Monday, September 10, 2012

Pitch Polish #56


Existence
Young Adult Science Fiction
60,000

Query:

Seventeen-year-old Chrissie Fox has a passion for Time Curving. Each assignment she and her father receive to travel to the past becomes more challenging. Their objective is to stop a group of agents called Time Flyers, whose main intent is to change the past in order to alter the future. She's put off any thoughts of friendship or romance in order to keep her trips to the past a secret. Even when a cute boy in town, Ashton, seems interested in her.
Life is perfect until Chrissie's father is stabbed by a Time Flyer in an attempt to steal the pocket watch that allows them to Curve through time. Before he dies, her father reveals that the watch has a second key. This key will let her travel through time at will, instead of the specific destinations it has previously given her. Despite wanting nothing more than to have her father back, she knows changing the past could rip the fabric of time and transform the future. It's safer leave the key alone.
For the first time, Chrissie almost lets herself be comforted by Ashton. Just as she's ready to confide in him, he discovers the watch and turns the key. Forced to travel with him, she finds herself at the scene of her father's death moments before the crime happened. Face to face with her father's murderer, Chrissie and Ashton set out to bring her father justice. 
Instead of finding that justice, her watch is stolen by the Time Flyers leaving both Chrissie and Ashton stuck in the past. In a race against time, Chrissie must recover her watch or risk the world's existence.
EXISTENCE, complete at 60,000 words is a young adult science fiction novel with series potential. Readers of Clockwise, Across the Universe, and Daniel X would enjoy this book.

First 150 Words:
Chrissie Fox could taste the metallic sting of time on her tongue. In one hand she held an ancient pocket watch with a cylindrical key inserted. Her other hand was entwined with her fathers. She took a deep breath to let the taste clear. Traveling from past to future was always a little unsettling and it took her a minute to adjust.
Her father let go of her hand and together they looked around. She was standing on an immaculate green lawn. To her right stood a stone gazebo, to her left a wrought iron gate.
Chrissie’s father cleared his throat, a map held out in front of him. “I think we’re at George Washington University.”
“And where is the President supposed to be again?”
“Washington Hilton Hotel. A few blocks west. We’ll have to run.”
“Got it.”
Chrissie took the key out of the back of the watch and slung both items around her neck and under her over-sized sweater.

5 comments:

Jadzia Brandli said...

I think this is a really interesting idea. I love time travel novels and this one sounds exciting, with that hint of romance in there (at least I hope). I think in your query, you could cut to the chase faster. I wasn't sure what the "Aha!" moment was supposed to be. Her father dying, the key he tells her about, Ashton turning the key, discovering the killer, deciding to bring her father justice, her watch being stolen, getting stuck back in time, having to find the watch...I think you need to make one of those the main focus of this and jump to your point quicker.

But really interesting concept, I especially love the word you used: Curving time. Awesome!

The first 150 words are interesting too. I like where you start. I'd read more.

Bluestocking said...

Ditto on interesting concept and provocative start.

I also agree that the query reads a little too long right now, with the main story muddied up a bit by all the different threads you are trying to convey here.

I think everything after that first paragraph break in your query is where things get a little synopsis-y and blow by blow. Try to sum it all up more concisely and you'll be in good shape.

Best of luck!

MPH2003 said...

I really like the opening line--how she tastes the key versus seeing it. The first 150 have me wanting to read more. In terms of the query, I agree with the above comments about cutting to the chase. "Despite wanting nothing more than to have her father back, she knows changing the past could rip the fabric of time and transform the future. It's safer leave the key alone." These lines, for example, set up enough and leave me wanting to read more. But you have much explanation between them and the beginning of the query. You have such an interesting premise that you do not want to bog down in too much explanation.

Sarah said...

I just love the idea for this. ;) I follow Agent Kristin Nelson's Blog, and one of the things she recommends is opening your query with a one sentence hook, the thing near the beginning of your novel that gets it moving. Consider trying this to propel agents into the rest of the query (and the story).

Also you may want to sit over a printed copy of your query with a red pen and try cutting 100 words out. I've done this more times than I can count already. The most important parts/ideas should be left behind, and then it should be easier to streamline them. As obsessive as I am, I have 9 different query drafts, the last two the most streamlined ones. I'm sure you won't need to go to that extreme, though.

There's a typo here: "It's safer leave the key alone." Just make sure to add a "to."

In your first 150 words, make sure you put an apostrophe in "fathers".

Sorry my help isn't more specific than that. Hit me up any time, if you want more.

EM Castellan said...

Your premise is very interesting. However your query is quite long and wordy. As other commenters have suggested, I would focus on the main plot points and tighten the whole thing. Best of luck with this, time travel stories are always cool!