#SonofaPitch Entry 2: Prosperity #TeamDroids

b36ce-soap-finalTitle:  Prosperity
Category and Genre:  YA / Supernatural Mystery
Word Count:  75,000
 
Query:
Nora is a supernatural private investigator who is trying her best to fill her father’s shoes after his mysterious disappearance during a case.  She is brought to Prosperity by an anonymous benefactor in search of a person the town has no record of.  Nora stumbles upon a series of attacks by a supernatural creature called The Burning Man who can burn his victims with just a touch and she quickly takes up the case.  After an attack by The Burning Man at the high school, Nora meets Kyle, the person that Nora has been summoned to Prosperity to help.  The odd thing is, Kyle just moved into town yesterday.  Nora must now navigate a case of fiery possession, mysterious hauntings, and supernatural powers before more people in Prosperity get hurt or worse.
 
First 250 Words:

Nothing else brings with it glorious calm like the corner booth of a diner.  For whatever reason there was just something cozy and comfortable about a diner.  No matter where you went throughout the country and no matter if it was a chain or a small mom-and-pop kind of place, there was always a familiar feel to them.  It’s like there was this unspoken rule that all diners had to follow the same look and aesthetic.  Booths lined the walls of the place all around the kitchen/bar where a pair of cooks would slave behind.  You could bet that in the corner on the way to the bathroom you would pass a jukebox that had only music in it going up to the past twenty years.  The feel of the tables at each booth smelled like bleach and you could see the smears on the table that a hap hazard wash rag went over the surface just good enough to call the thing clean.  Then there was the food.  You never really have to see the menu; you can always order the same thing regardless of where you were.  The BLT sandwich and fries was always my go-to meal; it passed for both breakfast and lunch.  It was comforting really; something constant that I could count on in my otherwise crazy and chaotic life.

I traveled a lot.  I mean, really a lot.  I probably haven’t had a permanent address since I was about fifteen. 

28 thoughts on “#SonofaPitch Entry 2: Prosperity #TeamDroids

  1. Pingback: #SonofaPitch Round 2 The Golden Rule and the entries | Elsie Elmore

  2. Fun premise and I love the supernatural PI aspect. Try to clarify the stakes a bit and include the connection with Dad. You’ve got some great phrases working in here. I added questions and thoughts as I read. This is off to great start, keep up the great work.

    Query:
    Umpteen-year-old Nora is trying her best to be a supernatural private investigator and fill her father’s shoes. Not an easy feat since he mysteriously disappeared while he was working on a case. She is brought to Prosperity (what is Prosperity? Later we learn it’s a town but at first I thought it was an agency since she is a PI) by an anonymous benefactor in search of a person the town has no record of. (this sentence leaves me with questions.) Nora stumbles upon a series of attacks by a supernatural creature called The Burning Man who burn his victims with just a touch. (how badly?) She quickly takes the case. (A series of attacks from a supernatural creature named the Burning Man has residents turning to her for help? Or after witnessing attacks, Nora dives in, ready to help? Tinker with set up for clarity. Does the strange benefactor invite her to help?)) After an attack by The Burning Man at the high school, Nora meets Kyle, the person that Nora has been summoned to Prosperity to help. The odd thing is, Kyle just moved into town yesterday. (why is that odd? That he already knew her or that he’s new?) Nora must now navigate a case of fiery possession, mysterious hauntings, and supernatural powers before more people in Prosperity get hurt or worse. Why worse? (what about her missing Dad? What is the connection?)

    First 250 Words:
    Nothing else brings glorious calm like the corner booth of a diner. (For whatever reason? Needed?) There was just something cozy and comfortable about a diner. No matter where you went throughout the country and no matter if it was a chain or a small mom-and-pop kind of place, there was always a familiar feel to them. It’s like there was this unspoken rule that all diners had to follow the same look and aesthetic. Booths lined the walls of the place all around the kitchen/bar where a pair of cooks would slave behind. You could bet that in the corner on the way to the bathroom you would pass a jukebox that had only music in it going up to the past twenty years. (if they work at all 😉 The feel of the tables at each booth smelled like bleach and you could see the smears on the table that a hap hazard wash rag went over the surface just good enough to call the thing clean. (oh, have sat in plenty of those.) Then there was the food. You never really have to see the menu; you can always order the same thing regardless of where you were. The BLT sandwich and fries was always my go-to meal; it passed for both breakfast and lunch. It was comforting really; something constant that I could count on in my otherwise crazy and chaotic life.
    I traveled a lot. I mean, really a lot. I probably haven’t had a permanent address since I was about fifteen.

    I like the details you add here because they are universal concerning why diners are cozy and comfortable, but – for me – I wondered what the connection was and I wondered if this was starting in the wrong spot…. And then I read your last line. I hard core love your last sentence and think you could start with that and then let Nora describe why the diners are cozy – how they share a common aesthetic and how that gives her a sense of home because she hasn’t had one. how that gives her chaotic clam? The details are vivid and your voice is good – just tighten the text (and for me, I’d liked to be pulled into Nora’s perspective.) (I recently read a book were diners are a big deal to the main character because of his dad. The Short Drop by Matthew Fitzsimmons -) Great work! Thanks for sharing your words!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay, I’m much happier with this one. Let me know what you think:

    Query:

    Nora is a supernatural private investigator who is trying her best to fill her father’s shoes after his mysterious disappearance during his last case. She is summoned to the town of Prosperity by an anonymous benefactor to find someone named Kyle, but while looking for leads to her mysterious contact, Nora interrupts an attack by a supernatural creature called The Burning Man who can burn his victims to ash with just a touch. With the police out of their depth to stop him, Nora takes up the case for herself. While along her father on his last case, Nora somehow gained the ability to heal from any injury she suffered; she’s not even sure that she can die. Nora would happily trade this ability to get her father back, but it also made her uniquely qualified to take down the scary things that go bump in the night. After an attack by The Burning Man at the high school, Nora finds Kyle, a new student at school who is being haunted by the ghost of his dead mother. Now Nora must navigate a case of fiery possession, a mysterious haunting, and supernatural powers before more people in Prosperity are reduced to ash. Nora wants to prove that even though she’s only twenty-two, her experience working alongside her father more than makes up for her age. Can she prove that she has what it takes to stop the Burning Man, or will she fall short and let innocent people pay the price?

    First 250 Words:

    I haven’t had a permanent address since I was about fifteen. I grew up on the road with my dad going all over the country and we quickly became diner experts. Nothing else had the calm like eating in the corner booth of a diner with Dad, and now at twenty-two, my usual booth in the back was about the closest thing I had to a regular dinner table. All over the country, no matter if it was a chain or a small mom-and-pop kind of place, there was always a familiar feel to a diner. It’s like there was this unspoken rule that all diners had to follow the same aesthetic. Booths lined the walls of the place all around the kitchen/bar where a pair of cooks would slave over a flattop grille. You could bet that in the corner on the way to the bathroom would be a jukebox that only had music in it going up to the late nineties. The table at each booth smelled like bleach and you could see the smears on the table from a hap hazard wash rag that went over the surface just good enough to call the thing clean. You never really had to see the menu; you could always order the same thing regardless of where you were. The BLT sandwich and fries was always my go-to; it passed for both breakfast and lunch. It was comforting really; something constant that I could count on in my otherwise crazy and chaotic life.

    Like

    • Read the update and think that’s much stronger. Small snippets could be shaved – for example: I grew up on the road with my dad and we quickly became diner experts. (deleted going all over because on the road suggest that.) Have a quick question about the age of the protagonist. It says twenty-two in the new text from the narrator. Is that the protag’s age?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nora is the primary character, but there is a lot of story shared with Kyle (from his perspective) and a few bits from others. Nora is the only narrator not in high school. I wanted to make her a few years older to give her a little more experience/believability on being a PI character. I initially pictured her around 25, but I think could make 22 work. This way she’s more of a leader but can still identify with the other characters in the story.

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      • Sorry – it was too late for me to come back to this last night 🙂 I have your ms listed as a YA. For some, seeing a 22 yo protag would immediately make them think it should be classified as NA or adult and not YA. There was the whole NA push to capture that age range but that group seems to be fading. Just wanted to bring that to your attention. (And apologies for the delayed response 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. The target audience for the story is definitely high school; about half of the chapters are told form the perspective of a high school student. In working the pitch for the story I decided to make Nora the primary focus just to make the pitch make more sense; the events are around her actions, but it’s very much an ensemble cast, predominantly in high school. The story starts with Nora and ends with her (at least for now, I have this in mind as the start for a series). Is the actual age of the protagonist the sole point of classifying the YA of a novel, or are there other things that really affect the audience of a book? I’m looking at more of a general sweep of the book than just the age of the official protagonist.

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  5. After reading all that…I will wait for an updated version. Age is important for YA, but mostly a sense of self-discovery. And if Nora is learning who she is without her dad, that could be the case, but she might also be finding her place in society as in having a job and a life…that’s an NA theme. Though with Kyle’s POV…he’ll bring the YA.
    AND I VERY MUCH LIKE THIS IDEA… THE BURNING MAN SOUNDS FABULOUS! Like one of my favorite shows…Supernatural.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the concept and the writing, but I agree with the other critiques in that you could trim some of the redundancy out of it. In general, try to avoid saying things that are aiming for the same thought or concept as the previous one, and you have a lot of that in your writing sample. That being said, however, it could also be your style and that’s okay, so long as it is a conscious choice.

    I feel like the age factor here is going to push this out of the YA group and into NA, and I understand your reluctance to let it go there as it seems to be a waning field, but I really like the concept and your imagery. i would definitely read to the next page.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Okay, here is my reworked query pitch and tweaked 250:

    Query:

    Prosperity is a town where the strange and supernatural seem to converge. Kyle has just moved to Prosperity for his senior year at school but has found that a ghost seems to have followed him and has taken up residence in his new home. Kyle confided in some new friends: Joanie, a know-it-all who journals everything she sees, and his new girlfriend Alex, who is secretly training with a mysterious figure made of fire in using her own powers of flame manipulation. Supernatural P.I. Nora comes to Prosperity to answer an anonymous request for help. She intervenes in an attack by the Burning Man, a creature that can burn people to ash just with a touch. Even at twenty-two, Nora has more than enough experience in supernatural cases to take on the Burning Man and she sets out to stop him. Everyone comes together when the Burning Man attacks the high school targeting Alex. Nora helps Kyle, Alex, and Joanie come to grips with their new reality as they set out to stop the Burning Man and discover the truth behind Kyle’s ghost. Will they be able to trust each other with their own secrets and rely on each other, or will they falter and fall victim to the touch of the Burning Man?

    First 250 Words:

    I haven’t had a permanent address since I was about fifteen. I grew up on the road with my dad and we quickly became diner experts. Nothing else had the calm like eating in the corner booth of a diner with Dad. Now that it’s just me, my usual booth in the back was about the closest thing I had to a regular dinner table. All over the country, no matter if it was a chain or a small mom-and-pop kind of place, there was always a familiar feel to a diner. It’s like there was this unspoken rule that all diners had to follow the same aesthetic. Booths lined the walls of the place all around the kitchen/bar where a pair of cooks would slave over a flattop grille. You could bet that in the corner on the way to the bathroom would be a jukebox that only had music in it going up to the late nineties. The table at each booth smelled like bleach and you could see the smears on the tabletop from a hap hazard wash rag that went over the surface just good enough to call the thing clean. You never really had to see the menu; you could order the same thing regardless of where you were. The BLT sandwich and fries was my go-to; it passed for both breakfast and lunch. It was comforting really; something constant that I could count on in my otherwise crazy and chaotic life.

    Like

    • Here are my thoughts on your query:
      This version is different but stronger than the first and gives a better idea of what your story is about. so – thumbs up!
      I tinkered in just a few spots. (just thoughts, humbly offered – take ’em or leave ’em.)

      Prosperity is a town where the strange and supernatural seem to converge. (great opener ☺) Too bad Kyle doesn’t know that when he moves there for his senior year. (I tinkered there to make the sentence feel more active) That would explain why a ghost seems to have followed him and has taken up residence in his new home. Kyle’s new friends: Joanie, a know-it-all who journals everything she sees, and his new girlfriend Alex, who is secretly honing her own powers of flame manipulation by training with a mysterious figure made of fire, are the only ones he trusts with the info?
      Supernatural P.I. Nora comes to Prosperity to answer an anonymous request for help. She intervenes in an attack by the Burning Man, a creature that can burn people to ash just with a touch. Even at twenty-two, Nora has more than enough experience in supernatural cases to take on the Burning Man (and she sets out to stop him. – needed?)

      When the Burning Man attacks the high school and targets Alex, everyone must come together. Nora helps Kyle, Alex, and Joanie come to grips with the supernatural? reality as they set out to stop the Burning Man and discover the truth behind Kyle’s ghost. They will have to trust each other with their own secrets, or will they too will fall victim to the touch of the Burning Man. (I’d tinker with the last line to make it punchier.)

      Great work!

      Like

  8. All my opinions are just that…opinions. Please take what works for you and forget the rest.

    Query:

    Prosperity is a town where the strange and supernatural seem to converge.(<I Don't think you need the first sentence) Kyle has just moved to Prosperity for his senior year (at school)<don't need… but (has found that)Supernatural P.I. Nora comes to Prosperity to answer an anonymous request for help. She intervenes in an attack by the Burning Man, a creature that can burn people to ash just with a touch. Even at twenty-two, Nora has more than enough experience in supernatural cases to take on the Burning Man and she sets out to stop him. (Why? What is her motivation? What drives her?)
    Everyone comes together when the Burning Man attacks the high school targeting Alex. (Why target him?) Nora helps Kyle, Alex, and Joanie come to grips with their new reality as they set out to stop the Burning Man and discover the truth behind Kyle’s ghost. Will they be able to trust each other with their own secrets and rely on each other, or will they falter and fall victim to the touch of the Burning Man? (Don’t ask me questions…tell me the big moment of decision… is it to fight the Burning Man? Tell me the choice they face? What if they can’t defeat The Burning Man? What if Kyle can’t get rid of his ghost? Tell me what they risk. I am seriously interested in this story. I love supernatural stuff! Ghosts and creatures make me smile.)

    First 250 Words:

    I haven’t had a permanent address since I was about fifteen. (Nice! I am interested!) I grew up on the road with my dad and we quickly became diner experts. Nothing else had the calm like eating in the corner booth of a diner with Dad. Now that it’s just me, my usual booth in the back was about the closest thing I had to a regular dinner table. All over the country, no matter if it was a chain or a small mom-and-pop kind of place, there was always a familiar feel to a diner. It’s like there was this unspoken rule that all diners had to follow the same aesthetic. Booths lined the walls of the place all around the kitchen/bar where a pair of cooks would slave over a flattop grille. You could bet that in the corner on the way to the bathroom would be a jukebox that only had music in it going up to the late nineties.(That had nothing newer than songs from 1998…a word tweak suggestion…) The table at each booth smelled like bleach and you could see the smears on the tabletop from a hap hazard wash rag that went over the surface just good enough to call the thing clean. You never really had to see the menu; you could order the same thing regardless of where you were. The BLT sandwich and fries was my go-to; it passed for both breakfast and lunch. It was comforting really; something constant that I could count on in my otherwise crazy and chaotic life. (Interesting! Great descriptions! I can see the place! Maybe a inner thought of when she would sit with her dad…of how it was strange without him? Of …maybe?…could she live up to the girl he had seen sitting across from him however long ago…about why she was always traveling…I want a glimpse into her head at what this all means to her, of who she is and what she wants. Just a glimpse to tease me. The diner is cool, but I am more interested in her.)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great comments! Here’s the latest:

    Query:

    Kyle has just moved to Prosperity for his senior year but has found that a ghost seems to have followed him and has taken up residence in his new home. Kyle finds some support from his new friend Joanie, a know-it-all who journals everything she sees, and his new girlfriend Alex, who is secretly honing her own ability to control fire. Supernatural P.I. Nora comes to Prosperity answering an anonymous request for help and intervenes in an attack by the Burning Man, a creature that can burn people to ash just with a touch. Drawing from the experience working supernatural cases beside her father paired with her own mysterious ability to heal from any injury, she is the only one in Prosperity who can safely bring down the Burning Man. An attack by the Burning Man at the high school brings Nora to Kyle, Alex, and Joanie and she helps them come to grips with their new reality as they set out to stop the Burning Man and cast out Kyle’s ghost. When Nora discovers the link between the Burning Man’s targets and the truth behind the ghost, she must choose who to save knowing she leaves others in mortal danger.

    First 250 Words:

    I haven’t had a permanent address since I was about fifteen. I grew up on the road with my dad and we quickly became diner experts. Nothing else had the calm like eating in the corner booth of a diner with Dad. Now that it’s just me, my usual booth in the back was about the closest thing I had to a regular dinner table. All over the country, no matter if it was a chain or a small mom-and-pop kind of place, there was always a familiar feel to a diner. It’s like there was this unspoken rule that all diners had to follow the same aesthetic. Booths lined the walls of the place all around the kitchen/bar where a pair of cooks would slave over a flattop grille. You could bet that in the corner on the way to the bathroom would be a jukebox whose newest tracks would be from Green Day or Alannis Morrisette. The table smelled like bleach and you could see the smears from a hap hazard wash rag that went over the surface just good enough to call it clean. You never had to see the menu; you could order the same thing regardless of where you were. The BLT sandwich and fries was my go-to; it passed for both breakfast and lunch. Sometimes it felt like I was still eating with Dad and I wouldn’t feel so alone. I wasn’t sure about continuing on my own, but I like to think it’s what he would have wanted.

    Liked by 1 person

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