Hi there! The following is my pitch for Dance Till You’re Dead, a story that started with the ONC competition but has unraveled into a much longer story. I’ve only done this once before, so I hope I did it correctly!
Summary: Eight years after moving to California to chase his dream of becoming a famous EDM artist, twenty-six-year-old Mathias Mendoza is forced to move back in with his parents in the small farm town he grew up in. As he is severely hard of hearing, Mathias blames his failure on his disability rather than his own mistakes, and his self-confidence is low.
Once home, Mathias heads into town to search for jobs and runs into his childhood best friend and old crush, Patricia Gray. Mathias asks if she’d like to grab dinner with him later that weekend, and she informs him she’s getting married in a few days.
That next afternoon, Mathias is cleaning out his parent’s garage when Patricia calls and asks to meet. When they do, Patricia explains that she’s in need of a replacement deejay since hers quit last minute. Mathias agrees to step in.
During the wedding reception, Mathias deejays without his hearing aids on. A stranger makes a toast that takes a dark turn when he raises the spirits of the dead. The ghosts begin to dance to the music, which hypnotizes the wedding guests, making them mirror the dance moves.
Mathias doesn’t hear the music, so he’s able to escape. He runs into the groom, Todd, and they drive away together. Mathias struggles to communicate with Todd since he has to rely on his lip-reading abilities. Todd admits that the stranger is someone he knows but not well. They decide to break into the stranger’s flower shop in town and discover that the stranger is actually a peer from high school whom Todd embarrassed during their town’s annual talent show. Raising the dead was an act of revenge.
Ghosts arrive and the two escape back to Mathias’s home but are followed. Todd is kidnapped, and Mathias is saved when his phone connects with the speakers he left on in the garage. They play his EDM music, and the vibrations of the music cause the ghosts to vanish.
Mathias drives back into town with his EDM music blaring, hoping to disrupt the ghosts all at once but learns there are now too many of them and is run off the road. He is saved by a city worker, Max, who helps him escape back out of town.
Together, they realize they need more than music to destroy the ghosts. They break into a local nursing home and enlist some brave elderly folk with poor hearing and sight abilities. They return to the reception with a plan that Mathias will freestyle his EDM music while the elderly dance in between the guests to de-hypnotize them. Before Mathias sneaks back into the reception, he panics and reveals to Max that his failure in California started after he performed badly during a show. He admits he doesn’t believe in himself anymore and fears he will fail again without the ability to hear.
Max helps Mathias to realize he doesn’t need to hear the music in order to be a good musician. With renewed courage, Mathias freestyles his EDM music while the elderly dance and the ghosts are all destroyed.
Genre: Paranormal Fantasy/Horror, Comedy
Audience: New Adult most likely
Arcs: The story is primarily plot based with Mathias saving the wedding guests from the dancing dead, but I also wanted to give Mathias a character arc where he’s forced to face his fears of one day being deaf as he’s been diagnosed with progressive hearing loss. He’s also forced to realize that he can still ‘be somebody’ regardless of whether or not he can hear.
Unique Tidbits: While not highlighted in the summary, Mathias will also have a small arc with his parents. In the beginning, he believes his parents have been unsupportive in his career choice while realistically his parents have only been fearful of his rash decisions to move away without much thought towards his future. By the end of the story, they’ve come to an understanding that Mathias will continue to pursue his dreams but in a much smarter, more realistic way.
And as always, thank you for taking the time to review