Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Novel Pitch #12: OUT OF THE WATER

Title: Out of the Water
Author: Deniz Bevan
Genre: Historical romance, set in 1492
Word Count: 100,000

Exiled from her Spanish homeland by the Inquisition and separated from her family as they flee their home, 18 year old Rosa must place her life in the hands of a stranger from the Ottoman Empire. Baha, estranged from his own father and returning to his homeland after ten years, is her one hope of reaching Constantinople and reuniting with her family. The fact that he's attractive and tender is an unexpected pleasure.

As they travel together, her burning drive to be reunited with her loved ones is matched by a deepening desire for the man at her side -- but all too soon they may run out of time to be together. Rosa's family will likely not accept her marriage to a man of different faith, let alone one who has been renounced by his family. Yet before she can even introduce them, their reunion is cut short by the arrest of her father and brother at the hands of the Sultan's Grand Vizier. Rosa and Baha are the only ones that can rescue them, and together prove that their love can withstand their differences.

The Good: I'm drawn in by the historical setting and the sense of danger in this. The opening is strong, and I want to read more. 

Suggestions: Spell out her age, rather than using the digits, and use "who" instead of "that" when referring to people ("...who can rescue them"). I get the sense that this is a relatively clean romance; if it has steamy scenes, give a sense of that with a line of "what his touch on her skin does to her" or something, just so the reader can place the book in the right sub-genre. That's about it. Seriously, I'm reading through it again, looking for something else to mention as a flaw. 

Nope--I got nothing. This is a HUGE improvement from the first version you posted. 

BOTTOM LINE: Very, VERY marketable! Well done, Deniz! 


Brenda said...

I'll start by saying I didn't pay much attention in history back in the day. And likely any agent interested in historical fiction did. That said...a couple of things I think you could clear up in case this comes across the desk of an agent like me who's intrigued by the story but sketchy on the history.

In the first sentence, can you be absolutely clear that it's the Spanish Inquisition? It seems self-explanatory, but something along the lines of...Exiled from Seville by the Spanish Inquisition and... makes it crystal clear.

The other thing is the ending. Why are Rosa and Baha the only ones who can rescue the father and brother? This kind of statement needs to be substantiated somehow, in my opinion.

I liked this overall and I feel like I could learn something. :)

Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks Kate! I had a bit of help from the wonderful authors at the Compuserve Books and Writers Community.
I can't believe I made that who/that mistake - I'm always picking on others for that [g]
And, hmmm... there are a couple of steamy scenes... I'll have to mention that, definitely!

Deniz Bevan said...

Thank you Brenda! Yes, I guess you're right - there's no harm in specifying that it's the Spanish Inquisition.
And, true, there is a reason for why they're the only ones that can effect the rescue - Baha has to reconcile with his father (which Rosa helps him do), so that his father can in turn sway his "boss" the Grand Vizier into letting Rosa's father and brother go.

Now let's see if I can turn that into a pitch-worthy sentence!

dinawrite said...

Hi Deniz,

I also posted a comment to you in response to your 'Welcome to Montreal'.

Re. the pitch, first I should say that there are no writers of historical romance in my writers' group so this isn't an area I'm familiar with...I agree with the other comments about the age, the Inquisition clarity and the 'who'.

No one mentioned this and so, this may be the genre, but I thought the back-to-back expressions 'burning drive' and 'deepening desire' could have used richer language. Not a big deal.

The aspect I was more interested in was the connection between the title and the pitch...of course, I will make yours the exception and looked for the published version to find out! Or attend the launch in Montreal!! I love this city!


Deniz Bevan said...

Thanks Dina! I'll look at the vocabulary one last time.

Oh, the title! Well, it's a reference to all sorts of things (it would be, wouldn't be?). The struggles Rosa has with faith (being raised Jewish, then converso (forced convert to Catholicism) and then finding out her real father is Catholic) and her journey across the Mediterranean to find her family, all which lead to her finding love, and coming out of the water (ie off the ship [g]) to find that she and her life aren't taking the turns she expected, but turns that are even better than she could have imagined [bg] - by the end of the novel, of course.

dinawrite said...

Hi Brenda!

Thanks for explaining, I was thinking it had something to do with the expression 'Fish out of water' and was wondering about the addition of the "the". "Out of Water" would have indicated to me a thirst of some kind - that's why I was asking.

Glad to be missing the deep freeze - Keep warm! (good time to stay indoors & write)


Keisha Azzalea said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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