Pen Name: Val Marek
Audience: Young Adult to Adult
It has some romantic situations, but I only hint at sex, kind of like a PG movie, and leave the details to the reader’s imagination.
Genre: General Fiction Novel
The story contains elements of Coming of Age, Romance, Mystery, Adventure, Art, Art History, Friendship, and Personal Growth as well as some good old sneaky high jinks.
What I want and offer: I am seeking a critique partner to review and make suggestions for my newly completed novel, and I can respond in kind.
I began the novel in March, and I am in the final self-editing phase, and before I start shopping around for professional editing, I would like to see what a critique partner has to say.
The novel is right at 90,000 words, so I don’t expect a quick turnaround.
What I would like to submit is a general description of the plot and characters, a summary of the chapters, the protagonist’s character arc, and the first 1,2 or 3 chapters. If you don’t like it and would prefer not to continue, that’s fine, and would be willing to offer my opinion on your creation with respect.
A high school girl’s family moves from Southern Lousiana to Fort Lauderdale, Florida during the summer before her senior year. She doesn’t know anyone and feels out of place, not to mention she is taller than most kids her age.
She is interested in art, photography, and volleyball. She makes the team, as well as the school paper, and makes friends.
She studies art books about Claude Monet, both his art and his life, and starts to research them. She goes to a local community college to study art history and writes articles about art and the local art scene.
Claude Monet had a reputation of destroying his art to prevent them from being seized by his creditors, which were many when he was a younger, struggling artist. She suspects that several paintings have ‘disappeared’ one summer when he fled his creditors leaving his penniless wife, Camille, behind.
Thus begins the adventure. It starts in Fort Lauderdale, to Miami, and eventually France in search of the possibility of unknown paintings by the master of impressionism.
Along the way, she faces love and betrayal, insecurity, and grows into a confident woman.
Chapter One (The first 700 words of it)
“Moving on, do you agree to deny the next application?”
“I disagree. I vote for approval.”
“She isn’t prepared. Going from a rural public school to a top-rated prep school will be overwhelming. She will fail miserably."
“I have reviewed her application, and I’m convinced she will do well."
“Did you contact her guidance counselor?’
“No, she never had one.”
“You see. She wasn’t even preparing for college. How did she do in the interview?”
“She wasn’t very talkative. However, I was able to contact the two teachers who wrote her recommendations. She started a freshman at her local school, but grew bored and was transferred to a magnet program after two weeks. The magnet school is a ‘work at your own pace’ program, and she completed all the credits required last year but didn’t apply for graduation. She wanted to stay for volleyball, photography, and art.
“I’m not impressed. She could drag down the stats.”
“I agree graduation statistics are paramount; believe me, I do. But I am considering her 4.0 GPA without advanced placement or honors classes, that she was the captain of her volleyball team and a photographer in the student newspaper. Plus, she is Catholic.”
“That’s what worries me. If she fails, it will be a black mark on this school.”
Only forty-four students filled the conference room for the mandatory orientation for incoming seniors, a tiny count compared to the student body of two thousand members. At least nine appeared to be athletes, likely attending on a scholarship. Tegan Favreau, an athlete herself, had not been offered a scholarship, nor had the school sought her out. The administration did not enjoy bestowing prestige and legitimacy on single year students. The admission committee viewed her as trying to poach a diploma while having stolen the nine incoming football players from other schools.
St. Michael’s Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, could afford to be selective. The Roman Catholic, coed, college preparatory school had earned national recognition for academic and athletic excellence. The football program attracted the top athletes from Broward County and beyond. If colleges provided the NFL’s training ground, St. Mike’s provided the training ground for college football prospects.
A series of circumstances granted Tegan consideration. Her family recently moved in from out of state. Her father’s employer, whose alumni children graduated with honors, provided a letter of recommendation, and Tegan submitted an impressive transcript from her previous school.
The speaker droned on and on about the advantages of St. Mike’s and how fortunate they were to attend. Tegan disagreed. She never wanted to move here and certainly didn’t feel lucky to be there. She preferred her previous life, job, school, friends, and the only home she had ever known. This life was unknown, uncertain, foreign, and strange.
The two-inch thick information packet described many items and tasks required for her to submit or complete by Monday, the first day of classes. Tegan had already submitted all the items that the school had requested.
However, no one had mentioned the sports participation requirements.
SPORTS PARTICIPATION REQUIREMENTS:
BASELINE TEST - Baseline tests are given every Tuesday and Thursday during the school year, and you must sign up in Athletics.
PHYSICAL PACKET - 4 back-to-back pages. (Salmon paper this year)
COPY OF INSURANCE CARD - must be attached to the physical packet.
3 CERTIFICATES REQUIRED: CONCUSSION IN SPORTS, SUDDEN CARDIAC ARREST, HEAT ILLNESS PREVENTION- See instructions below, print out certificates, attach to the physical packet.
All paperwork must be turned in at the same time to the Athletic Office. The Athletic Office will not accept incomplete physical packets.
Volleyball tryouts were on Wednesday, the third day of school, only five days away. Impossible. The physical packet required a specific doctor’s exam. Tegan didn’t even have a primary care physician. How could she get a physical in time?
After orientation, Tegan received her schedule and a brochure to help her find her way to the uniform shop. Uniforms were required to attend classes.
On the first day, Tegan tried to slip unnoticed into Mrs. Wood’s creative writing class with no success. At over six feet tall, nearly every student turned to watch her come in. She took a seat in the back, put her backpack on the floor, and waited.