Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Title: Phoenix Rising

Genre: New Adult Fantasy


To break the curse imprisoning her dad, Kyla risks death to find the secret to free him. She doesn't realize that everyone in her life--her mother, her best friend, and even her mentor--want the secret hidden. Even if it means killing Kyla’s boyfriend to keep her from succeeding in her quest. Because if Kyla discovers the truth, the world as she knows it ends.

First Line:

"Are you sure this is what you want?"


  1. What I like: Great title!

    What I would like: I would like to see more of the story elements defined, right now I don’t know what the story is about beyond a vague secret and quest.

    Great work!

  2. Okay, I want to like the idea of this story, but the pitch really made me think of a narrated movie trailer. It's just a string of facts laid out, and in my head I was seeing a trailer where someone narrated each sentence while scenes depicting it flashed across the screen. Dramatic, but not informative without the scenes to fill things in.

    What kind of curse?

    What kind of secret, and why can a secret (not an answer/key/artifact) break the curse?

    Mom and best friend flow easily, but a 'mentor' denotes that Kyla is training for something. If so, what? If she's not, then who, exactly, is her mentor and what is their part here?

    Why would killing Kyla's boyfriend stop her? If he's dead, what else does she have to lose? Or do you mean they're willing to kidnap/threaten him?

    Is Kyla discovering the TRUTH of something, or the SECRET to saving her dad from this curse? This last might seem like a quibble, but within one less-than-150 word pitch, you've described Kyla's goal as 'discovering a secret' 'succeeding in a quest' (for ?) and 'finding the truth' all of which have slightly different connotations. You also start out stating clearly that she'll do anything to save her father, but you end by indicating that the world is at stake, and her father isn't mentioned at all.

    Your first line is just middle of the road for me. It raises only a mild interest, and tension because I've got no idea of what 'this' is, or what sort of complications 'this' might bring with it. Also, I've read, and been told in person by agents/editors/publishers that *as a rule* beginning with dialogue is a huge no. Now, I know there are exceptions to every rule, but since there's nothing shockingly unique or dynamic in your first sentence, you might want to rework it, or start with an action that leads up to 'Are you sure this is what you want?"

    I DO like the idea of your story and I would definitely pick the book up and look it over, but with the market being what it is, I think you need to push for more of why your story is different and deserving of agents' attentions.

  3. I normally wrinkle my nose at first lines that are all dialog, but that's a really intriguing question to start with! The pitch is a bit too vague though. I think we need some specific details to really bring the pitch to life. (See above comment - I won't repeat the great advice) Good luck! :)

  4. The pitch would be better if we knew what kind of curse was on her father. That seems pretty imperative, not only to understand the story but to feel for your character.

  5. Overall I'm intrigued. I'm not sure what you mean by "the world as she knows it ends?" Will her view change or will her world literally end? Perhaps tell a little bit about what's she up against by mentioning one or two things her family/friends etc. do to stop her. Do they threaten her BF's life? Or do they just try to kill him?

  6. I think it's hard to give a lot of details in a pitch. It raises questions, which is a good thing. If there's a way to add a little more specificity in a pitch, great. I love the first line.


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