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Son of a Pitch round two has begun! This week my blog will be dedicated to the authors of these amazing entries.

Comments are for the Son of a Pitch critiquers and authors only! All other comments will be deleted, them’s the rules peeps.

At the end of the week, I will vote for my favorites…I think five…I should check that.

Onward!

Welcome to Team Rarity!

Entry 2:

Title: The Manhattan Swindle
Category and Genre: Adult Thriller
Word Count: 154,000

Query:

From Libyan villages to high society New York, from childhood sweethearts to enemies feuding over an oil cartel, The Manhattan Swindle follows Harry and Lilah.

As teenagers, Lilah and Harry escape an attempted abduction and survive a run across northern Africa, but their paths diverge once they return to New York. Harry joins their families’ oil trading business, planning to make it big enough to destroy the driller who’d ordered the kidnapping to force the sale of the company. Lilah, on the other hand, is determined to move on. She heads to Harvard Law School and still hopes for a future with Harry.

Then, he introduces her to his mentor, Senator Temple. The senator and his family are American aristocracy, with a penchant for plotting incessantly, hating virulently, and loving unwisely. They have one adversary in common with Harry and Lilah: the driller behind the abduction. Temple tries to manipulate Lilah into marrying the heir to his family’s oil empire to join their companies in a de facto merger, tempting her with the leadership of the illegal cartel. If Lilah agrees, she will lose Harry, but the cartel she leads will be big enough to annihilate the enemy who devastated her life and his. If she refuses, their enemy will remain a threat to Harry’s business and, eventually, his life.

 

First 250 Words:

January 1974

Egypt-Libya border

The blades of the search-and-rescue helicopter thwacked the sticky, salty air above the Mediterranean coast. The choppy engine was loud enough to drown out even thoughts. Hot wind gusted into Temple’s face and eyes as he leaned out from the open cabin, squinting at the steep, sparsely-vegetated cliff marking the border between the two countries.

Trucks and vans and cars bound for Alexandria were lined up along the Halfaya Pass. Libyan soldiers swarmed their side of the border and paid no attention to the American chopper hovering one thousand feet above the ground.

“Aren’t they supposed to ask us for identification?” Temple hollered into the mouthpiece, swatting at his billowing shirt.

His headset sputtered. “No one cares as long as we stay in Egyptian airspace,” said the pilot. “They’ve gotten used to us.” The operation to find the two abducted teenagers had been in effect for months.

Temple grimaced and withdrew his head into the cabin, not looking forward to the conversation he was expecting to have with the teens’ families when he landed.

Gaddafi—the Libyan dictator—had denied responsibility for the kidnapping of the ambassador’s daughter and her friend. But he refused to let American personnel within the country’s borders to conduct a search. Instead, he presented to the U.S government the mercenaries involved in the crime, claiming to have apprehended them after an exhaustive hunt. The criminals insisted the hostages had escaped, the boy having killed one of the guards.

Since then, beyond one phone call weeks back suggesting they were on their way to the Halfaya Pass, no one had heard from either the boy or the girl.

Now for my thoughts.

But first, a reminder, I am not an expert. I am a writer. My comments are my opinions. If any of these strange wordy things that pop into my brain and onto the page make sense for YOUR ms and makes YOUR writer’s brain spin with all the inspiration, YEA!!! Use them…run with them…let your creative brain go! If reading one of my insanely odd thoughts just makes you shrug and sparks no new idea, forget it! YEA!

I am here to help YOU make YOUR ms the best it can be. I do not want to rewrite it. I do not want it to be something else. Your words should be yours. I WANT TO HAVE A GREAT TIME!

Feel free to ask questions. Feel free to post any rewrites in the comments. I will be happy to answer anything and read revisions! Anything I can do to help get the creative juices flowing.

CRITIQUE:
Query:

From Libyan villages to high society New York, from childhood sweethearts to enemies feuding over an oil cartel, The Manhattan Swindle follows Harry and Lilah. (The way the sentence stands it leaves me hanging…you can rearrange it…The Manhattan Swindle follows Harry and Lilah from Libyan villages…)

As teenagers, Lilah and Harry escape an attempted abduction and survive a run across northern Africa, but their paths diverge once they return to New York. (The ms starts with them being rescued…So maybe…After being kidnapped then rescued in the African plains…friends Harry and Lilah head back to life scarred but hopeful…or something.) Harry joins their families’ oil trading business, planning to make it big enough to destroy the driller who’d ordered the kidnapping to force the sale of the company. (I like this sentence ending at “kidnapping”, don’t know if we need to know all the details of the driller’s evil intentions when the ms focuses on Harry and Lilah.) Lilah, on the other hand, is determined to move on. She heads to Harvard Law School and still hopes for a future with Harry. (Good set up of characters. We know what they want.)

Then, he introduces her to his mentor, Senator Temple. (When Harry introduces Lilah to his mentor Senator Temple…What happens? How does this change what they want or their goals?) The senator and his family are American aristocracy, with a penchant for plotting incessantly, hating virulently, and loving unwisely. (Do we need this info in the query?) They have one adversary in common with Harry and Lilah: the driller behind the abduction. (Ah! Okay! Nice!) Temple tries to (tries to? Or simply manipulates?) manipulate Lilah into marrying the heir to his family’s oil empire to join their companies in a de facto merger, tempting her with the leadership of the illegal cartel. If Lilah agrees, she will lose Harry, (does she have Harry? What will she lose here?) but the cartel she leads will be big enough to annihilate the enemy who devastated her life and his. If she refuses, their enemy will remain a threat to Harry’s business and, eventually, his life. (Nice stakes! If this is dual POV…what about Harry? What choice does he face? Or is this omniscient?)

*Nice query! Focuses on main story line. I would love a bit more character description. Who is Harry? Who is Lilah…maybe mention she’s the daughter of an ambassador? Ambitious? Hopeful? How old? How long between time lines of teenagers and adults? Does the ms flip between two time lines or tell the teenage story first then jump to the adult story? I remember this one from last time! Welcome back!

 

First 250 Words:

January 1974

Egypt-Libya border

The blades of the search-and-rescue helicopter thwacked the sticky, salty air above the Mediterranean coast. The choppy engine was loud enough to drown out even thoughts. (Love this!) Hot wind gusted into Temple’s face and eyes as he leaned out from the open cabin, squinting at the steep, sparsely-vegetated cliff marking the border between the two countries.

Trucks and vans and cars bound for Alexandria were lined (word choice to replace “were lined”…sat along… lined) up along the Halfaya Pass. Libyan soldiers swarmed their side of the border and paid no attention to the American chopper hovering one thousand feet above the ground.

“Aren’t they (the Libyan soldiers?) supposed to ask us for identification?” Temple hollered into the mouthpiece, swatting at his billowing shirt.

His headset sputtered. “No one cares as long as we stay in Egyptian airspace,” said the pilot. “They’ve gotten used to us.” The operation to find the two abducted teenagers had been in effect for months.

Temple grimaced and withdrew his head into the cabin, not looking forward to the conversation he was expecting to have with the teens’ families when he landed. (Oh…He thinks they’re dead…doesn’t he?)

Gaddafi—the Libyan dictator—had denied responsibility for the kidnapping of the ambassador’s daughter and her friend. But he refused to let American personnel within the country’s borders to conduct a search. Instead, he presented to the U.S government the mercenaries involved in the crime, claiming to have apprehended them after an exhaustive hunt. (and we trust them…riiiight.) The criminals insisted the hostages had escaped, the boy having killed one of the guards.

Since then, beyond one phone call weeks back suggesting they were on their way to the Halfaya Pass, no one had heard from either the boy or the girl. (Intriguing! I feel like I’m in the helicopter. Though I don’t know Temple…What does he have to gain here? What is his motive for searching? But missing teens…I would have to keep reading to know what the heck happened!)

I hope some of that, maybe just one little thing, helps!

Thank you so much for being a part of Son of a Pitch!

Thank you for sharing your words!

And may the road of revising and querying and publishing be a great one!

Be sure to join us on Twitter! #SonofaPitch is super fun! #TeamRarity rocks!

 

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