Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hangover Round 2 Entry #14

TITLE:  The Art of Making Gravy
GENRE:  MG Contemporary
 
 
An entrepreneurial thirteen-year-old sets out to pay off his father’s lawsuit by ‘borrowing’ The Manor and renting it out to an ADHD rocker.  When his wildcard mother does the unspeakable, he’s responsible and money alone won’t keep the family from falling apart.
 
 
It was against my principles but I signed my parent’s names to the e-mail anyway and hit send. I was now officially on the list for the Ducksbridge Scholarship Exam and nothing was going to stop me from winning.               
 
I had a career in mind as a Harley Street plastic surgeon, roaring around in a red Mazda MX-5 and playing polo and things like that.  My parents, who were not plugged into success, just didn’t get it.
 
Speak of the devil and the sound of grinding gears - my father shuddered into the cul-de-sac trailing van smoke, two hours early from work. I snapped the laptop shut and sat lower in Pretty Girl’s bucket seat to observe.          

Pretty girl, our 1989 Honda Civic, was parked nose out of the garage giving me a perfect view of my father clutching his back and skulking up the driveway.
He stopped outside the kitchen door, scratched his stomach, leaned down and looked through the keyhole.  Music from the ‘70s was blaring out thanks to my mother and her girlfriends.  But this was more than fear of females in yoga positions and stretchy bodysuits. I shoved the car door open and sauntered out to meet him.
      
“Dad!  You’re home early.”
      
"Cripes Anthony, give some warning. I’ll die of a heart attack before your mother kills me.”

I was right, then.  My jinxed father had dug himself a new grave. On the other side of the door someone started singing, She’s a Brick House. 

“Is this bad news?” I said.

"Could be better. Come on, time to face the music.” 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

6 comments:

  1. OMGoodness - I love your premise and the dialogue! This has SO much promise.

    Here's a suggestion for your logline -
    An entrepreneurial thirteen-year-old sets out to pay off his father’s lawsuit by ‘borrowing’ a nearby mansion and renting it out to an ADHD rocker. When his wildcard mother _____(go a head a give a hint of what the "unspeakable" is), his dependability and money won’t keep the family from falling apart.

    I think you can improve some of your clunky wording.

    I knew it was wrong but I signed my parents' names to the e-mail anyway and hit send. I was now officially on the list for the Ducksbridge Scholarship Exam and nothing was going to stop me from winning. (Can you explain this? Is he on the list to take the exam? If he does well on the exam, does he win the scholarship? -explain this a bit more. Could you say - I was now officially on the list to take the Ducksbridge Scholarship Exam and nothing was going to stop me from acing it and winning the $10,000 to attend the best______.

    I had a career in mind as a Harley Street (what is the significance of this street?) plastic surgeon, roaring around in a red Mazda MX-5 and playing polo. My parents, who were not plugged into success, just didn’t get it.

    Speak of the devil and the sound of grinding gears - my father shuddered into the cul-de-sac trailing van smoke, two hours early from work. I snapped the laptop shut and sat lower in Pretty Girl’s bucket seat to observe.


    Pretty girl, our 1989 Honda Civic, was parked nose out of the garage giving me a perfect view of my father clutching his back and skulking up the driveway.
    He stopped outside the kitchen door, scratched his stomach, leaned down and looked through the keyhole. Music from the ‘70s was blaring thanks to my mother and her girlfriends. His hesitancy wasn't from fear of females in yoga positions and stretchy bodysuits. He was up to no good. I shoved the car door open and met him on the top step.

    This is just an idea. Keep only what makes sense. You've got something really good here. Keep writing!!



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  2. I like the premise. I'm definitely interested. Watch out for the cliches, like "speak of the devil" and "dug himself a new grave." And unless Pretty Girl factors in more, you've probably spent too much time on her.

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  3. First, I just have to say, I love your title! I normally don’t look at the titles, just the genre, because I know titles can change and often don’t mean anything to the reader at first.

    Logline:

    Good start. I have the Character and the Decision, but not sure about the Conflict or the Stakes. Don’t be too vague in the logline…like ‘the unspeakable’. Tell me what she did.

    Excerpt:
    I can’t exactly pinpoint the problem with this. It just feels off to me. Like the sentences are awkward or something.
    And I don’t know any teenage boy who’d name his car Pretty Girl. Maybe the name of a girl (my husband named his car after a girl—I’ve opted to forget what that name was), but his friends would tease him to no end for that name.

    And I get that he probably has WiFi in his house so he can be in his car and on the computer to send an email, but why didn’t he just go inside when he got home? I guess I could understand his fear of old women doing yoga, too, but I scratched my head at that. And the description of the car being parked with its nose out the garage…why? Now he’ll have to turn the car on and move it in order to close the garage door. Just didn’t make sense.

    Oh…I just looked at the logline and genre again…this kid isn’t a teen, he’s just a kid. I think the writing sounds maybe a little older than MG. And with my obvious confusion, other readers might also be confused.

    Hmm…

    I agree with what others have said. This definitely has promise.

    Thanks for sharing & good luck!

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  4. I love the idea of a middle grade boy determined to escape the just scraping by existence of his parents and live the life of a bachelor plastic surgeon!

    I agree on some of the clunkiness... Can you tighten up and make this move along better?

    It was against my principles but I signed my parent’s names to the e-mail anyway and hit send. I was now officially on the list for the Ducksbridge Scholarship Exam and nothing was going to stop me from winning.

    I had a career in mind as a Harley Street (yes, cut this- we don't know what Harley Street is.) plastic surgeon, roaring around in a red Mazda MX-5 and playing polo and things like that. My parents, who were not plugged into success, just didn’t get it.

    Speak of the devil and the sound of grinding gears - my father shuddered into the cul-de-sac trailing van smoke, two hours early from work. I snapped the laptop shut and sat lower in Pretty Girl’s bucket seat to observe. (Dad named the car Pretty Girl?)

    Pretty girl, our 1989 Honda Civic, was parked nose out of the garage giving me a perfect view of my father clutching his back and skulking up the driveway.
    He stopped outside the kitchen door, scratched his stomach, leaned down and looked through the keyhole. Music from the ‘70s was blaring out thanks to my mother and her girlfriends. But this was more than fear of females in yoga positions and stretchy bodysuits. I shoved the car door open and sauntered out to meet him. (I'm not sure about 'sauntered.')

    “Dad! You’re home early.”

    "Cripes Anthony, give some warning. I’ll die of a heart attack before your mother kills me.”

    I was right, then. My jinxed father had dug himself a new grave. On the other side of the door someone started singing, She’s a Brick House. (I'd cut all this.)

    “Is this bad news?” I said.

    "Could be better. Come on, time to face the music.”

    Love the idea-- good luck!

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  5. Like the writing, it has good confident style.
    (Something in the log line made me think of Artemis Fowl, but maybe that's just me and whenever teen boys take it upon them selves to do something behind their parents backs I automatically think they are up to no good, or simple global domination.)

    Agree with the above that you should define the unthinkable (I'm thinking suicide?).

    I know the significance of Harley street, but think top surgeon would suffice. Also is an MX5 aspirational enough? (Or is that the point, that he isn't as flash as he thinks he is?)

    I didn't get the Brick Lane reference. Sorry.

    Also, and this is probably just me, but Ducksbridge reminds me of the town names used in Disney's Donald Duck comics.

    I would definitely read on, but think I'd like to know at this point if he genuinely is extremely clever, or shrewd or devious. Has he been in trouble for it before?

    Good luck and keep writing!

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  6. Lori A. Goldstein (@_lagold)January 4, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    There's a lot of good advice above. I was feeling the same thing that the voice sounded older than MG. The email and the laptop and the car might be a leap for some. Does he have to be in the car? Can he be in a den off the living room and be watching his dad through the window. Or should be on his smartphone and not a laptop?

    Also, you need to be careful with your copy editing. There are a lot of errors in here (parent's should be parents'; commas are needed; Pretty Girl and Pretty girl). I'm a copy editor by trade so these things may jump out at me more than others. I've edited my own and other manuscripts so I know how hard it is, but you should try to catch most of these!

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