Monday, September 10, 2012

Pitch Polish #93


Title: Finders Keepers
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Word Count: 82,000


Query:

Brenna Moriarity is a witch. A witch with issues. After a near-miss with a nervous breakdown, Brenna gave up magic. Besides, between her duties as an on-air radio personality, hitting up Seattle’s clubs with her friends, avoiding a tyrannical coven leader, and keeping away from her delicious boss, there’s no time for practicing the craft.

But her gift won’t let her go so easily. See, Brenna can find things when no one else can. Things that may be better off lost. Like a ruby with the power to control anyone who comes into contact with it. Her best friend Jared steals it for her, thinking if she can master the magic deep in the stone, her problems will go away. 

His plan dies a quick death when someone steals it from him. Now he’s desperate to get it back, and Brenna’s the only one who can help him. Trapped by love and loyalty, she agrees, even though the search may rip her sanity to shreds.

First 150 Words:


    “No.”
    “Brenna, come on. When have I ever led you wrong?”
    I scowled at the wall, wishing Jared was in front of me instead of on the other end of the phone. I wanted him to see my face. “How about more often than not?”
    “Look, just because there was that one time the spirit got loose and wrecked your mom’s pantry-”
    “And the time where I had to go searching through your ex-girlfriend’s bedroom. And the time we had to break into the school. And the time you lost your keys at that party, only to remember you’d lent them to your brother, leading him to get in the accident...” Shit. Should not have gone there. “Jer, I’m sorry.”
    The line was quiet except for the faint background noises on Jared’s end of the phone. “‘S okay, Bren. That was pure stupidity on my part.” 

11 comments:

Nicole Zoltack said...

Interesting. I would like to know more about the near-miss that makes her give up magic. Good luck!

Michael McDuffee said...

For the most part, I dig the query. It definitely sets the tone for what I assume flows through the book. For some reason the word "Besides" in that third sentence really bothers me. I also worry that you may be overdoing it with the fragment-style sentences. There's nothing wrong with them, as they give you your unique tone, but as I got into the second paragraph of the query I began to really notice them. And that might get in the head of an agent. An agent who might otherwise pick this up.


It's a fine technique and you wield it well, but let the agent know there are some breaks. Breaks in exposition for the reader to think.

All in all I enjoyed it, and I'm trying to be nitpicky for the purposes of being constructive. Best of luck.

amycavenaugh said...

I think this query would be stronger if you say in the first sentence that she is a witch who had a near-miss with a nervous breakdown. A witch w/ issues could be any witch because really, everyone has issues. I also don't think you need the "Besides" and could start that sentence with "Between". I love the premise & think this could be a great novel.

The first 150 words are good although I'm not sure about beginning with the word "No" but I do really enjoy their conversation and would want to read more. Good work! Best of luck :)

Jessica Peterson said...

I agree with starting your query at "after a near miss...." it's more of a hook. I'd like to know more about what you're referring to as well, but I know it's hard to find a balance between giving just enough info for intrigue and giving away the whole story. I'd also get rid of the word 'besides' in the first paragraph. Actually I might get rid of that whole sentence because I feel like it doesn't really tie in with the rest of the query. I think you've done well at keeping things to the point and letting us know what it's about. Best of luck ;)

Nicole Mc said...

I love this. I think the query is engaging, but I'm not clear on the stakes. Do they relate back to the tyrannical coven leader? Her boss? It's not quite clear.

By the way, please let the delicious boss be a key role!! :)

As for the 150, I'd definitely keep reading. The voice is great and I already love the banter between Brenna and Jared. I do think it would be stronger if you started with the 'I scowled at the wall' line and then have her say "No." and go from there. Starting with dialogue is sometimes a tough one for some people.

Great job and good luck!! :)

BPatterson said...

Hullo!

I do agree with Michael's comment that the fragments got a little much in the second paragraph.

Possibly a rewrite like, "But her lack of practice is about to become a problem. Her well-meaning but disaster-prone best friend Jared, (a witch/thief/something), "borrowed" a ruby with the power to control anyone who comes into contact with it in hopes it would help Brenna get control of her powers and make all her problems go away. (This is a long clumsy sentence.)

Only now, someone stole it from Jared, and he's got to get it back where it belongs before (serious consequence here - not vague portents of disaster) The last line is good. :)

Also, I like the 150 sample. I'd really read on!

Good luck!
#94.




Also, I wonder who Jared is that he can apparently steal a priceless ruby from someone so easily. Is he also a witch?

And why does it matter if he gets it back or not? If he just got stolen from himself, I would (in Brenna's shoes) shrug my shoulders, tell him tough luck, and move on.



MPH2003 said...

Instead of starting with the fact that she's a witch with issues, you could even start with the fact that she's a witch who cannot fix her issues--those disasters you list in her conversation with Jer in the first 150 words. That way, you can establish that her magic works but leads to these other problems that she cannot handle, and thus her mental breakdowns that make her human even if she has extra powers.

I like the first 150 and the way you immediately jump into their relationship.

Nicole said...

I enjoyed the query and the excerpt.

A couple similar books you might want to check out:
- Finders Keepers by Linnea Sinclair (not similar in plot, just the title, though it's also UF)

- Magic Lost, Trouble Found by Lisa Shearin

Diane Riggins said...

Hi,
Good Query. Love the premise. Good luck!

Heather M Bryant said...

First up, loved your query. Even as is, I'd read more.


Brenna Moriarity is a witch. A witch with issues[COMBINE THESE TWO SENTENCES]. After a near-miss with a nervous breakdown, Brenna gave up magic. Besides, between her duties as an on-air radio personality, hitting up Seattle’s clubs with her friends, avoiding a tyrannical coven leader, and keeping away from her delicious boss, there’s no time for practicing the craft.[THIS IS A SOLID SENTENCE]

But her gift won’t let her go so easily. See, Brenna can find things when no one else can. Things that may be better off lost. Like a ruby with the power to control anyone who comes into contact with it.[THIS MAKES ME THINK SHE'S THE ONE THAT FOUND IT - NOT HER FRIEND] Her best friend Jared steals it for her, thinking if she can master the magic deep in the stone, her problems will go away.

His plan dies a quick death when someone steals it from him. Now he’s desperate to get it back, and Brenna’s the only one who can help him. Trapped by love and loyalty, she agrees, even though the search may rip her sanity to shreds.


Great query!

Kimoryy said...

Interesting. I would like to know more about the near-miss that makes her give up magic. Good luck!