Perfect Pitch?


I don’t know about that, but I’m posting it for a contest over at Brenda Drake’s blog.  We’re to post a two sentence pitch (no more than 35 words) and the first one hundred and fifty words to our (completed) YA or MG novel.  Others in the contest will (hopefully) be stopping by to give an opinion, advice or whatever, so here goes!


TEARS OF A CLOWN, by MB Mulhall. Darcy can survive the taunting, the swirlies, even the pies in the face, but being the meat in a hot guy sandwich? That’s one thing the girl with the clown makeup knows nothing about.


First 150 words:


Chapter 1


The sudden sound of a car horn blaring made her hand jump, drawing a dark black line across her otherwise pristine white cheek. Darcy let loose with a loud explicit string of words. She threw down the eyeliner she was using to trace her ample lips and stormed over to the window. In one swift movement, she threw it open.

“Thanks a lot bitch! I would have been down in two minutes tops, but now, thanks to your heavy handed impatience, I have to fix my makeup!” she yelled at her prissy blonde doll-like step-sister. Mandy hit the horn again in reply. Darcy flipped her the bird before slamming the old window shut.

Stalking back to her dresser, she assessed herself in the mirror. No time to take the makeup off and re do it. She’d have to improvise and try a new design. A heavy sigh escaped her.


22 responses »

  1. A clown? This is what I call bold, kind stranger:) Highly original, me likey. My only crit would be to let us hear the string of profanity – but make it funny, to show us not only does she dress up as a clown, but even her way of thinking is different. Without going juvenile, though, but maybe twist a few good curse in your advantage?

  2. Heh She’s not a clown in the typical sense but everyone jokes like she is. Turns out she’s a fan of the (horrible) musical group called the Insane Clown Posse and the fans paint their faces like clowns for concerts. She just does it alllll the time 😛

    They definitely don’t shy away from cursing in other areas so I will think about maybe putting something there. Thanks! I appreciate the comments 😀

  3. Her voice jumps of the page, nicely done!

    I would have thought she was a circus clown too if I hadn’t read your reply 🙂 Goes to show how 150 words only entices, but doesn’t give much away 🙂 It sounds like you still have a very original idea for a story, good job and good luck!

    • Thanks Hope 🙂 I do leave it for a while (2 short chapters if I’m remembering correctly) where people don’t get the makeup, they don’t know why she does it, etc. Finally someone asks and she explains and gives her reasons, etc.

      The whole idea started as a joke. Friends and I were joking about all the YA books with the plain Jane suddenly attracting the hottest guys in school. I said wouldn’t it be funny if the girl looked super ridiculous and the guys still wanted her? Thus, Tears of a Clown was born! heh

      I feel like humor is missing in a lot of books today so hopefully this one makes people laugh. 🙂

  4. Sounds quite intriguing, very original. 🙂 I agree that you might consider adding the string of curse words. Also, speaking in technical terms, there should be a comma before “bitch.” 😉 Nice job, and good luck with this!

    • Quite welcome! It’s time consuming but I’m enjoying going through everyone’s pitch. I love seeing all these different ideas to. I don’t think I’ve found two that are similar, which is pretty awesome 😀

  5. Great job with this! I was like some of the others–when I read “clown” I thought actual clown. I’d be careful to make sure it’s not too misleading–an agent might actually want a real clown, but then it turns out to be something else.

    But! I love the opening, and I think you’ve got an awesome idea. I also find it ridiculous and funny that the plain Jane always gets all the guys. Good luck!

    • I get what you mean Francesca, but I guess with a pitch it’s harder to show than with a query. So.Short! I could change it from clown to Juggalo, but I figured most people wouldn’t know what that was…and most people in the book don’t know what it is either.

  6. One comment regarding Darcy’s words.

    “Thanks a lot bitch! I would have been down in two minutes tops, but now, thanks to your heavy handed impatience, I have to fix my makeup!”

    This doesn’t sound like teen speak to me, especially her using heavy handed impatience. Of course, with only 150 words, I don’t know much about Darcy. If she does speak more formally, ignore my comment.

    Your premise is interesting and the clown angle seems unique. Good luck.

  7. I really like this concept. It took me a moment to get that it was ICP, but I still like it. I agree about the dialogue. I know this is going to be an odd thing, but I’m wondering just how she does her ICP makeup. The pitch does it’s job really well.

  8. I agree. Knowing it it ICP does make it seem much more appealing. I am always amazed at the amount of people that don’t like clowns. Although I got to imagine the cover of the book would make this much more clear.

    • Hah I hate clowns! They freak me out 😛 I have a mock cover for the novel (you can find it above under the Works in Progress tab.)

      I just hope real fans don’t get their undies all in a bunch. Yes I’m kind of making fun, but if they read all the way through they should see it’s all in good fun and not malicious. I admit I do make a “fucking magnets, how do they work?!” joke 😛

  9. Hmm…her dialogue seemed a bit stiff. “I would have been down in two minutes tops, but now, thanks to your heavy handed impatience, I have to fix my makeup!”, mainly the ‘thanks to your heavy-handed impatience’—it’s too wordy for angry yelling, and ‘heavy-handed’ doesn’t really work as a descriptor.

    As a teen, I don’t hear ‘flipped her the bird’ used by my peers. Idk if it’s just a region thing, though we’ve got all kinds, but it just doesn’t feel teen. Some other things were wordy also, i.e. “She threw down the eyeliner she was using to trace her ample lips”—I’ve already got that she’s holding eyeliner…maybe if you say ‘across her pristine white chin’ in the first sentence, so we know the eyeliner’s not being used on her eyes? Then you can use less words in this sentence. Just ‘She threw down the eyeliner’ works, and we can come back to make it clearer she was tracing her lips later, when she isn’t distracted being mad.

    Overall, this needs some tightening and more specific-to-Darcy voice—I want her personality to ooze off the page, have an effect on every word. I wouldn’t keep reading, because it’s not the kind of thing I personally enjoy, but it has promise, and the pitch is killer. 🙂 Good luck!

  10. I liked the pitch a lot, although like the others said, I did assume she was a circus/birthday party type clown. Have you thought about giving the title a little more flair? For me, “Tears of a Clown” seems a little trite. You have such a unique concept, I think maybe there is some other title using “clown” that would jump out more.

    To be honest, I didn’t really connect with the character in the first 150. In principle, it doesn’t bother me that she’s bitchy, but I also need a reason to like her. Perhaps give us something that can make us empathize or another intriguing detail about her before she starts yelling. 🙂

  11. Flip the bird feels teen to me. Must be a regional thing, like she said. It’s what we called it :-p. Your pitch is good, though I can’t tell if being the meat in a hot guy sandwich is a good thing or a bad thing, ha ha. The dialogue really threw me too, and it actually turns me off from your MC and makes her not likeable, to have her get that angry over something so small. I agree with the above comment, give us something to like about her first, before she snaps at her sister. A word on punctuation–There’s a comma before “bitch” since she’s referring to a person. 🙂 Good luck to you!

  12. Hi,

    I like the part about the swirlies. 🙂 Maybe just a word or two about the clown makeup… maybe even “clownish makeup” could make it obvious that she’s not an actual clown?

    “loud string of curses” maybe?

    I’m not sure about “bitch” on the first page. I do use it once in my YA but it’s way way in, and I still get called on it sometimes! But if an agent only reads the first page, I’m not sure. It doesn’t bother me personally.

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