#SonofaPitch Entry 9: On the Road to Marty McFly #TeamDroids

b36ce-soap-finalTitle: ON THE ROAD TO MARTY MCFLY
Category and Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 66,000 words

Query:
When fourteen-year-old Zinnia and her younger brother uncover an old Back to the Future lunchbox in their attic, the siblings aren’t prepared for what’s inside: their mom’s high school diary.

 

Desperate to find out who their real dad is, Zinnia begs her brother to keep the find a secret while she investigates. That’s easy for him but not so for Zinnia whose anxiety and need for order rules her world. Besides, she can’t expect her mom to tell her the truth about her dad if she’s secretly reading her diary. Her brother’s less interested in discovering their deadbeat dad and more curious about the recent strange connections to the movie: the BTTF lunchbox, his sister’s Marty McFly vest, their neighbor’s fancy new DeLorean, and the cute boy named Martin. Ultimately, they team up, but it will take more than the two of them to uncover the truth, and time’s running out. Their town’s planning a yard sale to raise money for Parkinson’s, and Zinnia’s mom wants to clean out the attic for donations. She’s especially interested in the lunchbox.

 

If Mom finds out Zinnia has her diary, she might never speak to her again. If Zinnia doesn’t confront her mom soon, she might never meet her dad. All she wants is to be brave like Marty McFly and fix her broken family. Instead, she’s doing a bang up job breaking it apart.

First 250 Words:
If Life’s about straightening every visible imperfection, then I’m definitely on the right road. While my therapist scribbles on her notepad, I’m occupied with the tangled fringe of her office rug. Mom’s brilliant idea to sign me up for therapy after the last six months of my life turned into a television reality show for closet organizers.
“How does that make you feel, Zinnia? The rug. Better? Is the…sizzling in your chest gone?” Lisa the Scribbler flips through pages then sets the pad down and folds her hands in her lap.
This is our fourth session in two months.
I shrug. “I guess.” Staring at the rug’s other side of fringe, I resist the urge to kneel again and comb through crooked threads. Snakelike electrical impulses crawl across my chest.
“Like I said, if something eases your nerves, and no one’s getting hurt…especially you…go for it.” Lisa tucks a purple streak of hair behind her ear. She could be in one of my classes. Looks-wise.
My palms rest on my thighs, and I make a mental note to trim my nails after dinner. Then I ask the question I’ve been chewing on for two months: “Is it true anxiety’s passed down? I mean, my mom is the least organized person I know.”
“What’s your dad like?”
The million dollar question. I swallow. “Never met him.”
“Oh.” Lisa lifts her pad and scribbles. “Is he alive?”
God, I never even thought of that. Thanks, Lisa.

9 thoughts on “#SonofaPitch Entry 9: On the Road to Marty McFly #TeamDroids

  1. Pingback: #SonofaPitch Round 2 The Golden Rule and the entries | Elsie Elmore

  2. Query: Love the set up and the BTTF references – is this revealing my age?*cough**cough* Anyway, I think the query has a lot of great lines and the lead in is good but here are a few things to consider (aka my tinkers) and a few questions I have-

    Fourteen-year-old Zinnia and her younger brother uncover an old Back to the Future lunchbox in their attic, complete with their mom’s high school diary hidden inside. (why not get straight to it?)
    Always desperate for clues to her father’s identify, Zinnia begs her brother to keep quiet so she can investigate. But the secret sleuthing challenges Zinnia’s anxiety and need for order. And why should her Mom be honest if Zinnia’s secretly reading her diary. Her brother’s becomes less interested in discovering who their deadbeat dad is when he realizes strange connections to the movie: the BTTF lunchbox, his sister’s Marty McFly vest, their neighbor’s fancy new DeLorean, and the cute boy named Martin. (did he just move in? and does brother watch the movie to pick up on all the similarities?))
    Ultimately, they (who is they? The cute boy Martin and Zinnia or Zinnia and her brother?) team up, but it will take more than the two of them to uncover the truth (is the brother in the mix?), and time’s running out. An upcoming town yard sale puts a countdown on Zinnia’s diary access since her mom wants to clean out the attic for donations. She’s especially interested in the lunchbox.

    If Mom finds out Zinnia has her diary, she might never speak to her again. If Zinnia doesn’t confront her mom soon, she might never meet her dad. All she wants is to be brave like Marty McFly and fix her broken family. Instead, she’s doing a bang up job breaking it apart. (Using broken and breaking to describe the family back to back lessens the blow for me – tinker here?)

    Off to a great start!!

    First 250 Words:
    If Life’s about straightening every visible imperfection, then I’m definitely on the right road. While my therapist scribbles on her notepad, the tangled fringe of her office rug preoccupies me. (Quick office descript here? Small room, lots of windows, neatly organized except the fringe on the rug? Books on shelf not in order of height – does this place drive her crazy at times?) Mom’s brilliant idea (was) to sign me up for therapy after the last six months of my life turned into a television reality show for closet organizers.
    “How does that make you feel, Zinnia? The rug. Better? Is the…sizzling in your chest gone?” Lisa the Scribbler flips through pages then sets the pad down and folds her hands in her lap. (this feels spot on and authentic!!)
    This is our fourth session in two months and is it getting easier? Is she still convinced it’s not working? .
    I shrug. “I guess.” Staring at the rug’s other side of fringe, I resist the urge to kneel again and comb through crooked threads. Snakelike electrical impulses crawl across my chest. (why is she fighting it now? Testing herself? Love the way you describe this feeling.)
    “Like I said, if something eases your nerves, and no one’s getting hurt…especially you…go for it.” Lisa tucks a purple streak of hair behind her ear. (interesting detail!) She could be in one of my classes. Looks-wise. (she looks fourteen or her fashion is that of a fourteen-year-old?)
    My palms rest on my thighs, and I make a mental note to trim my nails after dinner.(I rest my palms on my thighs and make a mental note to trim my nails. Are the trimmings regularly scheduled?) Then I ask the question I’ve been chewing on for two months: “Is it true anxiety’s passed down (hereditary?)? I mean, my mom is the least organized person I know.”
    “What’s your dad like?”
    The million dollar question. I swallow. “Never met him.”
    “Oh.” Lisa lifts her pad and scribbles. “Is he alive?”
    God, I never even thought of that. Thanks, Lisa.

    You’re off to a good start. I made a few tinkers here and there but enjoyed reading the snippet and would have kept on. Thank you for sharing your words!
    Awesome stuff.

    Like

  3. Would love feedback!

    Fresh Query:

    When fourteen-year-old Zinnia and her younger brother uncover an old Back to the Future lunchbox in their attic, the siblings aren’t prepared for what’s inside: their mom’s high school diary.

    Desperate to find out who their real dad is, Zinnia begs her brother to keep the find a secret while she investigates. That’s easy for him but not so for Zinnia whose anxiety and need for order rules her world. Besides, she can’t expect her mom to tell her the truth about her dad if she’s secretly reading her diary. Her brother’s less interested in discovering their deadbeat dad and more curious about the recent strange connections to the movie: the BTTF lunchbox, his sister’s Marty McFly vest, their neighbor’s fancy new DeLorean, and the cute store clerk named Martin. Ultimately, the siblings team up, but it will take more than the two of them to uncover the truth, and time’s running out. Seeking donations for an upcoming yard sale fundraiser, Zinnia’s mom wants to clean out the attic. She’s especially interested in the lunchbox.

    If Mom finds out Zinnia has her diary, she might never speak to her again. If Zinnia doesn’t confront her mom soon, she might never meet her dad. All she wants is to be brave like Marty McFly and fix her broken family. Instead, she’s doing a bang up job tearing it apart.

    Fresh 250:

    If life’s about straightening every visible imperfection, then I’m definitely on the right road. While my therapist scribbles on her notepad, I’m occupied with the tangled fringe of her office rug. Mom’s brilliant idea to sign me up for therapy after the last six months of my life turned into a television reality show for closet organizers.
    “How does that make you feel, Zinnia? The rug. Better? Is the…sizzling in your chest gone?” Lisa the Scribbler flips through pages then sets the pad down and folds her hands in her lap.
    This is our fourth session in two months.
    I shrug. “I guess.” Staring at the rug’s other side of fringe, I resist the urge to kneel again and comb through crooked threads. Snakelike electrical impulses crawl across my chest.
    “Like I said, if something eases your nerves, and no one’s getting hurt…especially you…go for it.” Lisa tucks a purple streak of hair behind her ear. She could be in one of my classes. Looks-wise.
    My palms rest on my thighs, and I make a mental note to trim my nails after dinner. Then I ask the question I’ve been chewing on for two months: “Is it true anxiety’s, like, hereditary? I mean, my mom’s the least organized person I know.”
    “What’s your dad like?”
    The million dollar question. I swallow. “Never met him.”
    “Oh.” Lisa lifts her pad and scribbles. “Is he alive?”
    God, I never even thought of that. Thanks, Lisa.

    Like

  4. My opinions are my…opinions. Please take what works and forget the rest. I am going to focus on the revisions.

    Fresh Query:

    When fourteen-year-old Zinnia and her younger brother uncover an old Back to the Future lunchbox in their attic, the siblings aren’t prepared for what’s inside: their mom’s high school diary. (Oh snap!)

    Desperate to find out who their real dad is, Zinnia begs her brother to keep the find a secret while she investigates. (Ah! Secrets!) That’s easy for him but not so for Zinnia whose anxiety and need for order rules her world. Besides, she can’t expect her mom to tell her the truth about her dad if she’s secretly reading her diary. (Does she read it? What does she learn?) Her brother’s less interested in discovering their deadbeat dad and more curious about the recent strange connections to the movie: the BTTF lunchbox, his sister’s Marty McFly vest, their neighbor’s fancy new DeLorean, and the cute store clerk named Martin. (Do we ned to know what the brother is doing…is this dual POV and he is a main character? If not, I’d focus on Zinnia’s thoughts, her wants, what she is learning and what it means to her.) Ultimately, the siblings team up, but it will take more than the two of them to uncover the truth, and time’s running out. Seeking donations for an upcoming yard sale fundraiser, Zinnia’s mom wants to clean out the attic. She’s especially interested in the lunchbox. (This last sentence threw me with the mention of the donations…When Zinnia’s mom wants to clean out that attic for a yard sale and mentions the lunchbox…what does Zinnia do? She can come clean…or learn what she can fast and replace the box? Good moment of decision there!)

    If Mom finds out Zinnia has her diary, she might never speak to her again. If Zinnia doesn’t confront her mom soon, she might never meet her dad. All she wants is to be brave like Marty McFly and fix her broken family. Instead, she’s doing a bang up job tearing it apart. (Nice stakes! Mostly I want to know how the search for her dad is going? Does she find any info? What is she learning from the diary?I love the BTTF references! I want to know if she finds her dad!)

    Fresh 250:

    If life’s about straightening every visible imperfection, then I’m definitely on the right road. (I love this opener!) While my therapist scribbles on her notepad, I’m occupied with the tangled fringe of her office rug. Mom’s brilliant idea to sign me up for therapy after the last six months of my life turned into a television reality show for closet organizers. (sights, sounds, smells of the office?)
    “How does that make you feel, Zinnia? The rug. Better? Is the…sizzling in your chest gone?” Lisa the Scribbler (Lol! She gave her therapist a nickname!) flips through pages then sets the pad down and folds her hands in her lap. (and what does she look like? What is she wearing?)
    This is our fourth session in two months.
    I shrug. “I guess.” Staring at the rug’s other side of fringe, I resist the urge to kneel again and comb through crooked threads. (Why resist? because she needs to control herself?) Snakelike electrical impulses crawl across my chest.
    “Like I said, if something eases your nerves, and no one’s getting hurt…especially you…go for it.” Lisa tucks a purple streak of hair behind her ear. She could be in one of my classes. Looks-wise. (Ah…good character development with her purple hair.)
    My palms rest on my thighs, and I make a mental note to trim my nails after dinner. Then I ask the question I’ve been chewing on for two months: “Is it true anxiety’s, like, hereditary? I mean, my mom’s the least organized person I know.”
    “What’s your dad like?”
    The million dollar question. I swallow. “Never met him.”
    “Oh.” Lisa lifts her pad and scribbles. “Is he alive?”
    God, I never even thought of that. Thanks, Lisa. (Oh…where the need begins! Good set up! I am interested in this girl! Zinnia is a great name! I can see that she can lock onto things and now she could obsess over her dad. But will she ask her mom? Can she ask her mom? Her mom’s never spoken about him? I want to know what happens!)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for the reminder to put less of the brother in the query. I’m hoping this one’s shinier:

    When fourteen-year-old Zinnia and her younger brother uncover an old Back to the Future lunchbox in their attic, Zinnia isn’t prepared for what’s inside: Mom’s high school diary.

    Desperate to find out who her real dad is, Zinnia’s anxiety-ridden world of rules tugs at her conscience, but she ignores it and reads the diary. She’s counting on her dad to have tips for handling her anxiety and compulsion and possible answers to all the movie references: the lunchbox, her vest so like Marty McFly’s, the neighbor’s fancy new DeLorean, and the cute store clerk named Martin. If she’s going to figure out what it all means, she’ll need to find her dad, but time’s running out. When Zinnia’s mom wants to clear out that attic for a yard sale and mentions the lunchbox, Zinnia panics. She can come clean or layer more lies and secrets between them. How can she expect her mom to tell her the truth about her dad if she’s secretly reading her diary?

    If Mom finds out Zinnia has her diary, she might never speak to her again. If Zinnia doesn’t confront her mom soon, she might never meet her dad. All she wants is to be brave like Marty McFly and fix her broken family. Instead, she’s doing a bang up job tearing it apart.

    If only Zinnia understood that not all secrets are meant to be shared.

    Like

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