Thursday, May 17, 2012

Team Krista #1: FACE THE MUSIC

Title: FACE THE MUSIC
Genre: YA contemporary romance
Word count: 75,000

Query:

Tate's dad used to say when words fail, music speaks. It's the one language she could always hear. Not with her ears, which hadn't worked since birth, but with her heart. To the faculty at Ravenswood Fine Arts Academy, she's a cello prodigy. To her peers...let's just say they don't call her Beethoven because they like her.

Through three years of concerts and solos and duels for chair placements, Tate has always been defined by what she lacks instead of what she has. But this year is different. This year she has Silverton. The prospect of a full ride to the most prestigious music college on the West Coast is enough to make the daily torture known as high school worth it. She will win that scholarship and finally find the one place where music overrides her disability. All she has to do is practice really hard, be nothing less than perfect and--duet with pianist Jared Lynch?

In a stunning twist, Silverton decides on a theme competition this year, partnering Tate with the one boy who both frustrates and fascinates her. Jared's rich, he's popular, and he's dating the she-devil rival cellist who crowned Tate Grand Marshal of the freak parade. He also has a passion for music that she yearns to understand and secrets as complicated as Prokofiev's Sinfonia Concertante. But as they clash over their duet--she wants to play it safe; he wants to risk everything--it's clear he has the power to see through the deafness Tate brandishes like a shield.

First page:

Most of the students at Ravenswood Fine Arts Academy knew one word in sign language. Beethoven. It’s what they called me. And it wasn’t meant as a compliment. I was the mad cellist, and whispers circulated about how I must have sold my soul to be able to play cello “like that” when I couldn’t even hear the music.

It didn’t matter that I’d earned my place at the exclusive high school instead of having Mommy and Daddy pay my way. It only mattered that my talent was unnatural. I was unnatural. And I did everything in my power to make sure they all continued to think so.

My fingers slipped on the C string, bending the illusion of perfection I tried so hard to maintain. The second movement of Dvorak’s "Cello Concerto in B Minor" was supposed to be lyrical and romantic, and damn it all, I couldn’t feel it under the muddled vibrations that swirled around me.

I glanced up to see Cassie, my one and only ally in Ravenswood hell, making faces at me on the other side of the practice room glass. I motioned her inside with a wave of my bow, and she bounced in, tossing her black curly hair out of her eyes.

“Party at Melanie’s house tonight. You coming?”

Absolutely not.

Melanie was second chair to my first. She’d hated my guts ever since I’d beaten her out of the top spot in the orchestra’s cello section my freshman year.

29 comments:

Michelle Mason said...

Yay for #TeamKrista strings! So excited we're on the same team. I'd definitely read this!

Noelle Henry said...

Thanks, Michelle! Your entry caught my eye right off the bat as well! So glad we're both part of Team Krista!

Kathleen Basi said...

As one with a master of music in flute, I am always tickled when people write stories about musicians. Good luck!

Jennie Bailey said...

Noelle - I LOVE this. I want to pick up the book and spend the afternoon finishing it. Your query rocks and your set up in this first 250 words is amazing.

Sarah Henson said...

I'm in love with this premise and your writing is amazing. Go Team Krsita!

Melanie Stanford said...

Sounds like an absolutely beautiful story. But does the mean girl's name have to be Melanie? Haha!

Becky Mahoney said...

Ooooh, I absolutely love this. I wish I could read the rest right now!

Julie DeGuia said...

This one has me wanting more. NOW! Good luck!

loritayseastep said...

I want this book! Love the premise... it speaks to my band-geeky little heart. Go Team Krista!

Suzi said...

I like this. I have an idea in my head that I want to start writing that has a deaf mc. Yours is the kind of story I would love to read in preparation for writing mine. Good luck.

Ryan said...

Wow this girl has some serious odds to overcome. Great conflict and crisis!

erinpetti said...

This is so unique, I'm definitely drawn in to your MC's world right away!

Lisa K. said...

Just from the query and the first page I'm finding Tate to be a compelling protagonist in a situation that promises to be full of dramatic impact. Though I'm not ordinarily a reader of contemporary romance, this is a book I would read! Go Team Krista!

Carla Luna Cullen said...

Really great! You've made Tate so appealing that I want to keep reading. (Plus, I love stories with musical protagonists!).

Dahlia said...

This is so, so good. With just your query and first page you've created a character who's so sympathetic but so strong that it feels silly to feel bad for her. I think the cultured adolescent voice you've established is fantastic too. Hope to read more of this someday!

Ben Spendlove said...

Brava! I'd buy it.

T.L. Bodine said...

Love it. Good luck!

TYHatch said...

This character seems amazing, and I'd love to read more.

Good luck!

Becca C. said...

Your entry looks great! It's a fantastic setup, and I'm already sold on wanting to follow your MC into the story.

Leigh Ann said...

Oh! My heart breaks for Tate on the very first page!

And I seriously want to know whetehr she's going to that party. Spoil me in the comments? Please? :D

Good luck!!!

April Wall said...

Just a wonderful story! Good luck!

erica m. chapman said...

I love this idea. It's unique. Great writing too!

Valerie said...

Great voice! Good luck to you and much love for YA contemps!!

Kimberly Gabriel said...

I love this concept – a deaf music prodigy. I remember loving this in the preliminary round. Good luck to you !

Lauren MacLeod of The Strothman Agency said...

I vote for this.

Andrea Somberg said...

I vote for you!

Kevan Lyon said...

I vote for this too!!

Louise Fury said...

I vote for this.

Tara Dairman said...

#1 Face the Music

Query:

Overall, I like the query, so my comments are nitpicky.

I found the first sentence a bit awkward—I’d change it to either “Tate's dad used to say that when words fail, music speaks.” or “Tate's dad used to say, “When words fail, music speaks.”” depending on which one is more accurate. Similarly, in the final sentence, I’d put a “that” between “clear” and “he.”

In the second sentence, change “hadn’t” to “haven’t”—queries are always in present tense.

My only other comment is that it wasn’t immediately clear to me that Silverton was a college—I thought it might be a person who was helping her out, making the year suck less. Can you use the full name of the school when you introduce it, like you do with “Ravenswood Fine Arts Academy”?

First page:

First two sentences: You might change the punctuation between “languages” and “Beethoven” to a colon—I think that’d be more effective than having Beethoven be its own sentence. I was also thrown off by the word “whispers,” since that implies that Tate can hear the other students. I think it’s too early for us to assume that she’s talking metaphorically, and therefore is confusing. If she lip-reads, maybe she can see the comments on other students’ lips?

The first two paragraphs are a bit “telly” (though I like the voice). Once we slip into the scene I really like Tate’s interior monologue and the setup with her friend and the party. I’d definitely keep reading!