Friday, November 09, 2007

Blog Pitch Workshop (Part XI)

STATUS: TGIF! And I have some major client reading that I need to accomplish this weekend.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? HEAVEN by Los Lonely Boys

Time for Fantasy. I don’t think I’m going to tackle an epic one today. It’s Friday after all and my brain likes to shut down for the weekend right about now.

But here’s a good example from a novel that I happen to like from fantasy master Lois McMaster Bujold.

The half-mad Prince Boleso has been slain by a noblewoman he had intended to defile -- and Lord Ingrey kin Wilfcliff must transport the body to its burial place and the accused killer, the Lady Ijada, to judgment. With the death of the old Hallow King imminent and the crown in play, the road they must travel together is a dangerous one. And though he is duty-bound to deliver his prisoner to an almost certain death, Ijada may be the only one Ingrey dares trust. For a monstrous malevolence holds the haunted lord in its sway -- and a great and terrible destiny has been bestowed upon him by the gods, the damned, and the dead.

Now let’s analyze:

1. The back cover copy is five sentences.

2. The first sentence is exactly what sets the story in motion. A bad dude was killed by a Lady and now she must be transported to face her jugdment.

3. The next sentence gives us the slightly broader picture. A King is about to die and who will inherit is in question. Why that makes the road a dangerous one isn’t that clear but heck, not everything needs to be spelled out. I wouldn’t have minded a bit more info though.

4. With the next sentence, we learn that our hero has got a problem. He has to take the prisoner to her death but she is also the only person he can trust. What comes next pretty much hints at why. Lord Ingrey is possessed by something evil (got have that in fantasy) and that of course has to tie in to some greater destiny.

The last bit taps into the more generic elements of fantasy (I must admit) but the first part is what made me buy this book when I was at Archon in St. Louis and just browsing the bookseller stall.

One thing I do want to point out is that this book is the third in a connected series (The Curse of Chalion and Paladin of souls) by McMaster Bujold so the publisher doesn’t have to work as hard on the cover copy because there are already fans for this author.

If you are writing a debut fantasy, you don’t have that luxury. You have to work harder on your pitch than what the back cover copy does for an established writer.

I do hope that makes sense because I’m done for the day. Have a good weekend.