Monday, January 16, 2012

Stubborness and Determination--No Difference in My Mind

Thank you to everyone who chimed in with thoughts and advice on my pitch on Friday. Since I spent all of last week going through SENDEK one more time in preparation for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, I'm skipping the Birth of a Novel post this week. I WILL get back to the new stuff by next week, I promise.

Today I'm going to share the thought process I went through after reading your remarks over the weekend. These are the things I stressed over before focuings on what you said and incorporated the things I agreed with. ;)

Here are the pitfalls that I fall into when I work on a Pitch or Query.
Yes, sometimes I'm quite a child. I used (read still do on occasion) to play this game.
1. Since this contest gives me 300 words, it was easy to get wordy. That is a lot for a pitch.

2. Previous queries without the world building elicited a lot of "so what" questions because the history of the planet directly affects the story line.

3. No setting also made people read it as strictly fantasy. I do believe it is more fantasy than science fiction, but I still can't wrap my brain around where to draw the line on labeling this novel.

4. The previous pitch is what got me all the positive responses from the conference I attended. When I didn't world build the agent or publisher was confused, but with the world building they were grounded.

5. The Draguman pose their own problem. One agent made a big deal about not leaving them as a vague antagonist. I believe her exact words were "An alien can be anything. It doesn't tell me much." The whole question was what makes them different than everyone else? The biggest difference is that the Sendekians (you guessed right Nicole) think they are aliens as in from another planet, but in truth they are from Sendek and even share certain DNA markers. Try fitting that into a query or pitch. It sucks. I know I need to drop it, but it feels SO important to me. :(

Sometimes this whole business is a joke. The rules say don't do it, but when I did, I got a better response. Confusing? No not at all.

After stressing over what I felt was important, I finally said, "Heck with it. Just write something." Anyway, here's the new pitch (187 words):

Talia Shannon is trapped between two worlds. Although comfortable within the logic of science, her hidden magical side is growing more insistent. She fears her prophetic dreams of invasion by an alien race will soon come true. Although the planet Sendek had a rich magical heritage, the people forgot it when they embraced scientific thought. This makes Talia's task harder. She needs to prove life exists beyond their planet before anyone will believe her. Her work leaves no time for personal relationships, but Major Sutton isn’t looking for a friend.

As nephew to the King, the Major protects his family from a radical group determined to depose the monarchy. He thinks Talia works for them until a touch sizzles between them. Suddenly they can communicate telepathically, proving the Major has magical secrets of his own.

Together they must uncover the secrets of Sendek's past if they hope to survive the invasion. Talia is the key—if she can learn to trust the magic coursing through her veins. Her precious science cannot save them, and magic is now the only hope.

SENDEK is a blend of fantasy and science fiction.
Better? To compare to the original, click HERE