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Pitch Workshop – B’s critique #10

Sunday, 12 February 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

We’re on day five 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: S.A. Hussey
Title:  SEREN’S ANGEL
Genre:  Paranormal Romance
Word count: 75,000

Pitch:  

Emma’s gifts helped her find the man of her dreams, James.  Unfortunately, he has another soul spirit (isn’t soul and spirit the same thing) inside him that must be freed, requiring an ultimate act.  Emma hates it – James will have to die.

B’s notes: This sounds like a fun premise. I’d rework this pitch. As far as structure is concerned, make your logline one sentence. Make sure it flows nicely from beginning to end. Don’t use past tense in your logline. Also, you should tell us what Emma’s gift is.
‘Emma’s (gift) brings her the man of her dreams, unfortunately, he comes with baggage, another soul, and now the leech must be freed but it requires an ultimate act–her love will have to die.’ 

Excerpt:

Emma always loved coming here.  It was her refuge in a crazy world that couldn’t seem to accept her.  How many times had she ducked under the branches of the weeping willow as she wandered along the waters edge?  Lost in thoughts and daydreams she traversed the many small paved roads stopping here and there to smell the pretty flowers that had been planted along the path’s edges.  This was her place of solace; the quietness stilled her mind.  Nobody judged or criticized her here.  This place understood her, why couldn’t everyone else?  

With her back against the tree trunk (comma) Emma pulled her knees to her chest, wrapped her arms around her legs, and then leaned her head against the rough bark.  Emma’s gaze took in her surroundings; the marble stones, granite monoliths and cement crosses.  Lakeside Cemetery used to be beautiful, but not anymore.  Nothing would ever be beautiful in her world again.

B’s notes: So the writing is good here, I’m just not getting pulled into the story enough. My interest piqued at this line: ‘Lakeside Cemetery used to be beautiful, but not anymore. Nothing would ever be beautiful in her world again.’  Your first line and first pages have to hook an agent. Do you think you’re starting your story in the right place? I’ve been told, it’s one of the biggest complaints, writers not starting where the story actually begins. 
I think the writing itself would most likely get you requests to read more. The only problem I did find in the writing, was a bit of telling in that last paragraph. You don’t have to tell us Emma’s gaze is taking in her surroundings. She’s the point of view character so we assume we’re seeing things through her eyes, or rather, her gaze. Just show us the surroundings. Like…
‘Chipped marble stones, tall granite monoliths, and aged cement crosses were choked by the overgrown weeds and grasses.’
Well, you can do better than that, I’m sure. 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

2 Comments
  • E. Arroyo says:

    Great suggestions Brenda made. I agree. I don’t know the character well enough for any of the questions she posed to have any relevance. I think you have a great premise. Good luck

  • Stephsco says:

    Great suggestion for the pitch. I liked the opening paragraph a lot. The only tiny suggestion I’d make is when it says she always loved “coming here,” say where here is. You could say the cemetery right away and it piques interest. What you have that follows shows why.

    Best wishes to you in editing!

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