Sunday, July 26, 2015

1st 5 Pages July Workshop - Dyer Pitch

Name: Jennifer Dyer
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Title: BLUE SERENITY


For two hundred years, Princess Serenity’s people have hidden from their ruthless enemy, the telepaths. They think they’re safe, but they’re wrong.

Serenity has always felt like an outsider. All her life, she’s kept her telepathy a secret, but today, on her eighteenth birthday, she'll take an oath designed to uncover any knowledge of the enemy. If her secret is revealed, she and those who protect her will be declared traitors and executed.

But an explosion brings something new and terrifying to her world. Serenity is the only one with the power to defeat it, but she cannot do it alone. A handsome stranger offers to help, but trusting him could mean the end of her heart.

To do nothing is to let her people die. To act on their behalf risks exposure. Only Serenity and her secret can save them, if she can resist the allure of the enemy.

Some secrets are too dangerous to keep.

16 comments:

  1. So my main comment overall is that I think the flow of this is a bit jerky. We go from the enemy facing Serenity's people, to the threat to Serenity, to a new threat entirely, to an issue of love. And a lot of it is phrased vaguely. I don't know what the threat actually is (the telepaths, or something new entirely?) and I don't know if the handsome stranger is the same person you refer to when she says she must resist the allure of the enemy.

    Also there are a few places where I think you can remove words/condense lines. Like:

    'from their ruthless enemy, the telepaths' could just be the 'from the telepaths' which implies they're enemies.

    And: 'telepathy a secret, but today, on her eighteenth birthday' could just be 'telepathy a secret, but on her eighteenth birthday'

    'she'll take' should be 'she takes'

    The last line is punchy and nice, but I don't think it adds anything as a last line. It doesn't raise the stakes anymore.

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  2. I agree that the flow of this is a little jerky. I also think it takes a little too long to get to the point of the story and is missing the conflict. Try to start off with a short sentence telling us who she is before the story, and then move on to inciting the goal. Once we know that, you can tell us what she has to lose and why it will be hard (including the handsome stranger). Don't forget to list all of the major conflicts she has to overcome. Conflict is the meat of the novel and while I'm sure this one has more than just her need to hide her secret, it is not being shown through this pitch.

    Good luck!
    Holly

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    1. Thanks for your help, Holly! This gives me some great direction...and I needed it! Back cover copy is so difficult for me to write.

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  3. Jennifer, I agree with the above comments. As I read it I wished I had a red pen to condense and write comments. While some vagueness is good because you want the agent to be intrigued enough to ask for pages, too much vagueness could lose your opportunity. "An explosion brings something new and terrifying..." is way too vague. I want to know what that new thing is and why is she is the only one that can defeat it...and yet she can't do it alone...which in itself is conflicting. And is the stranger and the enemy the same person? I think you need a punchier beginning. I do love your last line and I think you can keep it. Your writing is beautiful and I know with the advice you've been given, you'll transform this pitch into something sparkly.

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    1. Wendy,
      Thanks so much for your help. This is some great feedback, and I really needed it! :-) Back to work!

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  4. Jennifer, I agree with the above comments. As I read it I wished I had a red pen to condense and write comments. While some vagueness is good because you want the agent to be intrigued enough to ask for pages, too much vagueness could lose your opportunity. "An explosion brings something new and terrifying..." is way too vague. I want to know what that new thing is and why is she is the only one that can defeat it...and yet she can't do it alone...which in itself is conflicting. And is the stranger and the enemy the same person? I think you need a punchier beginning. I do love your last line and I think you can keep it. Your writing is beautiful and I know with the advice you've been given, you'll transform this pitch into something sparkly.

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  5. I agree with all that has been said. It is too vague. The first two lines are great, and the second gives some background - so just tighten it. From the 3rd paragraph on - I'd cut and start fresh focusing on tension and conflict. As Wendy said, I have full faith in you!

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Erin! I so appreciate the advice. And I needed it! Writing pitch paragraphs is definitely an art form. :-) Thanks for all you do in the workshop--I know you give a lot of time and energy to helping other writers. You are appreciated!

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  6. I think the first two paragraphs is backstory and too much of it. I would like to see more detail about the love interest and having to save her people. It was a little to vague for me to get into the story.

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    1. Thanks, Eric. I've really struggled to figure out how to write this pitch. I so appreciate the advice!

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  7. I think you should make the second paragraph your first. Since Serenity is the main character, that’s who we need to know about. I like the sentence, “Serenity has always felt like an outsider.” Make it “Princess Serenity,” and you’ve got a good start. Immediately we know the main character, something about her, and a sense of the conflict. The only thing I’m confused about in this paragraph is how the oath is designed to uncover knowledge of the enemy. I can’t wrap my brain around that. But maybe that’s just me.

    Immediately following this paragraph, what is Serenity’s goal? Does she want to get out of the oath? Does she try to find a way to lie during the oath? What does she want and what are some obstacles she faces that prevent her from reaching her goal?

    The last paragraph should include the stakes. What happens if Serenity doesn’t achieve her goal? You’ve done a good job establishing that.

    I hope this helps! Hang in there! :)

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  8. Hi Jennifer!

    So I think you’re close with this, because it DOES sound interesting, buuuut it’s very, very vague, which is an issue I see with pitches a lot.

    Generally, you want to try to make your pitch as detailed as you can without it being confusing, so that it could only describe your book. Phrases like “her secret” “something new and terrifying” “power to defeat it” etc. I feel could be more specific so we get a better sense of your book.

    I’d encourage you to get more specific. What, exactly, is Serenity’s enemy? What is this threat? What power does she have that could save them? What is this “allure of the enemy” and why is it so hard to resist?

    You’ve got a lot of the most important parts in place. I just think you need to push a LITTLE more to get the details in there that will really make your pitch stand out.

    I hope this helps! Good luck with your writing and querying!

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    1. Thank you for all your help, Ava! And thanks for the encouraging words! I'll get back to work on this. :-)

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  9. Jennifer,
    I'm sorry I'm so late in commenting. I'm not sure I can add anything to what has already been said. I reread the comments and your pitch. It's too vague to portray the Serenity we met in the first 5 pages. I love your idea and the development of Serenity. But her name needs to be in there early.
    Good luck. I think you're on the right track.
    Julie

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