Monday, September 10, 2012

Pitch Polish #40


The Partizans
YA Paranormal
74,000 words

Query:

Becoming a witch isn’t what sixteen-year-old Hannah Slaughtery has in mind when she transfers to Piaculum Academy. Neither was fighting against monsters she doesn’t believe in with strangers she’s not even sure she likes.
But when she attends a retreat at Piaculum Academy, she discovers she’s part of the next generation of Partizans, a band of supernatural warriors dating back to the dawn of man. Hannah must decide how much of her humanity she’s willing to sacrifice to stand against the Formorians, a ruthless and tyrannical empire of demons who have been wiping out the Partizan lines for generations in order to make way for their own ascension.
Making things worse is the unexpected attraction to Finn, another Partizan, who seems to be going out of his way to make her uncomfortable. Still, if not for him, walking away would be easy.
When Hannah spontaneously begins her metaphysical transformation, there’s only one thing she knows for sure: the carefree days of her youth have come to a screeching halt.
The Partizans, a YA paranormal is complete at 74,000 words and has series potential. 


First 150 Words:

Hannah Slaughtery’s courage faltered as the imposing iron gate creaked open. The late afternoon light filtered through the snow-topped pine trees as she steered her car through the high fence that separated the Piaculum Academy from the rest of the world. Inching forward, something in the air caused Hannah a shiver to ripple down her spine. It was as if the wind was charged with bursts of electricity. Like something was not quite right, and yet, as she continued down the tranquil drive, she felt protected for the first time in her life.

Up ahead was a security checkpoint with dark tinted windows manned by a guard with a military haircut and aviator sunglasses. As he opened the window, Hannah noticed the faint scent of coconut sunscreen, which struck her as odd. After all, it was mid-December. 

10 comments:

Todd R. Moody said...

Your pitch hit all the right notes. I really don't see anything wrong with it. Great job! But I will offer a few minor critiques on your first 150. The second sentence feels like there is too much description for one sentence, I ony took out one word at the beginning but it feels wordy.

Tranquil drive didn't seem right after the shiver so I added seemingly. You get the idea. Good luck today!


Hannah Slaughtery’s courage faltered as the imposing iron gate creaked open. LATE afternoon light filtered through the snow-topped pine trees as she steered her car through the high fence that separated the Piaculum Academy from the rest of the world. Inching forward, something in the air SHOT a shiver down her spine. It was as if the wind was charged with bursts of electricity. SOMETHING was not quite right, and yet, as she continued down the SEEMINGLY tranquil drive, she felt protected for the first time in her life.

Up ahead was a security checkpoint with dark tinted windows manned by a guard with a military haircut and aviator sunglasses. As he opened the window, Hannah noticed the faint scent of coconut sunscreen, which struck her as odd. After all, it was mid-December.

Nicole Zoltack said...

You need a stronger hook to begin your query. Right now, your first paragraph is too vague.

lizhellebuyck said...

Hi, Thanks so much for helping me out with my pitch. I hope my notes are helpful to you.

Becoming a witch isn’t what sixteen-year-old Hannah Slaughtery has in mind when she transfers to Piaculum Academy. [The way this is written, it implies she had something else in mind instead. I'm not clear if she didn't know that witches existed in the first place, or if she preferred a different vocation.] Neither IS fighting against monsters she doesn’t believe in [If you tell me in the first sentence she doesn't believe in the magic stuff, here you can get more specific about what she doesn't believe in.] with strangers [her new classmates?] she’s not even sure she likes. [This is vague]
But when she attends a retreat at Piaculum Academy, she discovers she’s part of the next generation of Partizans, a band of supernatural warriors dating back to the dawn of man. Hannah must decide how much of her humanity she’s willing to sacrifice [Why does she have to sacrifice her humanity?] to stand against the Formorians, a ruthless and tyrannical empire of demons who have been wiping out the Partizan lines for generations in order to make way for their own ascension.
Making things worse is the unexpected attraction to Finn, another Partizan, who seems to be going out of his way to make her uncomfortable [how?]. Still, if not for him, walking away would be easy.
When Hannah spontaneously begins her metaphysical transformation, there’s only one thing she knows for sure: the carefree days of her youth have come to a screeching halt.
The Partizans, a YA paranormal is complete at 74,000 words and has series potential.


First 150 Words:

Hannah Slaughtery’s courage faltered as the [delete imposing] iron gate creaked open. The late afternoon light filtered through the snow-topped pine trees as she steered her car through the high fence that separated the Piaculum Academy from the rest of the world. Inching forward [do cars inch forward? That seems slow.], something in the air caused [delete Hannah] a shiver to ripple down her spine. It was as if the wind was charged with [delete bursts of] electricity. [delete Like] something was not quite right, and yet, as she continued down the tranquil drive, she felt protected for the first time in her life.

Up ahead was a security checkpoint with dark tinted windows manned by a guard with a military haircut and aviator sunglasses. As he opened the window, Hannah noticed the faint scent of coconut sunscreen, which struck her as odd. After all, it was mid-December.

I love the scent of coconut in December line! I want to know more!

I think you have a really great 150, though you could take out a few words.

Good luck. Happy GUTGAA! :)

MPH2003 said...

"When Hannah spontaneously begins her metaphysical transformation, there’s only one thing she knows for sure: the carefree days of her youth have come to a screeching halt."--I love this last line of the query, a definite YA fit.

While I agree with previous comments about too much description, I also have a strong feel for her world. I especially like the paradox of the following sentences: "Inching forward, something in the air caused Hannah a shiver to ripple down her spine. It was as if the wind was charged with bursts of electricity. Like something was not quite right, and yet, as she continued down the tranquil drive, she felt protected for the first time in her life." Those lines make me want to read on so that I know why she feels safe when everything about this situation is so new for her. I do wonder though about your use of tranquil that follows "bursts of electricity." Maybe another word would still capture this paradox while also not conflicting so directly with the previous sentence.

Jenna and Ashley said...

Query:
I got bogged down by all the capital P words. Can you take one or two out without losing the meaning?

First 150:
-Be weary of adding too many adjectives or descriptors that could bog down your sentences. Second sentence is loaded with them. I would rewrite to: Light filtered through the snow-topped pine trees as she drove through the fence, the only thing separating Piaculum Academy from the world.
-Inching forward, something in the air caused Hannah (delete Hannah) a shiver to ripple down her spine.
-Take out "tranquil" before drive in par. 1. I don't think it's necessary. Protected in the next sentence gives off a feeling of peace.
-Par. 2: dark and tinted mean the same thing, delete one.
-Noticing a scent isn't as strong as you could get. What about: He smelled faintly of coconut sunscreen. In the middle of December?
That would give it more voice. If she is a teen, she might really think like that. Unless you want formal language throughout, then keep what you have.

Thanks for stopping by my pitch! I hope these help!
-Jenna

Heather M Bryant said...

Your pitch was really good and covered the majority of the bases. I agree that you need a bit of a stronger opening and, it's probably just personal preference, but I really hate made up words that are impossible to pronounce. The name of your school did it for me. It's not something that's a deal-breaker but it IS something that will turn me off if everything else doesn't sit perfectly.

JenfromtheBlock said...

Thanks for your helpful comments on my pitch. I'm a total witch junkie, so your idea is right up my alley. Your pitch flows, but I agree with those who have said your opening line could be amped up. It's a perfect opportunity to sneak in something about Hannah. For instance, you could play off how girls her age might be witchy in general, except around cute boys, or how Hannah's parallel to a witch increases every month for about one week.Or maybe her mom has called her one during a fight and Hannah gets to the school and wryly comments that her mom was right for once. It's hard for me to say, because I feel like I know so little about Hannah's disposition, but you need to pack some of her personality in. In contrast, your clincher sentence is spot on and your first 150 really builds anticipation with the car-ride down the winding road. Nice job.

Sarah J Schmitt said...

New Version of Query:

When sixteen-year-old Hannah Slaughtery leaves behind her safe bubble of home schooling to enroll in the exclusive Piaculum Academy, she expects life to be different. But becoming a witch and fighting against monsters she doesn’t believe in isn’t what she has in mind.

After an aerial assault by supposedly mythical winged snake-like creatures, Hannah discovers she’s part of the next generation of Partizans, a band of supernatural warriors whose origins date back to the dawn of man. In order to stand against the Formorians, a ruthless and tyrannical empire of demons, Hannah must make a choice: refuse her calling and shrink into the background in order to protect everyone she’s loves or swallow her fear and accept her demon-filled legacy.

Making things more complicated is the unexpected attraction she has toward Finn, another Partizan, who seems to be going out of his way to make her uncomfortable. Still, if not for him, walking away might not be such a bad idea.

When Hannah spontaneously begins her metaphysical transformation, there’s only one thing she knows for sure: the carefree days of her youth have come to a screeching halt.

The Partizans, a YA paranormal is complete at 74,000 words and has series potential. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you.


Old Version

Becoming a witch isn’t what sixteen-year-old Hannah Slaughtery has in mind when she transfers to Piaculum Academy. Neither was fighting against monsters she doesn’t believe in with strangers she’s not even sure she likes.

But when she attends a retreat at Piaculum Academy, she discovers she’s part of the next generation of Partizans, a band of supernatural warriors dating back to the dawn of man. Hannah must decide how much of her humanity she’s willing to sacrifice to stand against the Formorians, a ruthless and tyrannical empire of demons who have been wiping out the Partizan lines for generations in order to make way for their own ascension.

Making things worse is the unexpected attraction to Finn, another Partizan, who seems to be going out of his way to make her uncomfortable. Still, if not for him, walking away would be easy.

When Hannah spontaneously begins her metaphysical transformation, there’s only one thing she knows for sure: the carefree days of her youth have come to a screeching halt.

The Partizans, a YA paranormal is complete at 74,000 words and has series potential.

Valerie Ipson said...

I had to leave in the middle of composing my comment earlier and now it is gone...I won't repeat what others have said, but in the first 150 I wanted to point out that if the windows are darkly tinted than I doubt she can see the guard's haircut and glasses. I'd start it differently anyway--not say "Up ahead..."--maybe A security checkpoint with dark tinted windows came (but a better verb) into view." Have the guard open the window and then she notices hair, glasses, sunscreen.

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