Monday, September 10, 2012

Pitch Polish #101


THE KEY TO LIFE
ROMANCE
100,000 words

Query:

When Anna Wilson took on the daunting task of restoring Matt to a state of sobriety and happiness, she never expected to fall in love; and she certainly wouldn’t have guessed the object of her desire would be Matt's father.

Before falling to the floor passed out drunk, Matt Hayes declares his love for Anna. Wishing she could save him, knowing all it would take is for her to tell him she loves him back, she just can’t do it. Instead, she decides to search for someone who can give him what she can’t.

Anna believes she has found a way to save Matt from his downward spiral of depression when she discovers a journal that Tom, Matt‘s father had kept. Despite the fact that everyone believes Tom is dead, this journal gives her reason to believe otherwise. Embarking on a search through shark infested waters, to a hellish island in the middle of nowhere, she discovers that the man she is looking for is indeed alive.

However, a wrench is thrown into her plans when she finds herself falling for him. Now the man who is supposed to be Matt’s saviour, could be the man who ends up bringing Matt more pain and heartbreak.

When she discovers that Tom isn’t Matt’s real father, she only finds herself lost in more confusion. Sure this would make it more acceptable for her to feel the way she feels about Tom, but now she has to consider how this news is going to affect Matt. If Anna is going to pursue the flutterings of love that are developing between her and Tom, then she is still burdened with the task of finding someone or something to take her out of the spotlight of Matt‘s desires.

This time in search of a solution, perhaps Anna has discovered the key to allowing herself to follow her heart and begin a relationship with Tom, without leaving Matt in the dust festering in a cloud of hurt and betrayal. 



First 150 words:

"The truth of the matter is.. I think youre amazing! Matt stammered as he stood there 

on uneasy legs, the effects of half a bottle of rum finally becoming visible.

"Did you hear me? I think youre amazing and Im in love with you.

These last five words were barely audible as he had uttered them with a great sigh, just

before passing out.  Matt was a tall man, nearly 6 foot 9, and he didnt land quietly.

Anna stood there with one hand gripping her slender waist and the other hand twirling that

stubborn piece of hair back behind her ear. Exhausted from the stress of the day and this

sudden outburst, she stood there stunned with Mattwords echoing in her head.

Once the initial shock of Matt’s statement subsided she turned her attention to the

incapacitated giant who lay at her feet.

6 comments:

Emily said...

This is an interesting concept. The first paragraph is definitely a hook when you throw in the bit about the father.

However, I think the rest of the query could be tightened. You could almost turn a couple of your paragraphs into a single sentence to shorten the query.

Best of luck!

Mia Celeste said...

You hooked with the first paragraph in your query, but I was surprised by the next paragraphs--I thought she was going to look for a girlfriend for Matt and instead she begins a quest to find Matt's father. I bet your story proves to be quite interesting.

All the best.

Meagan said...

At twenty-three, Julia Marsh considers herself an expert in dealing with families in crisis – after all, she’s a damn good social worker – but when her father dies she can’t help her own family. ---> There are important elements in this that I want to extract, but I have a hard time with this as the first line / hook of your query.

Her mother is constantly on the verge of a meltdown and her younger sister blames Julia for their father’s death. --> this is backstoy, but it would be interesting to know why Julia blames her for her father's death, and so that piques my interested.


When an estranged uncle shows up at the memorial service, he reveals an extended family Julia never knew existed. --> discovering you have more family than you ever knew is a good hook. in fact, i think that is where you could start.

Could this be what her father was coming to tell her when his plane crashed? --> this comes out of absolutely nowhere. we knew he was dead, but we didn't know how

Or was he going to reveal Amy, a girl listed as his eldest daughter in his will? --> important information, but i'm iffy on the presentation again.

Julia’s search for the truth becomes all-consuming. --> show us this. instead of telling us this, bring her job problems up front and center.

She pushes her mother and sister away

and ignores her most important case, a three-year-old girl about to be sent back to an abusive home. --> THIS is important. right here, you're making me feel like Julia is a jerk. Social Work is a hard job. You need focus, you need clarity, you need to be all-in. And instead of saying "Her search for trusth becomes all-consuming," say this. Show us how her obsession changes her.

The disturbing truth she uncovers may not be worth losing her family and her job. ---> this could be tighter. it's a good stake: she might lose her job if she doesn't get her act together.

Lead with the discovery of the uncle, and build from there.

Jessica Peterson said...

I think you posted your comment on the wrong query meagan :)

Jane Ann McLachlan said...

Hi. This is an interesting query, well-written and piques my interest, but it's too long. See if you can tighten it.
As for the 150 words - are these the first words of your story? Because if so, I'm confused when you mention the stress of the day, as if I should know what stress she's referring to. Also, a guy passes out and falls at her feet so hard he doesn't "land quietly" and all she does is put her hand on her waist and twirl her hair? She doesn't try to catch him, to break his fall, just watches him go down and twirls her hair? And this is someone she knows well enough that he thinks he's in love with her? And her reason is it's been a stressful day and she doesn't need this?
Sorry, this doesn't work for me.
Despite these two problems, I can see you can write well, and I think the story has merit. I think it will be very good once you've edited it.

Jessica Peterson said...

thankyou everyone for your comments/advice, I have tried to pare things down a bit in the query. I have also taken Jane's suggestion into consideration. Please let me know what you think of the changes:

When Anna Wilson took on the daunting task of restoring Matt to a state of sobriety and happiness, she never expected to fall in love; and she certainly wouldn’t have guessed the object of her desire would be Matt's father.

Before falling to the floor passed out drunk, Matt Hayes declares his love for Anna. Wishing she could tell him she loves him back, she just can’t do it. Instead, she decides to search for someone who can.

When she discovers a journal that Matt’s father Tom had kept, she believes she has found a way to save Matt from his downward spiral of depression. Despite the fact that everyone believes Tom is dead, this journal gives her reason to believe otherwise. Embarking on a search through shark infested waters, to a hellish island in the middle of nowhere, she discovers that the man she is looking for is indeed alive.

However, a wrench is thrown into her plans when she finds herself falling for him. Now the man who is supposed to be Matt’s saviour, could be the man who ends up bringing him more pain and heartbreak.

When she discovers that Tom isn’t Matt’s real father, she only finds herself lost in more confusion. Sure this would make it more acceptable for her to feel the way she feels about him, but if she is even going to consider pursuing the flutterings of love that are developing between them, she has to find a way out of the spotlight of Matt’s desires.

This time in search of a solution, perhaps Anna has discovered the key to allowing herself to follow her heart and begin a relationship with Tom, without leaving Matt in the dust festering in a cloud of hurt and betrayal.

and my 150 words:

“The truth of the matter is….. I think you’re amazing!” Matt stammered as he stood there

on uneasy legs, the effects of half a bottle of rum finally becoming visible.

“Did you hear me? I think you’re amazing and… I’m in love with you.” These last five

words were barely audible as he uttered them with a great sigh, just before passing out.

Matt was a tall man, nearly 6 foot 9, and like a big boulder being tossed from a rooftop

onto the pavement, he didn’t land quietly.

In any other circumstance Anna would have tried to cushion his fall by attempting to catch

him, but being completely shocked by Matt’s words, Anna had remained frozen to the

spot, unable to react. Still stunned, she just stood there with one hand gripping her slender

waist and the other hand twirling that stubborn piece of hair back behind her ear while

Matt’s words echoed in her head.

Thanks for everyone who's taken the time to read through and give an opinion :)