Monday, September 10, 2012

Pitch Polish #103

Title: Going Home Again 
Genre: Women's Fiction/Chick-Lit
Word Count: 97,000


Withdrawn and timid in high school, Alyssa Jones, the protagonist in my contemporary women's fiction/chick-lit novel, preferred to hide behind her frizzy dark hair, rather than make her existence known to the love of her teenage life, Michael Day.
Later in life, she’s overcome her shy nerdiness and is now editor of a magazine in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. At the same time, Michael has become a widely known pop singer (in addition to becoming a husband and father), and therefore, is out of Alyssa’s reach, in addition to being way out of her league. So, when she gets the unexpected chance to interview Michael for her magazine, no one is more surprised than Alyssa when there’s a reciprocated attraction this time around.
At 97,000 words with alternating points-of-view, GOING HOME AGAIN chronicles Alyssa’s story as she learns that life doesn’t always turn out like you dreamed in high school, even if you “get the guy,” and Mike’s struggles with his feelings for Alyssa in the face of his disintegrating marriage.
First 150 Words:

One Tuesday morning, I got a call I never expected. A call that, for the past twenty years, I may have secretly hoped for. 

That call jolted me out of my comfortably single yet wildly unexciting life as editor of a magazine in the small beach town of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. I’d worked hard and done a lot of boring stories I didn’t really want to do to make it this far. Of course, I still couldn’t afford to actually live in Wrightsville Beach, where practically nothing was priced below a million dollars, but every day, I enjoyed the drive from the coastal city of Wilmington, over the shimmery blue ribbon of the Intracoastal Waterway, the smell of the salt air, and the melodic whine of the seagulls. 

Despite the beautiful scenery, I led a pretty mundane life—until that chilly January morning.


Anonymous said...

Yes I know you and have read the book but I wanted to say that even if I hadn't, this query would grab me and make me want to read more. I'm very interested to read it when your revisions are done. Best of luck! :)

writing and living by Richard P Hughes said...

"the small beach town of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina"

You could delete the first 'beach'; so " the small town of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina."

Your query letter is giving us too much background information. It's telling us nothing much about what the story is about. Query letters should emphasize the plot without giving the entire story away. It should give us enough info to make us want to read the book.

"A call that, for the past twenty years, I may have secretly hoped for." is not a sentence.

You've used the word 'call' 3 times in the first 3 sentences.

Unknown said...

I think your hook would be stronger without telling us that alyssa is the protagonist, we've already assumed that. Also, I think you could get rid of the parentheses and maybe just say: Michael has become a widely known pop singer, husband, and father. I think you could also droop the So, in the sentence "when she gets the unexpected.... Your very last paragraph kind of repeats your second. I think you've done well, and don't really have to change much, maybe just take out a few words Good luck :)

Melodie Wright said...

This query needs work. You've categorized it as chick-lit but details in the Q suggest romance.

Think back of the book blurb to get the right tone. Right now, it's wordy without getting across the conflict...altho I'm guessing the conflict is the fact Alyssa and Michael aren't together yet.

SO: It's been 20 years since Alyssa Jones left her wallflower high-school life behind. But it takes just one phone call to send her spinning back into endless what-might-have-beens.

Because Alyssa's been in love with Michael Lastname ever since he was a teenage heartthrob. Now that he's a world famous rocker, she never thought their paths would cross. She was wrong. Etc.

Your excerpt is also filled with telling. Do we really need to know where she lives - and the real estate market there - in the first 150 words? Get us into her head ASAP. Make us care about her. Read some of your favorite romance (or chick lit) novels and pay attention to how authors do this.
Good luck!

Leslie Karst said...

Query: It sounds like the book is going to be about Alyssa's high school life, and we don't find out it's about her adult life until the second paragraph. (Also, I'd delete "the protag. in my contemp...novel.") I agree with Richard that the query gives too much background without enough plot. But it does sound like a compelling story.

1st 150 words: I like the first para--gets the reader interested right away. But the second para. has too much back-story before the reader has enough interest in the character to care much about her back-story. Love the "shimmery blue ribbon."