You think trying to sum up a whole novel in 250 words for a query is hard? Try a 35-word pitch. They’re evil, I tell you.
This is what I’ve got so far:
Casora was raised as a warrior. Tiaran can barely swing a sword, but he knows palace intrigue. To win the war and make a place for themselves, they’ll both have to stretch beyond their limits.
I have to get this and the first 250 words ready for the alternate round of Pitch Wars by Sunday.
The first 250 words have changed, too. Sometimes, you just need someone to slap you on the side of the head. After getting the revision notes from my mentor and taking a couple of days to digest them, I realized that there was too much world-building in the first few chapters. Not that the world-building was bad, just misplaced. It got in the way of letting the story really get rolling. Just because I love world-building doesn’t mean it’ll draw a reader in. Well, sometimes . . .
Anyway, here’s the new first 250 words:
Casora restrained the impulse to get up and pace across the floor of the command tent. She couldn’t show emotion, not even frustration, in front of her troops, but the continued silence from home was troubling. She reached up to rub the little scar above her right eyebrow.
She glanced up at the mountains visible through the open tent flap. The snow crept lower every day and so did her hopes of a recall order to let the troop over-winter at home. Casora dreaded the prospect of a winter stuck in camp with a troop made up entirely of homesick teenagers and every one of them carrying the potential of the berserker curse. She’d better start planning a lot of training exercises.
“Riders coming!” The shout came from the lookout to the east, toward home. After a pause, the lookout added, “Two of them.”
Only two riders? She’d sent three out.
Casora walked to the front of the tent and cursed under her breath. They were her scouts all right, but whatever orders they brought had better be end-of-the-world urgent. There was no other excuse for abusing the horses like that. Then she realized that Varana’s braid was redder than it should be–blood red. Casora took off running. So did others from all parts of the camp. Varana fell off the winded mare just as Casora reached her.
“Report,” she said, but more quietly than her usual command voice.
“Stumbled into a scouting party just inside the pass. Ambushed.”
And that’s what I’ve been doing for the last few days–and will be for the next couple, too.