August 5, 2011

get your foot in the door contest

I am participating in contest sponsored by Gabriela Lessa's blog, which will allow me to pitch my completed manuscript to editors at Sourcebooks. The winner of the pitch for my category (Women's Fiction) will receive a free critique of the first three chapters of his or her book. It'd be a great opportunity for anyone, like me, hoping to find an agent and publisher.

Here is the entry I will submit next week. Please let me know what you think — I value your critique!

Name: Laura Chapman

Title: Hard Hats and Flip Flops

Genre: Women's Literature

Manuscript word count: 96,000

Judge: Deb Werksman

One-sentence pitch: A quirky HR manager finds love and the courage to pursue her dreams while working in the Gulf Coast's cut-throat chemical industry.

First paragraph: Ten minutes into the investigation and one fact is quite clear: metal forks and knives are going to be a thing of the past.

I can't believe this is happening. I am sitting in a stuffy office mediating a disagreement between two grown men. Who fought in their break room. With forks and knives. The Safety Department was going to have fun with this one. It's not every day a major chemical company, like Gulf America, writes policy about cutlery. (UPDATED)


  1. From the pitch, this sounds like a fun story (full of sarcasm). I hope it's intended.

    I like the first para but the second threw me. Couldn't you shorten it and introduce a character that we can follow? I think that'd be far better than the amorphous mass of employees.

  2. The pitch is well done. You might be able to lose the quirky, though.

    One thing, is it a fact that metal forks and knives will become a thing of the past, or is it an observation? That was the only thing I found that might be an issue.

    Other than that good work and I would like to read more ... so, it was a success.

  3. Love the update. Now, everything is clear. It's marvelous; And although I don't read woman's fiction, I would read this one.

  4. Loved it! Colorful title! You've got a great narrative voice. Sorry, no suggestions here. I would want to read more, which is what you want the editors to do, so I think this is a success.

  5. Sound like nothing I've ever read so I'm intrigued. It seems like it's going to be a funny ready. I like those books!! Good luck!

  6. This is a tiny, nit-picky thing, but if you lose the commas around "like Gulf America," it makes it less of an aside and keeps it driving toward the zinger of "policy about cutlery." (But that might just be me.) Other than that, looks pretty good to me.

  7. Your pitch is super, and your first paragraph looks great - strong voice, strong sense of setting - except for a minor tense problem with the line "The Safety Department was going to have fun with this..." I'd change it to "is going to have fun" or "will have fun" to keep your present tense storytelling consistent.

    Good job, and good luck!

  8. Thanks for all of the great feedback. Best wishes to all of you in your respective categories!