10 September 2012

Pitch Polish Blog Hop - #GUTGAA

In case you forgot, GUTGAA stands for Gearing Up to Get an Agent. In preparation for the agent and small press pitch contests, I'm participating in the pitch polish blog hop. 100 anonymous pitch polish entries will be posted on Deana Barnhart's blog, and the rest of us who'd like help with our pitches are posting them on our own blogs. Let me know what you think about my pitch, and be sure to head over to Deana's blog to help out with some other pitches, too. For the purposes of GUTGAA, the pitch consists of the "meat" of our query letter and the first 150 words of our manuscript. So, without further ado, here's mine!

TITLE: Sorry's Not Enough
GENRE: Commercial New Adult
WORD COUNT: 97,000


If emotional wall-building were an art form, Charlotte would be a grand master. After being betrayed at a young age by the one man she should've been able to trust, she builds an impenetrable fortress of solitude. At least she thinks it's impenetrable, until a summer writing workshop brings Steven into her life. With his obnoxious ego and stupid good looks, he's somehow immune to her Stay the Hell Away from Me pheromones. Even more bizarre is that for the first time, Charlotte can't quite bring herself to really push him away. 

The unexpected romance screeches to a halt when Charlotte and Steven walk into the same classroom at the start of the school year and find themselves on opposite sides of the desk. Steven's quick with the apologies, but sorry doesn't seem to cut it when you've just found yourself cast as a modern day Lolita, you know?

Obviously the universe is telling Charlotte that keeping Steven at arm's length is the only way to avoid getting hurt. Resisting the warmth of his embrace is easier said than done, though, especially when it's evident Steven has no intention of letting her go. 

And so the cycle of their relationship begins. Over the course of several years they share moments as passionate lovers, periods of warm friendship, and months of barely-civil tension. How can she hope to create a healthy relationship with Steven when she's never confronted the relationship that destroyed her ability to trust in the first place? And by the time she finds the courage to do so, will sorry be enough for Steven?

FIRST 150:

Sanguinolent sunset. There's a word you don't see every day. Charlotte circled it with her red pen and drew a smiley at the end of the line, below where she'd called out a different phrase for being trite. She continued making notes in the margin as the others took turns giving feedback. By the time she was done marking up the poem, the paper was also sanguinolent.

She looked up when the group grew quiet. Her turn. She looked down at the poem again and hoped its author wouldn't be offended. What was his name? Steven.

“It's a little confused,” she said. There was a pause and a shuffle of papers.

“What don't you understand?”

She snapped her chin up and was taken aback by the force of his gaze. No adjective could adequately describe the shade of green staring back at her.

“I'm not confused. Your poem is.”


  1. Jen,

    I love your first one fifty. You're such an amazing writer and I can't believe you haven't been snapped up yet.

    Onto the pitch~ I think you can tighten it. Make it match the style of your manuscript. Succinct and snappy. As it is, your pitch is longer than your sample. all that's not to say your story doesn't sound fun. Knowing you, it's positively layered with great characters and beautiful writing.

    Best luck~

    1. Oh Cat... making the pitch "succinct and snappy" has been the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life EVER haha. It is the bane of my querying existence. But I'll keep at it. :-) Thanks for stopping by. And thanks for the huge compliment, too. *blush*

  2. Hi, I enjoyed reading your query and your 150.
    I especially loved this line - it actually made me LOL. "Stay the Hell Away from Me pheromones."

    The only critism I have is that I think you need to drop the "you know" from the end of the second paragraph of your query.

    Good luck. :)

    1. Thanks Stacey! Sadly, I can't even take credit for your favorite part haha. Some friends helped me with my query a few weeks ago and one of them suggested that line.

  3. I really liked the pitch and the first one-fifty. My only comment would be to drop the "you know" at the end of the Lolita sentence.

    Other than that one tiny thing, I think it's a really strong query. And I really loved the voice in the first 150. I think you did a great job on this and it should do really well in GUTGAA.

    I really like your site too. I'm glad I found it. I missed it on the meet and greet. There were so many sites on there that it was impossible to get to all of them. Anyway, I'm always looking to make new writer friends, so you have a new follower. I'd love it if you'd stop by my site and say hi! :) Good luck with GUTGAA...

    1. Thank you, Tamara! Seems people aren't big fans of the "you know" part haha. I liked it because it has the conversational voice that the MC uses. I'll have to think about that. I'll be stopping by your blog shortly. :-)

  4. I love the first line hook of the query!

    I would delete the word "being" and edit this line to say, " After a betrayal by the one person she should've been able to trust..."

    Great voice. Great query. Great first 150. Nice job!
    I'm not a query expert, so mine is up on my blog for critique. Sadly, I didn't make it on THE blog for the pitch polish. *brushes tears of disappointment away*

    And by the way, I'm Talynn from Ink in the Book and I'm still making rounds to everyone's blog through GUTGAA. It will take time, but I am determined to say hi to everyone:)

    I'm a new stalker, er follower and hope to see you around this month!


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