Thursday, January 6, 2011

Novel Pitch #2: TRIAL OF THE HEART

Title: Trial of the Heart
Author Name: Erin
Genre: Women's Fiction
Word Count: 86,000

Emily Hennas despises the split-second of gratitude she felt for the drunk who stole the lives of her two oldest children. Because he also killed her scum-sucking bastard of a husband.

Her surviving son deserves a mother who'll stand up for him. And herself. A single finger salute to her dead spouse, and she resurrects the career he forbade. She tackles single motherhood with the devotion of an answered prayer. Not lacking complications, she risks love with a new man who’s dedicated to redefining her perception of relationships, one barrier at a time. Until--the drunk driver wants her support for a plea bargain that will allow him to stay home while he dies from cancer.

He can go to hell. Emily relishes the thought of sending him. While at the same time, she can’t help wondering if she doesn’t belong there as well, because the killer of her children was also her savior—that’s damn hard to live with. Even harder to forgive. Until Emily finds closure, she has no hope of moving on. But the hardest person to forgive just might be herself.

The Good: Ooh... this pitch promises a book of great emotional intensity. The raw power comes through well, and we get a good sense of the premise and the narrative voice. This is a revised version of the one posted a couple of days ago, but both versions have the same, I'm-going-to-punch-you-in-the-gut presence that makes me think of an Oprah Book Club pick.

Suggestions: The sentence fragments grab my attention, and, while they work well with the narrative voice, consider making them complete sentences (see the comment about frustrated English majors in yesterday's post). I don't think the em-dash is appropriate at the end of the second paragraph; it's either an ellipse or punctuation-free (and converted into a complete sentence).

Bottom line: Another strong pitch that I think needs only cosmetic changes to have a great chance in ABNA. 

4 comments:

Erin said...

Thank you Kate. I appreciate your comments and recommendations. : )

I wish everyone luck!

Brenda said...

I really like the voice in this and I agree with Kate -- it reminds of an Oprah book club selection with the situation you've outlined and the character of Emily. I read this a bunch of times trying to figure out what it was that was giving me pause and I think -- after much deliberation -- it's the fact that you mention how the drunk driver kills her 2 older kids and then the very next thought is that she's flipping the bird to her dead husband and falling in love with a new guy. I want to know that she's mourning the death of her two kids to give her some humanity before she has to decide the fate of the drunk driver. I also wonder if you could eliminate the next-to-last sentence (Until Emily finds closure...)? To me, it has more impact without it. Just my two cents. I think this is v. strong overall and great job!!

Deniz Bevan said...

Hmm, I agree with Kate and Brenda - though given the obviously tortured nature of Emily's life, the juxtaposition of the dead children and her moving on didn't jar me as much.
I think this sentence is a little mixed "While at the same time, she can’t help wondering if she doesn’t belong there as well, because the killer of her children was also her savior—that’s damn hard to live with."
It's missing something like: "While at the same time, she can’t help wondering if she doesn’t belong there as well, because [she feels that] the killer of her children was also her savior—that’s damn hard to live with."
I like the way you managed to write this whole thing without naming any names but Emily's. I've been having a hard time putting my supporting cast into my pitch!

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