Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Just This Once - Query for The Writer's Voice

Title: Just This Once
Genre: Contemporary YA
Word Count: 94,000 words

For Sydney Harrison, perfection is more than just a lofty ideal. It's her only hope of escape from the new life she will never accept. When her dad's stroke left him disabled, she lost her dad, her home, and her belief in God all at once. Now she's living in a broken-down trailer with her family of seven, eating donated food, and making big plans.

World domination being a bit of a stretch, she'll settle for academic supremacy. Armed with only her scholarly prowess and unwavering work ethic, Sydney is determined to trade in her thrift-store jeans for an Ivy League education. There is no room for distractions in Sydney's senior year.

But there is one thing she hasn't counted on: Sheldon Miner. When Sydney gets stuck tutoring the rich, popular sports hero, her rigid focus on her goals becomes more of a floppy blur. Suddenly she can't remember why she should avoid delicious distractions like mid-study-session snowball fights, or kissing boys in giant coat-closets lit with twinkling Christmas lights. Or fantasizing about kissing boys in giant coat closets...

Sydney's only hope lies in holding rigidly to her plan. Unless maybe the right distraction can help her open her heart, share her fears, and accept her life as it really is. But that will mean forcing herself to try all the things that terrify uptight brainiacs with plans—Just This Once.

First 250 Words:

A 175-pound millstone fastens itself around my neck

When your life has fallen apart and you're trying to pick up the pieces, sometimes it's the small things that matter. It's like you reach down and pick up the piece of your life where a functioning water heater used to be, and you realize that not only will your father never be the same again, but you will also have to shower in freezing water. Because that's what comes with the dumpy trailer where your family of seven is now forced to live while eating from food stamps and wearing donations from Deseret Industries. And oddly enough, this small detail matters. And it makes you angry.
It was the first day of my senior year of high school. I was prepared for this day. I was ready for anything that could come at me. But all the same I shrieked when the first drops of icy water hit me.
I stood as far from the spray as I could while I sudsed my hair with the Suave and washed my body. Then, taking a deep breath for courage, I ducked under the frigid downpour and rinsed faster than you can say polar ice cap. I finished my shower and wrapped myself gratefully in a towel. The tiny bathroom had me feeling claustrophobic—four close walls and a low ceiling were pressing in on me.
            I dashed across the narrow hallway to the room I now shared with Tia.


  1. Yay for some decent contemporary YA! Love this query. Strong voice.

  2. Thanks, Kathryn... Someone I know helped me a bit with that!

  3. Hi Heather, I'm stopping by from the Writer's Voice Contest to wish you the best of luck! Nice to meet you.

  4. Nice! This entry looks great! Good luck in the contest!

  5. I love the way your query flowed, great voice!! I love contemporary!! Good luck ;o)

  6. Love the kissing in coat closets part--great ideas.
    Good luck!
    Kristen #147

  7. Sounds really interesting! I wanted to keep reading. :) Best of luck!
    Laurie #65

  8. I really like Sydney. Anyone who can make themselves take a cold shower is darn tough! Good luck!

  9. This sounds really good! And I loved the opening line of your first 250. Great job, and best of luck in the contest! :-)

    Ashley #78

  10. Your 250 has such an easy flow to it, it's so hard to stop reading! I love Sydney already, and I'd love to see how this all plays out. Nice job, and good luck!

    SC (#159)

  11. Sounds great. Good luck!

    ~Nicole, entry 68

  12. I WANT YOU!!!!

    I really love the premise and I love that the MC even showers with cold water to go to school and study--that tells me a lot about the character and her stamina!
    I love contemporary YAs and this was totally up my alley!

    I have some suggestions for the query and for the first page, and I hope you're looking forward to working with me as much as I'm with you! :D

    So, I'd REALLY LOVE to have JUST THIS ONCE on my team!! :D

  13. Congrats on getting picked and making #TeamMonica!

  14. Monica, I'm so excited that you picked me. I would have picked you. Yay!!!!!!

  15. Woo hoo! I'm finally finishing up my rounds on making comments. This sounds wonderful, and sad, and exciting and i would totally read it, even though i don't read a lot of contemporary. I'm glad we're on the same team!!