Monday, June 28, 2010

The Winners Circle

As you know, I recently participated in a contest over at The Siren's Song and I got to read dozens of amazing pitches. Renae announced the winners on Friday, and she's graciously allowed me to post the winners here too. I thought it might be a good idea to say why I chose what I chose. By the way, choosing just three was definitely a tough decision. I repeatedly deleted and re-pasted entries in my response to Renae. But, here's what ultimately did it for me!

First Place: Before Prince Charming rescued Snow White; before he fought her evil step-mother in a knock-down, drag-out battle, he faced his biggest challenge to date: training his inept little brother, Prince Bob, to be like him. This is Bob's story.

My love of "fractured fairy tales" is what won me over with this one. I also like the idea of a taking a lesser known fairy tale character and creating an entire story from his perspective. All we ever know about Prince Charmings are that they show up just in time to kiss the girl and save her from unspeakable doom and/or life in a tower. (Apparently Disney is sexist against men too.) Also, the name Bob made me smile and made me want to know more about this royal family.

Second Place: When Ares, God of War, regrets his life of senseless slaughter, he leaves Olympus to live as a single father in America. He’s happy passing as a human to his teenaged daughter and refuses to tell her the truth -- until the Olympians are after them.

Like the previous pitch, this one grabbed me because of its attempt to put fantastical characters into a more realistic setting. Ares living as a single father somewhere in America definitely has the potential to be funny and poignant. I liked the idea of taking a well-known fictional character and making him come to terms with the consequences of his actions. The author adds that Ares' past will come back to haunt him, and I'm interested to see how he might deal with the Olympians the second time around after living his life as a human.

Third Place: An alien invasion isn’t always preceded by world-wide military reaction and breaking news reports, sometimes a thirteen-year-old boy is the only one who knows. Tim Madison always thought he was ordinary, if not a little boring. When he wakes one morning to find the world frozen in time and all the colors mixed-up, he learns how special he is.

In three sentences, this pitch took the basic premise of a science fiction novel and turned it on its head. With a nod to a War of the Worlds-style news report, the author pays homage to his predecessors and lets me know that this won't be the same story I've heard before. What also struck me was that the main character "always thought he was ordinary." Too often, sci-fi characters, especially young ones, seem to know they were destined for something greater than their dreary lives. I want to know more about this normal kid, with no predetermined path to greatness, who will save the day.


  1. Thanks so much, Sarah!!! And congrats to the other winners! This was my first partial request, so I did my allotted amount of screaming. (Maybe jumping... maybe.)

    And thanks to Renae for hosting the contest!

    AHHH. I need to jog off this crazy energy now, haha.

  2. This is great to see what works! Thank you! I like the first one the best. :)

  3. Congrats to the winners! They are great pitches, I see why they won.

  4. I'm with Jaimie: allotted screaming done, and the happy dance complete! Thank you!!

    And thank you for sharing why you chose what you did. That's really helpful. :)

    Congrats to the others, too!

  5. Congrats to the winners! Thanks for taking the time to read our pitches, Sarah!

  6. Congrats to the winners--those pitches are awesome!

  7. Happy dances all around!
    I'm delighted for the winners.

    Well done for putting yourself out there. I was too much of a coward to enter, plus my ms isn't anywhere near ready - next time.

  8. Congratulations to the winners. I wish them all every success.

  9. This was a great contest, Sarah. Thanks for taking the time. And it's fun to read your thoughts on the winners. I'm sincerely happy for them! :)

    I was also wondering, are you interested in seeing queries from non-winners, or should we assume that not winning means we wouldn't make the query-cut?

    Thanks! (Sorry I'm always the one asking questions!)


  10. You definitely picked three winners out of the crowd. Those stories sound awesome. Congratulations everyone!

  11. Really informative! I love reading the examples of what works and your perspective. Thanks for sharing these!