Monday, September 10, 2012

Pitch Polish #106


TITLE OF MS:IMPACT: A Memoir of a Car Accident and PTSD
GENRE:Adult, memoir        
WORD COUNT:88,000  words

Query:

A car accident takes a few seconds of your life; the impact continues for years.
One sunny spring morning , on your way to an appointment, without warning a Jeep veers into your car, causing a four-vehicle collision. You are lucky—you emerge with nothing worse than severe bruising and a broken arm. But then you begin having nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks. You try to move on, but find your life spinning out of control as the terror keeps recurring in your mind...
  
First 150 Words:  CHAPTER 1: The Crash

 “Good for you, Mom.” Caroline says, grinning at me from the passenger’s seat as I turn onto the recent extension of Bridge Street. “You’re taking the new short cut without even being reminded.”
“Smart Alec,” I reply.
Caroline laughs. She gets her poor sense of direction from me, which makes our mock rivalry absurd to anyone who can turn three corners without getting lost.
“Laugh away,” I say, smiling. At least she’s going in for the doctor’s appointment I booked for her. Her allergies to dust and smoke have been acting up lately. Nevertheless, she didn’t want the appointment; she’d rather have sat in the sun reading a fantasy novel.
It’s Thursday, May 1st, 2003. The morning is brilliant with sunshine after a long winter, fragrant with an early spring breeze. Caroline has just returned home from her second year of university, with a month off before her summer job starts. At nineteen, a month is forever.


12 comments:

JenfromtheBlock said...

The brevity of your query makes a big impact and you're able to establish the characters very well in the first 150 words. Nice job!

Lauren said...

I agree that the query makes a big impact. However, I'd suggest you take it a little further and introduce the characters before you end.

Michael Sirois said...

I like the idea of your story. My wife went through a horrendous accident, and came out unscathed (physically), but spent several years avoiding certain driving situations (and still cringes when there's a car wreck on TV).

Your writing is good.

Reading the 150 words after reading the query, I assumed the mom was the one who had the wreck, but it would a good idea to specify that in the query, and (yes), introduce your characters there too.

Good luck.

Kel Heinen said...

I liked the query; it drew me and made me want to read more.

Your opening is good, but it felt...forced? I'm not up on memoir, but the dialogue doesn't seem to flow. It might just be that it's between a mother and teenaged daughter (my mom and I could usually carry on a conversation, but had our awkward moments). I just didn't feel like the flow was there. I'd be tempted to say start with the date and then introduce your characters from there.

Jessica Peterson said...

I liked your query, it made me want to read your book. I believe there are many people out there who have gone through the same thing and therefore would be interested in this. Good job.

amycavenaugh said...

I have to disagree with the previous comments. The query didn't grab me and I felt it could be more personal and introduce the characters, at least. True I don't read a lot of memoir but I expected more detail. It's short and to the point, which is good, but wouldn't make me want to read the book. The first 150 words are better and I feel now like I know something about the characters, although I would like to know which one is in the accident. Or is it both of them?
Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

I like the opening line to the query, but maybe you should change “continues for years” to “is felt for years” I feel the query is too short and isn’t giving enough info. Maybe say how it has affected your life (see below).

“You try to move on, but find your life spinning out of control as the terror keeps recurring in your mind... “ Tell us how your life spinning out of control. Fired from job? Divorce/separation? Insomnia? Etc. Also tell us who the POV character is.

I liked the excerpt better, though you might want to consider starting with the paragraph “It’s Thursday, May 1st, 2003…” This not only establishes the timeframe, but also shows us a hopeful spring day, full of sunshine and new beginnings. Which, of course, is soon to be shattered.

Creepy Query Girl said...

It's powerful already but I think it'd be even more powerful if we're told a little about the MC who is having to deal with the repercussions from the accident, the stakes, and the consequences if he/she doesn't discover cope with/discover some way out of the terror. The 'You' tactic doesn't work well for me. We aren't reading about ourselvevs. We're reading about the MC and a query is a way to give us a glimpse into the life and personality and make us want to read on.

Cynthia said...

I like the premise of your story. I was wondering if perhaps, the perspective from the query can shift from second person to that of the story's narrator, or whoever the main character is.

Jane Ann McLachlan said...

Hi guys,
I know the contest is over, but if anyone's still willing, I'd appreciate your comments on my revision.
IMPACT: A Memoir of a Car Accident and PTSD
Adult, memoir
88,000 words

Query:
A car accident takes a few seconds of your life; the impact continues for years.
One sunny spring morning , on your way to an appointment, without warning a Jeep veers into your car, causing a four-vehicle collision. You are lucky—you emerge with nothing worse than severe bruising and a broken arm. But then you begin having nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks. You try to move on, but find your life spinning out of control as the terror keeps recurring in your mind...

Nine years ago, all I knew about post traumatic stress disorder was that it happened to war veterans. Then, following a car accident that trapped me in my car for over an hour, I learned a lot more than I ever wanted to know about PTSD. I didn’t get a divorce, I didn’t become addicted to drugs or alcohol or end up on the street. I’m just a normal person with a normal family, who went through a terrifying experience, and managed, together, to survive it.


First 150 Words: CHAPTER 1: The Crash

“Good for you, Mom.” Caroline says, grinning at me from the passenger’s seat as I turn onto the recent extension of Bridge Street. “You’re taking the new short cut without even being reminded.”
“Smart Alec,” I reply.
Caroline laughs. She gets her poor sense of direction from me, which makes our mock rivalry absurd to anyone who can turn three corners without getting lost.
“Laugh away,” I say, smiling. At least she’s going in for the doctor’s appointment I booked for her. Her allergies to dust and smoke have been acting up lately. Nevertheless, she didn’t want the appointment; she’d rather have sat in the sun reading a fantasy novel.
It’s Thursday, May 1st, 2003. The morning is brilliant with sunshine after a long winter, fragrant with an early spring breeze. Caroline has just returned home from her second year of university, with a month off before her summer job starts. At nineteen, a month is forever.

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