Monday, September 17, 2012

Rd 1 Agent Pitch Contest #30 - GRETEL

GRETEL
MG fantasy/fairytale retelling
21,000

Query:

When Gretel takes a bite out of a witch’s house she not only puts herself in danger, but her younger brother Hansel as well. Forced to be the witch’s slave, making meals to fatten up the brother she loves, Gretel’s guilt grows.

Gretel learns that after the death of her mother, desperation caused the witch to trade her youth and beauty for a dark magic. Now Gretel’s the one who’s desperate, and the witch is looking to make a new deal. The witch will let Hansel go free if Gretel agrees to stay on as her slave. When Gretel comes of age, she must give her youth to the witch. Gretel is willing to make the deal, until she’s warned she will be helping the witch lure inmore children; children whose deaths would be on Gretel’s hands.

Gretel wants to save her brother more than anything, but is she willing to risk turning into a wicked witch herself?

First 150 words:

I picked the ripe, red apples from the tree that I had so carefully tended, hoping it would help us through the upcoming season. My summer had been filled with planning for the winter ahead. Hansel said I was a pessimist, a worrier, but he was wrong. I was a realist.

Hansel was a dreamer.

Usually I found his 'can-do' attitude annoying, but not that day. The sun shone through the branches as I picked the apples and placed them, one by one,in the basket. Soon the leaves would fall, the very air would freeze and snow would cover the forest. But right then it was warm, there were apples to eat, and if my little brother wanted to believe he could fix everything then who was I to tell him he couldn't?

"How many apples are there?" Hansel asked, shading his eyes from the sun as he looked up at me from where he sat.

5 comments:

SugarMagnolia said...

Thanks for participating! My plan is to read through all the entries and then begin my comments and critiques. I will give out my top ten my votes when I'm finished.

Best of luck to you, and stay tuned!

SugarMagnolia said...

(Hi again! I plan to give out comments during this round, and then I'll give out my top ten votes as soon as I have critiqued everyone's queries.)

I love fairy tale re-imaginings, and I have always been partial to this story. I like the fact that you've taken the concept and made it your own; I also appreciate the way you've made the witch so three-dimensional.

Your first 150 words are rich, and I already feel like I understand who Gretel is. I can begin to see why her future decision to save/not save Hansel will be so hard for her.

My biggest concern is your word count. MG fantasies generally run between 35,000-75,000 words, and I've heard the sweet spot is usually between 45,000-65,000 words. Your story is 14,000 words under the lower cut-off, and--while that's certainly not an automatic death sentence--it will make your novel much harder to place.

Is there any way you can "fatten" the story up slightly?

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

SugarMagnolia,
I have been putting a lot of thought into that. It feels complete to me now, and I don't want to add just to add. That said, I am definitely trying to come up with smart ways to add to it. Thanks for your comments!

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