17 July 2011
Happy Monday, everyone! Yeah, so it's Sunday, but there's a reason I'm posting a day early. This week's post is also part of a contest entry. Four teenage girls from Brenda Drake's book club are going to be judging a 35-word pitch and the first 250 words of the manuscript of each contestant. They'll pick three that they would buy in a bookstore, and the winners will receive free critiques from an editor.

I couldn't decide what pitch I liked better, so please let me know which you prefer. And leave any other thoughts in the comments too. :) I'd love to hear from you.


Aurora and the Signet Ring
Young Adult Fantasy

Pitch choices:

1) Aurora has no patience for faerytales. But when Thorion, the Starish prince of Lasseren, enlists her to help him save the kingdom from a dark enchantment, she must learn to embrace the magic that surrounds her.

2) Are the stars alive? Aurora has never believed the legend of the guardians in the night sky. But she can no longer deny it when the Morning Star is standing before her, flames dancing in his eyes.

Excerpt from Chapter 1 — How History Became Legend

Though the story still sits vividly in my mind, the sting of death has passed. The world has been remade, life's begun anew, and with the breaking of dawn, my sorrow has faded like the night. Only after drawing my last breath do I understand why it was that I lived.

As I stand here on this side of time and reflect on all the ages past, I am grateful that I gave my life away. Shortly before the end, knowing not the cost or the reward, I chose to fall in love. I’m sure I would still be here in victory, even had I not given quite so much of my heart. Nevertheless, to see beyond the end of the world and not be in the arms of the king would be an unfathomable loss. What purpose do I have in victory, if it does not seal me in his embrace? For all he gave to have my heart, I could not withhold it from him.

Aurora of Lasseren
16th of December, in the year 7005 by the Stars

*      *      *

15 May 6992 by the Stars

Norin ran through the forest in a race against a disaster of his own making. The war had ended hours earlier, but it left the world a dangerous place, left the kingdom of Lasseren in uproar. Just when Norin thought he was safe, his enemies discovered where he kept his daughter Aurora hidden. Now he had to reach his family before the shadows did.


kaye (paper reader) said...

I have to tell you, missy, that I am already in love with your story. Seriously. I love, love, love little journal excerpts in a book especially when they seem like they work to great effect, like here. You have me all sorts of curious!

And while I think the first pitch would probably be the more usual YA blurb, I much prefer the second because it leaves more to the imagination and hints at what sort of writing you'll find inside if you just read more. Thanks so much for sharing! :)

Sarah Wedgbrow said...

Steph, my final opinion is to go for number two, but just leave out the question at the beginning. It seems stronger without it.

AND, you know by now I love your story. :)

Anonymous said...

Have you thought of combining elements from both blurb versions? Something like:

Aurora never believed the legend of the guardians in the night sky, but when Thorion, appears and enlists her aid to save his kingdom from a dark enchantment, she must embrace the magic around her.

Stephanie Mooney said...

Kaye, thanks! Hopefully everyone will be able to read it soon. :)

Sarah, hmmm... maybe I could keep it and make it a statement??

Kit, good suggestion! I'll have consider that. Thanks!

Joelle said...

I'm with Sarah, number two without the question feels the best. Teaser excerpt that was. Love it though I do.

Stephanie Mooney said...

Awww! Thanks, Yoda!!

Tracy said...

First, I'll throw my vote in to just ditch the rhetorical question. Don't even make it a statement. Use those extra words elsewhere if you'd like.

Editing what you have:
The world has been remade, life begun anew, and with the breaking of dawn, my sorrow faded like the night.

You have three different tenses here. Grammatically it should all match. Also, to combine three sentences you should use a semicolon where that first comma is. But it can be a style choice to use the comma. Up to you to decide go with grammar or go wit ha shorter pause for style reasons.

Not editing what you have: Umm, I'm a little thrown by shifting to Norin. I dunno who he is or what this has to do with your MC who you've established in both your pitch and your first journal entry to be Aurora. So, is this a multiple point of view book or do you just have Norin for this first part? If its just this first part, then you might want to consider ditching his POV all together. Why? Because you want to draw us into your MC right away and not lose us with a shift to this random guy. Hard to say more with only this first page, but yeah...I'm concerned about that.

Thanks for sharing. I know how hard it can be. Good luck though.

Stephanie Mooney said...

Whoops! I meant to change that sentence. Thanks for catching it. :)

Norin is Aurora's father. His POV runs throughout the story and is essential to the plot. I just cut it off where I did because it was the paragraph break closest to 250 words. It makes sense when you keep reading.

I'm looking for your entry and can't find it on your blog. If you stop by again, leave a link and I'll read yours too.

Thanks again!

Kristan said...

Hmm, I'm seeing a different mash-up now:

Aurora has never believed the legend of the guardians in the night sky. But when Thorion, the starish prince of Lasseren, enlists her to help save their kingdom from a dark enchantment, she must learn to embrace the magic that surrounds her.

{shrug} It's a thought.

I really enjoy the tone of the excerpt! There are a lot of different emotions -- and hints at the story -- in just those 250 words.

I think Tracy's concern about switching character POVs is valid -- some people won't like it -- but I think it's common enough in fantasy and in YA that it's not automatically a problem.

sonje said...

I like Kristan's version except that I would do away with the "legend of the guardians." It is WAY too close to "legends of the guardians." When I read that, I instantly thought of owls flying around. If you want to use "legend of the guardians" in your book when you can establish it as different from the owls, that's up to you (although, frankly, I would avoid it there too - it's been taken, and that sucks, but it's true), but in a 35 word pitch, it's just distracting.

So you could go with "Aurora has never believed in fairytales...[then the rest of what Kristan wrote]." And, you might have noticed that I changed the spelling of faerytales. To me, that E instead of the I just seems unnecessarily pretentious. Or at least split faery tales to be two words. That helps a smidge. Just my opinion, of course!

Is Norin Aurora's father? Try to slip that in there up front so we know who Norin is and why would should care about him. All we care about so far is Aurora.

Good luck!

Sophia Richardson said...

I like Kristan's edit of your pitch, it includes the best of both in my opinion.

Stephanie Mooney said...

Tracy, Kristan, and Sonje, I changed it a bit, so you know Norin's her father.

Kristan and Sophia, I like the mash-up Kristan came up with. But I also agree with what Sonje said about "legends of the guardians" making people think of owls. I hadn't even thought of that. And when I taken that away, I'm basically back to the first one. So I think I might just use the first one after all.

Vicki Tremper said...

Hi Stephanie! I think if you capitalize starish, its meaning will be clearer. I tripped over that.

In your pitch, I don't know what the stakes are. Why should she help Thorion? Why should we care? If you take out the first sentence in the first pitch, then you'll have room to add in the stakes/consequences of not meeting her goal.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I'm super horrible at pitches, so I'll just say that I like the first one best :) It gives me a better idea of what the story is about.

And while I don't usually like prologues, I really like the writing in yours. It gives you an idea of what is coming up, which is important since we are immediately thrown in to a another time and another POV character.

Overall- good job!

Margie said...

OMG! I seriously love this. I got so captivated from the get-go that I have nothing profound to offer. I hope that I'll be able to buy it someday, it's that wonderful.

Love the journal entry.

What's the title??

Good luck.

Sarah Wedgbrow said...

yep, I'm commenting again. Steph, I think Starish could be capitilized. Like someone else said. That is all. Oh, and stick to your guns on the switching POV from journal entry to Norin, which is how it's done in fantasy a lot of the time. xx

Stephanie Mooney said...

Vicky, great suggestion! I think capitalizing Starish does make it clearer. I'll have to think about how to work the stakes in there. :)

Rebecca and Margie, thanks for the encouragement. It means a lot to me! Margie, it's called "Aurora and the Signet Ring". I should probably have the title and genre on here, huh? I'll fix it.

And thanks, Sarah. We're partners in crime, you and I! This is so much fun!

Tanya Reimer said...

Oh Gosh. This sounds thrilling. Love a good fantasy. Good luck with this.

Linsey Miller said...

I love it. I agree with the others that the second one is more interesting, but it's not as good. I like the first one (even without the question in the second one).

Go ahead with the POV change! Fantasy and science fiction books have it all the time. Unless an agent specifies not do I doubt it would ever be a problem (but take all of my advice with a grain of salt).

Stephanie Mooney said...

Tanya and Linsey, Thanks so much!

And thank you to everyone for all your advice and support. I just finalized my entry and sent it in, so we'll see how it goes.

If all I get out of the contest is this blog hopping party, that's good enough for me. It was super fun. :)

Maeve Frazier said...

Stephanie - Love it. Sounds thrilling. Good luck.


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