Friday, July 26, 2013

Obvious, right?

Sometimes you whirl around a situation so many times you lose sight of the obvious. Until someone smacks you upside the head with it...

Thanks, Lydia for commenting. I really needed to be beaten-down with the obvious:

That query POV issue is always hard. You just have to pretend you're pitching it out loud to someone. It's hard!

So how do I talk about my murky main character when I'm talking to someone, out loud, about the story?

After 2.5 hours of sleep, I bolted awake at 4:30am this morning and typed this 3rd POV query for 'TRoRS' on my phone as an email to myself:

For the nameless, gender-ambiguous main character (MC), riding shotgun in Triss’ car is normal. So is sleeping in her car when it’s not safe to go home, and eating her leftovers cold from a brown paper bag. When the car starts breaking down, it’s normal for the MC to help when Triss gets involved in a twisted game of manipulation so she can pay for repairs. 

At parties Jackson hosts, their game runs on in the background, where they bet on who’s going to get wasted and do something stupid. The bets start out normal, but they quickly escalate until one night, everything goes wrong, and people aren’t like cards or poker chips. They have baggage. They get angry. They want revenge.

Six weeks after that party, Jackson ends up on the wrong side of dead, and now nothing is normal. There are rules when you ride shotgun, because the driver holds all power and responsibility, but when there’s a corpse in the trunk, the car is breaking down, and Triss starts to lose control, the MC must reevaluate the rules of their relationship, and ultimately when to break them.

THE RULES OF RIDING SHOTGUN is a 60,000 word YA Contemporary in the tradition of Courtney Summers and John Green, with a little bit of Justine Larbalestier’s LIAR mixed in. The main character has no name, and no defined gender, as relationships are all about the lines we draw, and the lines that are drawn for us.

Yeah. Still needs work. It's boring and not quite *voice-y* enough, but it's a place to start, and not bad considering I'm deliriously tired from almost two straight weeks of insomnia... or maybe I'm so overtired I can't tell good from bad anymore...

Thoughts? Impressions? The writing sucks, so I'm asking more about the angle... the points I'm focusing on.

Okay, I'm going to try to get a couple more hours sleep. Today's Flash Fiction Friday may go up later than normal, but it'll still be going up.


  1. 'For the nameless, gender-ambiguous main character' strikes me as too ... cutesy? For the narrator or for the passenger might work as well, but dunno. It IS an odd thing to try and put into third-person...

    1. Yeah, it's hard, but from reading the feedback, I'm guessing 4-5 out of the 6 agents who commented probably skimmed over the line and didn't realize the character was gender-ambiguous, which makes it seem like I was doing the 1st POV just to make it quirky.

  2. told you so - it could be done. I just didn't give you the right prompt.
    Congrats - 4 place - good for you !

    1. Thanks :) a 1 chapter critique by an agent is pretty freaking awesome!


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