Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Pitch #9 and revisions 1 & 2

The Fate of Blades

Emmeline finds that being gifted in a world where those with a rare aptitude for magic are drafted into the armed forces for life isn’t easy, especially when she finds herself deserting in order to save her pregnant friend from assassination by a suave but reluctant killer.Her life takes a further turn for the awkward, when she finds herself on the run and falling in love with the man hired for the job.Together, the three of them strive to stay alive long enough to uncover the reason everyone now wants them dead, and if they live long enough, maybe do something about it.


Revison #1

For Emmeline, it only took a moment for her life to turn upside down.
Yesterday, everything was fine and she was one of the city’s most promising cadets in the military Academy for the magically gifted. Now she is on the run from assassins, and magic wielding soldiers with only her pregnant friend and a failed assassin she has a crush on for company, as they try to stay alive and find out why everyone wants them dead.


Revision #2

For Emmeline, it only took a moment for her life to turn upside down.Yesterday, she was one of the most promising cadets in the nation’s military Academy for the magically gifted, but now she has gone rogue to save her friend’s life. Aided only by her pregnant friend, Poppy and the retired assassin, Ospen Calder, she is on the run from a legion of fire-wielding swordsmen and a cabal of murderers.Together, the three strive to stay alive long enough to uncover why everyone wants them dead, and if they happen to live long enough, do something about it.

15 comments:

Brenda said...

I like the second sentence, although I'm not sure about "awkward". I like the fact that it's not the obvious "turn for the worse" but not sure that awkward is the right message..seems a little tongue in cheek and not sure that's what you're going for.

I'm intrigued by the first sentence, although I found it too long. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to do this (and sorry if I'm overstepping!), but I'd rewrite something like this:
When her (insert adjective here to describe WHY this person would be a target -- rich, powerful?) pregnant friend is targeted for assassination, Emmeline knows she must use her rare magical powers to help in any way she can. She deserts the army (mandatory conscription be damned) and finds herself on the run -- and falling in love with the suave but reluctant killer hired to pull the trigger.

I'd leave the last sentence as is but take out "maybe".

As I said, sorry if I overstepped. Please feel free to tell me my comments are complete rubbish. :)

Michelle said...

Brenda, this is a Slushbusters classic. You apologized for your critique, but said exactly what I was thinking.

I agree that the first sentence is too long. It's all those prepositional phrases: "in a world," "for magic," "into the armed forces," etc.

I also think the use of the word "awkward" makes me feel like the sentence is awkward.

Weed out some of the adverbs and adjectives too, which will sharpen the language.

Scott said...

Does 'ditto' what everyone else said count as a critique? No? Dang!

I think the pitch needs to be tighter, with shorter sentences. What's unique about this story versus other stories? Can that uniques work its way into the pitch?

Ian said...

Great comments - thanks! Didn't overstep at all Brenda, very insightful, cheers :)

I've taken note and tried a do-over:

For Emmeline, it only took a moment for her life to turn upside down.
Yesterday, everything was fine and she was one of the city’s most promising cadets in the military Academy for the magically gifted.
Now she is on the run from assassins, and magic wielding soldiers with only her pregnant friend and a failed assassin she has a crush on for company, as they try to stay alive and find out why everyone wants them dead.

Clara English said...

I'm not at all keen on the assonance in the title, but that may just be personal taste.

I agree with Ian's rewrite, though it's a shame to lose the assassin description. Captain Punctuation (ie. me) would like to rewrite it thus:

"Now she is on the run from assassins and magic-wielding soldiers, with only her pregnant friend and a suave but reluctant assassin, as they try to stay alive and find out why everyone wants them dead."

Tess said...

Ian - WOW the power of revision! I, too, was lost in the first pitch but your comments rewrite was really well done. kudos on taking it in and revising.

Andrea Franco-Cook said...

I like the first paragraph of the re-write much better than the first draft. However, I still think you are skirting around the meat of the story. IMHO, the pitch should tell us the reason Emmeline is being chased by assasins. Also, the last sentence of the re-wrie is awkward.

Now she is on the run from assassins, and magic wielding soldiers with only her pregnant friend and a failed assassin she has a crush on for company, as they try to stay alive and find out why everyone wants them dead.

I hope I'm not overstepping a boundary, but here goes nothing. Instead, maybe you should try something like:

Now, with magical soldiers fresh on her trail, Emmeline must depend on the assistance of a pregnant friend and her love interest, a failed assassin, to stay alive.

Just my curbside. I hope this helps.

Steena Holmes said...

I really like your revision! It's clean, concise - much better!

Brenda said...

I think your revision is much better. To add to the fray, I'd take out "everything was fine" in the second sentence. And I agree with Clare that it's a shame to lose the assassin description. One thing I just noticed is magically gifted followed closely by magic-wielding. I think it's hard to find an alternate word, but even if there is a fictional word that you've used in your book (Harry Potter comes to mind), I think you could use it.

Sarah said...

This looks like a great story, but I got a bit lost in the last sentence of the revision. I had a hard time sorting out who Emmeline was running from and who she was running with.

The part that kept tripping me was the transition from Emmeline saving her friend from the assassin, and then all three of them running together. I think once you're able to communicate that, you'll be golden.

And I vote for the last sentence of the first pitch, or some version of it. It's urgent and has a touch of wry humor.

Ian said...

Thanks for the comments, some great points I had missed when I wrote the query (wood for trees). Here is attempt #3:

For Emmeline, it only took a moment for her life to turn upside down.
Yesterday, she was one of the most promising cadets in the nation’s military Academy for the magically gifted, but now she has gone rogue to save her friend’s life.
Aided only by her pregnant friend, Poppy and the retired assassin, Ospen Calder, she is on the run from a legion of fire-wielding swordsmen and a cabal of murderers.
Together, the three strive to stay alive long enough to uncover why everyone wants them dead, and if they happen to live long enough, do something about it.

Michelle said...

Ian, that is much more interesting! You've given specifics of character, which makes me start to care about who these people are. Good job on the revision.

Scott said...

Love the revisions, but the last sentence seems clunky to me. I have no idea why. Do you even need the last part of the sentence after the word 'dead'? For me, the tension alone (up to the word 'dead') would be enough to make me want to read more. Just some thoughts . . .

S

Andrea Franco-Cook said...

Your book sounds interesting. I really like the second revision. It reads well and I have a better understanding of the plot.

However, I think the last paragraph is a bit wordy. Also there's some redundancy in the "if they live long enough statement." Instead, maybe you would consider something like:

"Together the trio embark on a perilous journey of survival, marshalling all their wit and strength to uncover the reason everyone wants them dead.

I would take out the sentence about doing something about it. I think that is already inferred. I hope this helps.

Lisa said...

Great revisions...getting clearer all the time. I agree with some other comments here: you could end the last sentence after the word 'dead.' It's more powerful, and the humor still comes through. (I'm looking at Revision #2)

Also, there's a bit of confusion for me about "her friend" whose life she's trying to save. Is this Poppy? It's not quite clear since in the very next sentence you refer to her as "her pregnant friend."

The other thing I'm missing here is a little hint about why everyone's chasing them. You don't have to give the whole plot away, but does Poppy have some dark secret? Is the child she's carrying special in some way. Give a hint about what they uncover.

Great job. I want to read it.