Thursday, February 24, 2011

Anatomy of a Winning Pitch

First of all, forgive me the incredibly pompous title of this post. I just thought it was rather eye-catching and would make you want to read it. ;-)- So the 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, Round 1 ("the Pitch") results are in ... and I didn't have the courage to look at the list myself. For the past week, I have been rolling the odds of moving on to Round 2 over and over in my head ... 20% seems like a very small number. When I sat for the Bar exam several years ago, there was something like a 77% passage rate. That's a nice, safe number!

Back to the ABNA contest ... one of my best friends knew how much this contest meant to me, so he (sneakily) checked the results and informed me that I had nothing to worry about! Hurray ... onward to Round 2! (Mind you, my only goal was to make it this far - anything else would be icing on the cake.)

I thought it might be beneficial to post my pitch here. Believe it or not, this endeavor is not just some ego trip. When I was writing the pitch, I googled "winning Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award pitches," hoping past winners had posted their work, and was shocked to only find one such post. It became clear to me right off the bat why this guy had advanced, and I found his pitch extremely helpful when crafting my own. So, in the spirit of public service, here goes:

Ambition, lust and madness threaten to tear apart the lives of three young adults bent on conquering New York City at the height of the Jazz Age. Hedonistic Manhattan pits beautiful, self-serving Lila Payton against her best friend - brainy, virtuous Rosemarie Dauber - in pursuit of Marcus Torrington, a handsome high-society attorney. This tenuous triangle is stretched to its limit when they encounter powerful politico Clayton Starwell. Lila, Marcus and Rosemarie are each forced to confront their most closely-guarded secrets: for Lila, it’s her romantic obsession with Clayton; for Marcus, it’s his inner demons stemming from a past tragedy; and for Rosemarie, it’s the moral tug-of-war between her upbringing and her desires.

SANCTUARY OF FOOLS, a 97,000-word historical novel told through the interwoven narratives of three magnetic, true-to-life characters, spotlights one of the most electrifying eras in American history. Written in an urbane-yet-accessible style, SANCTUARY OF FOOLS propels its readers on a dark and enthralling journey that begins with an explosion on Wall Street and ends with a murder-suicide in Midtown Manhattan. Painstakingly researched, SANCTUARY OF FOOLS caters to the historical fiction connoisseur’s craving for romanticized escapism without sacrificing character richness or historical nuance and accuracy.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A lot can happen in a year!

So, if anyone out there is still reading this blog, here's an update on my life and writings, exactly one year after my last post. Why such a long lapse between updates? Well, the answer can be found below in timeline format (very unliterary, I know!):
  • January 2010 - Found out I was pregnant on the first "try" ... was expecting a 2 year attempt period like all my friends, so this was quite a shocker! Realized the clock was on for finishing my novel. My husband and I decided to move back down-state to be nearer loved ones and to have better gainful employment potential.
  • March 2010 - One of my dearest friends died of brain cancer (I had been visiting her every 2 weeks for many months, so I watched her condition decline. I wouldn't wish her illness on my worst enemy. She *is* truly the most courageous person I have ever known.)
  • April 2010 - Rented out our country cottage to a lovely couple and moved into a rented brownstone apartment in B'lyn. Finished my novel and sent it out to my trusty "editors" ... what did I call them? Oh yeah, my BEs!
  • May 2010 - Secured a long-term legal temp assignment.
  • August 2010 - My H2O broke 5 weeks early ... yikes, the co-sleeper wasn't even built yet! And I still had one final read-through to do on my manuscript before it would be agent-worthy. (Oh, and the most gorgeous, lovely, sweet, wonderful "man" came into my life - I suppose that's pretty significant!)
  • September 2010 - Hastily performed the final read-through and edits while the above-mentioned gorgeous, lovely, etc. man slept for three weeks (guess he wasn't as ready for his big debut as he'd thought!)
  • October 2010 - Began sending queries out to agents ... began receiving form rejection letters shortly thereafter. :-(
  • January 2011 - Tweaked my pitch and submitted my manuscript to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.
And that pretty much brings you up to date!