#NestPitch SJ1: The Caterpillar Girl

Manuscript Title:  The Caterpillar Girl

Category/Genre:  YA Soft Science Fiction

Word Count:  79,000

If your MC was an Easter Egg, what flavor would s/he be? I’d be a Cadbury Creme Egg; appears plain until cut, er, bitten into.

35-word Pitch:  A freakishly small and bullied teenage girl with osteogenesis imperfecta—a rare bone disease—is given butterfly DNA by her scientist father. She must undergo metamorphosis while risking love, freedom, and life.

First 300-words of Manuscript:

Don’t look at the needle. Don’t freak out. Bethany focused on a row of specimen jars with embryonic mice preserved in ethanol. As her father passed by, the syringe reflected in the glass. Crap. Bethany’s weight shifted into her legs and settled in her feet. Her stomach performed somersaults and her breathing grew rapid.

Her father suctioned B. selene3 hormone into the syringe and joined Bethany at the desk.  He’d named it for the Boloria Selene species, as well as the three types of hormones extracted during the larva, pupa, and butterfly stage.

“Calm down.” He ruffled her black hair.

With eyes closed, she inhaled a deep breath and slowly exhaled. She imagined gentle waves rolling across her, no, Jeremiah’s ankles. The vision of her best friend in swim trunks made her skin tingle. The pressure in her stomach decreased, and the puke slid back down. Her muscles relaxed, but Bethany’s heart rate didn’t—not with the image of Jeremiah’s body floating around in her head. Holy cow, he was hot. “How much longer?”

“You already know the answer to that, Bethey.”

Her eyelids flew open. It was bad enough that she looked like a twelve-year-old. Couldn’t her father respect her wishes and not treat her like one? “Bethany, Dad. My-name-is-Bethany.” One side of her scooped-neck blouse slid over her arched shoulder. Coupled with bones that grew slowly and that whole non-puberty thing, she didn’t look that different from other kids—kids younger than fifteen that is. But at least she was alive. She could thank the hormone for that. As long as it remained active in her bloodstream, her immune system improved and her osteogenesis imperfecta—a rare bone disorder resulting from abnormal collagen tissue—tested mild.

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