Monday, September 10, 2012

Pitch Polish #87

TITLE OF MANUSCRIPT: Burning Bridges
GENRE: Science Fiction/Fantasy
WORD COUNT: Unknown at this time (not quite done...why I am polishing, not entering for an agent yet!)

Query:

AURORA NORDEN lost the very reasons her heart beat. Until destiny, and a special rottweiler, strolled into her life and changed everything she knew about the world.
A car accident took Aurora's husband and three kids. She thought about suicide but instead moved through each day, trying to find a reason to keep living without them. After selling everything but enough to fill four boxes, quitting her job as an assistant professor and moving to a place far from home, she settled into renovating an old house and refused to think about her losses. A year later the house next door was sold to a young woman, Kara, her six year old son, Levi, and a rottweiler, Proxy.
A lightning strike changes Aurora's view of the world and reveals the true nature of her neighbors. Destiny chose Aurora to help others with oncoming changes in parallel worlds and prepare creatures of legend to be integrated into one universe. But destiny gives Aurora the help she needs in Proxy, her guide and guardian. Levi, the six year old with a similar genetic mutation, who opens the bridges to other places and Kara, trainer in all things survival and anchor in Aurora's upside down new reality.
Aurora accepts her new destiny before finding out that the gods have chosen her as well. To be their broodmare. Her genetic mutation, activated by the lightning, not only allows her to travel through the eleventh dimension, but also enables her to give birth to some of the most powerful women in history – Valkyrie. Odin wants to breed with her, Frigga wants to raise the children and Freyja wants to train them. They don't understand that Aurora will never allow her children to be taken again and despite being human, she will prove her ferocity and ability to best them in a fight for her reason to live.

Burning Bridges is a Science Fiction/Fantasy novel complete at xx,xxx words.  

First 150 Words:

My body may continue to live, but my heart and soul died that day. I worked late and Matt, my husband, picked the kids up from their after school activities. If I had picked them up, could I have avoided the accident? Would I still have my beloved husband and three kids? Would I have chosen a different route? I don't know and these are the questions that keep me up at night. As it has for almost four years. I quit my job as an assistant professor at Oklahoma State University one week after the accident. I sold everything except my wedding ring and our pictures. I bought a truck, packed my four boxes and left. I never cried.

7 comments:

cstuarthardwick said...

AURORA NORDEN(I don't think this should be all caps. I gather this is the name of the MC and the work, but it is used here as a character name),  lost the very reasons her heart beat.(okay, but that doesn't tell me what the story is about). Until destiny, and a special rottweiler, strolled into her life and changed everything she knew about the world.(This is a fragment. You can use fragments at times, but the second line of a query is not the place to start).

“Aurora Norden's heart had lost its reasons for beating. Then a special rottweiler strolled into her life and changed everything she knew about the world.” (This is tighter, but still too vague.)

Which is the agent of change in her life, the lightning strike or the dog? Whichever it is, tell me about the agent of change and its action on her. Skip the dry synopsis. You don't need it here. I don't need to know, for example, how many kids or their names. Make me care about the MC.

Hope this is helpful.


My body may continue to live, but mMy heart and soul died that day. (this is stronger, and the fact that the speaker is alive is sort of the assumed until stated otherwise).
(The next three sentences could be condensed—that is, put more concisely).
I worked late and Matt, my husband, picked the kids up from their after school activities. If I had picked them up, could I have avoided the accident? Would I still have my beloved husband and three kids? Would I have chosen a different route? I don't know and these are the questions that keep me up at night. As it has for almost four years.(fragment) ...

T.J. said...

Thank you! Any eyes/opinions on this is helpful, never doubt that :)

Jessica Peterson said...

It might be hard to write your query if you haven't finished your book.... Right now, it has way too much information and too many characters, I have an idea what the story is about but am having a hard time on bringing my focus to the main idea. I think your hook needs a little work, but I do think it's hiding somewhere in your first paragraph. The four questions you want to answer to make this clear are:1. WHO is this story about? 2. WHAT does he/she want? 3. WHAT stands in her/his way? 4. WHAT is he/she willing to risk to get it?

You have a good concept, and it's a good start. Best of luck :)

T.J. said...

Thank you Jessica :) This is actually a complete rewrite of a concept that I wrote but it was SO BAD. But you are right, I didn't do the query right. I am going back to the drawing board :)

Lauren said...

The query reads more like a synopsis than a query. You can leave out most of the characters and the back story, and you need a really strong hook for a strong premise. Personally I'd start with something like "Gods Aurora doesn't even believe in have chosen her to be their broodmare." But that's just me.

The first paragraph is simply a recap of the first 150 words of the book, so I'd remove that and start with the second paragraph. It would need a new introduction, though, if you decide to go that way.

And it may seem like a nit-pick, but I'd change the word "destiny" to fate or some such. At first I thought this was another character who just hadn't been introduced yet.

I had to laugh about Odin, because he always wanted to "breed" with anyone he could get his hands on, and his wife was always trying to kill his lovers and his children.

Lauren

T.J. said...

It does read like a synopsis, doesn't it? thank you so much for your input, I really do appreciate it! I am taking notes of the critiques.

D. D. Falvo said...

Gah! I only *just* found this. I'm so sad, and sorry about that, TJ. I hope my comments will still be of some small use.

Awesome the opening sentence/hook! Then, "Special" does the job but I'd love a specific word for the rottweiler, something unique to make me sit up and say, "Oh, he's intriguing."

"everything but enough to fill four boxes" --great imagery! I hope you use this in your novel.

"A year later the house next door was sold," --I would like present tense--*is* sold.

The second para. is exciting! Wow! Good stuff.

Your concluding para. did a great job posing the story question and creating interest for reading on. :D

Writing queries is so hard, isn't it? I read what your other commenters had to say and agree you have a knack for writing a synopsis! Lol. May I suggest targeting your key points briefly and then filling from there?

First para.: Lost family, moved and got new neighbors a year later. I'd love to feel more "immediacy" here. Make the new neighbors the "now." Start out with the lightening strike b/c that's where your story begins. Maybe say that's what jump starts her heart again--then tell why it stopped beating to begin with. You can pepper in all your great details as you go.

Second para.: Plot overview. The magical details are awesome, but the focus has shifted me away from your MC.

Third para.: Lots of specific detail brings me back to the MC, but the focus is still wide with all the god's motivations.

May I suggest reducing para. one, and adding para. two to it? Then, tighten the focus, conflict and story premise in para. three. Give us the heart of what you've already written and tease us with the possibilities. You have such a great gift of expressing the joy you experience from life--use that to make us care about Aurora's plight. Tie the loss of her family to the conflict to save her future children--and show how fed up she is with life taking away her choices. You have clear motivation and goals--let them do the work for you. :D

First 150:
I felt the sadness, and determination. I would have loved more impact--make me feel the accident as if it just happened. You are a gorgeous writer--I read your blog. Use your sharp skill to hone this into a passage that makes me gasp with her heartache. Try this--rewrite the para. with the goal of reducing "I." Make the info feel more immediate as though I experiencing her pain as though it just happened.

I'd love to read your story one day! It has all the elements of a delicious read that I can't wait to sink into. Good luck, T. J.!