For the first day in the Dust it Off Bloghop (which was supposed to begin yesterday, but I'm a bit late), I'm going to post the short pitch for my 2010 NaNo novel, WANDER.
If he wanted you dead, you'd be dead by now.
He wants you alive.
He wants you to fail.
While I do sort of like this pitch, in that it's short and creepy and hopefully somewhat enticing, I think it encapsulates exactly what was wrong with the novel. Frankly, WANDER was too confusing. The reader doesn't even know about this mysterious 'he' until near the end of the first book. No one knows exactly why he wants them to fail until near the end of the third book. While mystery is good, in this case there was just too much that didn't really make sense and seemed unrealistic. The end of the third book brought everything together, but most readers aren't going to wait that long.
I have another version of the short pitch:
Ida and Wander have been best friends for a month now. The strange thing is, they've never met. When the internet-pals decide to finally meet via webcam, Wander is kidnapped and Ida is threatened with the same fate if she tells the police.
This pitch has the same problem. As the reader quickly learns, Wander doesn't really get kidnapped; it's a lot more complicated with that. The thing is, the plot of the story is far too confusing to try and describe in a short pitch. And if the story is that confusing, it's probably going to be too confusing for the reader to follow.
So, there's day one of the Dust it Off Bloghop. It's making me a little sad to take out WANDER and criticize it like this; after all, it was the first novel I ever completed solo. I do still love the characters and the plot (despite its many flaws) so it's kind of sad to treat it as nothing more than a learning experience. However, that is one of the wonderful things about being a writer. Maybe no one else will ever get to learn about Wander and Ida and Ephraim and all my other characters... but they'll always be in my heart (no matter how cheesy that sounds).