Sunday, March 2, 2014


Title:  Words In The Windowsill
Genre:  NA Historical Fiction/Time Travel
Word Count:  62,000
Grad student and self-proclaimed “Ladies-man” Hans Meyer has discovered a mysterious symphony, so he takes off for Germany to do some serious research.  Finding an unknown Beethoven work would make one killer thesis.  But when Hans gets a strange text about a Time Train, his curiosity buys him a ticket to ride back to Vienna, 1820.  

When Hans meets 19th-century Viennese chambermaid, Analeise, passion sparks and they fall deeply in love.  The two accidentally uncover love letters holed up within Hans’ bedchamber windowsill exposing a secret about Beethoven and the mysterious manuscript which has eluded history books.  Hans brings Analeise and Beethoven’s secret back to the 21stcentury only to find he no longer exists.  He must find a way to rewrite the past, which might mean losing the girl who has stolen his heart.

First Page: 
With my right foot planted on the piano’s sustain pedal, the final notes of “Piano Man” dissipated under the laughter at The Tavern. 
“Listen to ‘em.  They want me, big time!” I shouted over my shoulder at my buddy Joe, still seated back at the bar.  The end of semester partiers, mostly females, had formed a circle around the piano as they joined me in the drunken sing-a-long, ending their chorus with raucous applause.

“It’s the music they love, not your swag, Hans.  Give it a rest, will ya?!” Joe chuckled and took a swig of his beer.
I laughed.  “Don’t hate the player, hate the game!  Is it your civic duty to give me a hard time, Joe?”   
“We all know you’re a good piano player,” he retorted.
I’d been behind the piano at The Tavern for several numbers that night, the women in the crowd swooning over my every note. 
“Last song.”  I winked at the red-headed cutie to my right, flashing her a smile.  “I’m headed across the Atlantic in a couple days,” I announced, as the gathering began to hush.  “I can’t think of a better reason to play Billy Joel’s ‘Vienna’.  Enjoy.”
The crowd fell silent.  My right hand fluttered over the ivories, the song’s poignant lyrics filling the room as I sang.  I seamlessly moved into the instrumental, infusing it with Beethoven-esque style.  Crooning the final lyrics, I ended with a flirty piano postlude, sealing the deal with the red-head.  Yeah, she was hooked.   


  1. Pitch: "he takes off for Germany to do some serious research." I would assume if he's a grad student that he would do serious research. Cut 'serious'. It's redundant. Your first sentence is too long and it doesn't hook me. You need to tighten it up. The only thing that's important is that he's a grad student. The rest doesn't add much to the pitch, other than make the first sentence too long.

    How does he meet the chambermaid? Who's the text from? You could develop the pitch more. For one, he doesn't seem surprised about the time train. I'm not sure if he knows about it or it's a hole in your pitch.

    First page:

    Watch for some of the wording in your sentences. I don't know about you, but I can't wink and smile at the same time. Rewrite 'Crooning the final lyrics....' to 'Crooning the final lyrics, I ended with a flirty piano postlude and seal the deal with the red-head.' It sounds much smoother that way.

    Loved 'flirty piano postlude.'

    Good start to what sounds like an interesting premise. I'm guessing it takes place in another country, because some of the word choices don't sound NA.

    Good luck!

  2. I couldn't follow the pitch--it was a bit too rushed for me to understand. I would suggest slowing things down, describing/showing more of who Hans is, why I should care about him, and what his external goal/motivation/conflict is. I can kind of pick those things out now, but I shouldn't have to pick them out--it should be clearly presented in a compeling way that requires no thougth on the part of the agent/reader. Does that make sense? As for the opening page, I realize that Hans is a self-proclaimed ladies' man, but his attitude is incredibly off-putting (yes, I am a woman and I'm afraid his attitude made me instantly want to stop reading). I think toning down the ladies' man bit--at least to start--will allow your reader to get hooked on the story before this crass side of Hans is introduced. Or, if you really want to open with this kind of attitude, then make sure it's clear to the reader it's all in Hans's head and he's not really that appealing to the ladies.


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