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Here, in Lori's own words: I'm submitting two takes on a pitch that would go in my query letter for my upmarket novel, Jumping Ants.
These posts aren't usually double-pitches, but I did say anything under 300 words, so let's get to it! Remember, this is all just my opinion, so take it or leave it, as you will.
Query Pitch #1
|If he was already unpaid and broke|
anyway, why do his parents suddenly
get fed up just because he's fired?
I get lost at the "older, rounder
version of himself." Can't tell if it's
literal or not.
Query Pitch #2
|The opening question made me laugh|
(though maybe because I just read
First, a query basic: paragraph breaks. These both need some.
So, personally, I like the second pitch better, primarily because it doesn't raise the question of why his previously-indulgent parents suddenly get fed up with him. (Remember that, guys: When people have problems with your plot or your world, sometimes the best solution is to cut whatever raised questions.)
But both of them have the same last sentence, which is where I have a couple problems. A minor problem is the one I mentioned in my comment: I can't tell if the "older, rounder version of himself" is meant to be taken literally or figuratively. Likely this is due to all the spec fic I read, so you might be able to ignore it.
The more major problem is that this is all setup. His firing and eviction is the inciting incident, with the gun to his head as the turning point. But that leaves 3/4 of the novel that we know almost nothing about.
I've noted before this is a common problem. The solution is to get to, and through, your turning point as fast as possible, then use the rest of the space to lead up to a sadistic choice -- two compelling things Max must choose between that will make the reader go, "What will he do?!!!"
What do the rest of you guys think?