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Super Intern Contest – BROKEN

Wednesday, 13 June 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Genre: YA Dark Contemporary

Word Count: 53,000
Sixteen-year-old Dylan Halstrom will do anything to stay numb; she snorts Oxycontin, cuts her thighs, and settles for the boyfriend she’ll never love.  Nothing keeps the deaths of her sister and dad out of her mind. When her dealer, Matt, introduces her to heroin, she’s instantly hooked. 
As her addiction rages, she becomes aware of her feelings for Matt, and she can no longer bury the intimacy she craves with him.  He’s the only one who doesn’t try to fix her and he doesn’t judge her, even after he sees the cuts on her leg.  Soon she finds the casual sex she used to trade for drugs has turned into something more for both of them.
When Dylan hallucinates her dead sister during a bad trip and her baby sister winds up on life support as a result of her negligence, her addiction spirals further out of control and she abandons all her rituals and safety precautions.  Now, Dylan must decide if she’s strong enough to quit heroin and face the emotional crap she’s avoided for three years.  Because if she’s not, the heroin will consume her, and she’ll end up just like the family she loved–dead.
BROKEN is a YA Dark Contemporary, complete at 53,000 words.  Thank you for your time and consideration.
250-word excerpt:
Red and blue lights dance off the roof of my mother’s car.
I groan and lean back against the seat.  The movement makes my head spin and my stomach rolls.  My heart beat pounds inside my skull.  It feels like my brain is about to beat right through the bone. 
Pushing against the steering wheel, I try to shift into a more comfortable position.  My hand slips and my elbow slams into the door next to me.  I grunt and cradle my arm against my chest.  I try to focus on my fingers through blurry vision.  Red paint covers my hand and is smeared across my shirt.  It’s sticky.  I frown, unable to remember the last time I painted something.
I stare out the windshield.  A tree has sprouted through the hood of the car, its branches splayed across the glass.  The headlights illuminate more trees in their path.  Why the hell was I painting in the middle of a forest?
A distant memory floods my consciousness. Lily.  My dad.  Panic seizes my body.  My lungs spasm.  I can’t breathe.
The seat belt won’t release as I claw at it frantically.  Desperate, I pull on the door handle, but it doesn’t open.  A tree leans on the other side of the twisted metal, ensuring I stay imprisoned in my metal grave. 
A beam of light flashes through the window.  It blinds me and sends searing pain through my skull.  I whip my head to the right, trying to fight off the offensive light.
Thanks so much for this opportunity.

Filed: Contests, Misc


    You paint quite the powerful picture. You definitely got my attention. I’m confused at the end where she mentions sending her sister on life-support? Isn’t her sister dead? I’m a bit intrigued about her journey though.


    This isn’t bad. The imagery is good, but the writing feels a bit staccato. I’m not sure if that was what you were going for, but it’s slightly clunky at times. If you changed it up with some longer sentences I think it would make a big difference. I’m also wondering why she thought of red paint before blood? I wouldn’t think I would have paint on me unless I was an artist, if she is one, I would say that somewhere to make it more of a believable moment. I’m not sure I would have read the whole thing, weird structure of sentences causes me to think about the author more than the character and pulls me out of the story.

    Thank you for sharing your work ;o)

  • nikkiurang says:

    Thank you so much for your thoughts, Erica! To answer your question, she has two sisters. Her older sister died and her younger sister has an accident later in the book. I will try to make that much clearer when I rework the query. As far as the first 250 words, she’s really high and has no idea what’s going on. So I tried to give it that disconnected feel. But I guess it came off as too disconnected 🙂 Thanks again so much for your feedback! This really helped me!

  • Ah, okay. That makes more sense. I’m glad I could help ;o)

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