Monday Blessings #11: Friends and I

Hello readers,
I'm blessed to have a night full of laughter and some philosophical moments that inspired ideas for poetry. I'm blessed to have seen my friends this weekend. I'm blessed to have made a new one. I'm blessed to have learned more things of my faith and renew what I know and my energy. I'm blessed to have more ideas for stories. I'm blessed to have learned more about myself not just directly from the lectures, but indirectly with interactions. I'm blessed with everything small like having chocolate and hearing the birds.

Even though I didn't get into round 2 of PitchMadness, I'm blessed to have tried and I want to share it with you (feedback is welcomed):

Name: Fida Islaih
Title: Deciding Hijab
Genre: YA contemporary
Word Count: 11k

Pitch: Yasmeen started wearing the headscarf. Along with covering up comes problems. There is unwanted attention from boys and misinformation. There is some good, she meets a faithful Christian girl who is interested in Islam.

Excerpt: I remember as a toddler I always go to the mosque with my mom and sister. It is another friday, yet we are rushing. My mom didn't get anything to keep me busy or put on my headscarf. At the mosque while everyone was listening, I just wandered around the room. I like seeing all the women and girls in their scarves. It was colorful.

Getting bored, I go to my sister. I pet my own hair. Then I touch my sister's scarf. She understands what I want, but doesn't have my scarf, so she sends me to my mom. I did what I did to my sister to my mom. She gave me my scarf. I went back to sister to help me put it on. After that I sat down patiently.

We didn't stay in the community too long. We always have to move. From state to state, I go to three schools in four years. Finally in fifth grade my family settled in a small town. I'm Yasmeen and I start seventh grade in a few days. Ramadan just started.

On the first weekend my parents decided to invite the community to our house for Iftar. I'm glad I made friends quickly or it would have been more awkward than it actually was. My friend, Noor and I were sitting in my room talking where every few minutes my brothers and their older boy friends kept barging into my room. I finally had enough and screamed at them.

*the full story can be found on wattpad.

-Fida Islaih
{all writing is copyrighted}


You have a great attitude! I enjoyed reading your entry.

On the pitch, you could consolidate the first three sentences for a more fluid and readily understandable sentence. Like: When Yasmeen starts wearing her headscarf, she faces misinformation and unwanted attention but meeting a Christian interested in Islam makes the problems seem smaller.

Your word count seems terribly low. Consider researching word counts for YA novels. If the story is truly complete, shop it to magazines or sell it on Smashwords or Amazon as a short story. I'm guessing you could make this a much longer story because I would assume the tension and story arc could be complex.

In your excerpt, pay close attention to verb tense. You use past and present tense to deal with the same time. The voice may fall a bit flat. I'm not able to get a good read of whether I want to spend a full novel with this narrator because I don't hear her voice.

However, I love this concept and think it could definitely have a home somewhere. And remember that I am a lowly querier, too, so take my advice with a grain of salt. Best wishes on your endeavors!
T.J. said…
Fida - You are such a positive person!

Here are a few thoughts :)

11k is too short for a YA Contemp - must be a minimum 60k words. You have a great concept here, expand :) 11k is a short story.

Edit a bit more. Watch the passive, and changes in tense from present to past, etc.

A good start. Don't give up...keep going! You can do it, I don't have any doubts :)
Fida Islaih said…
Thank you both for the advice on verb tense and word count! I know this will make my story so much better.

Thanks Amanda, for the pitch rewrite. Your version is so much better! I'll consider expanding and selling!

Thanks again! (-:
So good to see you doing what I try to live every day: "Find the positive, in every situation, no matter how small."

I'm stopping by today from the A to Z challenge. Congrats on signing up! Good luck. This is my first year with the A to Z challenge, even though I've watched it grow over the last 3 years. I'm also taking part in the Reveal on the 21st. I'm trying to share some positivity with my #WriteMotivation friends on Twitter (and to help keep me positive in the process)
Hope to see you around. :)

Jamie Dement (LadyJai)