Monday, December 5, 2011

New Before/After: "Hereafter"

Here's something different: a pitch. Writer and fellow Broad Universe member Terri Bruce hired me to help with the agent pitch for her book "Hereafter." In other words, this book isn't out yet, which is why there's no Amazon link. And you'll note that it's longer than the average blurb.

Initially I was nervous about working on it because I've never written a pitch, but it turned out to be a really fun project. What made it so fun is that Terri was the one who wrote most of the final pitch! What you need to know about what I do is that we do this together. It's not just me re-writing and you accepting or rejecting; it's a collaboration, and sometimes I'm more of a midwife than a doctor.

Here's what Terri has to say about the process:

"I do a lot of facilitation work in my 'day job' and I know that while the facilitatees are the subject matter experts, a good facilitator - who just helps pull what the facilitatees know out into the open - is invaluable. And that is the service you provide; you are so right; your service is not necessarily the 'word smithing' but that facilitation piece. It can be very hard to get outside of your own head and someone who can help you see something you are so close to from another perspective is invaluable!"

Thanks, Terri! Here's what we came up with:

Irene Dunphy doesn't want to let a little thing like being dead get in the way of having a good time, but the afterlife has other ideas.

Irene was living the high life before the decision to get behind the wheel after a night of bar-hopping brought it all to an end. Things wouldn't be so bad if the afterlife had lived up to the hype, but unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a white light, tunnel to the other side, or pearly gate in sight. In fact, she’s stranded as a ghost unless she can find a way to cross over—which might be just fine with her. After all, the bars are all here on Earth—but then, so are ghost repellents, exorcism, and spirit-eating demons. Moving on, however, involves facing final judgment and the possibility she might end up in purgatory—or worse. Because it turns out, when it comes to the afterlife, every culture and religion has part of it right. Assisted by a flaky psychic and a fourteen year old boy who can see dead people (thanks to a book he found in the school library), Irene sets out to discover a third option between staying on Earth as a ghost and confronting three-headed hell hounds, lakes of fire, and fat, singing women on horseback on the other side. If she wants to end up with a happily ever hereafter, she’ll have to not only learn to live with either the living or the dead, but also face up to some hard truths about the way she lived her life and accept the fact that the party eventually ends.

Irene Dunphy is a mid-career professional having the time of her life. She’s smart, beautiful, and successful. But there are a few things missing from an otherwise perfect life: her boyfriends have all been self-absorbed jerks. Her closest friends are the kind of people who let her get behind the wheel after a night of bar-hopping. She’s running out of excuses for missing work due to hang-overs. And, oh yeah, she’s just died.

Jonah Johnson is a fourteen year old boy genius who’s skipped two grades. He’s also sweet, generous, and kind—which means he’s a high school pariah. At home, his self-absorbed drama queen of a sister gets all the attention. Ignored on the one hand and mercilessly bullied and teased on the other, he escapes into an obsessive study of afterlife mythology. And when he finds a book in his high school library that teaches him how to see dead people, it seems like the answer to his prayers.

Separate, they’re both in trouble. Irene can’t find the tunnel to the afterlife and is stranded on Earth as a ghost. Jonah spends more time with the dead than the living and is becoming a little too fascinated by death. But when their paths cross it might just be the best thing that’s happened to either of them. If Irene can teach Jonah how to live and he can show her how to cross over, then they both might be saved. But what should be a fairly straightforward task becomes complicated when they discover all the stories of the afterlife are true and every culture and religion has part of it right. Irene is tempted to stay here and spend eternity drowning her sorrows at a bar for the dead, rather than face things like purgatory, three-headed hell hounds, and lakes of fire on the other side, while Jonah would do anything to experience firsthand all the cool dead stuff he’s read about—even if it means risking death in the process.

Want me to help with your blurb? I can do that.

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