As Emma writes forward in her manuscript revision (more will be forthcoming on this) we began thinking about book titles. She wasn't entirely happy with her working title, The Witch's Bond. We came up with a list of titles that sprang directly from her text.
- The Legend of Bridget Bishop
- Circle of Souls
- Bond of Souls
- Shadow of Souls
- Time Flies Over Us
- The Shadow Behind
- The Fourth Pillar
- The Witches Tale (trying to go sort of Shakespearean/folklore here)
- The Witches Proof
Emma is thinking about all these and weighing them and testing them out with her writer friends and family. She is also considering her genre and how the title will play to her target audience.
We're working on the pitch itself -- which is a *very* short description of the book. This is the kind of thing you would put in a query letter to entice an agent. You want to explain what happens, of course, but you also want to get in the takeaway of the story, the overall feeling. You also want it to tell a little story — to show that you know how to tell a story. And you want it to NOT be coy about what happens.
>>>>> HERE is a post I wrote on Bookbub about how to do a mini pitch.
>>>>> HERE is a PDF I write that walks you through the entire query letter development.
This is not yet finalized, but here is what Emma has so far:
Cici’s Dardompre left America’s most haunted city in search of proof that death isn’t as final as her mortician father believes. When the family business is threatened by a competitor out to disrupt the funeral industry, she heads back to Salem, taking a night job a ghost-hunting tour guide to keep her quest alive. When the spirits of Salem’s legendary witches begin hunting her, Cici jumps at the chance to slip into the past, which means skidding through time, fighting off apparitions, and struggling to restore the place of death in her own soul and the soul of her city.
THE OPENING LINES
As part of the PitchWars contest, Emma can also submit a short bit of text from her opening page. It has to be the opening page, and combined with the pitch cannot be more than 300 words. At the moment, this is where that opening stands -- but Emma and I are going over these words time and again with a fine-tooth comb so that they are pitch perfect:
Witches Lore is a cluttered tourist shop, made to look like the inside of a crone’s cottage, with colorful spell candles, satchels of divination herbs, and burlap poppets. During the day, we sell passers-by witchy souvenirs. By night, we lead haunted tours. At all of our stops, there’s an indescribable coldness -- a feeling that’s different from not-haunted places. There are strange sounds and smells. People claim to sense things that may or may not be there. I always say that the cold means the presence of spirits. It’s what my research says, and what I believe. It’s why I am out here doing this – in hopes of finding a way to get even closer.
I step out of the shop and flash my all-white-iris, zombie-lensed eyes, which look especially creepy against my dark skin.
“I can’t follow you,” an amply-pierced teen whines. “You look like aliens sucked out your soul.”
I hiss and adjust the witch hat over my springy hair. “Salem’s full of ghosts—let’s not keep them waiting!”
It’s not where I’d imagined myself a month ago while finishing my dissertation—at a minimum-wage, storytelling gig, wearing Halloween props year-round—but somehow it’s the perfect fit.