NaNoWriMo Pitch

I’m messing around with my outline and pitch (query letter) for my NaNoWriMo novel this year, because 1) when I’m lost, I want stuff to go back to, as in “tell me why I’m doing this to myself again?” and 2) It takes me a loooong time to write pitches and queries, and I generally am not terribly good at it.

Here’s the current version:

Suki thought she knew her father better than anyone else in the world, better than her crazy mother, better than her best friend or the boy she’s been pretending to have a crush on. Her father always had time to listen to her. He always believed in her, even though she’s almost flunking out of high school. He told her to stand up for what she believes in, no matter what the cost.

Then, after he dies, she finds out that what he believed in made him steal a secret from the Death Goddess, starting a plague of insect-ridden zombies that could kill everyone in Japan. Suki tells her friends that she must call her father back from death in order to stop the plague, but she really just wants him back. At any cost.

Death Watch is a 75,000-word young adult novel that crosses the boundary between manga like Bleach and young adult urban fantasy authors like Holly Black.

What do you think?

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4 Comments

  1. Ian

    My thoughts:
    1. I think you start out with too much backstory in the pitch. Maybe start with the conflict and go from there? “Suki thought she knew her father better than anyone, but after he died, she found out that he’d stolen a secret from the Death Goddess, which started a plague of insect-ridden zombies.” That’s kind of a wordy rewrite, but I’m sure you could do it better justice than I.

    2. In my experience, comparing a novel to a graphic format like manga or comic books doesn’t work for agents or editors. They see them as completely different animals and can’t consolidate them into a single entity. Every time I’ve tried to pitch a superhero novel, the first question I get is “So it’s a graphic novel?” and then I have to explain that it isn’t. The Holly Black comparison is good. Maybe you could find another YA author to also compare to?

    • De

      I think I probably agree with you on point 1, but manga differs from Western comic books enough that I have to (tentatively) disagree with 2. I’ve seen a number of mangas that have “light novels” (Japanese YA) associated with them, like Fullmetal Alchemist. They seem to work more like TV tie-ins than anything else. Also, I want to suggest getting a manga illustrator for the cover/interiors right off the bat, as part of a marketing plan, so I should lay that out in the query too, I think.

  2. Ooh, I want to know why she’s just pretending to have a crush!

    The query sounds good to me, because I want to read the novel. I’ve never had to write a query before, though, so I can’t give any advice beyond that.

    Good luck with your NaNo project! I’m so glad November is here.

  3. Thank you 🙂

    I could tell you, or you could find out. I think you’ll just have to find out.

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