Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pitch #10

The day the Berlin Wall came down, Jennifer returned to England, leaving her week-old daughter, Szandi, to grow up on a Hungarian vineyard with 300 years of history. Now 18, Szandi is part of Budapest’s cosmopolitan art scene, sharing a flat and a bohemian lifestyle with her lover and fellow sculptress, Yang. Then a letter arrives that threatens everything, and forces her to choose once and for all: between the past and the present; between East and West; between her family and her lover.

7 comments:

Brenda said...

I like this a lot although I find the reference to the Berlin Wall confusing. I expect some reference to Germany so it's jarring to see England and Hungary immediately following. Also not sure about the East and West reference. I think of "East" as it's written here to mean Asia. I assume from the name that Yang is Asian, but you've already said that she has to choose between her family and her lover. I really like the last sentence and the grouping of the 3 choices; East/West just raises questions for me. I have NO idea what her choices are, but thinking of something that starts with the same letter...between duty and desire, although perhaps that's cheesy?

Michelle said...

This pitch indicates that there is a lot going on in the story. I'd read it to find out more.

Ian said...

The last sentence is killer (in a good way!), really interesting and full of the promise of something dramatic happening, I loved it.

Second sentence is fine in my opinion and sets up your main Character nicely with a lot of info in the sentence.

The 1st sentence is a bit out of place and static, as Brenda said, I'm not sure what the Berlin wall has to do with Szandi and Jennifer. There probably is a great reason but it's not clear to me reading it cold with no other info about the rest of your novel.

Clara English said...

I'm very interested in the location and the characters, especially as I'm going to Budapest with my girlfriend next month! The last sentence introduces the conflict well, and makes me want to read the novel.

I agree that the mention of the Berlin Wall is confusing. It's an interesting thing to include in the novel, but I don't think it needs to be in the pitch – likewise with the vineyard having "300 years of history".

Also, I think that the pitch should really concentrate on Szandi, as it's her story. As Jennifer is mentioned first, we assume that she is the protagonist, but it doesn't seem that this is the case. I'd remove the mention of Jennifer, or just call her 'Szandi's mother':

"Since she was a week old, Szandi lived on a Hungarian vineyard after the fall of the Berlin Wall prompted her mother to return to England."

Andrea Franco-Cook said...

The premise is interesting, and FWIW, I would be inticed to read further. However, I think you would hook the reader if you elaborated on Szandi and how the "letter" affects her.

IMHO, I think there is a lot of unnecessary exposition. For example, the reference to the Berlin Wall and the Hungarian Vineyard really don't tell me anything about the plot. I think the pitch needs to explain the reason Szandi is forced to choose between her family and her lover. That seems to be the underlying issue. I hope this helps.

Joan said...

Intriguing but you might shorten it by dropping "with 300 years of history." It may be important to the novel but doesn't seem important to the pitch.

Lisa said...

I love the setting...that alone intrigues me. But I have no idea what the stakes are here. Until I come to the line where the letter "threatens everything," I have no sense of Szandi's desires or yearnings. And because this is a pitch, I'm trying to insert tension and conflict. Is she sharing Yang's bohemian lifestyle against her better judgement? Is she actually and artist herself, or is she only part of it by association? Tell me what Szandi wants (or doesn't want). I need to know why it's so bad if everything is threatened, and well, what "everything" is?

I like the Hungarian vineyard, but do we spend a lot of time there? If it keeps you from getting to the meat of what Szandi wants, then you might consider cutting it, especially for such a short pitch.

For me, there's no confusion about the East/West thing. That's pretty clear if you know anything about the history of that area.