Thursday, August 26, 2010

10 Pitch Entry #18: June Goodwin

Title: Paying for the Sins of My Father


Genre: YA

When fourteen year-old Sky moves to South Carolina, she learns that some of the inhabitants of her new hometown are not what they appear to be—and they have plans for her.

Sky’s father bilked a lot of people out of a lot of money, but one woman is not going to let him get away unscathed. She has connections, but they’re not of this world. That’s where seventeen year-old Ryan comes into play. He’s part of an evil immortal network and they owe this woman. What better way to make a father pay for his sins than to destroy his daughter? There’s just one problem—Ryan doesn’t want to do it. And he’s falling in love. That is definitely not part of the plan. The network is not going to let allow this. Sky and Ryan struggle to find love without losing lives.

10 comments:

  1. You have an intriguing premise, but this pitch is a bit confusing. I have no idea who your main character is. I thought it was Sky, but then the second half of the pitch tells the viewpoint of another character. I would strongly recommend sticking to one, probably Ryan because he seems to have the most "wants" and stakes here.

    Best of luck!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. (try again, sorry for the delete)
    As mentioned, an interesting premise. The first sentence is a little vague, which might be helped simply by an adjective--what kind of plans do they have for her? Sinister ones? I'm unsure how Sky's father has bilked (odd word--I read it as biked, which is how a fast-reading agent might see it) anyone in the town out of money if they just moved there. Did her father live there before? Did Sky move there to live with her father? Might need to say, in the 1st sentence.

    "He’s part of an evil immortal network and they owe this woman." Network is singular and "they" is plural. You might need to say instead: "He's part of an evil immortal network that/which owes this woman." Or, if Ryan is included in the "they," maybe all that is needed is a comma after network. The last sentence is a little unclear as to whose lives are being lost. Might help if you said "without losing THEIR lives."

    ReplyDelete
  4. Honestly, I got hung up on one thing.

    I am wondering if the ages are a typo. Fourteen and Seventeen? Three years doesn't sounds like a lot, but between age fourteen and seventeen ... well, that's a huge difference when we are talking about teenagers. It kind of gives off the "Eek" factor a little bit.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi June,

    For some reason I'm reminded of The Devil's Advocate - dark and atmospheric. I really like your premise and can imagine a lot of tension and conflict.

    A Seventeen-year-old probably wouldn't date a fourteen-year-old. There's such a big difference as to where they're at in life.

    Have the people Sky's father bilked followed them to their new hometown - especially the woman with connections?

    I agree with Carol, perhaps look at the grammar/wording to tighten it up a little?

    At the end how many lives are at stake just Sky and Ryan's or everyone in their hometown?

    Perhaps stick to one character's viewpoint instead of going between the two.

    Good luck with this. I think your novel is going to be a rollercoaster of emotions.

    ReplyDelete
  6. HI! This sounds great! I’m just seeing a few things here that you’re missing or needs clarification.

    Why did she move to South Carolina? To live with her father? Or to escape from the people he bilked wherever he was at before? Is it important?

    Who/what is the woman and why does Ryan’s network owe her anything? What is Ryan supposed to do to her? Does Sky feel the same about him? Why isn’t the network going to let this happen? What are they going to do to them?

    I don’t think your hook is enough. And you’ve got some room to tighten and make the whole pitch more succinct. (see below)

    Also, I’m concerned about the ages of your hero and heroine. She’s a little young yet to fall in love. Is it possible to move her age up to 16? She can still contain a naïveté if that’s what you’re going for, but I think you’re going to run into an “ick factor.” (I speak from experience, BTW.)

    Here’s how I would rewrite this given what I know.

    Fourteen year-old Sky (what is her last name) ‘s father has bilked a lot of people out of a lot of money, but (put woman’s name here) is not going to let him get away unscathed. She’s going to destroy the daughter to make the father pay for his sins.

    That’s where seventeen-year-old Ryan comes into play. He’s part of an evil immortal network and they owe (insert woman’s name here). There’s just one problem—Ryan doesn’t want to do it. He’s falling in love with Sky. However, the network is not going to let allow this and they (insert evil plot here). Now Sky and Ryan struggle to find love without losing (their?) lives.

    ReplyDelete
  7. When fourteen year-old Sky moves to South Carolina, she learns that some of the inhabitants of her new hometown are not what they appear to be—and they have plans for her. (nice hook - a lot of entries really nail that first line!)

    Sky’s father bilked a lot of people out of a lot of money, but one woman is not going to let him get away unscathed. She has connections, but they’re not of this world. (great, but if the story's about Sky, I want more about HER.)

    That’s where seventeen year-old Ryan comes into play. He’s part of an evil immortal network and they owe this woman. (What does this have to do with Sky?) What better way to make a father pay for his sins than to destroy his daughter? There’s just one problem—Ryan doesn’t want to do it. And he’s falling in love. That is definitely not part of the plan. The network is not going to let allow this. Sky and Ryan struggle to find love without losing lives. (Cut this last sentence.)

    Some problems: if Sky is the main character, you need to give us the story from her perspective. And I agree with everyone else that 14 & 17 do not work for dating.

    If Ryan is the main character, you'll need to rework your beginning, but it would make more sense.

    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I really agree with what's been said about the age difference. It's not that many years apart, but at those ages, yikes.

    I had a hard time connecting the two elements of the story: Sky and her move, and her father and his paranormal debts. A large part of that is point of view, but as other people have addressed that, I'll mention that you could focus a bit more upon Sky's connection with her father/the network and a bit less upon the romance, which can definitely just be hinted at in the pitch. Are they trying to kill the daughter to send the father a message? Kidnap her for ransom? I want to know! :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Several Comments

    >>I'd skip the age of Ryan, since that's easily fixed by an agent/editor and could be a hang-up.

    >>I would open with the bilking, as it is the precipitating action for the story based on the query above.

    >>While being new in town is interesting, I don't think its necessary to the story unless the whole town is evil. I'd skip that part.

    >>Why does the network owe the lady? The relationship seems a little reversed if they are truly immortal.

    If I were re-writing I might do:


    Fourteen year-old Sky’s father bilked a lot of people out of a lot of money. And one victim refuses to let him get away unscathed. She has connections. Just not of this world.

    Immortal assassin, Ryan, is part of "the network". And they owe this woman. His mission, make sure the sins of the father are visited out on the next generation. And that means Sky.

    There’s just one problem. Ryan’s falling in love, and the network simply cannot allow this. Now, Sky and Ryan must find a way to be together, without it costing her life.

    ReplyDelete
  10. L Bowser pretty much fixed all of my issues.

    Frankly, I wouldn't touch the age difference. Let your agent or editor decide how dicey that is. Unless, of course, you get feedback from agents during the query process that suggest you alter the ages. For myself, it seems awkward. But then at fourteen, I didn't know guys existed (I was more into horses) and now at twenty-nine, I still see them as little tagalongs to be scared off, so I'm an awful judge on relationship ages. A little controversy is a good thing, but too much will turn people off.

    ReplyDelete

Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)