#SonOfAPitch #TeamDiscord Entry 7: Gracey

Title: Gracey

Genre: Adult – Upmarket

Word Count: 98,000

 

Query: 

For many at LaGuardia Arts, the daily commute from the outer boroughs to the “Fame” school on Manhattan’s Upper West Side represents the first step toward their dream of being a professional dancer.

In Gracey’s case, the trip starts in Howard Beach, Queens, a neighborhood notorious for its connection to organized crime. In fact, Gracey’s father has tenuous connections to this world, and is a crack addict who has spent half his life in prison. Her mother is so desperate to become a movie star that she neglects, and even places Gracey in danger to reach her goal of stardom.

As Gracey spends more time with her social climbing friends in Manhattan, she pulls further away from Howard Beach. But there’s one person she can’t forget: Michael, her childhood best friend, whose home life was even more chaotic than her own. Even mingling with the elite, Gracey can’t shake off the memory of how she and Michael tried to save one another, and how they lost touch. It isn’t until Gracey’s father and Michael return that she’s forced to choose between her new life and accepting her true self.

                              

  First 250 Words:

I was conceived in the basement apartment of my grandparents’ two-family home in Howard Beach, Queens. Where all the Italians live and eat New Park Pizza. Where the women curse you out from across the parking lot while their men pump iron at Gold’s Gym. Where one wrong move will have your name running through mouths, or featured in the Chronicle: “Man Gone Missing.”

My father had only been out of prison for a few days when my mother seized the opportunity to lose her virginity. They’d been high school sweethearts. He promised he wouldn’t make the same mistakes and go back to drugs. I’d always wondered why someone who prayed ten times a day, and sang in the church choir, would sleep with a convict, but they do say love is blind.

Mom told her grandmother to guard the basement door, and that her boyfriend, John, was coming over. Great-granny Rosaria, who would now be 106 years old, may she rest in peace, remains to this day the most open-minded member of our family. She was supportive of “the gays,” cross-cultural dating, and sex before marriage.

Only a few days after my parents’ romantic, or not so romantic, night together, my father was sleeping on a wooden bench in the local precinct, soon to be delivered back to a prison in the mountains of upstate New York. He’d broken parole, again, leaving my mother at home, with stunned parents, and a soon to be crying infant.

4 thoughts on “#SonOfAPitch #TeamDiscord Entry 7: Gracey”

  1. Hi! Kathy from #TeamRarity stopping by to read all the words! My comments are my opinions only, if they don’t inspire thoughts of what to add or change, just ignore them.

    For many at LaGuardia Arts, the daily commute from the outer boroughs to the “Fame” school on Manhattan’s Upper West Side represents the first step toward their dream of being a professional dancer.

    In Gracey’s case, the trip starts in Howard Beach, Queens, (a neighborhood notorious for its connection to organized crime<needed? Can go right into …Beach, Queens where her father is a crack addict, who has spent half his life in prison.). In fact, Gracey’s father has tenuous connections to this world, and is a crack addict who has spent half his life in prison. Her mother is so desperate to become a movie star that she neglects, and even places Gracey in danger to reach her goal of stardom. (a lovely pair, those two…nope.)

    As Gracey spends more time with her social climbing friends in Manhattan, she pulls further away from Howard Beach. But there’s one person she can’t forget: Michael, her childhood best friend, whose home life was even more chaotic than her own. (She wants to leave old life, follow her dreams, but Michael keeps her from really moving forward! Good character set up and what she wants.) Even mingling with the elite, Gracey can’t shake off the memory of how she and Michael tried to save one another (tried to save each other how?), and how they lost touch. It isn’t until Gracey’s father and Michael return (return from where? Why is Michael with her father?) that she’s forced to choose between her new life and accepting her true self. (What does that mean? New life as a dancer? Is she doing well in dance, does she love it? Her true self, which is what? So big decision…choosing school or…Michael? If they lost touch…what is it about him that she can't let go of? What does she risk with the choice? Is her dream to be a dancer? Is she risking that?)

    First 250 Words:

    I was conceived in the basement apartment of my grandparents’ two-family home in Howard Beach, Queens. Where all the Italians live and eat New Park Pizza. Where the women curse you out from across the parking lot while their men pump iron at Gold’s Gym. Where one wrong move will have your name running through mouths, or featured in the Chronicle: “Man Gone Missing.” (Nice opening!)

    My father had only been out of prison for a few days when my mother seized the opportunity to lose her virginity. They’d been high school sweethearts. He promised he wouldn’t make the same mistakes and go back to drugs. I’d always wondered why someone who prayed ten times a day, and sang in the church choir, would sleep with a convict, but they do say love is blind.

    Mom told her grandmother to guard the basement door, and that her boyfriend, John, was coming over. Great-granny Rosaria, who would now be 106 years old, may she rest in peace, remains to this day the most open-minded member of our family. She was supportive of “the gays,” cross-cultural dating, and sex before marriage. (Go, Great-Granny!)

    Only a few days after my parents’ romantic, or not so romantic, night together, my father was sleeping on a wooden bench in the local precinct, soon to be delivered back to a prison in the mountains of upstate New York. He’d broken parole, again, leaving my mother at home, with stunned parents, and a soon to be crying infant.

    Interesting beginning! I don't have much to say. I want to know what all this means to our mc, such a chaotic beginning to their life.
    Thanks for sharing your words!

  2. For many at LaGuardia Arts, the daily commute from the outer boroughs to the “Fame” school on Manhattan’s Upper West Side represents the first step toward their dream of being a professional dancer.
    In Gracey’s case, the trip starts in Howard Beach, Queens, a neighborhood notorious for its connection to organized crime. In fact, Gracey’s father has tenuous connections to this world, and is a crack addict who has spent half his life in prison. [The next sentence confuses me a bit – I think it’s too much info for a query, and I get disoriented because I thought it was Gracey, not her mom, who is chasing stardom. It’s okay if they both are, but keeping the query simpler is sometimes better. I’d try something like this:] Her mother is so busy chasing wild dreams of a better life that she neglects Gracey, sometimes to a dangerous degree.
    As Gracey spends more time with her social climbing friends [is she just spending time with her friends, or is she working hard at becoming a dancer? If so, I’d put an emphasis on that part] in Manhattan, she pulls further away from Howard Beach. But there’s one person she can’t forget: Michael, her childhood best friend, whose home life was even more chaotic than her own. Even mingling with the elite, Gracey can’t shake off the memory of how she and Michael tried to save one another, and how they lost touch. It isn’t until Gracey’s father and Michael return that she’s forced to choose between her new life and accepting her true self. [This last line is good, but if there’s any way you could deepen the stakes with hints of specifics, that would make it great. Is Michael still in trouble? Does her dad need help? What exactly is it that makes the choice so hard? And is her career really taking off? If you make it clear what opportunities she might be giving up if she takes her eye of the ball, that would make the stakes bigger, too.
    Good query! Good concept!]

    First 250 Words:
    I was conceived in the basement apartment of my grandparents’ two-family home in Howard Beach, Queens. Where all the Italians live and eat New Park Pizza. Where the women curse you out from across the parking lot while their men pump iron at Gold’s Gym. Where one wrong move will have your name running through mouths, or featured in the Chronicle: “Man Gone Missing.”
    My father had only been out of prison for a few days when my mother seized the opportunity to lose her virginity. They’d been high school sweethearts. He promised he wouldn’t make the same mistakes and go back to drugs. I’d always wondered why someone who prayed ten times a day, and sang in the church choir, would sleep with a convict, but they do say love is blind.
    Mom told her grandmother to guard the basement door, and that her boyfriend, John, was coming over. Great-granny Rosaria, who would now be 106 years old, may she rest in peace, remains to this day the most open-minded member of our family. She was supportive of “the gays,” cross-cultural dating, and sex before marriage [This is cool, but I’m sorta curious as to why she was actually actively supportive of it, especially in this case].
    Only a few days after my parents’ romantic, or not so romantic, night together, my father was sleeping on a wooden bench in the local precinct, soon to be delivered back to a prison in the mountains of upstate New York. He’d broken parole, again, leaving my mother at home, with stunned [Were they really stunned? Most people expect recidivism] parents, and a soon to be crying infant [wait…you mean a zygote, right? She couldn’t have even known she was pregnant yet. This gives me a weird image of a EZ-bake baby
    Really good voice in this sample.]

  3. Query:

    For many at LaGuardia Arts, the daily commute from the outer boroughs to the “Fame” school on Manhattan’s Upper West Side represents the first step toward their dream of being a professional dancer. <>

    In Gracey’s case, the trip starts in Howard Beach, Queens, a neighborhood notorious for its connection to organized crime. In fact, Gracey’s father has tenuous connections to this world, and is a crack addict who has spent half his life in prison. Her mother is so desperate to become a movie star that she neglects, and even places Gracey in danger to reach her goal of stardom. <>

    As Gracey spends more time with her social climbing friends in Manhattan, she pulls further away from Howard Beach. But there’s one person she can’t forget: Michael, her childhood best friend, whose home life was even more chaotic than her own. Even mingling with the elite, Gracey can’t shake off the memory of how she and Michael tried to save one another, and how they lost touch. <> It isn’t until Gracey’s father and Michael return that she’s forced to choose between her new life and accepting her true self. <>

    First 250 Words:

    I was conceived in the basement apartment of my grandparents’ two-family home in Howard Beach, Queens. Where all the Italians live and eat New Park Pizza. Where the women curse you out from across the parking lot while their men pump iron at Gold’s Gym. Where one wrong move will have your name running through mouths, or featured in the Chronicle: “Man Gone Missing.”

    My father had only been out of prison for a few days when my mother seized the opportunity to lose her virginity. They’d been high school sweethearts. He promised he wouldn’t make the same mistakes and go back to drugs. I’d always wondered why someone who prayed ten times a day, and sang in the church choir, would sleep with a convict, but they do say love is blind.

    Mom told her grandmother to guard the basement door, and that her boyfriend, John, was coming over. Great-granny Rosaria, who would now be 106 years old, may she rest in peace, remains to this day the most open-minded member of our family. She was supportive of “the gays,” cross-cultural dating, and sex before marriage.

    Only a few days after my parents’ romantic, or not so romantic, night together, my father was sleeping on a wooden bench in the local precinct, soon to be delivered back to a prison in the mountains of upstate New York. He’d broken parole, again, leaving my mother at home, with stunned parents, and a soon to be crying infant.

    <>

  4. The Voice in the first 250 words is amazing. But the query doesn’t match it.

    I need you to really focus on the opening hook of the book. What happens in the first two chapters? Lay that out next to the choice Gracey has to make of losing everything if she wants a new life.

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