Monday, February 22, 2016

Son of a Pitch Entry 1: A Touch of Heaven




And away we go! Welcome to Son of a Pitch, Week 2. This week, I'll be hosting ten writers here on my site. Any visitor to my blog is welcome to comment below as to whether this pitch piques your interest and what feedback you have about making it stronger. UPDATE: My misunderstanding. The organizer asks that only the entrant and judges comment below.

Participants are asked NOT to comment on other entrants' posts, only their own. Though, you may, of course, tweet, bribe, coax, share, cajole and otherwise pursue glory for your own pitch. I'll be leaving feedback in the comments, as will other participating writers: Ayden Morgen , Elsie Elmore , Leigh Statham , Mara Valderran, Stacey Nash , Elizabeth Roderick, and Yolanda RenĂ©e!


The top twenty will be selected and posted on Friday. Without further ado:



1.

TITLE: A TOUCH OF HEAVEN

WORD COUNT: 96,000

Genre: Adult Magic Realism Contemporary Romance

Query:

This is the story of a girl that doesn't follow her dreams.

With an IQ of one hundred and sixty, Annie knows a lot about a lot of things. But what she really wants to learn is the art of acting. Because what she wants most passionately, beyond anything, is to be a great actress. It’s the only thing that makes her heart ‘race with pleasure’. But the well-meaning adults around her strongly discourage her ambitions. With advice like, ”Annie, you’re too smart to be an actress,” they influence her to change her career plans. She reluctantly agrees to pursue a doctorate in healthcare and graduates at twenty-two, at the top of her class. She is offered a position at a university clinic. But boom its like being punched in the stomach, when it occurs to her she is out of school and about to embark on a path to the wrong life; a life that others have chosen for her. But the prestigious job is an offer she can’t refuse. For reassurance she tells herself she’s still very young. Surely it’s not too late to fix her life.

Still determined to find a way to become an actress, she intends to steer clear of romantic relationships, until she meets John and falls blissfully in love. She is absorbed by her life and gradually becomes despondent over the fact that she has never achieved her overwhelming ambition. She utters a prayer for guidance. As a result, a mischievous celestial angel, who happens to look exactly like a leading Hollywood heartthrob, visits her. He provides her with the opportunity to learn from several golden age of Hollywood, quite dead, film icons.

The quirky angel is a little too keen to turn her life upside down. Out of the blue, she is asked to temporarily manage a clinic in LA. And then even more ‘providentially’ she is given the opportunity to fulfill her desire to become an actress. Annie is swept off her feet in this new opulent life, but it’s tearing apart her old. She is determined to fulfill her happily ever after. But will she make the wrong choices? Will she lose John if she does? Can her angel help her to realize a way to her happy ending professionally without losing her way back to John? “It’s easy. when you’re working with all the Wisdom of the universe,” the angel states matter-of-factly, with a roguish grin.



FIRST 250 WORDS

“Perfect. I’m totally f…” No. She had promised herself she would refrain from cursing now that she was a so-called adult. But if ever there was a time that required a really offensive curse word this was certainly it. Annie dropped her head and rubbed her closed eyelids, as though the action would clarify her life.

“You planned every little thing meticulously and have done nothing but screw things up. I mean, what did you think was going to happen? Some Hollywood director was going to walk into anatomy lab and bellow “Bravo! You dissect that cadaver better than anyone we have ever seen! We want to cast you as the leading lady in our next big blockbuster film!” Annie thundered in a deepened voice.

“Ugh. You’re ridiculous,” she shook her head in disgust.

“What a fool Annie. You’ve been the architect of a wonderful life but it’s the wrong damn life.”

As a genius with an IQ of one hundred and sixty Annie knew a great deal about a great many things. For example, she understood Faraday’s Law of induction and how it applied to the operation of electric motors and generators. She could explain the precise physics of how to throw a baseball to achieve the maximum velocity and distance. She could play all of Brahms second concerto, without the sheet music. And she even knew all of Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s lines from Pride and Prejudice, just in case she was ever offered the role. So with all that intellect and ability, the question loomed large how she had gotten her life into such a perplexing mess.

22 comments:

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  3. So my main focus on your query was to trim. There were too many words. It's hard to pare it down and still retain voice but that's critical.
    And btw, I like your story concept. :)

    With an IQ of one sixty, little posed a challenge for twenty-two year-old Annie. But the art of acting, her most passionate desire, is the only thing that makes her heart pound. Well-meaning adults discourage her ambitions and she reluctantly agrees to pursue a doctorate in healthcare. It’s no surprise when she graduates at the top of her class. Offered a position at a university clinic, Annie feels more like crying than celebrating. The prestigious job can’t be refused but she is about to embark on a path to the wrong life. She tells herself she’s still very young. Surely it’s not too late to fix her life.

    Determined to find a way to become an actress, Annie steers clear of romantic relationships to keep her focus. And then comes John. She falls blissfully in love until her ignored ambition makes her despondent. An uttered prayer for guidance results in the arrival of a mischievous celestial angel, who happens to look like a leading Hollywood heartthrob. He provides her with the opportunity to learn from several golden age of Hollywood, quite dead, film icons.

    The quirky angel turns her life upside down. As new opportunities appear and visions of an opulent life sweep her off her feet, Annie’s old life is left in pieces. While Annie is determined to fulfill her happily ever after, she may have to make a choice

    (Or Annie must learn that she can have it all, just not at the same time. Or something catchy)


    For your first 250
    I trimmed a few words. Check the first few paragraphs for those.

    “Perfect. I’m totally f…” No. She promised herself she would refrain from cursing now that she was an adult. But if ever there was a time that required an offensive word, this was it. Annie dropped her head and rubbed her eyes, as the action would clarify her life.

    “You planned every little thing meticulously and have done nothing but screw things up. I mean, what did you think was going to happen? Some Hollywood director was going to walk into anatomy lab and bellow “Bravo! You dissected that cadaver better than anyone we have ever seen! We want to cast you as the leading lady in our next big blockbuster film!” Annie thundered in a deepened voice.

    “Ugh. You’re ridiculous,” she shook her head in disgust.

    “What a fool Annie. You’ve been the architect of a wonderful life but it’s the wrong damn life.”


    And here's another thought... This is a conversation she is having with herself. We have no concept of where she is... which is key. Is she staring at her reflection in the rear view mirror? is she crumpled on the floor eating out of an ice cream carton?

    Best of luck!!


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    1. Thank you so much This query has been driving me crazy and your advice is a Godsend. No pun intended!

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    2. and the concept of putting her in a place is also great! How did I miss that?

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  4. Query: This could use some tightening. In particular, I was struck by the repeated use of "but." Consider combining some sentences to say the same thing more succinctly.

    EXAMPLE:
    With an IQ of one hundred and sixty, Annie knows a lot about a lot of things. But the only thing that makes her heart 'race with pleasure' is acting. The well-meaning adults around her strongly discourage her ambitions.

    I am most intrigued by the angel and the dead celebrities angle.

    Excerpt:
    I'm not a fan of characters talking out loud to themselves as appears to be going on here. My favorite part of what you posted is the character description paragraph showing me the variety of things that Annie knows, even though it includes some of the same verbiage as the query.

    Since I was most intrigued by the angel and dead celebrities angle, I would have interested to see some of that part of the story instead of character introduction, which you already do in the query.

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    2. Some of the dead celebrity angle you wanted to see:

      “Ah, you’ve arrived at last. We have the scene all ready. How do you do Dr. Ballard?” The man held out his hand. Annie shook it robotically, not able to comprehend what she was seeing. “I’ve heard so much about you. I’m looking forward to working with you. So if you don’t mind, I would like to get you into make-up and wardrobe immediately.”
      “Make-up and war…wardrobe?” Annie stuttered.
      “Yes. I don’t believe in wasting time in a classroom situation. Although, we do have all the time in the universe. Still, I believe experience is the best teacher and I think you’ll find you will be able to experience just about everything here. First, you will watch Ms. Leigh do the scene. That’s not to say that I want you to mimic her, but it never hurts to watch a master at work. Don’t you agree?”
      “Well I…”
      “At any rate, I will give you some direction on what you should try to feel emotionally and then you will do the scene,” he continued without waiting for Annie’s response.
      “I will do the…um…do you mind if I ask what movie you are shooting?” Annie inquired reluctantly, afraid to hear the answer.
      “Gone With The Wind, of course. You will play Scarlet O’Hara, one of the greatest characters in the world of film! Of course you know I didn’t actually finish directing it, nor did I get credit for it, but Victor refused to spend one more second on this film set, for any reason, so here I am again.”
      Annie could feel the color drain from her face. She silently pleaded with herself to wake up.
      “Evan, please take her to the costume designer. I’m sure the dress will be a perfect fit.”
      Annie looked at Evan, but was unable to command her feet to move. Evan took her hand and gently assisted her away.
      “Evan?” Annie asked in a trance-like whisper. “Wasn’t that George Cukor?” Her voice trembled.
      “Yes, as a matter of fact, it was.”
      “He’s…he’s…”
      “Dead,” Evan interrupted.
      “Yes. He’s dead and as far as I know, so is Vivian Leigh. Are we in heaven?” Annie continued to whisper anxiously.
      “No, no. I wouldn’t be allowed to take you there. I mean you’re not…you aren’t…”
      “Dead,” Annie interrupted.
      “Yes. Dead. So we’ve set up a special place just for you. Here you’ll be able to act in some of the greatest scenes in movie history. The greatest actors and directors of all time will instruct you. By the time we’re finished with you, you’ll be one of those great actors!”

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    3. As I am a major old movie buff, I think I'd love this aspect of your story. Thanks for the peek.

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    4. So glad you enjoyed it. I had so much fun writing this part of the story.I am a major old movie buff as well. Thus the concept for my book done in a romance genre. I'm an old school kind of girl :)

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  5. Thanks so much for your suggestions. so since the dead icon stuff isn't the first 250 words Should I submit the first 250 words of that scene or chapter?

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  6. Ditto on the advice above. Tighten the query, your 250 words gives us her angst over the decision, and worked for me.
    Great job!

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  7. Beyond the feedback already provided, make sure your dialogue and action tags are correct.

    “Ugh. You’re ridiculous.” She shook her head in disgust. This is how that should be written. :)

    Good luck!

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    1. Yes thank you! I removed a few words and forgot to correct this

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  9. Revised entry after judges advice

    This is the enchanted story of a girl that doesn’t follow her dreams.

    With an IQ of one sixty, little posed a challenge for twenty-two year-old Annie. But the art of acting, her most passionate desire, is the only thing that makes her heart pound. Well-meaning adults discourage her ambitions and she reluctantly agrees to pursue a doctorate in healthcare. It’s no surprise when she graduates at the top of her class. Offered a position at a university clinic, Annie feels more like crying than celebrating. The prestigious job can’t be refused but she is about to embark on a path to the wrong life. She tells herself she’s still very young. Surely it’s not too late to fix her life.

    Determined to find a way to become an actress, Annie steers clear of romantic relationships to keep her focus. And then comes John. She falls blissfully in love until her ignored ambition makes her despondent. An uttered prayer for guidance results in the arrival of a mischievous celestial angel, who happens to look like a leading Hollywood heartthrob. He provides her with the opportunity to learn from several golden age of Hollywood, quite dead, film icons.

    The quirky angel turns her life upside down. As new opportunities appear and visions of an opulent life sweep her off her feet, Annie’s old life is left in pieces. While Annie is determined to fulfill her happily ever after, she may have to make a choice. Or will her angel help her find a way to have it all?



    FIRST 250 WORDS
    Perfect. I’m totally f…” No. She promised herself she would refrain from cursing now that she was an adult. But if ever there was a time that required an offensive word, this was it. Annie dropped the empty container of ice cream on the floor next to her. In her vexed state she had absentmindedly polished off the entire quart of the chocolate analgesic. It didn’t help. Laying her head back onto the seat cushion of the sofa she rubbed her eyes, as if the action would clarify things. “You planned every thing meticulously and have done nothing but screw up your life. What did you think was going to happen? Some Hollywood director was going to walk into anatomy lab and bellow “Bravo! You dissected that cadaver better than anyone we have ever seen! We want to cast you as the leading lady in our next big film!” Annie thundered in a deepened voice. “Ugh. You’re ridiculous.” She shook her head in disgust. “What a fool. You’ve been the architect of a wonderful life but it’s the wrong damn life.”

    With an IQ of one sixty Annie knew a lot about a lot of things. For example, she understood Faraday’s Law of induction and how it applied to the operation of electric motors and generators. She could play all of Brahms second concerto, without the sheet music. And she even knew all of Elizabeth Bennet’s lines from Pride and Prejudice, just in case she was ever offered the role. So with all that intellect and ability, the question loomed large how she had gotten her life into such a perplexing mess.



    Standard

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    1. Nice work. Especially on the query! Much tighter.

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    2. Thank you so much The advice from all of you has been priceless! Isn't that a commercial? :)

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  10. I wrote this before I read your revised query, which is definitely better, but I think could still use some trimming. Punch us and hook us!

    Hello!

    As others have said, tighten your query. This reads sort of like a synopsis, and is much too long. Introduce us to your MC, tell us her goal (she wants to be an actress), the obstacles (but she lets people talk her into another career). Beset by agonizing indecision on the cusp of beginning her career, and also with the complication of a romance, angel shows up and wreaks havoc in a couple specific ways. Leave us with a statement about the stakes, so that we're worried about what's going to happen and need to read the book.

    250: Tell us right away that the MC is talking to herself - your dialogue tag comes too late, and we also still are unclear if she's talking to someone else...Also remove the paragraph breaks, because it also makes us unclear on if someone else is talking now.

    Otherwise, the 250 I think is pretty good. Good character development.

    Thank you for your entry!

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