by Mark Dursin
Mac is an epic punk. No wonder: after his dad went off to fight in the Trojan War and never came back, Mac spent his childhood evading his mom’s scumbag suitors—all one hundred-and-eight of them. Of course, he turned out this way—a moody, friendless sixteen-year-old who pulls pranks, blows off work, and alienates everyone at school.
But when he trains a flock of birds to defecate on the headmaster, Mac (short for Telemachus) takes his misanthropy to new lows. The administrators give him an ultimatum: prove that he’s truly the son of Odysseus by doing something heroic—or get out.
And so begins Mythology High, a high school drama that just so happens to take place 3,000 years ago. Gloriously anachronistic, the story recounts Mac’s three-month odyssey as he encounters fantastic beasts, seeks legendary artifacts, and does the two things he never thought possible: meet a girl and make friends.
More than simply a companion piece to Homer’s epic, Mythology High is a novel about friendship and transformation, regret and redemption, with all the adventure, romance, suspense, and heart that both high school teachers and their students can enjoy.
Arielle: What a fun, interesting, original, exciting idea for a book! And this pitch is filled with wonderful writing. I can hear the voice of the book. You start with a bang with possibly my favorite piece of writing from the pitch: Mac is an epic punk (obviously, my emphasis on “epic”, but what a great pun that you only realize when you get to the end). I think only a little bit of tweaking is in order here. And it all revolves around specificity. For example, instead of “fantastic beasts” and “legendary artifacts”, give us a fun and interesting example of each.
David: I really enjoyed this pitch so much. It’s great how you took something that every kid who gets educated in America reads about, the Trojan War, and look at it from a whole new perspective. Reminds me a little bit of what Jeffrey McGuire did, with crazy skill and success, with the Wizard of Oz in Wicked. And I really like the way you wrote this pitch. It makes me think that you can absolutely write a book. I agree, Epic Punk is grand, it smacks of genius to me. And I also think that where the pitch gets generic, it loses my interest. I also noticed and was bothered by “fantastic beasts”. You have set the bar high, and you have an obligation to keep it there. I also think that it’s not just about meeting girls and making friends. Yes, that’s absolutely crucially vitally important to a teenager. But you should also have something about Mac escaping the shadow of his famous dad, and coming to grips with being a man in a world where manhood and heroism count for so much.