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Son of a Pitch round two has begun! This week my blog will be dedicated to the authors of these amazing entries.

Comments are for the Son of a Pitch critiquers and authors only! All other comments will be deleted, them’s the rules peeps.

At the end of the week, I will vote for my favorites…I think five…I should check that.

Onward!

Welcome to Team Rarity!

Entry 5:

Title: Hazelwood
Category and Genre: YA, Dark Fantasy
Word Count: 96,000

Query:

Seventeen-year-old Roma Hazelwood’s coping with a disturbing secret involving Brie, her five-year-old sister’s, death.

When mourning the one-year anniversary of Brie’s death, Roma’s shocked to see Brie standing over the corpse of their abusive, psychosis-induced mother, slumped in a tub overflowing with blood. Brie doesn’t seem to remember why she’s drenched in their mother’s blood. But Roma does.

On the run, Roma struggles to clean up the bloody trails that are left behind after Brie’s violent outbreaks while balancing her own mental health. As if answering her prayers, Roma receives a phone call from a woman named Veralyn, offering Roma and Brie sanctuary on a remote island. It seems too good to be true.

It is.

Thrown on an island inhabited by Faeries, both alive and dead, Roma struggles to face the fact that Brie might never have been human from the start. With Veralyn’s unsettling fixation on Brie becoming more aggressive, Roma’s behaving recklessly and desperately, struggling to keep Brie safe. So when Roma’s offered help, she’s to decide if the Faery, Machaos, is trustworthy after he’s saved her life on the mainland. All while her mental health is declining to a terrifying, familiar low.

If Roma fails to evade everything that’s threatening Brie’s existence, not only will Brie be taken from her, but Roma may cave to her dark desires to make another attempt to end her life.

First 250 Words:

At five years old my sister, Brie, was beaten, strangled, and held underwater.

I know how she died, I know who did it, because I was the one who buried her body one year ago to the day.

Soft, blonde bristles dip into the coat of blue and black paint, swirling the colors together. My brush moves across the canvas, dragging thick, blue sludge-like streaks behind it.

Ugh.

This isn’t working for me.

I sigh, settling the paintbrush on my easel and then I take a step back, my eyes fixed on my canvas.

After the past year, it’s clear to see I’ve let myself go in more ways than one. Not only am I fifty-two pounds heavier, but my depression’s compromised how I paint. Degrading my natural talent to a mediocre dollar-store quality. Today is different though, a bigger distraction than what depression has to offer. Today marks the first anniversary of the worst day in my life.

I spent weeks in my apartment – that ought to be a closet – after Brie died; planning how to end my life.

I considered hanging myself, but a rope would’ve broken from my hefty, plus-size, bodacious self. My C.A.S. worker ensured the landlord drilled my windows shut as well. All to avoid me from trying to jump off my balcony.

Great for my safety, but horrible for my sweaty pits in the summer.

I’ve thought about bleach but what if I live through it? That’s going to be rough.

Now for my thoughts.

But first, a reminder, I am not an expert. I am a writer. My comments are my opinions. If any of these strange wordy things that pop into my brain and onto the page make sense for YOUR ms and makes YOUR writer’s brain spin with all the inspiration, YEA!!! Use them…run with them…let your creative brain go! If reading one of my insanely odd thoughts just makes you shrug and sparks no new idea, forget it! YEA!

I am here to help YOU make YOUR ms the best it can be. I do not want to rewrite it. I do not want it to be something else. Your words should be yours. I WANT TO HAVE A GREAT TIME!

Feel free to ask questions. Feel free to post any rewrites in the comments. I will be happy to answer anything and read revisions! Anything I can do to help get the creative juices flowing.

CRITIQUE:

Query:

Seventeen-year-old Roma Hazelwood’s coping with a disturbing secret involving Brie, her five-year-old sister’s, death. (Intriguing!)

When mourning the one-year anniversary of Brie’s death, Roma’s shocked to see Brie standing over the corpse of their abusive, psychosis-induced mother, slumped in a tub overflowing with blood. Brie doesn’t seem to remember why she’s drenched in their mother’s blood. But Roma does. (Okay…ummm…confusion. Brie’s dead. But standing over their dead mother? A ghost?)

On the run, (On the run from what? The police?) Roma struggles to clean up the bloody trails that are left behind after Brie’s violent outbreaks while balancing her own mental health (details, what does she struggle with?). As if answering her prayers, Roma receives a phone call from a woman named Veralyn, offering Roma and Brie sanctuary on a remote island. It seems too good to be true.

It is.

Thrown on an island inhabited by Faeries, both alive and dead, (OH I LIKE FAERIES VERY VERY MUCH! What is it like there? Chaotic and evil? Wondrous?) Roma struggles to face the fact that Brie might never have been human from the start. (OH WHAT IS SHE!?!?!?) With Veralyn’s unsettling fixation on Brie becoming more aggressive, Roma’s behaving recklessly and desperately, struggling to keep Brie safe. (Or keep people safe from Brie? Or keep her safe from this Veralyn?) So when Roma’s offered help (help for what exactly?), she’s to decide if the Faery, Machaos, is trustworthy after he’s saved her life on the mainland (saved her from what? How?). All while her mental health is declining to a terrifying, familiar low. (So she’s been depressed before?)

If Roma fails to evade everything (Too vague! WHAT IS THREATENING BRIE?) that’s threatening Brie’s existence (who is she really? Does Roma discover what? Does what her sister is make her second guess fighting for her?), not only will Brie be taken from her, but Roma may cave to her dark desires to make another attempt to end her life. (Those are good stakes. But why…why is Roma driven to do this, to save her sister? And I am still confused by the whole, Brie died a year ago thing.)

*I am struggling to understand. The first sentence is throwing me off. Brie is dead…a year ago…but this is the story of how Roma protects her? How Brie is violent (possibly a changling? A ghost? A zombie?) and Roma covers it up? But she’s dead? Is this the story of why Roma kills her sister? I am very intrigued by the faeries! Who is this Veralyn? What does she want? Who is Machaos? What is it that keeps Roma protecting her sister? What kind of help do they get on the island? Does that help?

First 250 Words:

At five years old my sister, Brie, was beaten, strangled, and held underwater. (Nice opener)

I know how she died, I know who did it, because I was the one who buried her body one year ago to the day. (AND YOU WON’T TELL US WHO? Kinda mean. That event could certainly leave a scar, a wound that never healed….)

(need a transition here from the memory to the present) Soft, blonde bristles dip into the coat of blue and black paint, swirling the colors together. My brush moves across the canvas, dragging thick, blue sludge-like streaks behind it.

Ugh.

This isn’t working for me. (Don’t need the “for me” Does it usually “work” and work to do what?)

I sigh, settling the paintbrush on my easel, and then I take a step back, my eyes fixed on my canvas. (which looks like what? Details, feelings…)

After the past year, it’s clear to see I’ve let myself go in more ways than one. Not only am I fifty-two pounds heavier, but my depression’s compromised how I paint. Degrading my natural talent to a mediocre dollar-store quality. Today is different though, a bigger distraction than what depression has to offer. Today marks the first anniversary of the worst day in my life. (I think this para could be more powerful, if we hear those internal thoughts, the ones fueled by depression the ones that tell her how awful her painting has become, the ones that tell her to chuck the paint at the wall and never touch it again, or tell her to sit in a corner and cry, the ones that say chocolate will make it better. Show me the depression and its effect. Show me the empty plates of food she shouldn’t have eaten. Show me paintings she has done before…how much netter they are. Does she know she’s let herself go? Being aware of that is interesting…she must have fought depression before, must have been to therapy? There’s a lot I want to know, a lot of inner things.)

I spent weeks in my apartment – that ought to be a closet (you mean it’s very small?)– after Brie died; planning how to end my life.

I considered hanging myself, but a rope would’ve broken from my hefty, plus-size, bodacious self (earlier it was letting herself go by gaining weight, now she seems proud of it, or has she accepted it? Or is she hating herself and being sarcastic?). My C.A.S. (For those of us who do not know…maybe spell it out?) worker ensured the landlord drilled my windows shut as well. All to avoid me from trying to jump off my balcony (awkward wording here…to keep me from jumping from my balcony).

Great for my safety, but horrible for my sweaty pits in the summer. (Ew.)

I’ve thought about bleach but what if I live through it? That’s going to be rough. (I’ve thought…or I thought? still thinking of suicide? Or was this a while ago? Why tell us how she thought of ending it? Does she still think up ways?)

*I am left unsure. The mystery of how the sister died is interesting, but I know nothing about the sister…what was their relationship?

How painting helps, it’s therapeutic, but not today. Had she been doing better, until today. Why did she choose to live? Why is she going to choose to continue to live? Where is this going?

I hope some of that, maybe just one little thing, helps!

Thank you so much for being a part of Son of a Pitch!

Thank you for sharing your words!

And may the road of revising and querying and publishing be a great one!

Be sure to join us on Twitter! #SonofaPitch is super fun! #TeamRarity rocks!

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