Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Pitch Pitch: - IS IT NOW YET?

Here's the second of this week's Pitch Pitches. If you don't know about the commenting parameters, please see this post here. Remember, this is to be the "hook" paragraph in the covering letter. A full synopsis would accompany it, along with the sample chapters. See yesterday's post and do comment there, too. I'd love lot of comments throughout the week, to help these intrepid writers!

Today's writer is Leigh Caron. She describes the genre as "humorous women's fiction", and I keep getting the giggles because I keep thinking it might be for humorous women, but I KNOW what she means!
IS IT NOW YET? by Leigh Caron
If hot flashes and a frigid marriage aren’t enough to push Em to the brink, when she hires a rugged younger Mexican guest worker to rescue her Ohio native prairie garden from being plowed under, his tender ways not only thaw her broken heart but set her pants on fire! Unable to live the charade of her marriage anymore, Em must find the courage to follow her heart for the first time in her life. IS IT NOW YET? is one woman’s coming of middle-age journey. 
Note from me: I am totally unfamiliar with this genre. (I never read Bridget Jones's Diary or even saw the film.) So I don't feel qualified to comment, other than to say two things:
  1. It's admirably succinct. 
  2. But we do need to know how it ends. It would be good for the blurb on the jacket but the pitch needs to give the agent or publisher more of a sense of how the journey goes and how it ends.
So, people, it's over to you! Does this pitch have legs? I'm sure they'll be gorgeous legs if so...


E.Maree said...

This is a really good pitch, clean with a strong voice.

I've only got two points to comment on.

1. "Pants on fire" brings to mind 'Liar, Liar' more than romance. Not sure if that's deliberate to add to the comedy tone?
2. The stakes/conflict don't feel too clear yet. What's at risk? Is Em's current partner clingy/a cop/a bodybuilder? Is she giving up financial security? What's standing between Em and a happy ending?

JO said...

Yes, this has legs - and is wonderfully succinct with a snappy title.

I have one, very picky, comment - that complicated first sentence. If...when... not only ... but [also] - it's not obvious which is the main clause in all that. But it would be easy to sort that.

The best of luck with this - looks good to me.

SofaJudgeJo said...

Not a genre I read, however as Nicola has already written, your pitch is very succinct.

I would like another short sentence to describe Em, just to round her out a little more.

This reminds me of the blurb on a jacket. I would like an idea of where it all ends for her.

Huskyteer said...

'rugged younger Mexican guest worker'...'Ohio native prairie garden' is a bit of an adjective storm.

Elizabeth Dunn said...

Hi Leigh,

firstly 'pants on fire' I LIKE. Secondly I don't think you need 'younger' to describe the worker, 'rugged' does it perfectly and maybe you can just call him a landscaper?? I'm not sure what a guest worker is.

I think to capture an agent's imagination here there needs to be a big BUT. Which is what E. Maree is talking about when she mentions stakes/conflict. What is standing in Em's way apart from mustering up courage to follow her heart? I am so impressed with your succinctness and like the suburban garden setting.

JoMacdonald said...

Hi Leigh
congratulations, I like everyone else am well impressed at how succinct you've managed to get your pitch. I particularly like the phrase'coming of middle-age' and overall I think it's really good but would make two comments:
1)I found the first sentence too long and complicated.
2) I'd like the pitch to go one step further and give a hint of what happens when Em does decide to follow her heart...does it all work out well, does it turn into a disaster, does it turn out to be something totally different to what she'd expected but somehow even better/worse?
Hope this helps
Good luck

Jeannie said...

This piece is interesting but does need a taste of the crux of the main/most interesting conflict. Right now, you've given us the shell, the backdrop. Agree that "pants on fire!" is cliche and should be reworded. Thanks for allowing us to critique your piece. Wish you much success :).

Katalin Havasi said...

Hi Leigh, great job!

1. I think the first sentence wants to say too much, so it's convoluted. Keep it simple.

2. Journey to where? To happiness, to a catastrophe, or elsewhere? We need to know the destination.

3. The tone is light but could you make it funnier?

Good luck!

Nicola Morgan said...

I agree that "pants on fire" should go. It doesn't do the job.

I agree with most of the comments here, actually. especially the ones about needing more clear conflict. I agree with Elizabeth about not knowing what a guest worker is and that younger and rugged aren't both necessary.

I don't particularly think it needs to be funnier though, (depending on HOW funny the book itself is) except that the second half doesn't quite match the first half in that respect.

Em-Musing said...

Thank you all for you comments. Perspective is what I don't have when I write pitches and queries. I've already made changes. And thank you Nicola for this opportunity. Sorry for the late response...I lost the Internet for almost a whole day. *sigh*

Woosh said...

Want to read more... Good luck!

Cameron Writes said...

Agree with everyone else - this is really punchy but the first sentence left me floundering.

Thanks so much for letting us read your pitch, it's braver than I could manage.

This genre isn't one of my favourites principally because the stories always seem to be the same, could your pitch contain just one more sentence to convince me (agent, publisher) that it is THE book of this genre?

Kirsty said...

Hi Leigh,

I like the tone of this and I think it gives a clear indication of the genre that the reader will be getting. Agree with the others about it needing just that little bit more conflict, e.g. what is it exactly that is making her stay in the frigid marriage, what will she lose.. or gain and what happens - is it a happily ever after with the rugged chap or is he a stepping stone to being happily ever after on her own??

Thanks for sharing.