Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Writer's Voice Contest

Below are my query and 250 words for The Writer's Voice contest. Doing my best to make the font easier to read, but blogger has been giving me problems. I'm still not sure why some it is showing up in black and some of it is white. Sorry guys! I added a background color. Hope that helps.

Podium Finish
76,000 words
Young Adult

Dear Judges,

Told in alternating first person narratives, Podium Finish, a YA novel of 76,000 words, is the story of 17-year-old Olympic hopefuls and best friends Alex Abrams and Harper Kavanaugh.

Alex Abrams comes from a family where being anything less than the best is unacceptable. Alex used to be the best. She was a two-time Junior National figure skating champion. Then she moved up to the senior level and finished 12th at Nationals. With two years until the Olympics, Alex's Dad pressured her to switch disciplines in order to keep her Olympic dreams alive. Now six months before the Olympics and partnered with former World Championship bronze medalist Ace St. Pierre, Alex's father is micromanaging her career, something Ace can't stand, and worse still, Ace is keeping secrets from her. When these secrets come to light, Alex must make a choice. She must choose between her father and Ace. She chooses Ace. More importantly, she chooses to make the Olympic team her own way.

With six months until the Olympic Games, Harper is living the life she's always dreamed of. She's fighting for the starting spot on Team USA Women's Hockey, and for the first time ever, she has a crush on a guy who likes her back. Things couldn't be any better, but they can, and do, get worse. In an effort to seal up the starting spot for good, Harper runs a risky play at practice and breaks her knee. After six weeks in a cast, she learns that Coach Graham is picking the Olympic team earlier than originally planned, and two girls won't make the cut. Harper pushes herself harder than ever, but will it be enough?

Author Bio: Beth Pond graduated Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Hendrix College in 2012. Pond recently earned her black belt and was a five-time DIII varsity letter athlete in soccer and track and field. Pond is currently working toward earning her MFA in creative writing at the University of British Columbia. In 2013, she will travel to South Africa, where she will teach high school English as part of a nine month Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship Grant.
Thank you for your interest.

First 250 Words

            Skype is open on my laptop with my parents huddled together so they can both fit on the screen. We do this every Saturday afternoon, a Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center to Connecticut Skype date, and they always look so stiff, like they’re doing a webcam interview for a talk show. Closed off body language. Total statues. Dad should put his arm around Mom’s shoulder. They’d look more comfortable that way, like they’re actually in love.
            “Ace and I are doing our Romeo and Juliet routine on the ice for the first time this afternoon,” I say. Mom’s melon colored lips curve into a wide, tooth-bearing smile. I knew she’d like the theme. She danced for a ballet company in New York before she met my dad, which makes her the only other person in my family of five who can appreciate art for art’s sake.
            “Can’t wait to see it,” she says.
            I’m excited to get out of the dance studio and try the routine on the ice—it’s like a ribbon cutting ceremony, announcing the Olympic season has officially begun.—but I’m not exactly as thrilled about the Romeo and Juliet theme as I should be, as Mom is. Everybody does Romeo and Juliet. Hell, Ace did it four years ago with his former skating partner, Sophie DuBassin, which means I have big, albeit bitchy, skates to fill because Ace and Sophie were third at World Championships before they called it quits.


  1. You have an interesting premise, but I'm not sure about your query. Is that the ending? If so, you should cut it from the query. Good luck!

  2. I have to agree with Sarah about the last paragraph of your query. Seems to give away the ending. Other than that, I like it. Best of luck to you!

  3. Agreed on the query. I think you could actually cut that third paragraph completely--there's enough in the first two to carry you through. I like where this is going, though.

  4. I really liked the first 250 words a lot...they really pulled me, I'd keep reading. But I think the query is a bit long (and the black text with the purple background of the blog) is a tiny bit hard to read. This story sounds great. Good luck!

  5. I'd love a good sports story, so good luck with this! (Agree with the black on purple though, makes it almost impossible to read.)

  6. I like that you've got this Romeo and Juliet foreshadowing going on, right up front, when that's kind of how the story will go when she chooses him over her father's well-laid plans. Nice setup! Best of luck in the contest, and happy writing!


  7. Sounds like a fun read...Good Luck!!

  8. I think your premise is cool (a sports themed book may just get my athletic non-reader sister to read - which I've been trying to do her whole life ;)) but the query felt like reading a synopsis or something - I feel like I know everything that's going to happen.

    This was my favorite line: "which means I have big, albeit bitchy, shoes to fill"
    It made me laugh out loud.

    Also, BC represent!!!!

  9. You have really high stakes here for both characters - love it! I love that you open with a parental Skype date, setting the tone immediately by describing the way her parents are sitting. Best of luck!!

  10. I'm rooting for your MCs already - training for the Olympics? Wow, that's dedication! Loved the voice in your extract. Good luck!

  11. I know agents are looking for sports stories so...good luck. Like the first paragraph opening with the Skype date too.

  12. Characters with high stakes, tension from the get go and a wonderful voice leave me wanting more. Bet of luck to you! :)

  13. I'm a sucker for ice skating stories, and the Olympics! I do agree with the other comments about the query, but your first 250 are amazing! Good luck!

  14. Love this premise! And I agree about the query sounding like a synopsis, but I was so into the story, that I almost didn't care. I just wanted to know more! Of course, tightening it up would help! Would definitely read this! Good luck!

  15. Yay for sports. Your story sounds like a great ride. Best of luck in the contest.

  16. Hey Beth,

    My interest is piqued! (Brenda gave me the green light to ask for pages). Would you send me a pitch letter with a one page synopsis and the 1st 50 pages to Looking forward to it.

    Pooja Menon
    Kimberley Cameron & Associates