Pitch Polish, ROW80, John Green, and "Rosey the Dragon"

As many of you are, I'm participating in the Gearing Up To Get An Agent blogfest. I didn't get in among the first 200 to submit their pitch, so I'm sharing mine here. Maybe you can help...

Here's what I had for Rosa's story, Out of the Water:
After she becomes separated from her family as they flee their Spanish homeland - and the Inquisition - the last thing eighteen-year-old Rosa expects to find is love.
Her one hope of reaching Constantinople and finding her family lies with a stranger, Baha, a Muslim artist from the Ottoman Empire. Rosa's drive to find her loved ones is matched by a deepening desire for the man at her side. Yet despite all his help in reuniting them, her family rejects this man of a different faith, forcing her to choose between them.
When janissaries arrest her father and brother, Rosa and Baha risk everything on a daring rescue. Together they will prove that their love is stronger than their differences... if the Sultan's Grand Vizier doesn't throw them both into the dungeons first.
OUT OF THE WATER is a 15th-century historical romance complete at just over 100,000 words, set in Spain and Turkey.
I completely overhauled it this afternoon:
In 15th-century Spain, when eighteen-year-old captive Rosa deToledo seizes her one chance to escape the clutches of the Inquisition, the last thing she expects to find is love.
Only a few miles into the woods, her path crosses with Baha, an older Muslim artist. He not only helps rescue her relatives, but agrees to guide them safely to Constantinople, the heart of the Ottoman Empire, where she hopes to reunite with her parents.
Rosa's drive to find her loved ones is matched by a deepening desire for the brave man at her side. Yet despite all his help in reuniting them, her parents rejects this man of a different faith, forcing her to choose between them.
When janissaries arrest her father and brother, Rosa and Baha risk everything on a daring rescue. Together they will prove that their love is stronger than their differences... if the Sultan's Grand Vizier doesn't throw them both into the dungeons first.
Historical romance OUT OF THE WATER is complete at just over 100,000 words.
Then I checked my email... Last week, agent Suzie Townsend offered a personal reply to anyone who queried her that week. Though she passed on Rosa's story as not her kind of concept, she specifically mentioned that the query (the first one, above) was a good one. So my dilemma is: which one should I continue querying with?

Theresa Milstein had a fun meme on Facebook the other day: Take the title of the last book you read and add 'with a chainsaw'. I've got: Ah King, With a Chainsaw; Hallowe'en, With a Chainsaw; and The Ecclesiastical History of England, With a Chainsaw.

I've been interviewed by Morgen Bailey (#494 on the list)!

A week or so ago I devoured John Green's The Fault in Our Stars (thanks Medeia!) in a couple of days. Then I went on John Green's website, reading the FAQs of the story, for I wasn't ready to let the characters go. Also found this lovely quote in the Guardian's review: "What I loved about The Fault In Our Stars is that the journey that Hazel went on wasn't acceptance of death - she'd completed that before the novel began - but on the acceptance of life." Everyone should read this book!

Also last week, my mother dug up and scanned a story I wrote when I was 10. Hope you like it!


Pleased to report that I'm back on track with part of my goals for A Round of Words in 80 Days: typed up another 2000 words of Fred and Lyne's story just yesterday!

Comments

S.P. Bowers said…
I didn't make it in either! I'm pretty sad.

I think I like the second one better.

if yo like them both equally you could try sending a few of each version and see which one gets a better response from agents.
Deniz Bevan said…
I kinda like the second one too! I'll try it for a bit and see what happens...
I'm sorry you didn't make it in.

I think the second version has a punchier beginning. Good luck!

Nas said…
So sorry that you didn't make it in. I like the starting of the second version. All the best!
Medeia Sharif said…
I also like the second one better.

That's excellent writing for a ten-year-old. :)

I'm so glad you enjoyed TFIOS.
Hi Deniz .. the second one is easier to understand .. i.e. which country you're talking about .. are the janissaries in Spain or Turkey? .. but I don't have the full script ... but I love the concept - a really romantic novel with lots of interesting history .. should make a fascinating read.

Now I've read the rest ... it's up to you isn't it Rosey the dragon! - and it's typed up!!

Have a great week .. Hilary
LR said…
Aw, I love Rosey the Dragon. :)

What an awesome idea. A dragon that blows roses instead fire! Love it.
I see I'm in the minority here, but I liked the first query better. I don't think you need to mention the century because Inquisition takes care of the time frame. In the second one, I don't like that you call Baha "Older". Makes me think he's old enough to be her father. Do what you think feels right.

Love Rosey the Dragon. Very well written for a 10 year old! (P.S. I was already graduated from high school when you published that! lol)

Melanie
Joshua said…
Way to get back on track! Cute story, and it looks like we're about the same age.
alberta ross said…
I liked the 2nd but not the older man bit - although the mention of the Inquisition ought to spell it out remember many people wont know their historical periods as well as us - so one mention I think is okay
keep smiling:)
Susan Fields said…
I liked the second one better, though they are both very good. I just thought maybe the words in the second were a little stronger.
Mike Paulson said…
I felt that, while the first paragraph of the second blurb was clearly better, the rest of the first blurb was better. I thought the second blurb was a little too wordy, where the first was short and succinct.

Just my opinion. Good luck with querying!
Al said…
Wow a published author since you were 10!
Julie Glover said…
I agree with Mike. I liked the first query better, except the first paragraph could use more specificity. I was interested in the story concept either way, though.

Great job with getting into your story this week. Happy writing!
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks Nas and Medeia and LR!

Thanks, Hilary and Susan and Mike. I'd like to keep the tone of the second one, with some of the detail of the first...

I agree Melanie and alberta - I didn't like throwing in "older" either. I need a better adjective...

Thanks, Joshua!

I should mention that in the query, maybe, Al. Hee hee!

Thank you, Julie!

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