Brazilian journalist, writer and editor Gabriela Lessa is hosting a pitch contest with four guest judges, all of them editors at Sourcebooks, for the first paragraph and a one-sentence pitch of completed manuscripts. Sign ups will continue through Tuesday, but through Monday you can post the entry on your blog and receive critiques from other participants.
I have two flavors for you to choose between—a version that does vs. one that doesn't open with a prologue. Enjoy!
Name: Michelle Fayard
Title: THE UNDERGROUND GIFT
Genre: Historical YA
Word count: 80,000
Judge: Leah Hultenschmidt
Original one-sentence pitch:
One-sentence pitch incorporating author Marlena Cassidy's input:
When Josepha, a slave, meets abolitionist Reeca Fitzgerald, she is persuaded to help conceal coded messages—until sadistic Bushwhacker Benjamin Michaelson becomes fixated with destroying the two teens.
First paragraph, if I don't have a prologue:
Josepha eased the brush through her mistress’ auburn hair. A draft threw light from the fireplace against the walls and into the corners. The woman’s sigh joined the shadows. “You have healing hands, child. I wish they could ease my worried heart.”
Josepha slid the brush closer until it reached the older woman’s temples. Her mistress turned to face her. “Josepha. My husband is selling you away.”
First paragraph, if I do have a prologue:
Reeca lifted her head from a hard straw pillow. A greasy quilt trapped her legs. With a trembling hand she touched blood and broken skin on her head, her breasts. She winced.
A blade of light cut the gloom as the iron door creaked open. "You didn’t really mean to leave me now, did you, Reeca?" Benjamin Michaelson whispered. His mocking laughter echoed against the stone walls.
Let me know if you're participating in this contest, so I can be sure to visit your blog.