Blogfest Week 4 Assignment

This week’s mission is to post the first 200 words of our current manuscript and then hop around the blogosphere to give constructive criticism. After last week’s assignment, my pride is zero, lol. Give me your honest opinion even if you  hate it because I’d rather hear it from you rather than an agent or editor! Here’s my info:

Name: Jamie Ayres

Title: 18 THINGS or RANDOM LEE CHOSEN (still can’t decide!)

Genre: YA, coming-of-age love story

Novel Length: 75,000 words

**I’ve made changes based on comments below so here’s my revised 200 words:

I needed a change. The first of April caused me to realize I’d been a fool carrying a secret crush for Random Lee since kindergarten. The dye was step one in my master plan of making him notice me as more than the girl in pigtails he used to chase at recess.

“Why does my shower look like a scene from a slasher movie?” I ask my best friend Nicole, towering over me. She laughs diabolically, pretending to wield a knife. “This is not funny. Did you read the instructions right?”

Cocking her head, she says, “Hang on, Olga. This may hurt a bit.” She scrubs in the conditioner and rinses fiercely.

Five minutes later I study the color in the mirror. “Crap.” Although my caramel hair turns darker in winter when Michigan doesn’t see sunlight, it had never before been devoid of all brown and gold.

“You look like you dyed your hair with Kool-Aid,” Nic comments, not helping.

I pick up the box, examining the photo. “I don’t understand. It warns the results may vary slightly from the color in the picture, but this isn’t even close to Strawberry Blonde.”

Nic gives me a one-armed hug. “You’re red-hot. If Random can’t see that, he’s the fool.”

**Original Post:

  I’ve been in love with Random Lee for as long as I can remember. We bonded in kindergarten over our horrible names. As Olga Worontzoff the second, I’m named after my Russian grandmother. My parents had good intentions, but whatever, the world is full of those. Without action, intentions are worthless, which is why I wanted a change. I bought the dye last night. April first made me wonder if I’d been a fool carrying a secret crush all these years.

“Why does my shower look like a scene from a slasher movie?” I ask my best friend Nicole, towering over me.

She laughs diabolically, pretending to wield a knife. “This is not funny. Did you read the instructions right?”

Cocking her head to the left, she says, “Hang on, this may hurt a bit.” She scrubs shampoo into my curls and rinses fiercely before lathering on the conditioner that came with the home kit.

Five minutes later I study the color in the mirror. “Crap.” Although my caramel hair turns darker in winter when Michigan doesn’t see sunlight, it’s never devoid of all brown and gold.

“You look like you dyed your hair with red Kool-Aid,” Nic comments, not helping.

I pick up the box, examining the photo. “I don’t understand. It warns the results may vary slightly from the color in the picture, but this isn’t even close to Strawberry Blonde. And by the way, you dyed my hair.”

Soooooooooo that’s all folks–hope you’re hooked but if not, let me know your suggestions please and thank you!

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New & Improved Query for Blogfest

WOW! That’s all I can say. I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am for today’s query assignment. I’ll admit I was prideful at the start, thinking I’d written a marvelous query. Boy was I wrong (add it to the already long list of things). I know most of you are probably done looking at queries, but if you’re still up like me, perhaps you wouldn’t mind taking a look at my new one? I’m gonna hop onto some more blogs and look at queries. I apologize for not getting around to everyone yet. It just turns out I totally suck at writing these things and needed lots of time today to fix my own. Not to mention I probably wouldn’t have been that much help anyways in my ignorance. Whoever said ignorance is bliss is wrong!

Dear Kathleen Rushall,

At almost seventeen years of age, Olga finally has a plan: make Random notice her as more than the girl with pigtails he used to chase at recess. After all, she’s been in love with him for as long as she can remember (they bonded over their horrible names in kindergarten).

Just as Olga dares to hope her plan is working, lightning strikes. Literally. She saves his life and they’re rushed to the hospital where a nurse orders some tests and they discover Random has leukemia. So much for the saying lightning never strikes twice.

Olga writes her own prescription in the form of a list titled “18 Things.” The list consists of eighteen quests Random must accomplish before his eighteenth birthday. Olga hopes this journey will help him discover the will to live. What she doesn’t count on is discovering the beauty and strength within herself, and his secret love for her, in the process. Fire-walking, riding the biggest rollercoaster in the U.S. and breaking a world record, not to mention plenty of interferences from a smitten head cheerleader, are minor things. The major quest isn’t even on the list. She’s convinced tragedy helps give life meaning and is not a random act without purpose as his name suggests. Time for a new plan: persuade Random to believe in the same lesson she’s learned on their journey. Pain is the price you pay to love, and it’s worth it. If she fails, she risks losing her soul-mate forever.

This coming-of-age story about friendship and the turmoil of real life is a young adult version of The Bucket List. I learned about you through Deana Barnhart’s “Gearin’ Up to Get an Agent” Blogfest. I’d love to send you my 74,000-word novel, 18 THINGS.

I’m a member of SCBWI, RWA-PRO, YA-RWA, and Southwest Florida Romance Writers. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society already agreed to review the book upon publication in its national newsletter (circulation around 250,000). I’ve appended the first five pages of the novel to the end of this message. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Very Best Regards,

Jamie Ayres

*Left off usual contact info for blogfest

Blogfest Week 3 Query Letter

I know some of you (mainly friends/family) looked at my query a few weeks ago when I posted it, asking help with the title. BTW, I’m still not sure between 18 Things or Random Lee Chosen, but I guess the publisher chooses when it’s all said and done. Now I’m posting it again as part of the month-long blogfest I’m participating in. Can’t wait to get back valuable feedback from this AWESOME writing community:)

July 18, 2011

Marsal Lyon Literary Agency LLC

Dear Kathleen Rushall,

After reading about you on Deana Barnhart’s “Gearin’ Up to Get an Agent” Blogfest and noticing you have a soft spot for humorous voices, I’d love to send you my 74,000 word novel. Random Lee Chosen focuses on a teen who finds herself when the boy she loves is diagnosed with leukemia. This coming-of-age story about friendship and the turmoil of real life is a young adult version of The Bucket List meets A Walk to Remember.

Can eighteen things save Random’s life?

 RANDOM LEE is emotionally unprepared to deal with life’s hard truths after he’s diagnosed with leukemia towards the end of his junior year of high school. His childhood best friend, OLGA MURPHY, writes a prescription in the form of a list, titled, “18 Things,” helping him discover the will to live and helping her discover the beauty and strength within herself. “18 Things” consists of eighteen quests Random must accomplish before his eighteenth birthday. The two of them complete his mixture of outrageous, dangerous, and poignant tasks with humor and style, juxtaposed with serious questions about identity and tragedy. Through their journey, cancer unveils the most gripping question of all.

Is life, as Random’s name suggests, a random act without purpose, or does tragedy help give life meaning?

I’ve dealt with many adolescents as a full-time teacher for the past ten years. I’m a member of SCBWI, RWA-PRO, YA-RWA, and Southwest Florida Romance Writers. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society already agreed to review the book upon publication in its national newsletter. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best Wishes,

Jamie Ayres

*left off usual contact info for blogfest

The Rocky Tale of Dio Franklin. . .

This month I’m participating in Deana Barnhart’s “Gearin’ Up to Get an Agent” Blogfest (to learn more visit http://deanabarnhartblogspot.com) This seemed like the perfect thing for me since I just completed my novel the first weekend in July:) This week’s assignment is to continue a story chain that started at 5am today and will continue until 8am tomorrow! Below you’ll find the link to the writer that posted before me, my continuation, then the writer that continued what I wrote. I encourage you to visit their blogs and support aspiring authors like myself:):):)

http://amberplante.blogspot.com/

My assignment: Expand on the post before yours, but add dialogue. The words I must use are: hissy fit, drawer, ghost.

The necklace was tucked away safely underneath her shirt, like all the memories surrounding her mother’s death were safely locked away in the desk drawer back home.

“That’s a nice pendant,” Roddern noted while they continued through the faerie forest.

“My mother gave it to me,” Dio answered, forcing a small faux smile as her insides winced at the painful emotions of the past. 

A sound loud as thunder echoed through the forest and a blue being popped into sight before their eyes. Dio screamed.

“Don’t have a hissy fit,” Roddern ordered. “It’s just one of the ghosts. They are helpers that show up at the forest when everything seems to be falling apart.”

Dio sucks in a deep breath, letting go of her panic and studying the ghost. He was a deep blue, and she thinks of her blue pillowcase back home. He looks just as inviting as her comfortable old pillow. Pillow. She laughs, thinking of the fluffy yellow pillow she left behind just moments before. Roddern is something else.

 http://vickybruere.blogspot.com/ (Read on here!)

Insert Catchy Title Here

I just finished my WIP (that’s writers language for Work In Progress) and need YOUR HELP with the title. The three I’m knocking around are: Random Lee Chosen, 18 Random Things, or 18 Things. Please read my short synopsis below before casting your vote:) Thanks!

I feel my 70,000-word novel, (Insert Catchy Title here), a coming-of-age story where a teen version of The Bucket List meets A Walk to Remember, will be the perfect match for your Young Adult list.

Can eighteen things save Random’s life?

Caught in limbo between adolescence and adulthood, RANDOM LEE is emotionally unprepared to deal with life’s hard truths and the prospect of death after he’s diagnosed with leukemia. His childhood best friend, OLGA MURPHY, writes a prescription in the form of a list, titled, “18 Things,” helping him discover the will to live. “18 Things” consists of eighteen quests Random must accomplish before his eighteenth birthday. The two complete his mixture of outrageous, dangerous, and poignant tasks with humor and style, juxtaposed with interferences from a smitten head cheerleader, and serious questions about identity, tragedy, and faith. Through their journey, cancer unveils the most gripping question of all.

 Is life, as Random’s name suggests, a random act without purpose, or does tragedy help give life meaning?

 

Which title could catch your eye the most when sitting on a bookshelf (or on Amazon these days)? Please, please, please leave your comment by Tuesday. That’s when I’m sending it out to agents. Thanks again. Happy 4th of July weekend!