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: Alexandra Campbell
Genre: MG Fantasy
Word Count: 37,000
When a half-mermaid girl is kidnapped by a circus, she has to deal with power-crazy parents who hate each other, her hopelessly unhelpful twin sister, and a misplaced Leviathan in order to be free.
B’s notes: This sounds like a fun premise. I’m just missing something here. How does she have to deal with power-crazy parents? Why is her sister unhelpful? How is the Leviathan misplaced? How does she have to deal with them to get free? Give me more information and I’ll be happy to take a shot at your logline. It’s almost there, it’s just vague.
B’s additional notes: Holy guacamole, this one is tough. Okay, I’ve tried coming up with something. If anything, it’s a starting point. I could use some serious help with this one. Here’s what I’m working with…
‘Half-mermaid and circus freak, Annette, thinks living in a fishbowl, literally, sucks, but losing the song-spell controlling the Leviathan stuck on Earth is worst, especially when finding the song is her only way to freedom.‘
Annette was sure she’d be late, the way old Hazel insisted on curling her hair and tying it up in those ridiculous blue ribbons.Annette thought they made her look much younger than she actually was, more like eight than twelve. But there was no use arguing about it. She had to wait while her best, pale-yellow dress was pressed and smoothed until there couldn’t possibly be any wrinkles left. Then she sprinted towards the crowd gathered on the shore of her village. She was relieved, when she got there, that the circus hadn’t started yet.
A ferry boat floated in the bay with coloured lanterns strung along its deck. They shone like dozens of rainbows, light sparkling over the water. Annette spotted a few of her classmates in the crowd. She would’ve liked to have someone to watch the circus with, but each of them seemed to be wrapped up—mom on one side, dad on the other, siblings all around—and none of them returned her glance.
B’s note: I love the idea of Annette rushing off to the circus and longing to watch it with someone. What’s lacking for me is the voice. What year is this set in? The voice sounds like it’s from another era. Your MC is twelve so they’d sound older than an eight-year-old, but there would still be a child’s attitude. Sort of like…
‘Annette just knew she’d be late. It was all old Hazel’s fault for insisting to curl her hair and tie it all up in those ridiculous blue ribbons. Annette was sure they made her look much younger …’
I’m sure you can do much better than my attempt. I find when I’m writing MG, I have to pretend I’m the character and talk out loud in their voice while writing. Of course, when my family is home, they give me strange looks. Ha. But I think they’re getting used to it now.
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.