violence and apathy. He’s becoming the worst parts of his father and his uncle, and the collateral damage includes a body count. (I don’t think you need the first part of this sentence and maybe combine… “violence and apathy, that leaves a body count.” Who has he killed? On purpose? Accidental?) Forced to make a desperate plea to Lester, Marc discovers his uncle believes he can ultimately cure his own insanity by killing Marc. (Oh snap.)

To save himself and his friends (why are they in danger?), Marc must defeat an uncle more dangerous than crazy and find his soulmate before the family curse claims another victim. (Is he slightly worried about this soulmate finding thing? I mean they’re not just waiting down the street with a sign.)

I have read this before! This is intriguing! I do wonder, why get stronger? Is the lure of strength overpowering the need to find a cure? What drives Marc to fall deeper into darkness for strength? What is it that finally makes him decide to find the cure? What is the pivotal moment where he has to decide? Does he face his uncle? What happens if he can’t find his soulmate? What happens if his uncle kills him?

 

First 250:

I slouched low in the dry cracked leather passenger’s seat seeking refuge from judgmental eyes.

“Did I really need to starch this shirt?” I yanked the collar’s fibers away from the spot on my neck rubbed raw.

“I don’t know, Marc.” Dad fluttered his whiskey chapped lips and leaned his shoulder into the driver’s door. “That’s a question for your mom.”

He only mentioned Mom when he didn’t want to answer a question.

Wasn’t there some rule people didn’t use a kid’s dead mother against them?

Dad didn’t get the memo.

I cringed as our Nissan’s balding tires skidded into the school’s gravel parking lot. The truck’s rickety fender clung by a single rusty screw, a painful daily reminder of the past four years. It begged to be fixed, but Dad ignored it.

He sought refuge in denial.

I rolled my eyes at the wave of students who parted twice as wide as necessary to safely let us drive past.

Idiots.

It used to be no one would accept a ride from us, but now they wouldn’t even get near the truck.

We jerked to a stop and Dad leaned back pinching the bridge of his crooked nose. “Do other dudes hear you talk like this? It’s gonna get you beat up.”

“How’s that different from any other day?” I picked at the exposed yellow padding brushing against my thigh.

“Guys pestering you?” His stare followed a cheerleader’s skirt.

“It’s called bullying.”

 I love the voice. I love the details. I love the emotion from Marc. And his dad is awesomely awful. I have a mc I am willing to follow. I would love a bit in here about his dad…if he’s changed…how he’s changed. And a bit of fear from Marc about how that could wait for him too. A hint of the horror to come. Great job! Think it’s been redone since I last read it.

For the author of this entry…Feel free to comment on what I have said and you can certainly post revisions!

Again, THANK YOU for participating. Sharing your words and opening up for critique is difficult. We all are here to help you make your ms as shiny as possible. Good luck with all the writing!

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