Monday, April 12, 2010

Entry 7

Title: BEING BOMPSY CARLEFFA
Genre: YA

Fifteen-year-old Ben’s entire life—including his name—is a lie. With the belief that his father died twelve years prior, he and his mother have been living in an impoverished area of Memphis. When Ben spots a stranger outside his classroom window, little does he know about this slime-ball’s sinister dealings. Later that day, the mobster breaks into Ben’s apartment, shoots his mom, and kidnaps him to his father who is alive and ruling a mob in St. Louis.

Ben’s terrifying world of gangsters is not like the movies. BEING BOMPSY CARLEFFA means severe punishment for breaking rules, a lack of freedom, but worst of all, Ben is forced to diverge from his strong moral code. Corpse feet sticking out of the lawn and giving the yardman grief is mild compared to Ben accidentally murdering two people. This gives him a reality slap that leads him on a journey to save his skin—literally. Only later, this true hero discovers that his mother is alive and in danger. He must rescue his mom and break free from the mob or abandon all his high ethical standards to become a part of a crime family.

My 67,000-word completed YA novel mixes humor a shade darker than Korman’s, “Son of the Mob,” with the excitement of Haddix’s “Shadow Children” series. I teach writing and other subjects to children, am active in SCBWI, and recently completed an online course through The Institute for Children’s Literature. Thank you for your time and attention in considering BEING BOMPSY CARLEFFA, which is a multiple submission. I look forward to hearing from you.

4 comments:

  1. Great opening sentence. Boy does Ben live in a world of suck.

    A few revising ideas:
    Later that day, the slime-ball breaks into Ben’s apartment, shoots his mom, and kidnaps him to his father who is alive and ruling the mob in St. Louis.

    Ben’s new terrifying world means severe punishment for breaking rules, a lack of freedom, but worst of all, Ben is forced to diverge from his strong moral code. When Ben accidentally murders two people this leads him on a journey to save his skin—literally. He later, discovers that his mother is alive and in danger; he must rescue her and break free from the mob or die.

    Good luck!!

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  2. I think I remember this from another contest somewhere, and it's come a long way since then. Congratulations on that.

    It sounds like an interesting premise, and your writing is strong. However, my only concern is the voice.

    I think the voice of the query should match that of the story, and I'm wondering if that's the case. There are just a couple of instances where it doesn't sound like that of a fifteen-year-old boy. But I haven't met your character, and that may be his true voice. If that's the case, kindly disregard this unschooled thought of mine.

    But I really do think this is going in the right direction. Good luck with it!

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  3. Jamie Weiss ChiltonApril 26, 2010 at 9:25 PM

    I think you'd have a much stronger if you start with the second paragraph.

    With or without the first paragraph, I want to get a stronger sense of the plot from your summary. Phrases like "renewed friendship with James..." are too vague to situate me in the story.

    I'm not sure why Callie has nowhere left to turn.

    Phrases like "football stud" and "cool crowd" are a concern, because these are an adult's voice. I want to get a better sense of Callie's voice.

    Nice use of comp titles; I don't think you need the style comps, or to let the reader know that these authors influenced your writing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jamie Weiss ChiltonApril 26, 2010 at 9:31 PM

    Oops, the comment above was meant for the previous entry.... Regarding BEING BOMPSY CARLEFFA....

    Strong sense of place here. Nice first sentence!

    I'm reading a lot of "adult voice" here. Examples "with the belief that his father died twelve years prior" "slime-ball" "strong moral code" "this true hero" "ethical standards." These intrusions of the adult voice hold me at a distance from the story and don't give me a strong sense of the main character's personality and voice.

    Nice use of comp titles and credentials here. I'd just like to get a better sense of the story's main character.

    ReplyDelete

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