Tuesday, January 5, 2010

HELP WANTED...suggestions accepted

The very cool and successful agent, Nathan Bransford is having an awesome contest in honor of the release of THE SECRET YEAR by Jennifer Hubbard.  Click on the link to see the rules and prizes.

I'm posting my entry here...I'll be submitting my entry tomorrow morning.  Please feel free to comment on my submission and make suggestions.  It is an exerpt from the YA novel I am writing; HELP WANTED.

Journal entry 269

December 17th
Dear Steve,

He hit me! I can’t believe it! He hit me! I’m not even sure why. We were having lunch at the Student Union, just like any other Tuesday. Laila came by and said Scott’s having a party Friday night. Alec said we might go. I pouted a bit and he said we’d go. Laila asked if I wanted to go shopping after class tomorrow to get something hot to wear to the party. I said sure. Lord knows I need something to help me look hot. Alec’s the best looking guy on campus and he’s with me.

When we got in the car his face changed. He was like really pissed off about something. When I asked him what was wrong, he just glared at me. Then he reared back and slapped me across the face. “You better not show up looking like some kind of whore Friday!” he said. My face was stinging. I started crying. I told him I wouldn’t and that he could come with us if he wanted to make sure I looked okay. (I should have asked him when I’ve ever dressed like a whore.) He told me no, but I better make a good choice.

I kept waiting for him to say he was sorry, but he didn’t. I’m really worried about what I should do tomorrow. Do I buy something plain and boring to make him happy? Do I buy something that makes me look good? What if I get it wrong?

So, what do I do now? I’ve been in love with Alec since the beginning of our senior year. He’s always treated me like a princess. Maybe this was just some kind of lapse. Maybe semester tests are stressing him out. There has to be a good reason for him hitting me.

I can’t tell anyone he hit me. No one would believe it anyway. He’s always so calm, cool and collected. If I told Laila she would freak. She’d tell me to dump his lil’ white ass. Then where would I be? I would be the same old boring me…but alone. When he calls tonight, I’ll ask him how his day went and see if he wants to come over to watch CSI. Maybe he’ll come over and bring flowers or something and tell me how sorry he is for what happened in the car. He’s got to be sorry, doesn’t he? I’m sure it won’t happen again. It was a fluke. He’s never hurt me before. Well, that one time in the woods. But that doesn’t count, it was an accident.

 Marissa

The very talented Natalie Whipple, who Nathan also represents, is having a contest.  Follow the link to her contest. 

I hope you find the time to write a little something and to enter in both of these great contests.  Best wishes and thanks in advance to any of you who find the time to comment on my entry.  :)


  1. Good job. I think you nailed the abuse cycle. I already posted my entry this afternoon. Clicking that "Post Comment" button is so hard. :)

    My only question about your submission would be "Who is Steve?" By addressing the letter to him, you introduce him as a character, but we don't really get any further info about him.

  2. Karen--Steve is the name of my journal...My teen daughter thought it was funny and made Marissa look quirky. I'll have to think about how to make the greeting reflect that it is a journal entry. Thanks for the input. Best wishes with your entry. I'll have to go look for your entry...There are over 400 entries already.

  3. I know! My hope's creeping down as the entries creep up. There are some really great entries already.

  4. Karen--You never know your entry might tickle his fancy. :)

  5. Teen abuse. Scary and heavy topic. Good job with this. Remember to show and not tell. For example, you say that his face changed. How did it change? Did it turn blood red? Did his lower lip quiver? Did he squint his eyes? I think you have a good teen voice here and it is authentic. And I immediately liked your character and cared about her. When she wrote: What if I get it wrong? Made me sad. So, yeah, I'm rooting for her. Good luck with the contest.

  6. Sharon,

    Let me premise my comment by first stating that my opinion is strictly pedestrian, that is to say I have no background or experience with abuse. All of what I know is from reading and TV.

    In the section where you write ~ He’s always treated me like a princess. Maybe this was just some kind of lapse. Maybe semester tests are stressing him out. There has to be a good reason for him hitting me. I've always thought that abuse victims internalize their rationale and place all of the blame on themselves. Here it is sounds like Marissa's searching for explanations from Alec's POV. I may be totally off-base.

    It's an excellent piece!

  7. Buffy--Thanks for the reminder. I'm going to describe how his face and body changed. :)

    DL--Thanks. I need to make it come across that Marissa is trying to justify why he could have done this to her.

    Great points everyone! I hope you'll stop by Nathan's blog and look at some of the entries. I 'll be posting mine shortly.

  8. Nice entry - much better than mine which i just posted with very little revision (though i spent all night on Natalie's contest).

    I love that she named her diary - i did the same thing as a kid.

  9. Falen--Thanks. I went bck and made a few changes. I tired to show Alec's facial expressions in my revision. I also tried to show Marissa's insecurities a bit more...

    I'll go look at all the entries after Nathan closes the contest. It is at almost 600 right now. (3:40 CST)

    I haven't worked on Natalie's yet...working out, lunch with the hubby, and errands got in the way. It's next on my list though.

    Best wishes to you in both contests!

  10. Scary topic, but one that needs to be addressed. Good luck to you, Sharon! I decided to enter at the last hour!

  11. Kelly--Thanks, and good luck to you. I tried to go through and find entries from blog people I recognize. I went through the first three hundred, then threw up my hands. I can't wait to see who the finalists are. Exciting stuff. Are you entering Natalie's contest?