Friday, August 5, 2011

Gabriela Lessa's Contest: My Entry

REVISED AUG. 6th. Thanks for your comments! Is this better?
Eva Pohler
The Mystery Box
Commercial Fiction
90,000 words
Peter Lynch
One-sentence Pitch: When a box meant for her eccentric neighbor is delivered to Yvette,  she is lured into a horrifying trap and must pacify the neighbor to save her family.

     Yvette stepped up to her back-fence neighbor’s house and rang the bell. Her kids! She should have brought her kids along! They would want to meet Cruella De Ville. But it was too late; a woman opened the grimy front door and poked her head out.
     She looked younger than Yvette had expected and had rings beneath her beady brown eyes, and her red frizzy hair danced in all sorts of directions, as if it hadn’t seen a brush in a few days. She was shorter than Yvette, even as she slouched on the stoop of her doorstep, and thin—too thin. Her ratty pink robe was secured at the waist, and her hands hid in the front pockets. Her dingy socks hung loose around bony legs and ankles. She wore no shoes.


  1. Hi Eva! I think the pitch is interesting, but a little confusing. I want to know what's in the box and why it was mistakenly delivered to Yvette. Also, why would she give this box to her neighbor?
    Ex: "To get rid of the (what's inside box) that was accidentally delivered to her, Yvette gifts it to her neighbor..." Something like that. I liked the description in the first paragraph, but I would suggest deleting 'was'and 'were' to make it stronger. Anyways, the story drew me in,it sounds creepy! (in a good way)

  2. Thanks, Trouble! I just did some revisions based on your recommendations!

  3. In the pitch, I'd change causing her into something stronger (forcing her maybe?)

    The description of the neighbor is great.

  4. Thanks, Cat! I'll change it.

  5. I want to know all about the box.

    Great description throughout.

    The only thing I noticed is that every sentence starts with a she, her, or Yvette.

  6. Do you think I should add something about the box in the pitch?

    I will try to vary my sentence openings. Thanks!

  7. I'm interested, and a little confused. I agree the with the trouble witht wenty two. Glad to here you made the changes. :-) Look forward to reading the revisions.

  8. Thanks, Cynthia! I actually already made the revisions but sounds like I need to make more. I'll get to work!

  9. I like it too, but the pitch has got neighbor in it thrice now! I don't think you've got to keep the UPS part, it's not essential to your story. How about:
    When Yvette takes a wrongly delivered box to the eccentric woman next door, she gets trapped in a nightmare and must now pacify her neighbor to save her own family.

  10. Thanks Cat. The neighbor doesn't live next door. They share a back fence. I'll work on it!

  11. Only suggestion I have is to retain the description, but also keep the story going forward by adding description as you "move" through the story. For example, don't have Yvette notice her neighbor's bare feet until there's been some interaction between the two. This helps you avoid the treacherous "info. dump".

    Just a suggestion. Sounds like an interesting start.

  12. This is intriguing!

    I don't have a comment on the pitch, but I think your paragraph has too many descriptions. I tend to do this too. :) An agent who critiqued my work told me to describe things in small spaces. Meaning, give us the feeling of what your describing with as few words as possible. Plus this is your chance to get your work in front of an editor. Give them the story not pure description of the neighbor. :)

  13. Thanks, Mary and Melinda! I'll work on it!

  14. Great pitch! Very intriguing.

    I think you have room in the first paragraph, after Yvette rings the doorbell but before the woman opens it, to tell us a little bit about Yvette. What does she do as she waits for the neighbor to open the door? We know more about the neighbor than about Yvette, which means we CARE about the neighbor more than we do about Yvette. It's hard to identify with and care about the MC if we don't know anything about her. Just a thought.

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  16. Excellent observation, Ishta!

  17. Erm. What's the contest all about? I'm confused. Wonderful description by the way however, the pitch is less interesting. Just a thought.

    Keep it up!

    PS: It's been a while since you posted on your blog what happened?

  18. Nice to hear from you! This contest is being run by Gabriela Lessa. I'll let you know how it goes.

    Sorry I haven't posted lately. I've been editing a novel currently being considered by an agent. I am planning to post another book review soon! I just finished Ann Patchett's State of Wonder. It was awesome!