Monday, February 27, 2012

Prepping for March Madness #8

Genre: YA Historical Fantasy Romance
Word Count: 50,000

Traumatized by a brutal duke, Princess Araya seeks freedom, not love, and is surprised when she finds herself falling for the man who rescues her.  Too bad the duke is set on getting her back.

First 150 words: 
     I clung to the saddle as Major tore down the path in front of us.  My muscles burned and sweat dripped into my eyes, but I could not let my horse slow down.  Not when the heaving sound of his labored breathing tore at my heart.  Not when my face and arms stung from low-hanging branches ripping at them.  Not even when a monstrous fallen log loomed before us.  Leaning forward and ducking low on Major’s neck, I extended the reins.  With a grunt, he launched us into the air.

     For the barest of moments, time hung suspended, leaving only the soaring.

     His hooves slammed back down, but he stumbled on the landing.  I pitched forward, nearly flying out of the saddle.  I flailed and tried to straighten while my horse regained his footing.  My left stirrup dangled uselessly beside my foot, but I pushed Major back into a gallop, even as I struggled to recover my balance.  

*Please critique and post feedback in comments below*


  1. I think it's clever the way you convey three characters in that log-line without any description at all of the mysterious hero. I'd change the phrase 'too bad' if possible, since it often gets used in queries and pitches. Also I think an agent would want to see more of a unique selling point in the log line - what makes your book stand out?

    As for the first 150 words: they have a good pace and great rhythm, especially in the first paragraph. And separating that middle line works very well to bring in the final paragraph - you can almost feel the breathlessness. Only nitpicking I can say is 'stumbled on the landing' makes it sound like he landed at the top of some stairs. Also the two sentences after it stuck out awkwardly because they both started with I.
    Overall, good job!

  2. Great pitch, it's intriguing and very clear. I love that you start with the word "traumatized;" it gives an immediate sense of tension! The writing is also good, although I thought she got thrown from the horse and so had to go back and reread. What if you have her foot dangling, instead of the stirrup, that way it will help us feel exactly what she's feeling, since she probably can't see or feel the stirrup there. Other than that, nice work! :D

  3. I agree with the comments that everyone already said (lol, not very useful, I know). Maybe instead of saying too bad, you can use stronger words to end the pitch since it started so strong with the word traumatized. Maybe Unfortunately, the duke is determined to make her his bride (I'm assuming the plot is still the same as before).

    As for the beginning, I love the way it starts off, pushing us right into the action and her desperation. I really don't have much else to say about the sample :)

  4. Me likey. Athough, I would love to know a bit more context for her urgency. I assume she's running from the duke because of the pitch, but if I hadn't read that I'd be like, "Wha dis?" Also, the first sentence was very confusing. Perhaps, "tore down the path in front of us," could be worded a bit differently.

  5. This sounds like it could be interesting, but it also sounds like a million other historical romances out there. The heroine always falls for the unlikely hero who rescues her from the evil duke/king/prince/lord... What makes your story different? Be more specific and try to show the uniqueness of your story. Why should we pick this one instead of one of the others?

  6. I thought I commented on this last night D:
    Anywho, I said:
    I love that the pitch is written highly from Araya's POV. It gets us straight into her head, and I love that.
    The beginning is full of tension and fear. It definitely makes a reader want to continue to see exactly what she is running from.

  7. I absolutely love the excerpt (I got the landing part, btw). The pitch, however, needs work. How is your story different from similar stories? How did the duke traumatize her? What prison is she seeking freedom from? Why would she be surprised about falling for the man who rescued her? Is he beneath her? Answer those questions and see if you can find something unique to add to your pitch. I hope this helps! <3

  8. I agree a 100% with Brenda about the pitch. I think the description is great in the excerpt but I want to know why she is running why is she panicked? In The first paragraph is there anyway to add Not with him gaining on me or When he discovers I'm gone he will come and get me.....He could already be after me.

    I think the excerpt is great so my suggestion is just a thought but not necessary.

    Good Luck!

  9. Just wanted to thank everyone for the wonderful suggestions! I did revise my pitch according to the advice everyone gave, and I made it into the 2nd submission time for Pitch Madness! I hope all of you got in, too, and I'm very excited to see where the contest goes from here! Thanks again for reviewing my pitch and excerpt. It was very helpful!