Friday, August 5, 2011

feedback needed for a blog contest


Gabriela Lessa has announced a blog contest, and there aren't all that many entries yet. The judges are editors from Sourcebooks, so check it out. To be elegible, you need to follow her blog (which is very interesting) and sign up through a link provided on her post.

Now, to make my entries shine, I need feedback on the 30 word pitch sentence and the first paragraph of my stories. I post them here hoping you've got something to say about them.

Thanks in advance for your help,

The launching post went up!

Here are the three stories I'm going to enter:
I revised the pitch for Urchin King. Do you think it's clear now?

Title: Urchin King, YA historical fantasy

One-sentence pitch:
Despite an ancient law demanding the death of second born twins, street-urchin Paul battles a vengeful magician to save his life and his twin brother, the crown prince.

First paragraph:
Paul felt the town's outer wall against his back. Hunger still gnawed at his intestines like a wolf and made sleeping impossible, but that was not new to him. He coped with the pain by remembering his lucky day two weeks back. Lilla had given him a whole loaf of bread, and he had been able to steal another later. He had shared the last, moldy slice two days ago. Now he wished he had more. He pulled his skinny legs closer until the pain subsided. Then, he sat up and looked at his friends sleeping on the bare ground beside him. All of them were skinny, unkempt and smelled of stale sweat and dirt.

Title: The tootle-hen and the goshawk, picture book

One-sentence pitch:
Grain wants to sing in the woods but she is too chicken to go alone, and when she follows a tiny bird, she must overcome her fear of the goshawk.

First paragraph:
Grain loved to sing but the other tootle-hens hated it. The woods on the meadow's far end beckoned Grain to visit their lush green.
"The goshawk lives there. He will eat you," Aunty said.

Title: Terry and the Folding Rule of Time, MG historical fantasy with time travel

One-sentence pitch:
Twelve-year-old Terry time-travels to 1866 Germany, causing her great-great-grandfather to forget about emigration; now, she has to get him on his way to America, or her future will vanish forever.

First paragraph:
Second bell for science -- I hated old Bodger on the best of days but most of all on a Monday morning. I slammed the door of my locker hard enough that it bounced open again. Chewing on a strand of my straw-colored bangs, I closed my locker more gently and sauntered to our classroom. I looked forward to old Bodger’s face when he plopped onto a cold, wet chair. I smiled a little. Not too much. That would alert him, and he’d guess right away it was me who snuck into class before first bell. I eased into my chair, stretching my gangly legs, feeling smug and satisfied until the door opened.


Juliana L. Brandt said...

Question: does the pitch have to be one sentence or is it okay for it to be two? I'm not sure. If it is, it will be pretty easy to combine sentences for your 2nd and 3rd books.

I particularly like your 1st para for the 3rd book. You do a great job at showing Terry's personality right away. I would add in the pitch what year she comes from- I didn't get a sense of time travel and was confused at the end of it, until I realized 'lands in' was supposed to imply the time travel part.

Great job and thanks for your input on my pitch and 1st paragraph!

thetroublewithtwentytwo said...

I love your pitch for Terry and the Folding Rule of Time. It hooked me immediately. For your pitch for the Urchin King, I'd clarify "the law maker's soul devouring ghost." This confused me a bit. If he's been sentenced to death already, why would a ghost try to devour his soul? Or is everyone sentenced to death 'devoured' by the ghost? Both opening paragraphs are great. Viel gluck! :)

Cat said...

Urchin King is difficult because Paul, the MC should have been killed at birth, but he got rescued. Now, he has to step in for his twin brother, the Royal Heir. I'll rewrite it yet again.

Eva said...

I love all three story ideas. Here are my thoughts for each:
Urchin King: Instead of "He tried to forget the pain," how about "He eased the pain" or "He coped with the pain"?

The picture book sounds perfect.

Terry and...: Make the pitch into a single sentence by slipping a semi-colon between "emigration" and "now" (you may be disqualified with a two-sentence pitch). Also, lose the comma after "gently." You might also lose "In my imagination." "Noticed" could be replaced with a more descriptive verb: I could imagine old Bodger's expression when he plopped onto a cold, wet chair.

They all sound so interesting!

Cat said...

Thanks for your feedback, Eva. If I don't get them published traditionally, I'll e-publish them.

Cynthia said...

I really like the first good. i liked the pitch. I'd reword the 3rd and 4th sentence though.

Thanks for commenting on my entry. Yes, I know a flash back to soon is ify, but I'm going to take a chance, in may books it does work. It can always be reworked if agents don't like it. thanks! :-)

Eva said...

I think you still need to make the "n" in "Now" after the semicolon lowercase.

Great changes! Sounds good!

Cat said...

@Cynthia: I wish you luck. Just thought I'd point it out.

Cat said...

Thanks for the catch, Eva.

maryschiller said...

Liked all three of the stories, though your voice really seems to come out in the third.

Suggestions- pitch for first, get rid of "lives and", we know he is alive if he is battling. Good description in paragraph. Made me hungry!

Second story, don't forget to properly capitalize the title. Sounds interesting.

Third story, love the cliff-hanger aspect of your paragraph, leaves me wondering what changed when the door opened. Good job!

Melinda Williams said...

I don't have ton for you to change, but I agree on getting rid of the lives part in entry one.

Loved your third entry. Lovin your character like I've known her a long time. So talented to be able to do that in one paragraph!

I also noticed the N in Now should change to n. :)

BTW I've noticed you're a great critiquer while I've jumped around and wondered if you would do mine. :)


Cat said...

Thanks for commenting. I'm getting round to yours melinda. I keep checking the registration page to see if someone put up something.

TeresaR said...

You've edited so much from the others' feedback already that there's not much for me to say...which is a good thing! :)

I think the one sentences pitches are all perfect; you've certainly got me intrigued.

The only thing that I suggest you might want to reconsider is in the third story: bangs are hair that sit on the forehead so it's hard to imagine how one can be chewing on them.

Best of luck to you!

Ishta Mercurio said...

Great job! I have nothing new to add but my best wishes!

Cat said...

Thanks to you too. I know a lot of kids (especially boys) who have their hair cropped really short but the hair at the forehead (what the Brits call a fringe) reaches their chin. How would I call that if not fringe or bangs?

Christie Koester said...

Look at you writing three books!! Jeez!! Superwoman! Awesome. I agree with the ladies above. You've made revisions and you have some great pitches here. Good luck!!!

TeresaR said...

Cat, hmmm, good question...I honestly don't know, not being a hairdresser! So, maybe you should keep it as is. :)

Cat said...

Thanks Christie.
Teresa, I did ;-) BTW, in German, we call bangs/fringe a "Pony" (my kids love that word so much) and it can be any length.