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Pitch Workshop – B’s critique #11

Monday, 13 February 2012  |  Posted by Brenda

It’s day six of our pitch workshop. For ten days, Shelley Watters, Cassandra Marshall, and I are critiquing two pitches each per day. Click on my partners-in-crime pics on the sidebar to go to their sites and read their critiques.

Next up is …
 
Name: Jade Hart
Title: ( still WIP ) Venom’s Curse
Genre: YA Fantasy with mythological elements
Word Count: 90,000

Pitch:

Loka holds the worlds existence in her palm. And she’s about to die. Poisoned with cobra venom, she must deal with Hindu Mythology and unravel the puzzle of who she is before eternal death finds her.

B’s note: This logline is one word too long. It sounds like an intriguing premise. I have only one issue with it. How does finding out who she is prevent eternal death from finding her? I’d mix this up and rework this logline to make it more enticing. Check this site out for writing loglines: http://www.writersstore.com/writing-loglines-that-sell. If you want me to take a stab at your logline, answer the question above and I’ll see what I can come up with. I’d like to see more of the voice in the excerpt here in the pitch.
B’s notes: After getting more information from Jade, I’ve taken a shot at her logline. This one is tough, so help out if you can and let me know what you think in the comments. 
 
‘Being a Hindu goddess has its perks—dying continually isn’t one—so when a cobra bites Loka, its venom erasing her memory, she must learn who she really is or die for good this time.’
 

Excerpt:

“Damn it,” I said through clenched teeth. “Not again!”

My eyes cracked open to reveal a saffron infused, gothic room with high vaulted ceilings. Thick heavy banners of emerald, scarlet (I’d add a comma here – but I’m an Oxford comma fan – you decide here) and cobalt hung, brushing whisper-soft, against the marble floor. The ivory marble was bitterly cold and unyielding against my cheek. It was polished to a perfect mirrored gloss, reflecting the image of the room upside down, like a crystal lake.
“Hello, Loka,”a gravel and husk voice said. “What a surprise.”
“No need to rub it in,” I said, hauling myself to my feet in an ungainly dance of vertigo. I was glad I’d died today when I was wearing under-wear. Yesterday would’ve been rather embarrassing, with the marble floor bouncing back my daisy knickers hidden beneath my high-lighter pink mini-skirt.
I glared at the three Gods in front of me, and all my memories of my past lives flooded back.
B’s notes: I loved this excerpt. You pulled me right into the story. Great voice! I’d rework that line about the daisy knickers. How is the marble floor bouncing them back? It could just be me but I’m not visualizing it. But anyway – LOVED it!
I hope this helps!
Remember this is subjective and others’ may feel differently. So I’ll now pass it on to the readers to critique. Please leave your comments, and remember the rules of critiquing … be nice, which I’m sure you all will be, but I have to say it … you know.

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Filed: Misc, Workshops

15 Comments
  • Jade Hart says:

    Wow, thanks so much Brenda, I did really struggle with the pitch. I live in NZ and just heading to work, when I get back I’ll work on the pitch and forward to you to see if it’s any better 🙂
    Thanks again – your wonderful 🙂

  • I’m with Brenda, I love the beginning of this. Pulls me right in!

  • Cassie Mae says:

    Awesome job Jade! This is really great 🙂

  • Jade Hart says:

    Okay, I’m back. Brenda, in answer to your question… how does finding out who she is stop eternal death from finding her? Well, she’s a Hindu Goddess who is the highest deity there is. She trapped her memories and powers into the cobra to try and live life as a human to figure out why no souls were evolving to the next life – everyone is flunking at karma. But the cobra bites her too early and she has to race against the clock. Her power is so strong if she doens’t awake herself ( and there are four layers she has to go through, differnt powers and memories ) then the power will obliterate her forever.
    Does that make sense? Probably not. See why I had such a hard time! lol. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  • Brenda Drake says:

    None of that is fitting that opening scene I love so much. Is she switching bodies and returning somewhere? I think your pitch needs to be as fun as the excerpt. What’s happening in that excerpt? Is she transporting into other bodies or something? I need more to narrow in on the hook.

  • Jade Hart says:

    yes in the opening scene. She has just died – for her fifteenth time. When her soul returns to the in-between world she is assessed by the three gods who determine if she should be sent to the underwold to repent her sins or be allowed to return straight away as a human. The next chapter follows her life and she dies – again! lol. The third chapter is where the Gods make teh cobra bite her and she becomes the Reincarnate Redeemer. So hard I know!

  • Brenda Drake says:

    Okay, I’ve given the logline a try. Boy some of these ARE tough. Let me know what you all think and if you have any suggestions. Thanks!

  • Jade Hart says:

    Hello Brenda, So sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I’ve been trying so hard to condense this crazy hard story into something that makes sense, without giving away the ending! lol

    Hows this? ( BTW, it’s exactly 35 words, yay!)

    Loka has died. Again. Her seventeenth reincarnation begins with a celestial cobra bite. Venom steels through her veins, trickling recollections of Hindu mythology. Goddess powers nudge free from exile. Turns out Loka isn’t even human.

  • Brenda Drake says:

    The beginning is good. The rest is lacking the fun of the excerpt. You do have more information in it but where are the stakes? Think when you hear a trailer for a movie, how they try to entice you into going to the theater. Try it again – you’re almost there!

    This site helps me get ideas when I’m stuck: http://www.writersstore.com/writing-loglines-that-sell

  • Jade Hart says:

    Thanks Brenda. I’ll keep working. REALLY appreciate your hard work and time 🙂

  • Brenda Drake says:

    Anytime. 😀 Post it in the comments again if you want.

  • Jade Hart says:

    Hey Brenda. I know I’m totally taking advantage of you! And I can’t thank you enough!!!! lol.

    Here’s another go:

    Loka has died. Again. With secrets of her identity hounding her, Loka’s third eye opens to the mythical Hindu realm. She isn’t human; she’s a Goddess, and someone is out to steel her power.

    OR

    Loka has died. Again. Her next reincarnation opens a third eye into the realm of mythical Hindu legends who inform her she isn’t Loka at all. And she’s the only one who can save them.

  • Brenda Drake says:

    You’re not taking advantage – I told you too. Ha!

    I like the first one. What happens if they steel her power? Maybe a combination of the both with something added for the stakes. Like…

    Loka has died. Again. When her next reincarnation opens a third eye into the mythical Hindu realm, she discovers she’s a Goddess and someone wants to steel her power, killing her for good this time.

    What do you think?

  • Jade Hart says:

    Oh, I love it 🙂 Yay, finally! lol.

    Thanks so much for your help. It was hard work but I love what you’ve come up with.

    Now I need to work on a synopsis for an agent who wants to see my book. I suck at those too… care to take a stab! lol, I won’t make you do that.

    Thanks Brenda. I’ll send you an email in a bit with things for the March contest

  • Brenda Drake says:

    I’m glad! Yay! I’m terrible with synopsis. I have to do two for my submissions coming up. Yuck! Good luck with it.

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