Friday, May 2, 2014

The Writer's Voice: PERCEPTION (YA)

Welcome, readers! I lucked out by securing a spot in "The Writer’s Voice,” a multi-blog, multi-agent contest hosted by Brenda DrakeMónica Bustamante WagnerKimberly P. Chase, and Elizabeth Briggs. You can find more info on any of their websites. If you're one of the judges, thank you so much for this opportunity! This entry is for my YA novel PERCEPTION.


Evan Evans can’t decide what scares him more: keeling over from his rare liver disorder or dying a virgin. When he gets drunk to ask a girl out at a party, he ends up with disturbing dreams, a hangover, and a video of his escapades on a gossip blog.    

Now Evan’s grounded. His liver’s failing. And his secretive virtual support group is pissed that the video highlights his symptoms. Things go from bad to weird when the hangover-induced nightmares start coming true, including a make out session with the blogger and a classmate’s death.

Falling for the girl who exposed him, confronted by a specialist conducting unregulated clinical trials, and wanted by a government informant desperate to record his dreams, Evan must face his disease and its effect on everyone he cares about. Will he choose a longer life on someone else’s terms, or freedom with no hope of recovery?

PERCEPTION is a 76,000 word YA contemporary with a speculative twist. The wry humor will appeal to fans of Holly Black’s White Cat, the take on relationships resembles Jennifer Smith’s The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, and the light touch of fantasy is reminiscent of Philip K. Dick’s “Minority Report.”

First 250:

That first sip tasted like change, cool with only a hint of bitter.

No one at the party expected me to take a beer, least of all me. But after hours at the beach, alone by the fire and surrounded by couples making out, I fished a can from the cooler and cracked it open before my conscience could stop me. I’d wasted three years in the shadows. Before senior year started, I had to ask a girl out. A little liquid courage seemed like a step in the right direction.

“Oh, shit! Evan Evans has a beer! Somebody take a picture.” Jake Morgan laughed.

I flipped Jake off and walked to the shoreline. We’d snuck into Hanna Park through the woods, far from the lights of the condos farther south. Away from the bonfire, the night was all black water and white moonlight catching on the breakers. The memory of coconut sunscreen clung to the breeze, warm but welcome.

I chugged the rest of the beer, ignoring my churning stomach. Powdery dry sand weighed down my feet, and my toe caught when I crossed onto the hard-packed dampness. I pulled a thin red ribbon from beneath my foot. It slipped from my fingers and caught on the wind, twisting and swirling toward a girl hunched over alone on a rental chair.

I couldn’t tell who it was, but I started toward her. Better to talk one-on-one than to crash and burn in front of the crowd.


  1. Great opener and high stakes! Good luck with the contest!!

  2. GAH! I LOVE this! I am a sucker for boy books and I would totally read this one. Good luck!

  3. I like your first 250 - good luck!

  4. Oh that sounds interesting. I can't wait to read it when it comes out!

  5. Seriously sounds great! Good luck this year! I'm rooting for you:)

  6. I love the voice you've got in both the query and first 250. And like others said--great stakes! I'd definitely be interested in reading on. Good luck!

  7. Wow! I love this--it sounds fun and edgy, and you have a great voice too. Good luck!

  8. Hi Laurie, I'd really like to see more! Would you mind emailing me your first chapter to kpchase(at)gmail(dot)com? Thanks!

  9. Hi Laurie,

    I WANT YOU ON MY TEAM! Your query and opening 250 rocked me! Great opening lines, killer voice, and high stakes! LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! I also think boy POV’s are marketable and that your pitch will stand out amongst the crowd. It was a pleasure reading your fist chapter. Thank you. I have a few thoughts on areas that I think can be made clearer/stronger.

    Dannie—has also mentioned that you’ve been workshopping your pitch on her blog and that you’ve done very well. Obviously you’re a great writer and reviser. I do hope you and PERCEPTION will join Team SuperNova.

  10. Intriguing story! I love that it has a disabled character. I think it adds depth to a story. It's interesting that you compared it with THE STATICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. I hope one day I get to read your book.

    1. Thank you so much! That book is probably the best comp I can think of. Nice to meet you!

  11. Hey Laurie,

    It's time to get this show on the road! So thrilled to have you on the team! Will you email me your query and 1st chapter as an attachment to kpchase(at) ? I know you've already sent the first chapter, but it'll be easier if I have it in a .Doc this time around and everything in one place.

  12. I'm so happy this one got chosen - it was definitely on my short list, because the voice in the opening is GREAT. I know Kimberly will be an awesome coach for you!