Monday, September 17, 2012

GUTGAA PItch Contest # 1/2 - Brainsick

Adult Mainstream

Quick-witted Philosophy professor, Abby, never thought she’d get psychosurgery, but after a failed suicide attempt and a disturbing offer from her elderly neighbor, Abby comes to believe that a lobotomy would help cure her depression, which is not rooted in a genetic flaw or a traumatic event, but is the result of a severe and hopeless disappointed with her life.

As Abby’s surgery date approaches, Abby’s friends and family grow increasingly concerned that Abby will actually go through with the lobotomy. They have to convince her that a lobotomy would likely cripple her forever, destroying not only her sharp wit and intelligence but also the people who love her. Abby has to convince them that it is her only chance at happiness. Otherwise, they'll institutionalize her before she has a chance to save her own life.

First 150 words:

We drive through the retirement village where the palm trees tower over the elderly like a taunt; they only grow taller, sturdier with age. My heart feels like it’s sliding through someone’s fingers, flopping against my ribcage like a fish. It's how those retirees must have felt when they were visiting. It's the feeling you get from knowing you’re headed to the place you'll go to die.

I turn to Thomas, unwilling to look outside a second longer. This whole area looks like the incestuous offspring of very hygienic parents. I don't want to picture myself here. “Thomas, if I get lobotomy syndrome, can I still have sex? Or, since I’d be mentally incapacitated, could I never really give my consent?”

Thomas's eyes relax into slits, and his face looks like it belongs on the head of a snake. I take this as a sign that my question is particularly thought provoking, though I know better than to inquire into the nature of the particular thoughts provoked.


  1. Some great lines in the first 150. But I'm curious, is this procedure commonplace in the novel you've written. From the query it seems tongue in cheek, but the first 150 make me think maybe in this world it's a normal surgery.

  2. Hi Jaye, Thanks! Yes, the world in this novel is the world we live in now. The novel is not distopian, sci-fi, or fantasy. Psychosurgery is actually still performed today in many countries, although only in the most dire of cases.

    I will definitely have to be more careful with my wording when I start querying. I was not going for tongue-in-cheek at all. Thanks for your comment. This is really helpful feedback! :)

  3. This is such an intriguing premise. I definitely agree with Jaye that the tone of the query has a breeziness that's not matched in the first 150. But that can be easily adjusted. Maybe make it clearer that from Abby's perspective it's either have this surgery or die - that black and white. The tension and struggle come from trying to figure out if Abbi's depression is making her unfit to make that decision. And the situation makes her an unreliable MC which is even more interesting. What a unique story! Good luck!


Hey, do you ever wonder why they call it 'your two cents?'