Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Next Contest....

The Next Contest—For the Truly Brave

So, I’m heading out to Reno tomorrow, which almost sounds like an old Glenn Campbell song or something, doesn’t it? But before I go, I thought I’d announce our end of summer contest, which is open as of now!

Let’s call it a Core Concept Contest. In other words, for those of you brave enough to post your one line pitch, then you can enter the drawing for a three chapter critique at the end of August. We’re going to pick THREE winners on this one, drawn at random from the list of participants, but here’s the catch: you have to be willing to let the blog visitors critique your one-liner. Game? Then start posting. We can consider it a kind of pitching clinic as we work together to refine your short presentation for agents and editors.

This time, however, let me assign the numbers. It became quite confusing on the last contest, so I think it will work best that way.

So, to outline the guidelines, here you go:

1) Three winners will be drawn from random, and to enter you must post your one line pitch.
2) You have to be willing to let all of us discuss your pitch and critique it together.
3) The contest will run until August 31st.
4) You have to be a regular blog visitor.
5) The prize will be a critique of three chapters by Deidre Knight.
6) Have fun!

366 Comments:

Anonymous beejay said...

A regular blog visitor. Hmmm. I'm a regular visitor but only post the occasional comment. Does that count?

Have a great conference! Can we enter more than once? You knew someone was going to ask that. It might as well be me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 at 12:48:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Kiki said...

I've started reading this blog fairly recently (2 months? Three maybe?). Does that qualify?
Do we post our one-line pitches here, or somewhere else?
*feeling brave, or foolish*

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 at 7:22:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Vernieda said...

What about the folks who are regular visitors but lurk?

Hope everyone has fun doing this! Too bad I write fantasy.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 at 9:43:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Shana said...

I have the same question as vernieda--can we enter if we're regular visitors, but only lurk? (I'm always shy about commenting!)

Good luck to everyone who enters!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 at 10:04:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Bethany said...

I'm in. I'm a regular visitor-- only post occassionally, and have submitted to you in the past.

I think that counts! :-) Let me know where to post the one-liner!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 at 12:04:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Destruction Angel said...

One line pitch?

Oh boy.

Question: Does the critique have to be of the 3 chapters be the one pitched?

DA--thinking thinking thinking

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 at 1:47:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jana J. Hanson said...

I'll add another question: I suppose the chapters have to be written out on paper as opposed to in my head. ;)

I have a pretty good story (and an idea for a sequel) but nothing but a couple of paragraphs written.

This contest is great motivation for me to write those 3 chapters!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 at 2:34:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Natalie Damschroder said...

Okay, since Deidre is now in Reno, I'm going to assume she wants us to post here and will get us started.

Soul of the Dragon

A freelance espionage agent embarks on a seemingly fruitless quest to free her soulmate from the curse put on him by a jealous mage—a curse that turned him into a dragon and kept them apart for a thousand years.


Go to town, critiquers!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 at 3:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Ellen Fisher said...

Eeeek... we have to pitch in front of everyone? But I'm no good at sports!

*Crawls under desk and peeks out at braver pitchers*

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 at 5:05:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Angela said...

Natalie Damschroder wrote:

Soul of the Dragon

A freelance espionage agent embarks on a seemingly fruitless quest to free her soulmate from the curse put on him by a jealous mage—a curse that turned him into a dragon and kept them apart for a thousand years.


I'd take out 'seemingly fruitless' and maybe even 'freelance.'

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 at 10:55:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Jessica Madden said...

Great contest! Here's mine (does this make me #2?):

Sex Starved: The Tale of a Succubus

When angels and vampires engage in a showdown over a missing halo, it’s up to reluctant, newly-fledged succubus Jackie to butt in and save the day – but doing so will require her to choose between the two impossibly sexy men in her (after)life.


Looking forward to feedback! thanks!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 at 11:37:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Nalini Singh said...

You guys are so brave! Good on you. :)

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 2:56:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Shalanna Collins said...

Well, why not. This is a pitchline for a different book, not the one that's under consideration (or will be as soon as I get the courage to e-mail it in again--I started re-reading it and got cold feet).

This is magical YA chick lit. Or something.

"Camille MacTavish is a seventeen-year-old runaway with a magical toy dragon in her pocket, a trinket taken from a sorcerer; the magic she unwittingly wields once the "luckpiece" is attuned to her gets out of hand, and she and the friends she has made on the road must defeat the dark forces to prevent a rending of the very fabric of space-time."

And just think, I didn't want to market it as a fantasy.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 4:19:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

Natalie, I love your pitch, but I agree take out the freelance and the seemingly fruitless. I'd definitely read this book.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 10:17:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Amie Stuart said...

Soul of the Dragon

A freelance espionage agent embarks on a quest to free her soulmate from the curse put on him by a jealous mage—a curse that turned him into a dragon and kept them apart for a thousand years.
****
Natalie I'm with the other ladies on all counts and I'm wondering could you just say "spy" instead of espionage agent with the same effect? I'd also definitely read this too =)

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 10:32:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Natalie Damschroder said...

Angela and Elizabeth:

Thanks for the feedback! I admit I added both those things after I drafted the first attempt because I thought the conflict should be more obvious and because I wanted to try to make it clear that it's contemporary, without saying, "this is contemporary." But you're right, it is much smoother without them.

Jessica, I can't find anything to change in yours. You provide the setting, the conflict, a hint as to the motivation (sounds like she "butts in" a lot!) and the type of book...looks really good to me!

Shalanna, yours feels long to me, but each piece in the sentence conveys vital information. It's hard to try to pull anything out. How about this?

"A seventeen-year-old runaway unwittingly wields powerful magic when the magical toy dragon she took from a sorcerer becomes attuned to her, and she and the friends she has made on the road must defeat dark forces to prevent a rending of the very fabric of space-time."

It's just a little tighter-- 49 words instead of 65, hopefully making it easier to follow and retain the beginning when we reach the end.

Both books are my kind of story, by the way! :)

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 10:38:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Angela said...

Interesting stories all around.

Shalanna Collins wrote:

"Camille MacTavish is a seventeen-year-old runaway with a magical toy dragon in her pocket, a trinket taken from a sorcerer; the magic she unwittingly wields once the "luckpiece" is attuned to her gets out of hand, and she and the friends she has made on the road must defeat the dark forces to prevent a rending of the very fabric of space-time."


Natalie Damschroder wrote:

"A seventeen-year-old runaway unwittingly wields powerful magic when the magical toy dragon she took from a sorcerer becomes attuned to her, and she and the friends she has made on the road must defeat dark forces to prevent a rending of the very fabric of space-time."


I agree with Natalie. The original version seems long. Could you change ‘she and the friends she has made on the road” to “she and her new friends?” The word magic is used twice. You may want to eliminate one of them. I played with it for a few minutes and all I could come up with is:

A teenage runaway and her new friends must fight to prevent a rending of the very fabric of space-time when a trinket taken from a sorcerer becomes attuned to her.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 1:26:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Angela said...

Jessica Madden wrote:

Sex Starved: The Tale of a Succubus

When angels and vampires engage in a showdown over a missing halo, it’s up to reluctant, newly-fledged succubus Jackie to butt in and save the day – but doing so will require her to choose between the two impossibly sexy men in her (after)life.


Nice, tight pitch Jessica. I think it reads smoother without “butt in” but I don’t know how important that concept is to the story.

Good Luck to all you brave writers!

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 1:32:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous MzPrint said...

This will be all kinds of fun. It took me two weeks to condense 100,000 words into a three-page synopsis, maybe before the contest closes I can come up with a one-line pitch that doesn't stink.

Those are great suggestions for the pitches that have already been posted. pam

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 2:23:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Gina said...

WIP titled: Wasting Time

Living in the house she shared with her mother until she committed suicide almost a year ago, dating the same guy since junior high and waitressing at Sal’s, where she’s been since High School were not in Ivys’ life plan; she wants more out of life she just doesn’t know what until she finds a box in her mom’s closet and discovers that her father isn’t dead afterall, she realizes that there is a whole lot about her own life that she doesn't know… But first she has to quit wasting time and open the box."

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 2:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Natalie Damschroder said...

Whoops, cece. I know it doesn't look like we simulposted, but we did (I took a while to type my post and didn't look at it when I did!).

I had "spy" originally but again, I was concerned it would be read as a historical fantasy, because spies have been around for a long time. What does everyone else think?

Gina, your book sounds intriguing--probably a perfect prospect for Harlequin's NEXT line? It's a bit long, too, though, and kind of buries the core concept in some of the details. How about something like:

"Her mother's suicide and the discovery that her father isn't dead compel Ivy to stop thinking about her unfulfilled goals and discover what she doesn't know about her own life...But first she has to quit wasting time and open the box."

I can't quite figure out how to work the box in earlier--because I like that last line.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 4:07:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jody said...

Long time lurker, but the first time comments poster.

Here's mine...

LIFE AT THE FIREWEED BAR & GRILL

Two mourners discover love through the meddling of the dearly departed's ghost - as irresponsible in death as she was in life.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 4:17:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Sienna said...

Happily estranged from her actor husband, the sole female director in 1920s Hollywood is forced to hire said husband for her first feature film in order to prove herself to the studios.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 6:50:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Natalie Damschroder said...

Jody and Sienna, I think those both look good. They indicate potential conflict, setting, even tone.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 7:10:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jerseygirl said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 7:32:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jerseygirl said...

I just started blogging today, but I've been on for four hours. At this rate, I'm going to be lost in Blogworld forever! lol BTW, does that count? Anyway, here's my pitch: I hope this is the right place to put it...

A recently divorced high school teacher (female) takes a job in another state after a messy scandal with a student, only to find on staff at the new school is said student's older brother!

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 7:33:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Susan Wilbanks said...

Another long-time lurker, first-time poster checking in. Here's mine:

Soldier's Lady

When the fortunes of war throw a wealthy, highborn cavalry officer’s widow into the path of a common--but never ordinary--infantry sergeant on the battlefields of 1811 Spain, friendship is immediate and passion not far behind, but for two such star-crossed lovers, the course of true love is anything but smooth.


I've gotten pretty good at one-page and one-paragraph pitches and synopses, but just one line is tough!

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 7:58:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Susan Wilbanks said...

A recently divorced high school teacher (female) takes a job in another state after a messy scandal with a student, only to find on staff at the new school is said student's older brother!

I almost hate to suggest this, since it means making your pitch longer, but I think you should be more specific about the nature of the "messy scandal." I'm sure you don't mean for it to be a sexual scandal, but that's where my mind goes when I see the "messy"--maybe just because I live so close to where the Mary Kay Letourneau scandal went down. Also, rather than putting "female" in parentheses, I'd recommend putting her name in somewhere to make her gender clear. Something like, "Kate, a recently divorced teacher...."

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 8:05:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Natalie Damschroder said...

I have a question, both for the pitchees and for Deidre when she returns.

These pitches look great on paper, and may be easy to follow here, but how do they SOUND when you try to say them? I always feel so stilted and awkward.

How do you (authors) feel when trying to do a one-liner to someone (anyone) about your book?

And Deidre, how does it sound when we do these to you?

It almost makes me want to make my "one-liner" something like this:

Hero's a dragon. Heroine's a spy. Villian is the mage who separated them a thousand years ago.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 8:23:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Jessica Madden said...

I think i'd probably freak in the actual pitch session itself. Giggle madly and hyperventilate and all that.

It's tricky to try and pitch if you can't breathe enough to form coherent words. I'd probably try and pull something like in the Red Hot Chili Pepper's video -- tossing cue cards behind me and letting them speak. :)

"Everygirl Heroine"
*toss*
"Vampires"
*toss*
"Holy War"
*toss*
"Must Have Sex"
*toss*
"One Sexy Angel"
*toss*
"One Sexy Vampire"
*toss*
"She must choose between them."
*toss*
"Want More?"

*beg!*

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 8:51:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Nalini Singh said...

Natalie, that's a really good point. I'll leave the pitch question to Deidre :) but reading what you wrote above, I'd say that if you were using that format ie. hero/heroine/villain, you'd need one more line to tie it all together and tell us what they're all up to in the book, or in other words, give us the conflict (the soulmate/curse bit).

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 8:54:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Jessica Madden said...

Natalie Damschroder wrote:

Soul of the Dragon

A freelance espionage agent embarks on a seemingly fruitless quest to free her soulmate from the curse put on him by a jealous mage—a curse that turned him into a dragon and kept them apart for a thousand years.


I'd go with the other remarks (remove 'seemingly fruitless', change to just 'spy') and go a step further. How about:

A super-spy embarks on a quest to free her dragon soulmate from the curse that has kept them apart for a thousand years.

Just a bit of re-wording and cutting some wordiness around the middle. :)

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 8:54:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Jessica Madden said...

Shalanna Collins wrote:

"Camille MacTavish is a seventeen-year-old runaway with a magical toy dragon in her pocket, a trinket taken from a sorcerer; the magic she unwittingly wields once the "luckpiece" is attuned to her gets out of hand, and she and the friends she has made on the road must defeat the dark forces to prevent a rending of the very fabric of space-time."


Just my opinion, but we're overloaded a bit too much about Camille right from the get-go. She's a girl with a lot of accessories, but the vital piece about her is almost buried -- she's a runaway. This defines her character in a nutshell. Go with this.

The use of the semi-colon jars me too. It makes me pause and re-read, and it's not a smooth transition. I'd make it a lot shorter and sweeter (not that mine is, mind you -- it's easier to give advice than take it!).

I'd try:

A magic-wielding runaway must defeat dark forces to prevent the rending of the very fabric of space-time.

I'd probably re-word 'dark forces' too. Kinda nebulous.

Good story concept though. I'd pick it up in a bookstore. :)

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 9:00:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Jessica Madden said...

Susan Wilbanks said...
Soldier's Lady

When the fortunes of war throw a wealthy, highborn cavalry officer’s widow into the path of a common--but never ordinary--infantry sergeant on the battlefields of 1811 Spain, friendship is immediate and passion not far behind, but for two such star-crossed lovers, the course of true love is anything but smooth.


I'd just remove some of the extraneous tags on the characters.

The fortunes of war throw a cavalry officer’s widow into the path of a common infantry sergeant on the battlefields of 1811 Spain, but the two such star-crossed lovers learn the course of true love is anything but smooth.

Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 9:04:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Joely Sue Burkhart said...

I'm very nervous here, but what the heck.

Beautiful Death is an "Alien Underworld" erotic futuristic fantasy in which Isabella Thanatos transforms from Athen's most famous Marshal with over one thousand kills into a monster herself, hunted through the darkest realms of Hades.

Friday, July 29, 2005 at 12:44:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Amanda said...

Ok, here goes mine:

The Broken Road (it's a regency...fyi.)

A wealthy Earl gets more than he bargained for when he hires a new maid- she's beautiful, independant, and *blind*- can he resist temptation in order to maintain his sense of honor?

( I wanted to italicize blind for emphasis but I couldn't. LOL.)

Friday, July 29, 2005 at 12:49:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Cheryl said...

What an awesome picture! Makes me a little scared to swim in these waters but here goes:

Conflicting Interests, a short contemporary romance

A crafty fraud investigator who hates lawyers and a jaded attorney with no tolerance for deceitful women must leave their prejudices behind and resolve their conflict of interest in an ongoing case before they can come to terms to claim the love they both dream of.

Stringers, a futuristic romance

A street-smart human Detective and a stoic alien Law Keeper set aside their differences to prevent an invasion from another universe, but working together proves equally dangerous when their growing attraction for each other could shatter the foundations of the human-alien truce.

Friday, July 29, 2005 at 9:53:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Shana said...

I asked earlier if I could enter if I'm a regular reader, but never comment. I'm going to go ahead and post mine, but if I'm not eligible, that's okay :) If anyone has any comments about this pitch, I'd love to hear them. The book is young adult fiction.

The Kidnapping of the Band Geeks

A teenage girl decides to get back at her family by creating a plot to kidnap herself, but soon has to kidnap her entire school band as well.

Friday, July 29, 2005 at 10:28:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Natalie Damschroder said...

Man, Jessica, you are good. You've nailed the problem with all of these one-liners: we're all trying to pack as much information into one sentence as we can, and that's the opposite of what we should be doing. Because halfway through, whoever's listening will be lost.

I should know this. Every time I sell a book, I have to come up with several lengths of blurbs and log lines, and the shortest one has to be 10-12 words. So taking Jessica's excellent but still-too-long suggestion, I get to:

A super-spy and her dragon soulmate seek to break their curse.

Stringers becomes:
A human Detective and alien Law Keeper must prevent an invasion from another universe.

The Broken Road could be:

A wealthy Earl must resist the temptation of his new beautiful, blind maid.

I know, everyone's moaning. "It's TOO short now!" and "There's nothing about the internal conflict!" and stuff. But we have to remember these are to pique interest to make the listener/reader want MORE. Right? It's the "conference lunchline" or "slow elevator" pitch. {g}

Friday, July 29, 2005 at 10:29:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jerseygirl said...

Thanks for the info re: what I wrote!

Friday, July 29, 2005 at 10:41:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Kim Cresswell said...

I'm also a regular visitor and reader. I've never written a one-line pitch. Yikes! Here goes...

While a human cloning project born from madness and greed remains hidden from the world, an award-winning reporter must risk her life to expose the most diabolical and merciless plot of modern science.

Friday, July 29, 2005 at 2:07:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Susan Wilbanks said...

A teenage girl decides to get back at her family by creating a plot to kidnap herself, but soon has to kidnap her entire school band as well.

IMO this is a great pitch, and sounds like a fun story too.

While a human cloning project born from madness and greed remains hidden from the world, an award-winning reporter must risk her life to expose the most diabolical and merciless plot of modern science.

If we're working on the principle that shorter is better, how about: "When a reporter discovers a diabolical human cloning project, she must risk her life to bring the truth to light."

Friday, July 29, 2005 at 2:32:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Susan Wilbanks said...

Here's an attempt at shortening my pitch:

When a noble heiress meets a common infantry sergeant on the battlefields of 1811 Spain, the starcrossed lovers must give up the lives they thought they wanted to be together.

It's actually easier to come up with a one-sentence summary for the series the book is a part of:

In the summer of 1809, three young ladies marry in haste--one finds happiness, but the other two must repent at leisure.

Friday, July 29, 2005 at 2:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger kcresswell said...

Susan, thanks for your help. I need all I can get. lol

[[33 words]] While a human cloning project born from madness and greed remains hidden from the world, an award-winning reporter must risk her life to expose the most diabolical and merciless plot of modern science.


Okay, here's my attempt to shorten...

[[18 words]]
When a reporter discovers an illegal cloning project, she must risk her life to expose a madman’s secret.

Friday, July 29, 2005 at 2:59:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Amie Stuart said...

NAtalie I LURVE Jessica's suggestion!

Sex Starved: The Tale of a Succubus

When angels and vampires engage in a showdown over a missing halo, it’s up to reluctant, newly-fledged succubus Jackie to butt in and save the day – but doing so will require her to choose between the two impossibly sexy men in her (after)life.


Jessica....could you just say fledgling? that could also get rid of the double but(t) ;-)

When angels and vampires engage in a showdown over a missing halo, it’s up to Jackie, a fledgeling succubus, to save the day – but doing so will require her to choose between the two impossibly sexy men in her (after)life.

BTW this sounds cute...definitely one I'd like read =)
Must. Go. Work. Back later to check out more goodies.

Friday, July 29, 2005 at 3:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Natalie Damschroder said...

Catching up:

The teenager kidnapping one-liner is great--says a lot in a few words.

Susan, the series one-liner is very intriguing and seems easy to say. The book one-liner is getting there. I think I'd cut some adjectives, like noble (is there such a thing as a non-noble heiress in that time period? Maybe, I have no idea, but heiress gets the point across) and maybe say "common soldier" instead of infantry sergeant?

And kcresswell, I think you did an excellent job of cutting yours down.

Hey, I want to warn everyone that once I start participating, I never stop. LOL So PLEASE, if I get annoying or intrusive or hoggy, someone tell me.

Friday, July 29, 2005 at 3:19:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jenny Barnhart said...

Here's mine. I hope this is okay. I read often, but hardly ever post.

The Sisters Seven: Arabella

Fairy princess, Arabella Bayloria, must choose between her heart's desire and her responsibility to her people.

Friday, July 29, 2005 at 3:21:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jenny Barnhart said...

Natalie Damschroder said...
Soul of the Dragon

A freelance espionage agent embarks on a seemingly fruitless quest to free her soulmate from the curse put on him by a jealous mage—a curse that turned him into a dragon and kept them apart for a thousand years.

Tighten all around, but I'm very simplistic, maybe too much so.

An espionage agent embarks on a quest to free her cursed soulmate after being seperated for a thousand years.

What do you think?

Friday, July 29, 2005 at 3:25:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jenny Barnhart said...

Jessica Madden said...
Sex Starved: The Tale of a Succubus

When angels and vampires engage in a showdown over a missing halo, it’s up to reluctant, newly-fledged succubus Jackie to butt in and save the day – but doing so will require her to choose between the two impossibly sexy men in her (after)life.

I really am about keeping this as simple as possible. Don't know how good I am at this though.

Jackie, a newly-fledged succubus, buts in to save the day when angels and vampires battle over a missing halo.

Hope this helps.

Friday, July 29, 2005 at 3:28:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jenny Barnhart said...

Shalanna Collins said...
This is magical YA chick lit. Or something.

"Camille MacTavish is a seventeen-year-old runaway with a magical toy dragon in her pocket, a trinket taken from a sorcerer; the magic she unwittingly wields once the "luckpiece" is attuned to her gets out of hand, and she and the friends she has made on the road must defeat the dark forces to prevent a rending of the very fabric of space-time."


I write YA as well. :) Mine's a fantasy too.

Okay, my suggestion is this, tighten all around. This is very long.
Maybe,
Camille Mactavish, a toy dragon, and a stolen tricket must prevent the rending in the fabric of space-time.

Give you an ideas?

Friday, July 29, 2005 at 3:33:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jenny Barnhart said...

Gina said...
WIP titled: Wasting Time

Living in the house she shared with her mother until she committed suicide almost a year ago, dating the same guy since junior high and waitressing at Sal’s, where she’s been since High School were not in Ivys’ life plan; she wants more out of life she just doesn’t know what until she finds a box in her mom’s closet and discovers that her father isn’t dead afterall, she realizes that there is a whole lot about her own life that she doesn't know… But first she has to quit wasting time and open the box."

Ivy wants more from life than what she has, and she's about to get it when she learns that her father isn't dead afterall.

Gina, I hope you don't mind that I changed quite a bit of this. It's only a suggestion. I thought the orginal was really long and with more info than we needed for a pitch. I hope this sparks some ideas for you.

Friday, July 29, 2005 at 3:38:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Patrick McNamara said...

Here's one for a book I'm currently working on called "Happyland":

"A private detective is hired to investigate the vandalism of an amusement park robot and finds himself trapped within the almost abandoned park off-season."

Friday, July 29, 2005 at 3:58:00 PM EDT  
Blogger kcresswell said...

Hey, this is fun. :) Patrick, I thought I'd try shortening your one-liner. BTW. Your story sounds great.--Kim

A private detective investigates the vandalism of an amusement park robot and finds himself trapped in the park during off-season.

or...

A private detective investigates vandalism at an amusement park and finds himself trapped in the park during off-season.

Friday, July 29, 2005 at 6:06:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jenny Barnhart said...

Having trouble with the blog. Sorry if this is posted twice.

Jenny

Jody said...
LIFE AT THE FIREWEED BAR & GRILL

Two mourners discover love through the meddling of the dearly departed's ghost - as irresponsible in death as she was in life.
Jody said...
LIFE AT THE FIREWEED BAR & GRILL

Two mourners discover love through the meddling of the dearly departed's ghost - as irresponsible in death as she was in life.
Jody, I’d just suggest clarifying the end. It reads a bit stilted. Departed’s ghost who is as irresponsible…

Sienna said...
Happily estranged from her actor husband, {the sole} A female director in 1920s Hollywood is forced to hire {said} HER husband for her first feature film {in order to prove herself to the studios.}
Juts to tighten

Jerseygirl said...

A recently divorced high school teacher (female) DEL FEMALE takes a job in another state after a messy scandal with a student, only to find on staff at the new school is said student's older brother!
HOW ABOUT, A RECENTLY DIVORCED HIGH SHOOL TEACHER RELOCATES AFTER A SCANDAL WITH A STUDENT ONLY TO FIND THE STUDENT’S OLDER BROTHER ON STAFF.
Good lord, this sounds interesting.  Okay, let’s see…

Susan Wilbanks said...

Soldier's Lady

When the fortunes of war throw a wealthy, highborn cavalry officer’s widow into the path of a common--but never ordinary--infantry sergeant on the battlefields of 1811 Spain, friendship is immediate and passion not far behind, but for two such star-crossed lovers, the course of true love is anything but smooth.

INTERESTING. DO LIKE THE FLOW YOU HAVE. NOT SURE ON IF I WOULD CHANGE ANYTHING.

Joely Sue Burkhart said...

Beautiful Death is an "Alien Underworld" erotic futuristic fantasy in which Isabella Thanatos transforms from Athen's most famous Marshal with over one thousand kills into a monster herself, hunted through the darkest realms of Hades.
THIS IS GREAT. IT THINK YOU HIT IT WONDERFULLY.

Amanda said...
The Broken Road (it's a regency...fyi.)

AN {wealthy} Earl gets more than he bargained for when he hires a new BEAUTIFUL AND BLIND maid{ she's beautiful, independant, and *blind*- can he resist temptation in order to maintain his sense of honor?}
I WOULD DEL THE END BECAUSE IT’S NOT NECESSARY.

Cheryl said...
Conflicting Interests, a short contemporary romance

A {crafty} fraud investigator {who hates lawyers} and a jaded attorney {with no tolerance for deceitful women} must leave their prejudices behind {and} TO resolve {their conflict of interest in} an ongoing case before they can {come to terms to claim} the love they both dream of.
HOPE THAT HELPS.

Stringers, a futuristic romance

A street-smart human Detective and a stoic alien Law Keeper set aside their differences to prevent an invasion from another universe, but working together proves equally dangerous when their growing attraction for each other could shatter the foundations of the human-alien truce.
LIKE THIS ONE VERY MUCH.

Shana said...
The Kidnapping of the Band Geeks

A teenage girl decides to get back at her family by creating a plot to kidnap herself, but soon has to kidnap her entire school band as well.
HAHA! THAT WAS REALLY GREAT. LOVE IT

Susan Wilbanks said...
Here's an attempt at shortening my pitch:

When a noble heiress meets a common infantry sergeant on the battlefields of 1811 Spain, the starcrossed lovers must give up the lives they thought they wanted to be together.
GOOD, MUCH BETTER

It's actually easier to come up with a one-sentence summary for the series the book is a part of:

In the summer of 1809, three young ladies marry in haste--one finds happiness, but the other two must repent at leisure.
NICE

kcresswell said...
[[18 words]]
When a reporter discovers an illegal cloning project, she must risk her life to expose a madman’s secret.

LIKE THIS ONE VERY MUCH

Friday, July 29, 2005 at 6:08:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Jessica Madden said...

Woo, this thread is getting gi-normous. Deidre's gonna have a heart-attack trying to sort all this. *g* Apologies in advance for this super long post.

Just wanted to say thanks for all the critiques on my blurbage. You guys caught the words I was waffling on, and I especially like the short n' sweet version that Jenny suggested. :)

Natalie: It's MUCH easier to point out what's wrong with other people's stuff than mine. You see how long my blurb was! I was trying to stick to the 15 word rule and failed myself. :)

cece: Thank you! If I ever get published I promise to send you a copy. *g*

Here's the rest of 'em I was missing.

WIP titled: Wasting Time
Living in the house she shared with her mother until she committed suicide almost a year ago, dating the same guy since junior high and waitressing at Sal’s, where she’s been since High School were not in Ivys’ life plan; she wants more out of life she just doesn’t know what until she finds a box in her mom’s closet and discovers that her father isn’t dead afterall, she realizes that there is a whole lot about her own life that she doesn't know… But first she has to quit wasting time and open the box."

Tooooooo long. :) Stick to easy-to-remember character tags and short concepts. A waitress discovers a box in her mother's closet and realizes life as she knows it is a lie. Or something along those lines, just in your voice. ;)

The Sisters Seven: Arabella
Fairy princess, Arabella Bayloria, must choose between her heart's desire and her responsibility to her people.


No comma after the title of Fairy Princess, and skip the last name. Go with tags that tell us what she is rather than who she is. Other than that, I like it!


LIFE AT THE FIREWEED BAR & GRILL
Two mourners discover love through the meddling of the dearly departed's ghost - as irresponsible in death as she was in life.


I'd probably change the dash out for a 'who is' but other than that, no changes.

Beautiful Death is an "Alien Underworld" erotic futuristic fantasy in which Isabella Thanatos transforms from Athen's most famous Marshal with over one thousand kills into a monster herself, hunted through the darkest realms of Hades.

Is 'Athen' the city or 'Athens'? If it's the latter, your apostrophe is misplaced. I'd skip the labelling of the story in the beginning, since that's not the story 'concept' itself but just a general overview of where it falls in the Dewey Decimal system. :)

While a human cloning project born from madness and greed remains hidden from the world, an award-winning reporter must risk her life to expose the most diabolical and merciless plot of modern science.

I'd reverse the info ahead and behind the comma, and just a bit of shortening. A reporter risks her life to expose the most diabolical plot of modern science -- human cloning.

"Happyland":
"A private detective is hired to investigate the vandalism of an amusement park robot and finds himself trapped within the almost abandoned park off-season."


Delete the 'almost'.

Friday, July 29, 2005 at 10:14:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Margaret said...

Another lurker, though I've posted a time or two. I read through the posted one-liners and there are some great ideas. I'll check back later for some that haven't been extensively commented already. In the meantime, I'd love to see what you all think of this one.

The Queen's Return (Fantasy)

A young nobleman fights his own misgivings to prove his loyalty to the crown, unaware he is destined to overthrow the king and restore true magic to their land.

Cheers,
Margaret

Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 1:36:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Babe King said...

I tried to sub this here once already but for some reason it didn't come through, so here it is again.
In “Between the Gutter and the Sky”, Atilla-the-hen, aka Dr. Jaclyn Donnel, takes on the modern-day Confucius, social worker Sam Allen, in a love/hate, mercy/justice battle over treatment of street kids in an Australian ER.

Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 6:23:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Shalanna Collins said...

Y'all are, as Natalie just said, good! Especially Jessica! (Thanks for the ideas on my one-liner!) I can't do the elevator pitch. I have just done too much "school" and have been taught to write a paragraph, not a soundbite. All your ideas are great! And the condensed versions are getting there (or I suppose we'll hear how good they are on Monday.)

That said, though, I kind of liked y'all's longer versions. I think they read more like the flap text. (Anyone remember flap text?! Back in the olden days when books were usually hardcover, the inside flap of the dust jacket had a little writeup about the book. Now you get a bit of text on the back, if you don't have famous people to quote reviews from.) I got more info from the longer versions, obviously, so that's why I liked them, I think.

All these books sound interesting enough to pick up. Why is it that when I go into a bookstore and pick something up at random, I'm generally disappointed? But that's another rant.

Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 6:44:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Sienna said...

I agree, it does sound a bit tighter without the extra words. This is hard. But fun!

The Rules of The Game:
Sheltered American heiress orphaned by tragedy escapes to Bohemian Paris to study art and is bewitched by the rakish, has-been painter who teaches her.

Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 7:10:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous pam champagne said...

This sounds great, Deirdre. Have a great time in Reno.

Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 7:10:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Amie Stuart said...

Here's one for a book I'm currently working on called "Happyland":

Patrick I love the sound of this--very Stephen King'ish ...and I like Kim's suggestion for tweaking.

A recently divorced high school teacher (female) takes a job in another state after a messy scandal with a student, only to find on staff at the new school is said student's older brother!

Jerseygirl...maybe a bit of rearranging?

After a scandal involving one of her students, a newly divorced high school teacher takes a job in another state only to discover the student's older brother on staff. [or maybe even 'only to find herself forced to work with the student's older brother?]

These are great ya'll! Jenny great job--very short, to the point and intrguing (sp? I can never spell in--anyway) and i loved your suggestion for Ginas too! Okay gonna go work on mine.

Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 10:14:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Patrick McNamara said...

How's this as a revision:

"A private detective investigating the vandalism of a robot is trapped in an off-season amusement park."

That's about 16 to 17 words, depending on whether "off-season" is treated as one word or two. I took out the redundant "park", but I want to leave "robot" in because it conveys the sci-fi quality of the story(though that could change by the time the manuscript is finished).

I left out that there are two other major characters in the park with him, the park owner and his secretary, so I couldn't say the park is completely abandoned. However, saying "off-season" implies that it's abandoned.

Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 10:49:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous kcresswell said...

Thanks Jessica for shortening my pitch even more. Excellent.

I thought I’d take a stab at a few more. I'm having too much fun. Kim
---------------

Patrick, I agree you don’t want to lose robot because it does convey the genre.

Maybe a slight change in the wording. . .

"A private detective investigating the vandalism of a robot becomes trapped in an off-season amusement park."
-----------------
Sienna, I love your pitch. By using orphaned, it made me think the character was a young child. I think the tag--sheltered tells us more.

A sheltered heiress escapes to Paris to study art and becomes bewitched by a has-been painter.
-----------------
Babe King

A doctor takes on a [[maybe a tag her. Stuborn, arrogant etc..]]social worker over the treatment of street kids in an Australian ER.
------------------
Margaret, I was wondering if the nobleman is destined to overthrow the king or to become the king? If he’s supposed to be king, this might change the way the pitch could be worded. Here’s my try on shortening your pitch.

Unaware he’s destined to overthrow the king, a young nobleman fights to prove his loyalty to the crown.

Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 1:11:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jenny Barnhart said...

Margaret said...
The Queen's Return (Fantasy)

A young nobleman fights his own misgivings to prove his loyalty to the crown, unaware he is destined to overthrow the king and restore true magic to their land.
A nobleman fights to prove his loyalty to the king he is destined to overthrow.
Any better.

Babe King said...
In “Between the Gutter and the Sky”, Atilla-the-hen, aka Dr. Jaclyn Donnel, takes on the modern-day Confucius, social worker Sam Allen, in a love/hate, mercy/justice battle over treatment of street kids in an Australian ER.

Hmmm...Dr. Jaclyn Donnel battles Sorcial worker Sam Allen over treatment of street kids in an australian ER.
I like that Confucius and Attilla-the-hen comments because they show your wonderful humor. Not sure though if I like the love/hate, mercy/justice. It reads stilted.


Sienna said...
The Rules of The Game:
Sheltered American heiress orphaned by tragedy escapes to Bohemian Paris to study art and is bewitched by the rakish, has-been painter who teaches her.
Fleeing to Paris, a sheltered heiress takes lessons from a has-been painter.

Patrick McNamara said...
How's this as a revision:

"A private detective investigating the vandalism of a robot is trapped in an off-season amusement park."

Good, I do like this. Very concise and I like the use of the robot. 

Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 6:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jana J. Hanson said...

Wow -- such transformations in a short amount of time. These are some great suggestions and great edits by all of you.

I'd certainly hate to pick a favorite because all of them sound like something I'd read. I'm becoming partial to the Band Geek one though, being a band geek myself *g*

Excellent job, everyone!!

Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 8:31:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Natalie Damschroder said...

I'm not going to comment tonight on any one-liners because a) most have been well-commented on already, and b) I'm far too tired and likely to make someone's hunk into a hulk, or something.

Shalanna, you're absolutely right about the longer one-liners. I think IN GENERAL, we should all have a variety of lengths prepared to spit out. A scenario like this:

AGENT: "So, what's your book about?"

AUTHOR: "In Title Unstated, a magic-wielding runaway must defeat dark forces to prevent the rending of the very fabric of space-time."

AGENT: "Ooh, sounds interesting. Tell me more!"

AUTHOR (totally cool because she's totally prepared): "Camille MacTavish is a seventeen-year-old runaway with a magical toy dragon in her pocket, a trinket taken from a sorcerer. The magic she unwittingly wields once the 'luckpiece' is attuned to her gets out of hand, and she and the friends she has made on the road must defeat the dark forces to prevent a rending of the very fabric of space-time."

AGENT (thinking, this woman knows what she's doing, I'm so impressed!: "Is the book complete?"

AUTHOR: "Of course."

AGENT hands AUTHOR her card. "Send me a partial. I'd love to see more. Ooh, is that tuna fish for lunch?"

So, really, working on ALL the lengths of these one-liners is good for us, even if Deidre says not to listen to me, I'm full of...popcorn, and I don't know what I'm talking about. :)

I have no idea what she was expecting when she started this, so next week, we can all pop in here three times an hour until she recovers from the trip and the boatload of work piled up and let's us know how we're doing. {g}

Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 9:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger ME Strauss said...

Like many others I've been lurking for a while . . .

Larry and the Dog
or How I Jogged My Memories
to Find My Self


Quirky Alice, workaholic editor, dons headphones and chair determined to “jog” her memories to find the life she has deleted, but on her first zen run, a guy and his dog show up in her head claiming to know her since she sorted her first box of crayons.

Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 10:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Margaret said...

kcresswell asked...
>Margaret, I was wondering if the nobleman is destined to overthrow the king or to become the king? If he’s supposed to be king, this might change the way the pitch could be worded. Here’s my try on shortening your pitch.

>Unaware he’s destined to overthrow the king, a young nobleman fights to prove his loyalty to the crown.

kcresswell, he doesn't become the king. He becomes the queen's consort which is not quite the same thing, but I like your take. The misgivings still need to fit somehow, but the rest is tight. Thanks :).

Jenny , thank you for the feedback. Your take culls some rather critical elements (in my head at least) with the misgivings and unaware, but gives me a direction for a much tighter version. I'll have to think on it a bit :).

>Jenny said...
>A nobleman fights to prove his loyalty to the king he is destined to overthrow.
>Any better.

It's late and I have a tendency for being blunt, but I hope my below analyses will prove at least somewhat helpful.

>Babe King said...
>In “Between the Gutter and the Sky”, Atilla-the-hen, aka Dr. Jaclyn Donnel, takes on the modern-
day Confucius, social worker Sam Allen, in a love/hate, mercy/justice battle over treatment of
street kids in an Australian ER.

Babe, I like the voice of this line, but the names throw me. As I understand one-liners, they're supposed to convey the concept. By adding names, there is needless confusion as the listener tries to figure out the significance (in my opinion of course). Someone else mentioned the slashed words as being offputting and I have to add that if you were trying to say this, they'd be difficult to convey, but I couldn't come up with any way to convey the same emotions.

I'd try for something like: Concerned pediatrician, nicknamed Atilla-the-hen, takes on a modern-day Confucius in the form of a social worker in a heated battle over treatment of street kids in an Australian ER.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sienna said...

>The Rules of The Game:
>Sheltered American heiress orphaned by tragedy escapes to Bohemian Paris to study art and is bewitched by the rakish, has-been painter who teaches her.

On first look, this one appealed with a few hiccups. However, when I looked at the hiccups, there's another problem that is most likely just phraseology, but which would probably be picked up by an agent immediately. With the exception of the escape, everything happens to and not by the heiress. She's orphaned by tragedy and bewitched by the painter. She doesn't seem an active player in her life.

Here's my suggestion:
Orphaned by tragedy, a sheltered American heiress escapes to Bohemian Paris to study art and learns about more than just art from a bewitching, has-been painter.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>Patrick McNamara said...
>"A private detective investigating the vandalism of a robot is trapped in an off-season amusement park."

This has some interesting elements, but doesn't work for me as a one-liner. I'm sorry for being extremely picky, but I don't know what the story is about. Is it about trying to escape from the park? Has the robot been transformed into a killing machine? Is this a Scooby Doo like mystery where there's a costumed park mechanic who is systematically murdering those trapped there? The one-liner gives me character, place and even a hint that it's futuristic (though there are numerous robots available to be vandalized already), but it doesn't tell me story or genre. I can't suggest a rewrite because the element I need is missing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Natalie Damschroder said...
>>So, really, working on ALL the lengths of these one-liners is good for us, even if Deidre says not to listen to me, I'm full of...popcorn, and I don't know what I'm talking about. :)

Natalie, Thank you for the great scenario. I agree entirely. Though the first set surprised me as one liners because of the length, the majority of them would be completely at home on a query letter.

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 3:07:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Sienna said...

I agree with both of your suggestions. *G* I told myself this was painless. And Margaret, thank you for pinpointing the reasons why the pitch would porbably fall flat! I love words and it's so amusing to see how moving words around changes meanings.

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 3:57:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous beejay said...

Shal, here's my version:
"When seventeen-year-old runaway with a magical toy dragon in her pocket unwittingly wields its magic, she unleashes dark forces that could rend the very fabric of space-time."

I don't think her name is important, or she has made friends who will help her. I also think that we can assume that she will fight these dark forces, thought I certainly could be wrong in assuming an implication is enough. But when you've only got one sentence, you have to be ruthless. So, the "toy" dragon is important, the 17-year old runaway is important, and the unwittingly unleashed dark forces are important. The repetition of magical-magic isn't good, but you're the wordsmith.

A kid on her own, a major OOPS, and the consequences.

Sounds like it's going to be a good one. I especially like the "toy" dragon idea.

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 4:26:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous ZaZa said...

Okay, here's mine. It's sort of one sentence, with a title and tag.

"When an irresistible female force meets an immovable male object, it sometimes it takes a little seduction to get him moving in the right direction.

Cherry Flip – Hang on, Kiddies. This could be a bumpy ride."

Thanks

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 4:32:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous ZaZa said...

Gina said:
"Living in the house she shared with her mother until she committed suicide almost a year ago, dating the same guy since junior high and waitressing at Sal’s, where she’s been since High School were not in Ivys’ life plan; she wants more out of life she just doesn’t know what until she finds a box in her mom’s closet and discovers that her father isn’t dead afterall, she realizes that there is a whole lot about her own life that she doesn't know… But first she has to quit wasting time and open the box."

Gina, this is pretty long. Can you do more of a bulleted list or something. Like,

"Nothing ever changes in Ivy's life - same house, same boyfriend, same job since she was in her teens, until she discovers the Pandora's box that holds secrets about her life."

I'm not sure that title is going to serve you very well. It's what she's been doing, wasting time, and the book is all about her stopping that and getting on with living, right? So, something that would better reflect what the book is about, her goal, her character arc, would be better, I think. Or even just "Pandora's Box," or "Call Me Pandora," or something like that, unless those are too chick lit-y for your story.

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 4:43:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous ZaZa said...

Wow, I was going to put them all in one post, but there are so many. So, here's my take on a batch of them.

I should probably say, too, that my comments may be just personal to me, based on what I'd like to see, what would make me want to read the book. So, take them in that light. There are a bunch of different ways to do these things.

*********
Jody said:
"LIFE AT THE FIREWEED BAR & GRILL

Two mourners discover love through the meddling of the dearly departed's ghost - as irresponsible in death as she was in life."

This didn't work for me, because of the mourners. The only locale we have is a bar and grill, so this sounds out of place. For this purpose, do we care that they're mourners? The relationship of the dearly departed to these two people is more important to the story.

Something like, Granny Winkle didn't let a little thing like death stop her when her favorite niece and her pet bad boy need just a tiny nudge to fall in love. Heh. Yeah, that's nothing like your story, I'm sure, but you want to focus on what the story is about, where the conflict is, and the humor, since this sounds like it would be funny.

**************
Sienna said...
"Happily estranged from her actor husband, the sole female director in 1920s Hollywood is forced to hire said husband for her first feature film in order to prove herself to the studios."

Okay, I know I said Shalanna could leave out the name, and that may have been a bad suggestion, but I definitely feel like I want to know your protag's name. For me, her role - the only female director in her era - is the most significant. Then, the fact that she has to put up with her ex in order to make her film is the conflict and the humor.

I think this sounds like a great book, like the old comedies of the 30's.
************

Jerseygirl said...
"A recently divorced high school teacher (female) takes a job in another state after a messy scandal with a student, only to find on staff at the new school is said student's older brother!"

Okay, this raises some red flags. We want to know (most probably) that she wasn't fooling around with a student, so we need to know more about the scandal. How did it happen? Is it an intentional smear campaign. What kind of trouble does she expect from older brother. And, most important of all, is this older brother also a student, or is he on staff???
************


Susan Wilbanks said...
"Soldier's Lady

When the fortunes of war throw a wealthy, highborn cavalry officer’s widow into the path of a common--but never ordinary--infantry sergeant on the battlefields of 1811 Spain, friendship is immediate and passion not far behind, but for two such star-crossed lovers, the course of true love is anything but smooth."

Oooh, this sounds like a good one. I think my one issue would be that it's too long. So, how is she "thrown in his path"? Does he have to rescue her? If so, then you've got an automatic shortcut - when rough around the edges cavalry sergeant Joe Blow saves the widow of his C.O....

For me, the set up, the how and why of their meet, is important in making me read the book. I'll take it as read that such a mismatched couple are going to give me lots of conflict and passion, or they'd just run in opposite directions, but I want to know why their meeting is going to lead to anything.
*********


Joely Sue Burkhart said...
"Beautiful Death is an "Alien Underworld" erotic futuristic fantasy in which Isabella Thanatos transforms from Athen's most famous Marshal with over one thousand kills into a monster herself, hunted through the darkest realms of Hades."

I want to know how and why she is transformed into this monster. Is it her number of kills? If not, I'm not sure you need to give the number. You could say she was Athen's most deadly Marshal. What's her goal, aside from staying alive? Is there a love interest? For me, any or all of those things would grab me more. I don't feel like I have any idea what this book is about, and I'm sure the book is fascinating, sounds like it, anyway. Get some of that fascination in there and grab the reader.
*************


Amanda said...
"The Broken Road (it's a regency...fyi.)

A wealthy Earl gets more than he bargained for when he hires a new maid- she's beautiful, independant, and *blind*- can he resist temptation in order to maintain his sense of honor?"

I pretty much like this the way it is, but can a blind woman really be a housemaid, especially in a huge house with lots of breakable stuff? I guess I need to believe the premise. Also, I'd like to know more about your heroine. This kind of reduced her to the status of potential victim. If a blind woman can, indeed, work as a housemaid, she must be a remarkable woman in her own right. I'd like to see that brought out.
*********


Cheryl said...
"Conflicting Interests, a short contemporary romance

A crafty fraud investigator who hates lawyers and a jaded attorney with no tolerance for deceitful women must leave their prejudices behind and resolve their conflict of interest in an ongoing case before they can come to terms to claim the love they both dream of."

Okay, I'm not seeing their conflict, or their conflict of interest. Is she deceitful, or does she appear to be? Is he the attorney for the accused in a fraud case she's investigating?

"Stringers, a futuristic romance

A street-smart human Detective and a stoic alien Law Keeper set aside their differences to prevent an invasion from another universe, but working together proves equally dangerous when their growing attraction for each other could shatter the foundations of the human-alien truce. "

What are their respective genders? I don't think you need to say, "human," I think most people would assume that. Why would their attraction shatter the truce? What's the conflict? Is it a world where mixing of "species" is outlawed?
************

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 5:17:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous ZaZa said...

I don't know how we keep track of where we left off from one day to the next. ;-)


Shana said...
"The Kidnapping of the Band Geeks

A teenage girl decides to get back at her family by creating a plot to kidnap herself, but soon has to kidnap her entire school band as well."

Does she really plot the kidnapping, or is her intent to fake it? Just curious. I think I'd be more direct, like saying "a teenage girl creates a plot to kidnap herself to punish her parents... Just a little swithc in focus that I think makes it smoother.
************




Kim Cresswell said...
"While a human cloning project born from madness and greed remains hidden from the world, an award-winning reporter must risk her life to expose the most diabolical and merciless plot of modern science."

I think I'd start with the reporter, since she will be the focus of the story. Maybe say "when an award winning reporter discovers an illegal human cloning project, she must risk her life to expose the plot," or something like that.
***********



Jenny said...
"The Sisters Seven: Arabella

Fairy princess, Arabella Bayloria, must choose between her heart's desire and her responsibility to her people."

Nice and brief, but I'm curious about her heart's desire. This could just be me, but I want to know if it's a man, a way of life, freedom or what.
***********




Patrick McNamara said...
"Happyland":

"A private detective is hired to investigate the vandalism of an amusement park robot and finds himself trapped within the almost abandoned park off-season."

Is this a twilight zone kind of story? What's the jeopardy of being trapped there? Trapped how? Accidentally, or by someone? I guess I'm not feeling the menace, and it sounds like there is plenty.
***********



Margaret said...
"The Queen's Return (Fantasy)

A young nobleman fights his own misgivings to prove his loyalty to the crown, unaware he is destined to overthrow the king and restore true magic to their land."

Ooh, this sounds like a good one. What are the misgivings about? Does he know he is destined to overthrow the king? Where does the magic come into it? Is this a destined by birth kind of thing? Does he have magical powers? It's good, but I'm not grasping the conflict or the payoff, I guess. Which is the problem of making them so short. I was thinking as I was doing mine that is sounded snappy, but did it say enough about the story and the H&H?
************



Babe King said...
"In “Between the Gutter and the Sky”, Atilla-the-hen, aka Dr. Jaclyn Donnel, takes on the modern-day Confucius, social worker Sam Allen, in a love/hate, mercy/justice battle over treatment of street kids in an Australian ER."

I'm not getting the Attila - Confucius reference. For me, knowing what her goals are vs. what his goals are and how those goals put them in conflict would make me happier. Sounds like a great story, btw.
**********




Sienna said...
"The Rules of The Game:
Sheltered American heiress orphaned by tragedy escapes to Bohemian Paris to study art and is bewitched by the rakish, has-been painter who teaches her."

I think you could leave out the "who teaches her." Sheltered American heiress meets rakish, has-been painter in Paris - can ooh, lala be far behind? Sorry, that's my warped sense of humor. But that last phrase really ads nothing, and it's pretty good without it.
***************




ME Strauss said...
"Larry and the Dog
or How I Jogged My Memories
to Find My Self

Quirky Alice, workaholic editor, dons headphones and chair determined to “jog” her memories to find the life she has deleted, but on her first zen run, a guy and his dog show up in her head claiming to know her since she sorted her first box of crayons."

This sounds just weird enough to pull me in, but I am totally confused. Is zen running something I don't know about? And where do the headphone and the chair come in? Are the man and the dog real? I'm not sure what to expect from the book, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 5:42:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous ZaZa said...

Here's some others...

When chef Suzie van Dyne leaves E.T. Draeger handcuffed to a water pipe in an Atlanta hotel room, she thinks she finally has things under control, but the fun is just beginning.

TAMING THE ALPHA MALE
Where's a rolled up newspaper when you need one?



And another...I'm really glad Dierdre suggested this contest. I've been trying to blurb this book for two years, and I think I'm finally getting there:

Safira Janis lives her life from one crisis to another, but when she liberates a dotty old dear from her conniving family, she begins to realize that life should be more than Damage Control.

Thanks!

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 5:58:00 AM EDT  
Blogger ME Strauss said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 7:33:00 AM EDT  
Blogger ME Strauss said...

Quirky Alice, workaholic editor, dons headphones and chair..."
zara said
This sounds just weird enough to pull me in, but I am totally confused. Is zen running something I don't know about? And where do the headphone and the chair come in? Are the man and the dog real? I'm not sure what to expect from the book, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

FYI: Genre: Woman's fiction/fantasy

Thanks zara for stating the problem. To answer your questions: Zen running is an art form quirky Alice made up. It requires a vivid imagination and a strong visual memory. Alice dresses for jogging--shoes and headphones (music to jog by). Then she sits at her desk and jogs in her head. She runs to some place in downtown Chicago, adding details as she sees fit, always bringing along a favorite oak tree for shade.

Are the man and the dog real? Yes, they are independent entities--both inside and outside Alice's quirky head. They interact with other humans by Chapter 8. Their relationship to Alice is not revealed until Chapter 22. (She is not crazy. This is not a dream.)

Thanks, Deirdre, for this opportunity--this one is tough to pitch.

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 8:27:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Susan Wilbanks said...

"When an irresistible female force meets an immovable male object, it sometimes it takes a little seduction to get him moving in the right direction.

Cherry Flip – Hang on, Kiddies. This could be a bumpy ride."


My gut reaction to this one is that I'd like to see it become a little more specific. A lot of romances are about irresistible female forces and immovable male objects, so I'd like to see some identifying details--time, place, how the characters meet, etc.

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 12:36:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Natalie Damschroder said...

When chef Suzie van Dyne leaves E.T. Draeger handcuffed to a water pipe in an Atlanta hotel room, she thinks she finally has things under control, but the fun is just beginning.

This is quick and catchy, but it seems like it just describes the opening scene of the book. Can you work in who E.T. Draeger is (food critic, maybe?) and why she has to chain him? In a more general sense, I mean. Like, what is between them that caused her to do such a thing.

TAMING THE ALPHA MALE
Where's a rolled up newspaper when you need one?


LOL!

Safira Janis lives her life from one crisis to another, but when she liberates a dotty old dear from her conniving family, she begins to realize that life should be more than Damage Control.

This is good--the only thing I might suggest is take out "begins to," just to make it less wordy. I'm assuming by what it says that this one is not a romance.

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 1:02:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Susan Wilbanks said...

Back on Friday, Natalie said:

I think I'd cut some adjectives, like noble (is there such a thing as a non-noble heiress in that time period? Maybe, I have no idea, but heiress gets the point across) and maybe say "common soldier" instead of infantry sergeant?

Actually, you could have a non-noble heiress, if her father had made his fortune in Trade. (Cue horrified gasp from Society's high sticklers.) But you're right that it doesn't really matter at this level of pitching. However, I kind of like the idea of saying "noble heiress" and "common soldier," because the parallelism has a nice rhythm, IMO.

zaza said

For me, the set up, the how and why of their meet, is important in making me read the book.

I agree that's important--the problem is that their first meeting, and how it makes them pay more attention to each other than they normally would to someone so different in rank, and the subsequent circumstances whereby I manage to isolate them for several days, are a bit too complicated to fit into a one-sentence pitch. We're talking the first page or so of my 4-page synopsis. So I guess my goal is to make sure the one-liner is intriguing enough to make the editor or agent say, "Sounds interesting. Tell me more."

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 1:05:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Margaret said...

Zara, I'll look at your blurbs a little later, but thanks for the kind comments. All the questions you raised were good ones and should be answered in the synopsis (are answered in the book of course ;)), but I don't think the one-liner is supposed to raise questions as much as interest so it tells me I'm cramming too much in.

With the feedback from before, and a little midnight elbow grease ;), I've reworked my on-line to be:

The Queen's Return

Nobleman discovers to be true to his kingdom he must overthrow the corrupt king.

So, what do you all think?

Cheers,
Margaret

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 1:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Margaret said...

Sigh. Ignore that one. It lost too many nuances of the book. Here's a new one for The Queen's Return that keeps the misgivings:

Nobleman learns to separate loyalty to the crown from its corrupt king, restoring true magic.

Cheers,
Margaret

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 2:43:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Gina said...

Just wanted to thank everyone for their suggestions, I *know* it's kinda long but it's really hard to cram a lot of information into a single sentence :)

I'll keep working on it!

thanks

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 2:55:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jenny Barnhart said...

I want to thank those you made suggestions for my pitch: Arabella. I'll fix those commas.

Thanks again.

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 4:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Vanessa_Gilfoy said...

This is my first time here, but I'll give it a try. :)

Healing Wounds


A lover's betrayal, vampires' bites....All wounds heal, even those infected with disgrace.

Feel free to rip into it. :)

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 5:33:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous ZaZa said...

Margaret,
Don't leave out the magic. That's what sets your book apart, and it's also what will attract a lot of readers, it's important. Even if you only prefaced this condensed version with, "In a time (place) of magic..." or something like that, it would set the scene for you.
**********

ME Strauss said...
"FYI: Genre: Woman's fiction/fantasy

Thanks zara for stating the problem. To answer your questions: Zen running is an art form quirky Alice made up. .....jogs in her head. She runs to some place in downtown Chicago, adding details as she sees fit, always bringing along a favorite oak tree for shade."

How cool! This definitely sounds like a fun book. Could you play up the zen running, have that be the hook? She's running in her head and she still manages to meet a guy. Quirky books can be harder to distill into one sentence. Not that any of them are easy.
**********


Susan Wilbanks said...
"When an irresistible female force meets an immovable male object..."

My gut reaction to this one is that I'd like to see it become a little more specific. A lot of romances are about irresistible female forces and immovable male objects, so I'd like to see some identifying details--time, place, how the characters meet, etc.

>>Yes, that was my feeling - it's pretty generic. But then, when I start trying to get more specific, it just gets out of hand. It's much easier figuring what's wrong with someone else's stuff than it is my own. *g*

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 5:35:00 PM EDT  
Blogger merlinsmuse said...

Wow, go away for the weekend and look what happens. These one-liners are great, I'm almost shy to post mine, but here goes anyway.

Beyond the world of man, such places exist that we can only dream of them in our wildest imaginings; the realm of faerie is such a place.

*Palms sweating, fingers crossed, give me your worst.*

Cathy

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 5:42:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous kcresswell said...

Thanks to everyone who offered suggestions to shorten my pitch. I thought I’d tackle a couple more. Kim


Sienna said...
A female, 1920s Hollywood director is forced to hire her actor ex-husband to star in her first feature film to prove herself to the studios.
--------------------

beejay said...
When seventeen-year-old runaway with a magical toy dragon in her pocket unwittingly wields its magic, she unleashes dark forces that could rend the very fabric of space-time."

A teenage runaway unwittingly unleashes an evil that could threaten the very fabric of space.

Since I’m not too sure what the conflict is, I just guessed. I hope this helps some.
-------------------------
Jenny said...
"The Sisters Seven: Arabella
Fairy princess, Arabella Bayloria, must choose between her heart's desire and her responsibility to her people."

Maybe a bit shorter?
What is her heart's desire? Love?

A fairy princess must choose between her heart's desire and her responibility to her people.

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 5:58:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous kcresswell said...

merlinsmuse said...

Beyond the world of man, such places exist that we can only dream of them in our wildest imaginings; the realm of faerie is such a place.

*Palms sweating, fingers crossed, give me your worst.*
--------------------------------
Cathy, this is beautifully written, but doesn't tell us about the characters conflict or anything about the story. What is the story about? What do the main characters want?

Kim

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 6:03:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Susan Wilbanks said...

Beyond the world of man, such places exist that we can only dream of them in our wildest imaginings; the realm of faerie is such a place.

You've got your setting here, but I think to hook the editor or agent, you need something about characters and plot/conflict--e.g. is there some force or person threatening the realm of faerie? Who are your protagonists and what are they doing there?

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 8:07:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

Okay, I'm in. :-)

I've always done 25 words or less loglines, so that's what I'm posting here.

(And mine sounds REALLY boring compared to some of the exciting ideas y'all have shared)

"A rape victim and a man whose pregnant wife disappeared years ago move beyond their traumatic histories to forge a future – until his past returns."

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 8:32:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Vanessa_Gilfoy said...

Hey Margaret,

I'm really interested in the struggle implied by your pitch. How does Nobleman try to restore the true magic? You mentioned he/she has to separate loyalty to the crown from a corrupt king, and that got me thinking about what Nobleman chanced losing in abandoning that loyalty. What's at stake might add some more interest than abandoned loyalty. :)

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 9:01:00 PM EDT  
Blogger ME Strauss said...

Zara said

Could you play up the zen running, have that be the hook? She's running in her head and she still manages to meet a guy.

To which I replied:
Be right back with a new ending to this sentence.

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 9:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger merlinsmuse said...

Kim and Susan. Thanks for your comments. Does something like this work better?

Ruled by an uncertain king, weakened by rampant interbreeding, and threatened by a vindictive goblin bent on claiming the throne he believes to be his, the realm of faerie is in danger of extinction or destruction.

Thanks,
Cathy

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 10:00:00 PM EDT  
Blogger ME Strauss said...

Okay that didn't take long did it?

A quirky, editor, who has no life, starts jogging inside her mind to find her “self,” but what she finds is a wise guy and his unusual dog, who claim they know her and who keep showing up both inside her head and out.

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 10:25:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Susan Wilbanks said...

Ruled by an uncertain king, weakened by rampant interbreeding, and threatened by a vindictive goblin bent on claiming the throne he believes to be his, the realm of faerie is in danger of extinction or destruction.

Definitely an improvement! Is there any way you can add something about a protagonist? Maybe something like, "The realm's only chance at survival lies in the hands of (insert protagonist info here)."

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 10:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger BULLSEYE said...

Holy shit, is that you on that surfboard?

Sunday, July 31, 2005 at 11:54:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous ZaZa said...

Linda said...
"A rape victim and a man whose pregnant wife disappeared years ago move beyond their traumatic histories to forge a future – until his past returns."

This is pretty good, but for me it gets vague when you say "his past returns." The only past you mention is that his wife had disappeared, so you need to explain what about his past would be a threat. Do you need to mention that his wife disappeared?
************



ME Strauss said...
Okay that didn't take long did it?

A quirky, editor, who has no life, starts jogging inside her mind to find her “self,” but what she finds is a wise guy and his unusual dog, who claim they know her and who keep showing up both inside her head and out.

I like this! It really zings and gets all the good stuff out there. Good stuff.

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 2:52:00 AM EDT  
Blogger ME Strauss said...

zaza, Confessions of a blog blunderer: I am a jerk for mistyping your name. Apologies. (My nerves had knocked off my glasses.)

A quirky, editor, who has no life, starts jogging inside her mind to find her “self,” but what she finds is a wise guy and his unusual dog, who claim they know her and who keep showing up both inside her head and out.

zaza wrote
I like this! It really zings and gets all the good stuff out there. Good stuff.

Thanks!

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 7:04:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Demented M said...

I'm a lurker--does that count?

Here's my one-liner.

For psychic investigator, Sofia Parker, dealing with zombies and dragon thieves intent on sparking a war is nothing compared to the love triangle between her sexy new client and a dead ex-boyfriend who isn't about to let death interfere with their relationship...even if it means the end of the world.


Phew! These things are hard, I need chocolate.:)

M

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 9:56:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Amie Stuart said...

Ruled by an uncertain king, weakened by rampant interbreeding, and threatened by a vindictive goblin bent on claiming the throne he believes to be his, the realm of faerie is in danger of extinction or destruction.

--cathy I like Susan’s suggestion to add something about the protagonist. I also pinched a few words here and there….
Ruled by an uncertain king, weakened by rampant inbreeding(?), and threatened by a vindictive goblin bent on claiming the throne, the realm of faerie is in danger of extinction [unless our hero(ine) can save the day].

ME I love the new blurb for the Zen Jogging story =)

Michelle (Demented )
great job! I love the sound of this....
For psychic investigator, Sofia Parker, dealing with zombies and dragon thieves intent on sparking a war is nothing compared to the love triangle between her sexy new client and her dead ex-boyfriend who isn't about to let death interfere with their relationship...even if it means the end of the world.

Is the part about the dragon thieves vital? Seems to me the (un)dead? ex-boyfriend would be more important--sounds that way anyway....

For psychic investigator, Sofia Parker, dealing with zombies and dragon thieves is nothing compared to the love triangle between her sexy new client and an ex-boyfriend who isn't about to let being dead interfere with their relationship...even if it m
eans the end of the world.

You could also go super-short and do something like "A psychic investigator finds herself embroiled in a love triangle that could bring about the end of the world." or something like that...but frankly I like the longer one you did--gives a great sense of your writing style and story flavor *g*

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 12:52:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Canadian Chick said...

I like this picture. May I add a link to your blog on my sidebar?

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 1:23:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Demented M said...

Thank you Cece--I worked hard on this one-liner!

Actually, all the elements are related. It's hard to express that in one sentence, but everything connects in the story.

The alternate ending phrase I came up with after posting was

...even if it means joining the ranks of a dragon led zombie army intent on taking over the world.

It seems a bit too wordy though.


M

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 1:27:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Demented M said...

Wait! But then I would have intent twice. Can't have that!

Take 3...

For psychic investigator, Sofia Parker, dealing with zombies and dragons plotting a war is nothing compared to the love triangle between her sexy new client and a dead ex-boyfriend who isn't about to let death interfere with their relationship...even if it means joining the zombies' efforts to take over the world.

M

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 1:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Bethany said...

Here's my entry:

Life As Greta by Bethany Hiitola
Meet Greta Wyldman, a single 20-something woman living in Chicago, ghostwriting for a man she's never met--until he offers to fly her around the world.

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 1:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger ME Strauss said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 2:02:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Natalie Damschroder said...

That’s good, Linda—I can’t see anything to change.

Cathy, your new one looks good, too! My thought is that for the initial one-liner that’s just trying to make them say “tell me more,” it’s okay not to mention the protagonist. If the story is sweeping and epic and all that, this main premise may be a good place to start, because that’s what it says to me. Major quest.

me strauss, just a few changes (I think you have the essentials):

A quirky editor who has no life jogs inside her mind to find her “self,” but what she finds is a wise guy and his unusual dog who claim they know her and keep showing up both inside her head and out.

I fixed the commas and tightened a few words.

Demented M, good start. I did a little tightening on yours, too:

For psychic investigator Sofia Parker, dealing with zombies and dragon thieves intent on sparking a war is nothing compared to the love triangle between her sexy new client and an ex-boyfriend who isn't about to let death interfere with their relationship...even if it means the end of the world.

FYI, no commas are needed between a descriptor (like psychic investigatory) and the name. Other than that, I really only removed the duplication of dead/death—I think it has more impact only used the second time. Personally, I like your first version of the ending best.

Bethany’s is:

Meet Greta Wyldman, a single 20-something woman living in Chicago, ghostwriting for a man she's never met--until he offers to fly her around the world.

I read this! Part of it. Did you enter a contest, or post it on your website or something? I recognize the premise.

Anyway. The blurb is okay, but it doesn’t tell me much. I think Chicago is irrelevant for the purpose of a one-liner. The lack of conflict is a problem. My reaction to the sentence is “yay for her! Free vacation!” I don’t know what is wrong with the fact that she never met him (happens all the time in business in today’s world) or what’s wrong with his offer to fly her around the world (how many of us would kill for that kind of a free trip?). Unfortunately, it doesn’t make me want to know more the way it is.

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 2:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger merlinsmuse said...

***A quirky, editor, who has no life, starts jogging inside her mind to find her “self,” but what she finds is a wise guy and his unusual dog, who claim they know her and who keep showing up both inside her head and out.

I have to say that this catches my interest. I like it!

Cathy

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 2:20:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Demented M said...

Thanks Natalie--good suggestions. I'm hopeless with commas and it's now to the point where I have comma performance anxiety and I do odd, kinky things with them. :)

M

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 2:24:00 PM EDT  
Blogger ME Strauss said...

Thanks Cece!
Never thought it could get that short.

Thanks Natalie for your polish!

Still zen jogging the blog

ME

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 2:26:00 PM EDT  
Blogger merlinsmuse said...

Natalie, thanks for your comments. The story is an sweeping epic and if I've gotten that across, then I've done what I intended.

Cece, I like what you did and you are so right about inbreeding as opposed to interbreeding. Don't know what I was thinking. :-)

Cathy

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 2:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Amie Stuart said...

YW Cathy and ME.
Michelle (Demented) never fear, you are not along in your comma performance anxiety. I, too, am a sufferer *ggg*

Ok here's my offering and for what it's worth, it's chick lit.

Stephanie Hall is a biracial adoptee who must confront a host of personal ghosts in order to realize that she’s more than just her parent’s child.

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 2:44:00 PM EDT  
Blogger ME Strauss said...

merlinsmuse wrote:
I have to say that this catches my interest. I like it!

Thanks Cathy,
We must have cross posted. It's fun to write. Larry drives a 1932 Duesenberg Model J--well that's one of his cars. :)
me

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 2:49:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Sienna said...

Great suggestions!!

Revision:
Sheltered American heiress haunted by tragedy finds solace in the arms of the equally haunted, struggling artist in Bohemian Paris.

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 3:55:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Natalie Damschroder said...

I like it, Sienna!

Cece, I'd drop the name (for verbal use). Otherwise, it looks perfect!

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 4:27:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Amie Stuart said...

Sienna...2 thumbs up...Natalie I wavered on the name thing ;-)
Thanks!

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 4:45:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay. I'm back from Reno and finally have enough brain cells to try this one.

"Marvel Comic's "Elektra" meets "The Gladiator."

Corrina
www.livejournal.com/users/corrinalaw

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 5:12:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous mistri/Helen said...

I mostly lurk here, but here's my line:

Espe, a would-be magestudent in the City of Seasons, discovers that darkness lies behind the truth of her adoption - she was placed into the city she loves purely to be used as a tool to bring it down for ever.

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 6:04:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous ZaZa said...

Demented M said...
"For psychic investigator, Sofia Parker, dealing with zombies and dragon thieves intent on sparking a war is nothing compared to the love triangle between her sexy new client and a dead ex-boyfriend who isn't about to let death interfere with their relationship...even if it means the end of the world."

I really like the sound of this one. For me, you could delete, " intent on sparking a war." This is me, now, so feel free to ignore it - what about dropping that last bit and saying something like, "a dead ex-boyfriend who doesn't know when to quit/can't take no for an answer etc., or even 'an ex-boyfriend who can't take dead for an answer'"?

I guess it's whether you think the quirky triangle will hook more readers or if the end of the world scenario would be of more interest. Who's your target audience? Like it, either way.
*****************


bethany said...
"Life As Greta by Bethany Hiitola
Meet Greta Wyldman, a single 20-something woman living in Chicago, ghostwriting for a man she's never met--until he offers to fly her around the world."

Sounds like a good premise, but it, hmmm, I'm not sure how to pin down what bothers me. Someone who uses a ghost writer is most likely prominent and might have a lot to lose if he was outed as not doing his own writing. Flying her around the world has got to have some expectation of excitement/conflict, but this doesn't hint at more than that they will meet.

I guess I can't tell what kind of story it will be - sweet romance between an older, more successful man and a naive younger woman, sassfest between an outspoken writer and the pompous guy whose rep she has built, some kind of intrigue behind the trip around the world. I can't pin it down.
*************



Cece said...
"Stephanie Hall is a biracial adoptee who must confront a host of personal ghosts in order to realize that she’s more than just her parent’s child."

Okay. Since she presumably doesn't know who her birth parents are, then she wouldn't know who her parent's child was. She is not the child of her adoptive parents, in this sense. So, is she going to search out her birth parents? Or is she going to go out on her own and try to find out who Stephanie Hall is in her own soul?

Something like, "in order to realize that she’s more than either nature or nurture," that would cover both bases, do it???
**************


Sienna said...
"Revision:
Sheltered American heiress haunted by tragedy finds solace in the arms of the equally haunted, struggling artist in Bohemian Paris. "

Love this! It's so much more appealing and informative. I want to read it.
*************



Anonymous said...
"Marvel Comic's "Elektra" meets "The Gladiator."

Corrina
www.livejournal.com/users/corrinalaw "

I'm always jealous of folks whose stories fit the high concept thing. Sounds like fun, at least if Elektra is going to kick Russell Crowe butt. Er, did I say that? I meant Gladiator butt. Really, I did.
*********



mistri/Helen said...
"Espe, a would-be magestudent in the City of Seasons, discovers that darkness lies behind the truth of her adoption - she was placed into the city she loves purely to be used as a tool to bring it down for ever."

This is a good premise. Could you shorten it by saying something like, "Espe, a would-be magestudent in the City of Seasons, discovers that secrets behind her adoption could destroy the city she loves"? It's a lot shorter, but I think it gets the main points across.
**************


We've thrown around the idea of whether the "blurb" needs to have the character's name in it. I like the name, most of the time because, without the name, the idea is pretty generic. But, then, when you're pitching, I guess it's the generic concept that either will grab the pitchee or not.

Dierdre, what's your take on this?

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 7:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Judson Knight said...

You guys are amazing!! I go away to Reno and you develop a critique group!! I'm proud of all of you for taking the plunge. Haven't read any of the pitches, but just wanted to say that I'm back, and will have some spectacular RWA posting info and pics later tonight or tomorrow. Deidre

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 7:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Judson Knight said...

And, yes, that's Deidre not Judson. I think my honey had logged into Blogger here. :)

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 7:14:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous mistri/Helen said...

Shorter is always good, and usually more direct - thanks! :)

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 7:21:00 PM EDT  
Blogger ValMarie said...

Hush Little Baby:

A teenaged girl fights for the right to carry her child, a product of rape, to term.

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 7:59:00 PM EDT  
Blogger ME Strauss said...

OK to try another?

Naive Teresa Campbell suddenly finds that her remarkable talent for imitating others has attracted the attention of a Svengali-like record promoter, unaware that he plans to kill an international recording star and make Teresa her exact replacement.

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 8:02:00 PM EDT  
Blogger ValMarie said...

Corrina said,

"Marvel Comic's "Elektra" meets "The Gladiator."


Even though this has the traditional "high-concept" structure, I don't feel like I have any idea what this story is about. I'm assuming that it's some kind of action-adventure plot, but I'm still at a loss (is it a time travel type thing? is someone sold into slavery? is it a females kick butt story line? I'm really not sure).

Could you include a little bit more about the main conflict?

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 8:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Bethany said...

Natalie and Zaza-- you are the best! :-) And what was I thinking--leaving out the cliff hangers right? :-)

Yes, Natalie, I did post this for a contest at Absolute Writer (at least the blurb for the book) and an excerpt is on my website. :-) Wow! I am amazed you have read of it (and heard of it).

Anyway, here is an updated one-liner--as it seems many here are updating as they move along:

Life As Greta by Bethany Hiitola

Meet Greta Wyldman, a ghostwriter for the mysterious 25 time best-selling author--only she's never met him nor has anyone else-- and he's offered to fly her around the globe for a publicity stunt that not only wows his legions of fans, but finds Greta engrossed in adventure, intrigue, and a little romance.

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 8:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger ValMarie said...

me strauss said:

Naive Teresa Campbell suddenly finds that her remarkable talent for imitating others has attracted the attention of a Svengali-like record promoter, unaware that he plans to kill an international recording star and make Teresa her exact replacement.


This sounds like a fun storyline with a lot of action and intrigue in it. :-) Here's my take on editing it:

I'm on the labels not names side of the debate (at least for the one-line pitch) that I've seen referenced several times. So, I would recommend "naive singer" instead of "Naive Teresa Campbell". Your mileage may vary though.

I stumbled over the phrase "Svengali-like record promoter", mostly because I wasn't familiar with the word Svengali. However, once I looked it up, I think it worked well with labeling the antagonist. I would replace "Record promoter" with "producer though.

"...suddenly finds that her remarkable talent for imitating others..." This portion felt very wordy to me as well. I'd eliminate the adverb as well as characterizing her talent as "remarkable" (since this seems implied in the rest of the premise).

I took a shot at compressing the sentence. I think it could still be improved, but I hope it gives you some ideas.

A naive singer attracts a Svengali-like producer with her talent for imitation, but she doesn't realize he plans to murder an international star and use her as the replacement.

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 8:13:00 PM EDT  
Blogger ME Strauss said...

Thanks for the feedback, Valmarie. All that and so quickly. I see where you are on every point.

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 8:19:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Demented M said...

Thanks for the feedback Zaza. The pitch I posted here I think encompasses the total story more so than other pitches I've developed.

I did have a one liner that focused more on the romance, but it doesn't give as complete a picture as the one I posted.

It's hard, so hard to create these things and then pick just one to represent a whole book.

Gives me hives just thinking about.

Must go find more chocolate--it's the only antidote that works.

M

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 8:24:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Amie Stuart said...

>>Or is she going to go out on her own and try to find out who Stephanie Hall is in her own soul?

Zaza BINGO! I had a heck of a time nailing this to one line. Here's the long version.

A biracial adoptee confronts the mother she adores, the father who abandoned her, the biological mother who gave her up for adoption and a host of personal ghosts before she realizes that she’s more than just her parent’s child.
***
Mistri I love the sound of yours and Zaza’s suggestions =)

***
A teenaged girl fights for the right to carry her child, a product of rape, to term.
Valmari this is great! I’m intrigued and I have no suggestions =)

***
Life As Greta by Bethany Hiitola
Beth I definitely like the longer version better.

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 8:34:00 PM EDT  
Blogger merlinsmuse said...

***Bethany, I love your concept, but it seems as if you've gone from one extreme to the other with your blurb. Somewhere in the middle would work, e.g.

Ghostwriter for a reclusive, best-selling author, Greta Wyldman jumps at the chance when he offers to fly her around the globe for a publicity stunt intended to wow his fans, and finds herself engrossed in adventure, intrigue, and a little romance.

***mistri/helen
"Espe, a would-be magestudent in the City of Seasons, discovers that darkness lies behind the truth of her adoption - she was placed into the city she loves purely to be used as a tool to bring it down for ever."

This sounds like my kind of story. I love fantasy, but I find your blurb a little on the wordy side. Try something like this;

Espe, a potential magestudent in the City of Seasons, discovers the dark truth of her adoption; her intended destiny is to bring about the destruction of the city she loves.

Only suggestions, but I hope it helps somewhat.

Cathy

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 9:12:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Corrina said...

Hi valmarie! Thank you very much for the feedback.

You said:
Even though this has the traditional "high-concept" structure, I don't feel like I have any idea what this story is about. I'm assuming that it's some kind of action-adventure plot, but I'm still at a loss (is it a time travel type thing? is someone sold into slavery? is it a females kick butt story line? I'm really not sure).

---To answer your qeustion, yes, an action-adventure plot, it's an alternate history (Romans colonize North America), yes, the heroine was once sold into slavery and, well, I think she's kick butt, though what she really wants is to preserve her home in the midst of a war.

The high concept was brainstormed with a friend at Reno. It was her contention that a high concept is excellent for giving an editor/agent the flavor of the story, which is what they really need, especially in a quick query.

I will confess was really skeptical because they sound a bit silly to me or at least mine does. But she's someone who has a lot of respect in RWA and someone I really respect, plus she came up with a friend's high concept pitch I really adore (Bridget Jones mets "24") so I thought I'd try mine here and see what happened.

So it's fascinating to me that even with that short tagline, all the impressions you received were basically accurate, except for the time travel and the alternate history is close to that.

I have to think she was right on this one, in that high concept is really useful for explaining the flavor of the story.

Deidre, though I know the odds of winning this contest for me are probably slim and none, I would really like to hear an agent's perspective on high concept in general, if you get a chance.

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 9:12:00 PM EDT  
Blogger merlinsmuse said...

This is way too much fun. I've got another blurb to offer.

Stalked relentlessly by her husband’s killer and brutally aware that danger lurks in the shadows for anyone she cares about, Nicole Tyler changes her name and moves to Solitary Cove, a small town on the coast of Nova Scotia.

Cathy

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 9:15:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Corrina said...

I am so sorry about the typo in my last post. Should be "meets" not "mets."

Obviously, I still haven't recovered from National. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 10:29:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Corrina said...

And because I jumped in without helping....

Cathy,
I like how your blurb gives a good idea of the story but that first partial sentence is a mouthful.

I think it might help to shuffle the sentences around and simplify:

Nicole Tyler changes her name and moves to Solitary Cove, a small town on the coast of Nova Scotia, in order to escape her husband’s killer.

Bethany,

I'd probably take out the "only she's never met him nor has anyone else" and use an adjective before ghostwriter to convey the same thing.

Maybe a reclusive, mysterious or secretive best-selling author. I find myself really curious about the details--the publicity stunt is intriguing. I wonder if the blurb would benefit by being specific and dropping the general last part of the sentence.

Greta Wyldman, a ghostwriter for a secretive best-selling author, must WHATEVER THE STUNT IS to keep her job and instead finds her life at risk.

Of course that leaves out the suggestion of romance, so maybe that's not right either.

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 10:42:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jody said...

I've only had time to scan and run. The silvers (salmon) are running and my smoker is empty, so I've spent more time with a tide book or fishing pole in my hand.

Thanks for all the comments on my one-line pitch. I'm wondering if everyone is thinking it's something that it's not. From ZaZa's comments, she is seeing it as something different. Which isn't her fault, it's mine. My line isn't working.

It was: LIFE AT THE FIREWEED BAR & GRILL

Two mourners discover love through the meddling of the dearly departed's ghost - as irresponsible in death as she was in life.

There are two television shows that sum it up perfectly, but I'm afraid the first show isn't as popular as it needs to be to work.

If I were to use that type of pitch it would be...LIFE AT THE FIREWEED BAR & GRILL: House meets Northern Exposure.

Of course, it requires the listener to be familiar with House and that's the weak link in this pitch.

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 11:19:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous kcresswell said...

This is great. :) I'll try a couple more. Kim
--------------------------
mistri/Helen said..

Espe, a would-be magestudent in the City of Seasons, discovers that darkness lies behind the truth of her adoption - she was placed into the city she loves purely to be used as a tool to bring it down for ever.

How about a bit shorter?

A would-be mage student discovers the dark truth behind her adoption could topple the city she loves.

--------------------------------
ValMarie said...

Hush Little Baby:

A teenaged girl fights for the right to carry her child, a product of rape, to term.

I like this as is. Nice and precise. Well done.

Monday, August 1, 2005 at 11:34:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous ZaZa said...

ValMarie said...
"Hush Little Baby:

A teenaged girl fights for the right to carry her child, a product of rape, to term."

Great. Brief, succinct, yet has all the hooks.

***************


ME Strauss said...
"Naive Teresa Campbell suddenly finds that her remarkable talent for imitating others has attracted the attention of a Svengali-like record promoter, unaware that he plans to kill an international recording star and make Teresa her exact replacement. "

How about calling it "a talent for mimickry"? (Did I spell that right?) And could you call him "a deranged record promoter" or something. :G: Both of those would shorten it a lot. Sounds like a cool story.

***************





bethany said...
"Life As Greta by Bethany Hiitola

Meet Greta Wyldman, a ghostwriter for the mysterious 25 time best-selling author--only she's never met him nor has anyone else-- and he's offered to fly her around the globe for a publicity stunt that not only wows his legions of fans, but finds Greta engrossed in adventure, intrigue, and a little romance. "

Yes, this hits the high points much better. I think I'd cut out the "25 time." Also, "mysterious" probably covers the author enough that you could leave out the never met him part. Does this still tell the story:

"Meet Greta Wyldman, a ghostwriter for a mysterious best-selling author, who's offered to fly her around the globe for a publicity stunt, promising adventure, intrigue, and maybe even a little romance."

**********


Demented M said...
"It's hard, so hard to create these things and then pick just one to represent a whole book."

Well, that's why I said on one of mine that I've been trying to blurb that darn book for two years and this is the first time I've come even close. Good thing I work on more than one project at a time. ;-)

**************


Cece said...
>>Or is she going to go out on her own and try to find out who Stephanie Hall is in her own soul?

"Zaza BINGO! I had a heck of a time nailing this to one line. Here's the long version.

A biracial adoptee confronts the mother she adores, the father who abandoned her, the biological mother who gave her up for adoption and a host of personal ghosts before she realizes that she’s more than just her parent’s child. "

Glad my questions helped. This is really great. For me it's often looking at what questions a blurb makes me ask that helps me choose what's really significant. Great work!
***********


merlinsmuse said...
"Stalked relentlessly by her husband’s killer and brutally aware that danger lurks in the shadows for anyone she cares about, Nicole Tyler changes her name and moves to Solitary Cove, a small town on the coast of Nova Scotia."

How about if you reverse the order?

"Nicole Tyler changers her name and moves to a small town on the coast of Nova Scotia to escape her husband's killer and protect her family."

Or is she maybe going there also to draw him away from her loved ones? Sounds like an exciting read either way?

****************


Jody said...
"There are two television shows that sum it up perfectly, but I'm afraid the first show isn't as popular as it needs to be to work.

If I were to use that type of pitch it would be...LIFE AT THE FIREWEED BAR & GRILL: House meets Northern Exposure. "

I like that. Unfortunately, there are dozens of "Houses," so it could get confusing. I think it was the "mourners" that really threw me.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 5:18:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Pam said...

Natalie,

I think your pitch is great. I shorten things too much at times, but here is my take.

Pam

A freelance espionage agent embarks on a fruitless quest to free her soulmate from a curse that turned him into a dragon keeping them apart for a thousand years.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 6:13:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Pam said...

Jessica wrote:

When angels and vampires engage in a showdown over a missing halo, it’s up to reluctant, newly-fledged succubus Jackie to butt in and save the day – but doing so will require her to choose between the two impossibly sexy men in her (after)life.

Pam's suggestion:

When angels and vampires engage in a showdown over a missing halo, relucant, newly-fledged succubus, Jackie, steps in to save the day, requiring her to choose between two sexy men in the afterlife.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 6:15:00 AM EDT  
Blogger ME Strauss said...

Zaza wrote:
"Naive Teresa Campbell suddenly finds that her remarkable talent for imitating others has attracted the attention of a Svengali-like record promoter, unaware that he plans to kill an international recording star and make Teresa her exact replacement. "

How about calling it "a talent for mimickry"? (Did I spell that right?) And could you call him "a deranged record promoter" or something. :G: Both of those would shorten it a lot. Sounds like a cool story.

G'morning Zaza,
To answer your question: I had to look--it gets the "k" if it's mimicking, but not if it's mimicry wierd.
I worry about the smartass connotations of "mimicry," especially juxtaposed with her naive quality, but I really love deranged--probably shouldn't advertise that :}. But does it give up the negative Pygmalion power of Svengali?
Valmarie suggested producer which also helps.
I'll get the whole thing cooking in a pot.


Thanks, again! Looking to give back where I can.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 6:19:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Pam said...

I'm amazed at the talented ladies posting here. Your stories all sound great.


Here's my pitch. I never realized that one sentence could be written so many different ways. Kentucky Blues is a romantic suspense set on a thoroughbred race track.

Jenna Green believed becoming a famous trainer in the male-dominated world of thoroughbred racing would be her greatest challenge...until the night she found a man hanging from the ceiling of her tack room.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 6:22:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Natalie Damschroder said...

Corrina, Deidre had a big article on her blog a little while back about High Concept--go back into the archives (you can find the links on the main page). Using a "high concept" pitch doesn't necessarily MAKE your book high concept, and there are some editors and agents who absolutely hate that "X meets Y" construct (I don't know where Deidre stands on that).

Pam, thanks for the input on my one-liner. I like yours and have no suggestions!

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 8:25:00 AM EDT  
Blogger merlinsmuse said...

Jenna Green believed becoming a famous trainer in the male-dominated world of thoroughbred racing would be her greatest challenge...until the night she found a man hanging from the ceiling of her tack room.

Pam, not that I'm an expert or anything, but this sounds great to me. I wouldn't change a thing. I'm also a sucker for anything to do with horses. :-)

Cathy

p.s. Could someone tell me how to get italics. I tried and ended up with a message saying that my html tag wasn't closed, or something like that. thanks

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 8:35:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Babe King said...

I just wanted to say wow! Lots of great ideas. I pitch live at the end of August for the first time ever so your comments are timely as well as helpful. I'll leave the names out of "Between the Gutter and the Sky", but I think I need the descriptor tags or it reads as blandsville and loses my voice- I'll work on it.
Thanks heaps. You guys rock.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 8:37:00 AM EDT  
Blogger ME Strauss said...

Cathy
p.s. Could someone tell me how to get italics. I tried and ended up with a message saying that my html tag wasn't closed, or something like that. thanks

8:35 AM

Finally somewhere I can help.
inside the closing tag you need to put a slash. so it would be like this without the hyphens <-/-i->

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 9:02:00 AM EDT  
Blogger merlinsmuse said...

testing

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 9:20:00 AM EDT  
Blogger merlinsmuse said...

Great. It's only 9:00 in the morning and I've already learned something new.

Thanks,
Cathy

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 9:22:00 AM EDT  
Blogger ME Strauss said...

YW

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 9:28:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

Valmarie -- thank for the feedback; love your logline -- sounds like a great book.

Pam wrote:

"Jenna Green believed becoming a famous trainer in the male-dominated world of thoroughbred racing would be her greatest challenge...until the night she found a man hanging from the ceiling of her tack room. "

Pam, neat idea. Lots of conflict in the logline itself. I think you might be able to cut a few words:

Becoming a famous trainer in the male-dominated world of thoroughbred racing was Jenna Green's greatest challenge . . . until she found a man hanged in her tack room.

Cathy wrote:

"Stalked relentlessly by her husband’s killer and brutally aware that danger lurks in the shadows for anyone she cares about, Nicole Tyler changes her name and moves to Solitary Cove, a small town on the coast of Nova Scotia."

I love this idea. Just a suggestion for tightening:

Stalked by her husband's killer, Nicole Tyler changes her identity and seeks anonymity in small town Solitary Cove.

This is educational and so much fun! Thanks for hosting, Deidre.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 10:13:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jaye said...

Another lurker here, popping out of the woodwork. As someone who's never pitche before, this has been a really wonderful experience; I've learnt so much just reading the pitches and the feedback given.

Here's mine:

For a promised two weeks the captured beauty and her cursed 'Beast' share a passion hot enough to warm his lonely existence, but a only kiss given in love is the true price of freedom, for him.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 10:14:00 AM EDT  
Blogger moonhart said...

Here is my pitch:

LOUIE IN LOVE

When Cupid's ace hitman falls for his next victim, Louie O'Fae must take aim with his heart or his head -- losing either his love or his world.

Terri

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 10:42:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diana Peterfreund said...

Hey, Jaye,
I think I'd like more detail in this one:

For a promised two weeks the captured beauty and her cursed 'Beast' share a passion hot enough to warm his lonely existence, but a only kiss given in love is the true price of freedom, for him.

Is it a historical? A paranormal? A contemporary? Why is "beast" in quotes? It's clear that this is a takeoff of Beauty and the Beast, but what spin have you put on it to make it your own? How is your story different? What setting, tone, characteristics or details take the classic story and make it new?

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 10:47:00 AM EDT  
Blogger ME Strauss said...

When Cupid's ace hitman falls for his next victim, Louie O'Fae must take aim with his heart or his head -- losing either his love or his world.

I was confused until I realized that Luis was the hitman. This might help.

When Cupid's ace hitman falls for his next victim, he must take aim with his heart or his head -- losing either love or his world.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 11:04:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diana Peterfreund said...

Hey, corrina,

I'm the one that wrote the article on "high concept" for this blog: (http://knightagency.blogspot.com/2005/05/whats-all-this-talk-about-high-concept.html).

I have to say that I've never been a fan of the X meets Y style of pitching, particularly if that is the single statement provided about the story. As I wrote in the essay, unless the X and Y are so iconic as to be recognizable to anyone who would hear them, and the combination leaves little room for doubt about what your story is about, it's a wasted exercise.

From "Elektra meets Gladiator" I have no clue what your story is about. Yes, the other posters might have been hitting on the right mark (as well as a score of others!), but you don't want the audience to have to wrack their brains trying to figure it out. The whole idea of a high concept pitch is to convey in as few words as possible the entire concept and breadth of your story. If they are sitting there wondering, "Is it historical? Time travel? Paranormal? What? Who is the main character? Is she a slave?" Then you are not succeeding. In addition, if you present your story as ONLY X meets Y, and the audience hates X or Y (or worse, confuses the Marvel Comics Elektra with the Jennifer Garner one, when you meant the opposite), your also up the creek.

In my opinion, you'd be much better off with a more detailed description like the kind set up in your follow-up post. "Set in an alternative universe where the Roman empire is thriving in modern-day America..." and then talk about your main character in two or three words (I like the "adjective-noun" construct, i.e. "Kick butt former slave"), and her central conflict.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 11:05:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Shalanna Collins said...

This is great. Good input from Zaza, Corrina, and everyone. I am still cogitating on whether or not to include my heroine's name, as Natalie said. (grin)

High concept! That's a term I just heard tossed around on another list. For a while, that was The Buzzword in screenwriting circles. But then I was discouraged by another agent from using it in reference to my novel. I'll have to go read what you've said.

I like the idea of LOUIE IN LOVE, but I don't get how he is to take aim with his heart or his head. I need something less nebulous for him to be up against. Maybe that's just me.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 11:10:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Susan Wilbanks said...

jaye said:

For a promised two weeks the captured beauty and her cursed 'Beast' share a passion hot enough to warm his lonely existence, but a only kiss given in love is the true price of freedom, for him.

I'd echo Diana's questions about the type of story, how you differentiate it from the fairy tale, etc. But working with what you have here, I think you can tighten the verbiage a bit. Something like:

While a captured beauty and a cursed beast discover unexpected and shattering passion, to be set free they require something more--true love.

moonhart said:

When Cupid's ace hitman falls for his next victim, Louie O'Fae must take aim with his heart or his head -- losing either his love or his world.

I'm assuming this is a paranormal, with Louie literally in Cupid's employ, right? Not knowing more about your story I'm not sure what I'd change, but I feel like it needs to be tighter and more specific, somehow.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 11:16:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Patrick McNamara said...

How about this as a revision for LOUIE IN LOVE:

"Cupid's ace hitman falls for his next victim and must choose between his love and his world."

(17 words)
I'd leave out the poetics for a pitch. The advice for summaries is to leave them out and I assume it would be the same for pitches.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 11:20:00 AM EDT  
Blogger moonhart said...

Yes, Louie in Love is a light parnormal and yes he IS actually in Cupid's employ.

Man this is truly tough.

Thanks for the ideas. Reworking now.

Terri

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 11:23:00 AM EDT  
Blogger moonhart said...

Patrick I love your suggestion. I only tweaked it a tad, because it flows better to my ear as this:

LOUIE IN LOVE

When Cupid's ace hitman falls for his next victim, he must choose between his love and his world.

18 words.

:)

Terri

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 11:28:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous gina said...

how about this one?

Sugar Mama

Cate Grays only dream is to be rich enough to quit her boring job, but when her dream comes true she finds out from friends, family and complete strangers that having money isn't all its cracked up to be.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 12:11:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous raine said...

Pam, I loved yours, and yours, Natalie, and yours very much, Jaye!

May I assume it's okay to post two? I don't see anything forbidding it...

Be back as soon as I gather my nerve, lol!

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 12:31:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diana Peterfreund said...

Hey, Gina, (re: Sugar Mama)

How does her dream come true? Why isn't it all its cracked up to be? How do her friends and family teach her this (inadvertantly? lessons? ignoring her?) What's the central conflict and how does the character deal with it?

The way it read now is a cute "teaser" or start to a dialogue about your book, but if that's all you've got to give an agent, it needs to get a bit more specific, IMO.

From the title, I've got a vague suspicion that she somehow comes into money (say, lottery or surprise inheritance) and everyone around her starts asking her for some. Is that correct? I think it should be spelled out more in the pitch proper.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 1:10:00 PM EDT  
Blogger merlinsmuse said...

***Cate Grays only dream is to be rich enough to quit her boring job, but when her dream comes true she finds out from friends, family and complete strangers that having money isn't all its cracked up to be.

Sounds interesting, but maybe a wee bit more information than needed. Try something like this.

Cate Grays dreams about being rich enough to quit her mundane job, but when the dream comes true, circumstances force her to realize that having money isn't the delight she'd imagined.

Who knows. Just a suggestion. This contest sure makes a person realize how many ways there are to write the same sentence. Changing a word here and there can make major differences. It's fun and enlightening.

Cathy

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 1:14:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous raine said...

Okay, I've girded my loins...geez, it's tough to get enough information in one sentence!

First pitch:

A small-town reporter duels with an independent woman when she publicly declares that dildoes are a girl’s best friend.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 1:23:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous raine said...

Okay, here's my second pitch (gulp!)

A young man has laid careful plans to seduce the woman he’s loved for years—if only the Apocalypse would stop interfering.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 1:25:00 PM EDT  
Blogger ME Strauss said...

Hope you don't mind if I tried another twist on the Cate Grays pitch:

Cate Grays dreams of quitting her job, but when a winfall allows her to, she finds fantasy was far more appealing than reality.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 1:34:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Amie Stuart said...

When Cupid's ace hitman falls for his next victim, he must choose between his love and his world.

Terri I love the sound of this =)

>> Okay, I've girded my loins...geez, it's tough to get enough information in one sentence!

About time ;)

>Becoming a famous trainer in the male-dominated world of thoroughbred racing was Jenna Green's greatest challenge

Pam I love the sound of this as well as Linda’s suggestions for tweaking =) I tell you what if these were published books I'd bust my book budget (the one I prented I have) for at least a year.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 3:14:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Natalie Damschroder said...

Okay, I like this:

Jenna Green believed becoming a famous trainer in the male-dominated world of thoroughbred racing would be her greatest challenge...

better than this:

Becoming a famous trainer in the male-dominated world of thoroughbred racing was Jenna Green's greatest challenge...

Because #2 isn't any tighter or shorter than #1, and it's passive. In the second one, it doesn't make her a victim, per se, but it does make her passively having the challenge happen to her. My imagery in #1 is of her taking on a challenge, not being buried by it. So when we get to the second part, about the guy hanging from the rafters, when I read the first example I imagine what she's going to do about it, while in the second one I imagine her being horrified and fretful--and becoming a victim.

Maybe it's all my own baggage I bring to my interpretation of it, but...

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 3:32:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Pam said...

Cathy, Linda, Natalie and Raine and anyone I missed. Thanks so much for your input. Thanks Deirdre for this great exercise and contest. It does make a person think!

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 3:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Lis said...

Count me among the lurkers. Here's my pitch.

IN NAME ONLY:

What happens when a drunken mistake turns into a six month proposition?

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 3:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Pam said...

Jaye,

Not sure this is any better, but I gave it a shot. I actually think it's longer. Shucks.

For two weeks the captured beauty and the cursed 'Beast' share passion hot enough to sizzle his lonely existence, but he needs a kiss given in love to break the curse and set him free.

Pam

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 4:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Pam said...

Terri,

He's my shot at yours.

Cupid's ace hitman, Louie O'Fae, falls in love with his victim and must choose his new love or his world.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 4:06:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous ZaZa said...

Pam said...
"Kentucky Blues is a romantic suspense set on a thoroughbred race track.

Jenna Green believed becoming a famous trainer in the male-dominated world of thoroughbred racing would be her greatest challenge...until the night she found a man hanging from the ceiling of her tack room. "

Wow. This seems pretty near perfect to me, and it sounds like a great story. The one thing I'd changed, and this is probably just me, is "believed." I don't know why, but "thought" would work better for me.
************


Jaye said...
"For a promised two weeks the captured beauty and her cursed 'Beast' share a passion hot enough to warm his lonely existence, but a only kiss given in love is the true price of freedom, for him. "

Great idea. Now, the questions. What's the significance of the "promised" two weeks? Not knowing (or understanding, if it's from the fairy tale, which I can't rememeber much about), maybe put it a little differently? Make it a time lock on their relationship, i.e., she has two weeks to give him a kiss in "love" as opposed to lust or...what's the penalty?
**************


moonhart said...
"LOUIE IN LOVE

When Cupid's ace hitman falls for his next victim, Louie O'Fae must take aim with his heart or his head -- losing either his love or his world."

I love this, especially Louie the hitman for Cupid. LOL! Sounds like great fun. I think you need to get his name in earlier. I had to read it a couple of times before I realized that Louie and the hitman were the same person, unless I misunderstood. Anyway, there's some room for confusion there.
*************


gina said...
"Sugar Mama

Cate Grays only dream is to be rich enough to quit her boring job, but when her dream comes true she finds out from friends, family and complete strangers that having money isn't all its cracked up to be. "

(Gray's) The title, Sugar Mama, gives the impression that she's going to be having to take financial care of everyone, which is usually voluntary. Is it that she does want to share the wealth, but her family, friends etc. come to expect it? For me, there's a logic break between the expectations raised by the title and what the blurb implies. Also, I don't think you need to include the "friends...strangers." Is this going to be humorous? Or is it a three-hankie weeper? I guess I just have very confused expectations.
*************


raine said...
"First pitch:

A small-town reporter duels with an independent woman when she publicly declares that dildoes are a girl’s best friend."

Hmmm. Okay, whether this is light comedy or black humor will depend a lot on whether this reporter is male or female. I'm assuming light romantic comedy, but I could be totally off. Here's one where a title could tell the pitchee a lot.


raine said...
"second pitch (gulp!)

A young man has laid careful plans to seduce the woman he’s loved for years—if only the Apocalypse would stop interfering."

Now, this one definitely sounds humorous, too. It also sounds like an alternate reality, so I think you need to get that in.

Both of these are great concepts and could be great stories, but just a little more info would help the reader to figure out what to expect from the potential reads.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 4:19:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jerseygirl said...

Cece:
Thank you for your ideas!

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 4:25:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Margaret said...

Hi Vanessa,

Glad you found my premise interesting. This is rather a dark fantasy and the corrupt king is quite dark himself so the stakes are his family name, position and possibly their lives, but I'll have to think how to work that in. The way he restores the magic is quite tangled so not sure I can refer to it in short form in any way that would make sense. There's so much to a 120k novel for 15-20 words to hold :p. Still, good questions. Thanks :).

Vanessa_Gilfoy said...
...How does Nobleman try to restore the true magic?...What's at stake might add some more interest than abandoned loyalty. :)

Cheers,
Margaret

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 4:34:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous ZaZa said...

Here's my efforts to incorporate some of your suggestions on my blurbs:

Susan Wilbanks said...
"When an irresistible female force meets an immovable male object, it sometimes it takes a little seduction to get him moving in the right direction.

Cherry Flip – Hang on, Kiddies. This could be a bumpy ride."

My gut reaction to this one is that I'd like to see it become a little more specific. A lot of romances are about irresistible female forces and immovable male objects, so I'd like to see some identifying details--time, place, how the characters meet, etc."

Okay, how about this (notice I changed the title to identify more strongly with the song ;+):
When irresistible force, sexy caterer Prentice Jones, meets immovable object, uptight executive Tony Salerno and lust ensues, Something's Gotta Give.
**************


Natalie Damschroder said...
When chef Suzie van Dyne leaves E.T. Draeger handcuffed to a water pipe in an Atlanta hotel room, she thinks she finally has things under control, but the fun is just beginning.

This is quick and catchy, but it seems like it just describes the opening scene of the book. Can you work in who E.T. Draeger is (food critic, maybe?) and why she has to chain him? In a more general sense, I mean. Like, what is between them that caused her to do such a thing.

TAMING THE ALPHA MALE
Where's a rolled up newspaper when you need one?"

Okay, let me try this the way it was originally written and see what the feeling is here:
When chef Suzie Van Dyne leaves thug-cum-bodygard E.T. Draeger handcuffed in an Atlanta hotel room, she thinks she's seen the last of him, but the fun is just beginning.

Taming the Alpha Male
Where's a rolled up newspaper when you need one?
************


"Safira Janis lives her life from one crisis to another, but when she liberates a dotty old dear from her conniving family, she begins to realize that life should be more than Damage Control.

This is good--the only thing I might suggest is take out "begins to," just to make it less wordy. I'm assuming by what it says that this one is not a romance."

This started out as a romance, then my planned protag wasn't interested in committment, and it morphed into more a womens fiction. I just hate it when these guy's have minds of their own. It took me a while to realize that what most readers were reacting to in the book was Safira's reactive way of living. Anyway, here's bit of a revision:

Safira Janis lives life from one crisis to another, but when she finds herself playing mother to a dotty old dear she rescued from conniving relatives, she realizes that life needs to be more than just Damage Control.

Hmm. It's longer but, I think, better. Comments?

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 4:42:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jaye said...

Diane and Susan, thanks for the feedback. I gave it another try:

In exchange for her freedom, a captured beauty and a disfigured warrior become incendiary lovers in the wastelands of The Lost; but it will take a kiss given in love to break an ancient curse and release The Beast from his nightmare existence.

(now say that five times fast. gg )
*sigh* This is hard.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 4:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jaye said...

Waaay back in the threads, Jessica and Natalie made a series of posts and suggestions that I found really enlightening. Thanks ladies.

I like Patrick’s suggest for moonhart’s Louie in Love.

And I like me strausses suggestion for the Cate Gray pitch. I also played with it a bit (notice how I made yours shorter, but mine longer. g)

"Cate Grays only dream is to be rich enough to quit her boring job, but when hits the lotto/lands a windfall inheritance, she finds out that having money isn't all its cracked up to be."

Raine, I like both pitches. They convey premise, set-up and voice.

Pam, I agree with Natalie’s choice and reasons. In fact, really great pitch.

Lis, I would need more info. You’ve got a teaser/question but not a pitch that presents a set-up/conflict/premise.

Pam, thanks for that example, it's definitely better than my first try. :-P

Zaza, great questions. I’ll get back to you…. ;-)

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 5:12:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Susan Wilbanks said...

When irresistible force, sexy caterer Prentice Jones, meets immovable object, uptight executive Tony Salerno and lust ensues, Something's Gotta Give.

I like this! It gives me a good sense of the characters, setting, and style.


In exchange for her freedom, a captured beauty and a disfigured warrior become incendiary lovers in the wastelands of The Lost; but it will take a kiss given in love to break an ancient curse and release The Beast from his nightmare existence.

VERY nice--here you've shown something of your twist on the fairy tale, and I think it's intriguing.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 5:23:00 PM EDT  
Blogger moonhart said...

Okay, to stop confusion, how about this:

When Louie O'Fae, Cupid's ace hitman, falls for his next victim, he must choose between his lover or his world.


Terri

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 6:14:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

Raine said:

"A young man has laid careful plans to seduce the woman he’s loved for years—if only the Apocalypse would stop interfering."

Oh. My. Gosh. I love.

Lis said:

"What happens when a drunken mistake turns into a six month proposition?"

Lis, I can see this opening your query or your backcover blurb, but as a logline, it needs just a little more -- who's involved? What's the key conflict?

Nice question, though. :-)

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 6:32:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous ZaZa said...

Lis said...
"IN NAME ONLY:

What happens when a drunken mistake turns into a six month proposition?"

Sorry I missed this one before. I like this, but how about an endash (like a bigger hyphen, don't know the ASCII to put one in here) and a punch line kind of thing? Like:
"What happens when a drunken mistake turns into a six month proposition - world's collide."
Well, that's just silly, but you get the idea. That would keep it short but still give a little more of a feel for the story.
**********



Jaye said...
"In exchange for her freedom, a captured beauty and a disfigured warrior become incendiary lovers in the wastelands of The Lost; but it will take a kiss given in love to break an ancient curse and release The Beast from his nightmare existence."

Hot dang! Yes, I'd read this in a heartbeat. Great revision.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 8:16:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Molly said...

Love the picture of the surfer and dolphin!

How do you know if we are regular visitors? Are you tracking ISPs? Because I visit almost every day, sometimes more than once a day, but never post.....

Typed and deleted my entry about five jillion times over the past few days. Perhaps tomorrow I shall be braver.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 9:22:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jaye said...

Thanks guys. Ya know, if you hadn't liked this version, I would have slit my wrists. *g* Seriously, thank you. I was quite content with the first version, if you hadn't administered the kick to my butt, I would never have attempted to make it better.

It's been a real lesson just reading the comments, suggestions, and examples that have been posted. :-) Great stuff!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 9:39:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Corrina said...

Diana,

Thanks so much for the reply and the link to your article. I apologize for missing it previously. I've linked to this blog for about three months but I will admit there are days or weeks when I don't get the time to check in.

And thanks everyone for the comments. Very high level of crits from everyone on all the blurbs. I'm very impressed.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 9:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Lis said...

Thanks Zaza! I was trying to figure out how to add more but still leave the question bit there. Off to go add to the one liner.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 10:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jenny Barnhart said...

Go away for a couple days and look what happens. :) I hope these help and I've enjoyed this pitching contest very much. It's been a blast so far.


Margaret said...
Sigh. Ignore that one. It lost too many nuances of the book. Here's a new one for The Queen's Return that keeps the misgivings:

(A) Nobleman learns to separate loyalty to the crown from its corrupt king, restoring true magic.

Margaret,
I like this. I liked the other version as well.  I would read it.

2:43 PM
Vanessa_Gilfoy said...
Healing Wounds
A lover's betrayal, vampires' bites....All wounds heal, even those infected with disgrace.
Vanessa,
Not really getting a picture of the story here. I think this would make a wonderful blurb, but I want more specifics for the pitch.
Linda said...
"A rape victim and a man whose pregnant wife disappeared years ago move beyond their traumatic histories to forge a future – until his past returns."
Linda, good. Not much else to say to that. :)
merlinsmuse said...
Ruled by an uncertain king, weakened by rampant interbreeding, and threatened by a vindictive goblin bent on claiming the throne {he believes to be his DEL NOT NECESSARY}, the realm of faerie is in danger of extinction {or destruction} DEL.

HOPE THAT HELPS. JUST TO MAKE IT TIGHTER.
10:00 PM
Demented M said...
Take 3...

For A psychic investigator{, Sofia Parker,}DEL dealing with zombies and dragons {plotting a war}DEL is nothing compared to the love triangle between her sexy new client and a dead ex-boyfriend who isn't about to let death interfere with their relationship...even if it means joining the zombies' efforts to take over the world.

M ,
VERY INTERESTING.

Cece
{Stephanie Hall is}DEL a biracial adoptee {who} must confront a host of personal ghosts {in order} to realize that she’s more than just her parent’s child.
HOPE THAT HELPS
Anonymous said...
Okay. I'm back from Reno and finally have enough brain cells to try this one.

"Marvel Comic's "Elektra" meets "The Gladiator."

Corrina,
NOT SURE THIS TELLS ME MUCH ABOUT THE BOOK. NEED SPECIFICS.

mistri/Helen said...
Espe, a would-be magestudent in the City of Seasons, discovers that darkness lies behind the truth of her adoption - she was placed into the city she loves purely to be used as a tool to bring it down for ever.
A WOULD BE MAGE LEARNS SHE WAS PLACED IN THE CITY SHE LOVES AS A TOOL TO DESTROY IT FOREVER.
ValMarie said...
Hush Little Baby:

A teenaged girl fights for the right to carry her child, a product of rape, to term.
A TEENAGE RAPE VICTIM FIGHTS FOR THE RIGHT TO CARRY HER CHILD TO TERM.
THE COMMA’S HALTED THE SENTENCE FOR ME AND I THOUGHT THIS SHOULD BE SMOOTH. VERY INTERESTING SOUNDING.
ME Strauss said...
OK to try another?

Naive Teresa Campbell suddenly finds that her remarkable talent for imitating others has attracted the attention of a Svengali-like record promoter, unaware that he plans to kill an international recording star and make Teresa her exact replacement.
NEEDS TIGHTENED. A NAÏVE IMITATOR ATTRACTES THE ATTENTION OF A SVENGALI-LIKE RECORD PROMOTOR, UNAWARE OF HIS PLANS TO KILL A RECORDING STAR AND USE HER AS THE REPLACEMENT.
NOT SURE THAT’S ANY BETTER. HOPE IT SPARKS AN IDEA FOR YOU.

bethany said...
Life As Greta by Bethany Hiitola

Meet Greta Wyldman, a ghostwriter for the mysterious 25 time best-selling author--only she's never met him nor has anyone else-- and he's offered to fly her around the globe for a publicity stunt that not only wows his legions of fans, but finds Greta engrossed in adventure, intrigue, and a little romance.
THIS NEEDS TIGHTENED, BUT I DO LIKE THE FLOW YOU HAVE. A GHOSTWRITER IS FLOWN AROUND THE GLOBE FOR A PUBLICITY STUNT AND BECOMES ENGROSSED IN ADVENTURE, INTRIGUE, AND A LITTLE ROMANCE.
merlinsmuse said...
Stalked relentlessly by her husband’s killer and brutally aware that danger lurks in the shadows for anyone she cares about, Nicole Tyler changes her name and moves to Solitary Cove, a small town on the coast of Nova Scotia.

Cathy , INTERESTING. DOES NEED TIGHTENING AND MAYBE A BIT MORE SPECIFICS, LIKE I’M NOT SURE WHAT THE CORE PLOT IS. ROMANCE, SUSPENSE, HORROR?
Pam said...
{Jenna Green believed} becoming a famous trainer in the {male-dominated} world of thoroughbred racing would be her greatest challenge...until the night she found a man hanging from the ceiling of her tack room.

Jaye said...
Here's mine:

For a promised two weeks{,} the captured beauty and her cursed 'Beast' share a passion hot enough to warm his lonely existence, but a only kiss given in love is the true price of freedom, for him.
SOUNDS GREAT. I LOVE BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.
gina said...
how about this one?

Sugar Mama

Cate Grays only dream is to be rich enough to quit her boring job, but when her dream comes true she finds out from friends, family and complete strangers that having money isn't all its cracked up to be.
GOOD. I DO LIKE THIS. VERY MUCH TO THE POINT.
raine said...
First pitch:

A small-town reporter duels with an independent woman when she publicly declares that dildoes are a girl’s best friend.
HEHE. OKAY, THIS IS VERY SHORT, BUT MIGHT NEED A BIT OF CLARIFICATION. WHO DECLARES THAT DILDOES ARE A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND. THE REPORTER OR THE INDEPENDENT WOMAN? JUST A TAD MORE.
raine said...

A young man has laid careful plans to seduce the woman he’s loved for years—if only the Apocalypse would stop interfering.
LIKE THIS VERY MUCH.
Lis said...
IN NAME ONLY:

What happens when a drunken mistake turns into a six month proposition?
THIS SOUNDS LIKE THE BLURB ON THE BACK OF A BOOK. GOOD JOB.
Jaye said...
In exchange for her freedom, a captured beauty and a disfigured warrior become incendiary lovers in the wastelands of The Lost; but it will take a kiss given in love to break an ancient curse and release The Beast from his nightmare existence.

OH, LIKE THIS ONE BETTER.
moonhart said...
Okay, to stop confusion, how about this:

When Louie O'Fae, Cupid's ace hitman, falls for his next victim, he must choose between his lover or his world.

WOW. INTERESTING STORY. I’D WANT TO READ MORE.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 10:59:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diana Peterfreund said...

Jaye, I LOVE the revision. I'd read that story in a second. yum yum.

I like yours, too Demented...

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 at 11:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Brenda Bradshaw said...

Holy crap - 189 comments already??

Thankfully, Deidre heard it already, but I'll post it here, too, for one of my WIPs: The only man that could save her was the one that was hired to kill her.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005 at 2:32:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous ZaZa said...

Hey, Brenda! See what you missed? \;+)

Brenda Bradshaw said...
"The only man that could save her was the one that was hired to kill her."

I looooove this! Only change I'd make is to switch the "thats" for "whos," since it's a person.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005 at 4:36:00 AM EDT  
Blogger ME Strauss said...

Jenny wrote:
NEEDS TIGHTENED. A NAÏVE IMITATOR ATTRACTES THE ATTENTION OF A SVENGALI-LIKE RECORD PROMOTOR, UNAWARE OF HIS PLANS TO KILL A RECORDING STAR AND USE HER AS THE REPLACEMENT.
NOT SURE THAT’S ANY BETTER. HOPE IT SPARKS AN IDEA FOR YOU.

Thanks, Jenny. It did. I'm trying a whole new tack here.

Naive singer gets her break from a Svengali producer with murder on his mind.

ME-Liz

Wednesday, August 3, 2005 at 7:49:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jenny Barnhart said...

Me Liz said,
Naive singer gets her break from a Svengali producer with murder on his mind.

I do like this better. It still covers everything and keeps your writing voice. Great job.

Jenny

Wednesday, August 3, 2005 at 8:42:00 AM EDT  
Blogger ME Strauss said...

Thanks, Jenny for sparking the fire. I think I'll go back and look at the first one again now.
(Still learning how to make a cogent critique.:[ )
ME-Liz

Wednesday, August 3, 2005 at 9:00:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Destruction Angel said...

Lisle, hacker and sometime-DJ, needs help from the ex-lover who betrayed her years ago.

I actually have a blog

Wednesday, August 3, 2005 at 9:06:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Destruction Angel said...

Oops...

I hit enter before I was done. Oh well, that's about as good as it gets from me.

moonhart said...
Okay, to stop confusion, how about this:

When Louie O'Fae, Cupid's ace hitman, falls for his next victim, he must choose between his lover or his world.

I love this one.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005 at 9:14:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Babe King said...

A small-town reporter duels with an independent woman when she publicly declares that dildoes are a girl’s best friend.
Why is the small-town reporter up in arms about this? I feel that is the crux of the conflict and maybe just one or two words to explain it- is it a moral issue? a challenge to his male ego? a threat to small town dynamics? an offence to his sense of taste?- for me that would sweeten the deal by highlighting the conflict

Wednesday, August 3, 2005 at 9:35:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Babe King said...

"Between the Gutter and the Sky"
In an Australian ER, a wisecracking, Atilla-the-hen doctor battles a modern-day Confucius social worker for accountibility from the street kids he's seeking mercy for.

is this better?

Wednesday, August 3, 2005 at 9:52:00 AM EDT  
Blogger ValMarie said...

jenny said,

A teenaged girl fights for the right to carry her child, a product of rape, to term.
A TEENAGE RAPE VICTIM FIGHTS FOR THE RIGHT TO CARRY HER CHILD TO TERM.
THE COMMA’S HALTED THE SENTENCE FOR ME AND I THOUGHT THIS SHOULD BE SMOOTH. VERY INTERESTING SOUNDING.


Hmm...thanks for the feedback! I didn't think the commas would be a problem, but the version you suggested makes it smoother and tighter (helps me to drop it to under 15 words--I was having a hard time getting it there without dropping something that was important to me).

Hush Little Baby:
A teenage rape victim fights for the right to carry her child to term.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005 at 10:13:00 AM EDT  
Blogger ValMarie said...

me strauss said,

Naive singer gets her break from a Svengali producer with murder on his mind.


I love this! I think it completely catches the flavor of the story without getting too wordy. Well done!

Wednesday, August 3, 2005 at 10:15:00 AM EDT  

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