Friday, January 7, 2011

Novel Pitch #3: THE GLIMPSE

Title The Glimpse
Author Name Claire Vinson Merle
Genre YA dystopia
Word Count 89,000 words

Seventeen-year-old Ana Barber’s geneticist father faked her DNA tests to get her into The Community—a safe haven from all the crazies in the city. Ana is really a sleeper, which means one day she’ll go psycho, or schizo, or probably just suicidal like her Mum. Now the authorities know the truth, and the only thing standing between her and banishment to the city is her romance with Jasper Taurell. Jasper, a rich boy from an influential Community family, wants to Join with her despite her genetic defects. When the media elevates the pair to a modern day Romeo and Juliet, star-crossed lovers battling against the rules to let True Love run its course, the authorities end up bending to public pressure. Ana is allowed to remain in the Community on one condition: she and Jasper must be Joined before her eighteenth birthday. It's more than she could have hoped for. Things are looking up for once, but then four weeks before their Joining, Jasper is abducted.

Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him. In the city, nothing is what it seems. She discovers her fiancĂ© hasn’t been abducted by crazies. The authorities have incarcerated him in a psychiatric dump for attempting to prove there's nothing genetically messed up with any of the country's population. Determined to get to the truth, she has herself committed alongside Jasper. But thanks to his electric shock therapy, he barely remembers her, and the psychs turn out to be more wacko than the patients. Trapped in the loony dump, exile is looking rather preferable to what the doctors have planned. She must find a way to fight back and expose the truth, before they drive her crazy—for real.

The Good: First off, YA dystopian is hot right now, so just the genre will garner attention.  The premise is excellent, both frightening and believable (and I say that as someone with a background in psych). The romance sounds compelling, the twist works, and the last line leaves the reader hungry for more. 

Suggestions: Tighten up your wording a bit, cutting phrases like "things are looking up for once."  All the capitalized words like Join and True Love stand out a bit too much, in my opinion.  Since "Join" is your book's word for marriage, I think it would be okay just to change True Love to lowercase.  I read through this a second time and realized that, although Ana is in a romance, you don't bring her feelings into this. In fact, the phrase "determined to get to the truth" makes it sound like she's going undercover as a reporter into the asylum rather than trying to rescue the man she loves. If this is intentional, don't change it, but if she really does love Jasper, I'd play up the emotional side a bit more. 

BOTTOM LINE: Another strong pitch!  

Happy Weekend, everyone! 


Disgruntled Bear (Kate Kaynak) said...

I'm still thinking about this one. What a haunting premise!

lexcade said...

i've read some of it, and it's GREAT. claire's a talent!

Alex Bennett said...

This one sounds pretty cool.

Jennifer L. Armentrout said...

I've got to read quite a bit of this one two. Lordy, I have beta'd a ton of stuff. A ton of great stuff.

It's an awesome novel, very different from any dystopian out there.

I agree with bear's statements.

Claire Merle said...

Thank you all guys! And thank you Disgruntled Bear for your suggestions. I appreciate your time. This is a geat blog!

Claire Merle said...

Thank you all guys! And thank you Disgruntled Bear for your suggestions. I appreciate your time. This is a geat blog!

Disgruntled Bear (Kate Kaynak) said...

Thanks for pitching, Claire! BTW, if you're interested, Spencer Hill Press is open to submissions... :)

Claire Merle said...

I'm in the middle of a final round of polishing, but thanks for letting me know about Spencer Hill Press. Do you think they'll still be open to submissions in a month, or do they close their doors from time to time? Thanks again for the help and support! And thanks Lexcade and Jennifer for your kind words!

Deniz Bevan said...

This one sounds great - not my usual genre, but the romance aspect pulls me in [g] The only thing that jarred a bit was the constant switch up of terms in the second paragraph - psychiatric dump vs loony dump, psychs vs doctors, that sort of thing.

Brenda said...

Claire -- I think this looks great. A couple of really small nitpicks... In the 3rd sentence you say "Now the authorities..." but it makes more sense to me if you say, "When the authorities find outh the truth..."

Also "country's population" in the second paragraph caused me to stumble. I'm not sure what you can say in its place, but I had to read twice to understand.

Great job and good luck!

Disgruntled Bear (Kate Kaynak) said...

Hi Claire,

I'm one of the editors at Spencer Hill, so I'm giving you a pass to query even if the website ( says we're closed to queries. Mention in your query letter that we had this discussion on Disgruntled Bear, though, and that we were open to queries when I made the offer.

Claire Merle said...

Brenda, thanks for your comments. Would it read more easily to say city's population? This is what I had originally, I just thought it might be better to avoid the word repetition.
Deniz, thanks for the input. I kind of dislike repetition hence the alternative phrasing.But I'll take another look.
Kate, that's great! Thanks!

Disgruntled Bear (Kate Kaynak) said...

I actually prefer the alternative wording--repetitive vocab bothers me.

Deniz Bevan said...

Oh yes, I don't mind non-repetitive wording either. I think maybe it was the tone. That is, I'd rather they were called doctors first and psychs after. One sounds formal - like she goes in not knowing what to expect, and the other more colloquial, after she's already entered the wards and knows what they're like. If that makes any sense [g]

Claire Merle said...

Yeah Deniz, that does make sense! Good idea, thanks.

Disgruntled Bear (Kate Kaynak) said...

Good note, Deniz!

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