“The Voice” (another blog contest, please forgive me everyone!)

So I’m participating in this blog contest modeled after TV’s “The Voice.” I have to post the synopsis from my query letter and my first 250 words. Bear with me. All in the process, right?

QUERY SYNOPSIS:

Super-brain Alexis likes everything exactly so. Perfect prep school grades. School supplies arranged eight inches apart in parallel lines. Timed phone calls with her mother. Scheduled hook-ups with her boyfriend Ben on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. As long as her secret self-destructive streak is hidden, all is well.

But then Alexis receives a bright red B on an English paper, and endures an excruciating break-up with no explanation. And now parallel cuts run down her leg an inch apart, one for each day since Ben broke up with her. She bangs her head, burns herself–anything to soothe herself and assert some control.

When her friend Miranda accidentally glimpses her scars, Alexis feels even more trapped. Now she must survive weekly therapy sessions with a counselor, forced disclosure to her parents, and worst of all: dismissal from school if she doesn’t get better. It’s up to Alexis to pull herself out of the mire–if she even wants to.

FIRST 250 WORDS:

A bright red B. Oh my G**. My lowest grade ever.

I rubbed my cheek as hard as I could and stuffed the paper into my binder. I didn’t bother to check the comments–plenty of time to memorize those later.

My throat closed up and I couldn’t draw a full breath. One full grade less than an A. My G.P.A. would sink. Miranda would pass me in class rank.

What would my mother say?

So stupid.

The bell rang, and Miranda and I headed to the door. Once we were in the hallway, she burst out, “I got an A! What about you?”

“Mmm,” I said, half-nodding.

She prattled on about her comments and each word stabbed at my stomach.

I couldn’t listen to her any longer, and escaped to the bathroom. I made it to the safety of a stall before the dam burst and the tears started flowing.

Why didn’t I work harder? I didn’t deserve an A anyway. Dummy, lazy, fat moron.

I jerked my left sleeve up. A paper clip would do, one of those big ones in my English binder. I uncurled the clip, molding the metal into a straight line. When my sleeve was up all the way, I scraped the clip back and forth across my fat upper arm until beads of blood popped up.

It wasn’t enough. I scraped four more times, changing the line into an angular B.

Shame on my body now too. The scratches would burn and remind me what I’d done. Exactly what I deserved.

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25 responses to ““The Voice” (another blog contest, please forgive me everyone!)

  1. Wow, this is tough stuff. I think you’ve managed to make me care about a character on the first page, which is great. Good luck!

      • I totally care about her! I cared about her in the query alone. I’m not someone who has dealt with cutting, or known of anyone who has, so though the idea is somewhat foreign to me, you still pulled me right in. My heart hurts for Alexis! I would definitely read more of this.

  2. I’ve seen this around in another contest somewhere, and it was still gripping the second time. Good luck! I think this is a story that deserves to be told.

  3. You’re amazing for tackling a tough subject. Good luck to you! I hope it can get out into the world and make a difference in a teen’s life 🙂

  4. You are a braver person than I. I’m sorry to say that it would be extremely difficult to read this book, and that is no reflection on your writing skills. The subject simply hits too close to home – my eldest daughter, who is extremely intelligent, engaged in this bizarre behavior, though she slashed her arms not her legs.
    Good luck.

    • I actually think in some cases it’s correlated to intelligence, at least in some of the research I’ve done. And it doesn’t seem bizarre at all for the person involved – it’s very sensible & effective to ward off emotions. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I hope she can recover.

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