Friday, September 2, 2011

The pitch: Ten Thunders

I am headed to another pitch conference this time to convince publishers that "Ten Thunders" can be the next big thing in YA fantasy.

I know I said that "Project X" was my new hot idea and it still is---as a short story. Every time I try to shape the concept into novel-length material it gets out of hand. You can overcook an idea and turn it into a genuine mess. That may change but not right now.

So I am going back to the New York Pitch Conference this month armed with "Ten Thunders." I trimmed the title from "Riding Ten Thunders" in anticipation of the changes the editors would likely recommend. Right now I am weighing different comparable titles to mention in the hook when I pitch the story.

And that is the part I really hate. On the one hand I understand the desire among editors to know who the novel will appeal to but they must be tired of hearing how your story is the next [insert title of any bestseller].

While some folks have compared "Ten Thunders" to "Things Fall Apart", I know that will go over like a lead balloon at the pitch conference.

Where does that leave me? Here's one hook I have kicked around but it makes me grind my teeth: "If Shaka, king of the Zulus, drafted the competitors from 'The Hunger Games' to fight in his tribal wars, the story would be told in 'Ten Thunders'."

Yeah . . . sure. Big winner there.

I have more material to review as I refine the pitch; I need more comps to work with.

Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away