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GUTGAA Pitch #3 Sorry's Not Enough

Sorry's Not Enough
Contemporary New Adult

If emotional wall-building were an art form, Charlotte would be a grand master. In order to hide emotional scars from the past, she builds an impenetrable fortress of attitude. At least she thinks it's impenetrable, until a summer writing workshop brings Steven into her life.
With his obnoxious ego and stupid good looks, he's somehow immune to her Stay the Hell Away from Me pheromones. What's even more bizarre is for the first time, Charlotte can't quite bring herself to mind. But the unexpected romance screeches to a halt when Charlotte and Steven walk into the same classroom at the start of the school year and find themselves on opposite sides of the desk. Steven's quick with the apologies, but sorry doesn't seem to cut it when you've just found yourself cast as a modern day Lolita, you know?
Trying to avoid the pull of forbidden love isn't how Charlotte had hoped their relationship would start. Being just emotionally distant enough, for long enough, that the guy she doesn't want to admit she loves gets tired of waiting isn't how she thought it would end, either. But she seems to be wired for self-sabotage and can't stop herself. When no amount of time or distance and no number of men can make her forget the comfort of Steven's arms, Charlotte must dig into her painful past and face the man whose betrayal destroyed her capacity for trust to begin with. And by the time she finds the courage to so, will “sorry” be enough to get Steven back?
First 150:
Sanguinolent sunset. There's a word you don't see every day. Charlotte circled it with her red pen and drew a smiley at the end of the line, below where she'd called out a different phrase for being trite. She continued making notes in the margin as the others took turns giving feedback. By the time she was done marking up the poem, the paper was also sanguinolent.

She looked up when the group grew quiet. Her turn. She looked down at the poem again and hoped its author wouldn't be offended. What was his name? Steven.

“It's a little confused,” she said. There was a pause and a shuffle of papers.

“What don't you understand?”

She snapped her chin up and was taken aback by the force of his gaze. No adjective could adequately describe the shade of green staring back at her.

“I'm not confused. Your poem is.”


  1. Very good concept here. Steven seems like a real bad boy and Charlotte seems like a real tough cookie! Strong heroines are awesome and the twist that you threw in with the school concept really makes the story interesting.

  2. I love this!

    The query was very vague about her past. I like emotionally scarred characters, and you heighten the stakes pretty well. And the first 150 totally hooked me. I am so liking her. You got my vote.

  3. I love the twist of school! I was already drawn to their story but that was definitely the ruh-roh factor that hooked me. My only suggestion would be to tighten up this line: Being just emotionally distant enough, for long enough, that the guy she doesn't want to admit she loves gets tired of waiting isn't how she thought it would end, either. The sentence structure is a bit confusing and I had to reread it to get the point. Other than that, I say great job!


    I already like Charlotte. Her voice shines through in the query as well as the excerpt. I love the way the story opens.

    Now, I think I know what happens in the second paragraph, but it took three read throughs to understand. Steven is the teacher and Charlotte is the student? Right? It doesn’t help I don’t get the reference of Lolita. In my opinion, I think you should spell it out. He’s her teacher. Just so we’re all on the same page.

    Then the whole third paragraph, you lose me. Especially this sentence “Being just emotionally distant enough, for long enough, that the guy she doesn't want to admit she loves gets tired of waiting isn't how she thought it would end, either.” And who is “the man whose betrayal destroyed her capacity for trust to begin with.” Is that Steven? I think the last paragraph could be tightened up a lot. You’ve done a great job with the voice in the first two paragraphs. Just make sure we understand the choice and stakes in the last one.

    Overall, a really strong voice, someone I’d like to read about. And forbidden love? Yes please! Your excerpt got you the vote on this one. If you need to submit elsewhere, or if you get voted through to the publisher round, I would recommend cleaning up the query. Good luck!

  5. I'm leaving comments and then returning with my votes.

    Your first sentence in the second paragraph of your query was super cute. 'Stay the Hell away from Me pheromones' made me LOL. You do a great job of giving Charlotte lots of personality. I can feel what kind of person she is from your query.

    I did find the sentence that starts out 'Being just emotionally distant ...' to be very awkward. I also thought you might cut some words from 'What's even more bizarre is for the first time, Charlotte can't quite bring herself to mind'. All the words take away the effectiveness. Maybe:

    Even more bizarre, Charlotte can't bring herself to mind.

    I really like where you start out your First 150. Her character jumps off the page. One nit-pick would be the telling of 'was taken aback by the force of his gaze'. Perhaps she could use a body reaction to show her feelings. She could 'blink from the force of his gaze' or maybe 'scoot back in her seat from the force of his gaze'.

  6. Congrats for your win! I'm super happy for you:)


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