Every writer needs to be able to write a gripping, attractive "pitch". After laboring over parsing my current 200 word pitch into something with more "voice", I rewrote it completely. It’s quite a bit longer than 200 words, but it will still fit on a query letter, if I pare down the bio…
I’d like to post it here, and seek comment, just as I hope others will post theirs and do the same.
A Revised Pitch for The Red Gate
Above the windy, wet coastline of County Mayo, shepherd Finn O’Deirg sits against a mossy rock outcropping and begins to brew his morning tea. He has been quietly bemoaning his tiresome lot, when with no warning, the ground beneath him swallows him up! He’s fallen into a sinkhole, and for hours, worries if he’ll slip into the yawning darkness below. As night falls, his father, returning from another pasture, pulls him bodily, from the ooze and Finn finds he’s brought up something in his shirt besides all the mud. An ornately marked bronze ornament of some antiquity lies in his shivering palm. The bead is covered with oddly scribed markings, or letters completely unintelligible to the sheep farmers, but it prods them to find out what it means.
Finn and his father seek help in determining the value of Finn’s “charm” only to open themselves up to a distressing group of devious archaeologists – academics, who see much more in the farmers’ find than just another curious antiquity. One professor from Dublin’s Trinity College, thinks it may well secure his future, and will stop at nothing to acquire it, and use it to his advantage. His devious associates are pressed into action and soon, a plot emerges that will eventually reach up into the Office of the Irish Governor General himself and further. Maybe even across the Irish Sea to Parliament and possibly on to a certain, very honorable address in London.
The O’Deirg’s soon find that for them, what the odd writing means is a terrible threat, and not only to their very land and livelihood. This initial discovery leads to a much larger one revealing an ancient secret hiding beneath them for many thousands of years. The secret is what really holds them to this speck of rocky Western Irish coast. Protecting it from all outsiders, it turns out, has always been their family’s primary work. How can they withstand the gathering power of the Dublin Professor’s connections? Whom can they turn to? What about their sheep?
The Red Gate weaves the academics’ tales of deceit and nefarious dealings, even murder, with the story of family trust and tradition that springs from the very land under the feet of their grazing sheep. The O’Deirg’s with the help of loving friends and allies unseen, find their resources are much more substantial than they imagined and Finn, at last, discovers what he is meant to do with his life and with whom he is to share it.