Monday, July 23, 2012

Dead Air Pitch

Here’s the pitch I used for Dead Air at the 2012 PNWA Conference. I only pitched 1 agent and 2 editors because I used most of my time to pitch Girl | Alien. One of the editors requested a full manuscript. I’m probably going to send it out to more agents and editors at some point.

We had 3 minutes to pitch our stories, so that gave us about 60 seconds to give the pitch. (Note this is not a query letter and should not be read as such). Here it is:

Hi, I’m Andrew (or some such greeting). I’ve written a Contemporary Mystery called Dead Air. It’s complete at 75,000 words.

Archie is the sole caretaker of his mother who, after horrible accident that also killed Archie’s father, has been left bedridden and her brain is a little scrambled. But she’s a former lead homicide detective.

Archie comes across a dead body and the only witness is a blind teenager who claims the room was filled with “dead air”, although forensics doesn’t find a thing. He enlists the help of his mother in hopes that an investigation will bring her back to life.

During the investigation Archie’s car is sabotaged with “dead air” and goes out of control into the bay, Archie barely escapes with his life. When he returns to his mom, she suddenly remembers that the wreck that killed his father was very similar—and also may have involved “dead air”. They find that a string of murders going back ten years may be linked to this substance. They must find the killer before he strikes again.

I’m not super happy with it, and the agents/editors had some questions. Basically my issue is that there are really 2 stories—the mystery, and Archie’s relationship with his mother and how that evolves. I was able to explain it better when they started asking questions, that the story is really about a family trying to piece things together after tragedy strikes, and to try to find justice for Archie’s father’s death.

And now here’s the calling card for Dead Air: (phone # redacted when I dumped to JPG, not a typo).

dead air biz card

Back:

dead air biz card2

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Girl|Alien Pitch

Here’s the pitch I used for Girl|Alien at the 2012 PNWA Conference. Out of 12 agents and editors pitched, I got 5 direct requests and 3 requests to “send to this person in my office” which makes 8 out of 12. For the 4 “noes” it was usually that they didn’t represent YA SF or as one put it, “aliens” (even though the “Alien” in the title is a misnomer—Grett’s more of a highly evolved/genetically-engineered human). I don’t feel any rejections were from the pitch or story, it was mostly that it was hard to tell which YA agents sold YA SF so I pitched them all.

We had 3 minutes to pitch our stories, so that gave us about 60 seconds to give the pitch. (Note this is not a query letter and should not be read as such). Here it is:

Hi, I’m Andrew (or some relevant comment if she reads my tag). I’ve written a Young Adult Science Fiction novel called Girl Alien (did not say Girl-bar-Alien :). It’s complete at 95,000 words.

Grett just wants to be a normal, human teenager, to hang with her friends, and to play on the Slapball team at her new school. But there’s this voice in her head that tells her to do things like run into burning buildings and to not “kill” (yes, I did air quotes)—even though she’s part of a warrior clan.

She comes across a boy—the first of her kind she’s ever met—and when they kiss, her powers explode. She gets super strength, she can change her appearance (I wave my hand in front of my face), and her hair grows long and starts doing things on its own. (more waving). The problem is that her alien side has also come alive, and now wants her to enslave her friends and take over the city.

When the rest of the aliens finally arrive, Grett must make a choice: either take her rightful place at their side as eventually conquerors of the planet, or convince her alien side to help defend her human friends from the attack.

I got a variety of questions after that, many about what the world is like, what the society is like, who the main characters are, what age is this for, concerns about the word count, and then the dreaded “what book is this like” and the best I could come up with on the spot was Percy Jackson, although this is totally not anything like that except that the main character has extraordinary powers.

And now here’s the exciting calling card I made for Girl | Alien: (I redacted my phone when I made the image to put up here, not a typo).

girl.alien biz card

Back:

girl.alien biz card2

Monday, January 9, 2012

TRAPPED: A Graphic Novel, Part Two

For some reason I can’t explain, I’m critiquing my very first novel TRAPPED, which I wrote in the 4th Grade in 1977.

TRAPPED,  A Graphic Novel, Part Two
( see Part One)

 

trapped 010

(5)
BZT
    When everyone was out, including Soldier,
Don asked, “Do you have a leader? If you do, could you
take us to him?”
    “We do, so we will. Hey, S10XZS821! Turn on
the non-light bending xrz!”

“Come”

You know, whenever there’s some pesky Law of the Universe, wouldn’t it be great if you could just turn it off with a flip of a switch? And why do alien names have to be so weird?
What’s with landing right on a tree?

Also, looks like I ran out of marker on this page. Or time.

trapped 011

(6)
    “Meet President szaisteaF10. President szaisteaF-
10, this is?”
     “The Appolo 203 10 year mission. How did you
know English,” asked Captain Mansfield.
    “We mind read.”
    “Our question is, how do you out of a black
hole?”
    “Only the high wizard knows. I don’t
know where he is,” said the President.
    “Where is the nearest planet?”
    “5 light days away.”
    “Wow! We’ll search for it. Bye.”

First of all, “President” szaisteaF10, put some damn clothes on. Secondly, you might want to have that looked at. Seriously.
WTF is that yellow thing? It looks like a boot fell through the ceiling.
Oh, Sue, yeah. Looks like someone let herself go. She must have been pretty pissed when they turned the light-bending off.

trapped 012

(7)
    6 days later they land on the planet.
Pow! Slam! Crash! Bash! Blam! Clutter!
    A meteorite shower!!

It’s raining meteors, Hallelujah, it’s raining meteors, outside!

trapped 013

(8)
BZT
  
“It’s all over now,” said Captain Mansfeild. Let’s
go out.”
    When they were all out somebody yelled,
”Freeze, let us investigate you invaders. Give
us all your weapons and your ship. Why did you come
here?”

“Freeze!”

I think a meteor is crushing one of them. Uh…a little help here?
Wait—did they land on the same damn tree on a different planet? What are the odds?

trapped 014

(9)
    “We want to see the High Wizard.”
    “Why?”
    “We want to know how to get out of a
black hole.”
    “OK. We’ll take you to him if you
leave immediately afterwards!”

Well, Sue’s starting to shape up a bit.
But now we have to deal with those pesky alien-twins-on-wheels.
Also has anyone considered that the tree is intelligent? It seems to be following them around.

trapped 015

(10)
    “OK. We’ll cooperate.”
    “Good. We’ll take her for a souvenir.”
    “No you don’t,” yelled Daryl.
    Pow! Sok! Chomp! Oof!
    “There’s the un-lightbending switch,”
exclaimed Sue.
    “Get in the spaceship,” Captain
Mansfield commanded. It was
pretty hard to find it.

BZT
CAUTION
UN-Light Bending Switch
”Coming”
”Ooh, help!”
”YEOW”
chomp

Go Soldier! Finally, some decent action. They are beating the crap out of those stupid twins-on-wheels alien mo-fo’s!
And thank heavens for that ultra-convenient un-light bending switch.
My very first novel, and the heroine is kicking ass. I am so proud (sniff).
I’m beginning to realize something: I don’t have enough dogs in my novels anymore. The only one I can think of is Chaucer in
Steam Palace. But sometime I need to write in a really bitchin’ dog like Soldier here.

trapped 016

(11)
    2 days later they land on a planet.
Luckily, they were out of fuel or they would
have crashed.
    Someone said, “Planet V said you heading
in this direction wanting to see
the high wizard.”
    “Yes, we are,” replied Captain
Mansfield.
    “We’ll take you to him,” he said.
BZT

Aliens with jetpacks rule!
So, with the light-unbending turned off, looks like Sue was back at the chow trough. Is it me or is Sue feeling a little like Smurfette, the only chick in the entire story?
That slide ramp looks pretty cool too.

trapped 017

(12)
    “Don, could you get fuel?”
    “Sure.”
    “Daryl, watch the spaceship.”
    “Yes sir.”
    The room they were led into held
the high wizard.
    “How do you get out of a
black hole,” asked Sue.
”What a fool.”

Um, Sue, let me explain. There’s a reason he’s called the High Wizard. Your first clue might have been that he’s smoking crack.
By the way, Sue, looking good, know what I mean?
I have no idea why it looks like the wizard is smoking.

trapped 018

(13)
    “Go through another one, of course.”
    “Where is another one?”
    “20 light days away.”
    “Thank you, goodbye!”
    21 days later, they land on a planet
that orbits the black hole. Suddenly
Sue floats off the planet very fast
heading towards the black hole.
    “Into the rocket,” Captain Mans-
feild  yelled. “Get her!”
    Faster, faster, faster than the
speed of light, they rush to catch her.

Dammit, Sue, your compulsive overeating has doomed us all! You got so big that the black hole’s trying to eat you!
There’s actually a great lesson for novel-writing right here. Just when you think you have all the answers, TPTB try to strip everything away and kill you. You must pass that final test with everything on the line.

trapped 019

(14)
    “Get her! Get on the oxyegen!”
    All of a sudden, they are on the other
side of the black hole, where they had
started from.
    “Let’s get back to Earth now”
    When they got back to Earth,
there is a big celebration.
    The end.
”The New Yorker”

Whew. Finally, they’re safe.
I really can see the roots of my writing career in this story, written in the 4th grade some 35 years ago when I was 10 years old. I hope you have enjoyed it!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

TRAPPED: A Graphic Novel, Part One

While cleaning out the garage I came across the very first novel I ever wrote. What I’ve done here is to include the pages of the novel, with a transcription and commentary.

Without further ado, I present you, TRAPPED, Part One.

Trapped 001

TRAPPED
WRITTEN AND ILLISRATED BY ANDREW ROSENBERG

Jeez, a typo right on the cover? What were they teaching me back then?
But it’s a nice, strong title. Conflict. Tension. It has everything.

trapped 002

TRAPPED
Written and Illustrated by Andrew Rosenberg

Yay! Typo corrected by the cover page!

 

trapped 003

Copyright © 1977 by Rosenberg Co., Vernon Ct.

Looks like I self-published with my own publishing house. See how smart I was in the 4th grade?

trapped 004

I dedicate this book to Mrs. Magnuson,
My parents, and Mr. Grabowski
For helping me write this book.

Wha-wha-huh?? Magnuson? As in, Archie and May Magnuson, my crime-fighting detective duo? I remember Mr. Grabowski, but I don’t remember Mrs. Magnuson AT ALL. But maybe I did. Maybe she was an inspiration to my writing career, and somehow I used the name later. Weird.
Or maybe she was my literary agent. Yeah, that’s it. That’s why she’s in the acknowledgements.

trapped 005

I n t r o d u c t I o n
    This introduction is for you to realize
what a black hole is (which this story is about).
A black hole is a whole bunch of stars so squash-
ed together that the gravity is so great time stands
still, and light can’t escape (especially for rockets
that go as fast as light).
    If you circled around a black hole for an hour,
1000 years could pass on Earth.
    A black hole is made up of anti-matter which
can also be called nothing!
  If you get close to a black hole, you would be
S t r e c h e d out of shape because
of the gravitie’s super strong pull.

OK
A) If you’re going to explain how your story differs from known science, at least get the known science part right.
B) The bigger the word, the more important to spell it right.
C) I love the stretched dude.
D) This is a perfect example of why prologues suck.

So I did a pretty good job with all the preambles of the book. But with Page (1), I make an immediate mistake: Page 1 is on the left.

trapped 006

(1)
“3…2…1…ignition, BLASTOFF!”
    It is the year 2014. Captain Mansfield, Mike
Mansfield, Sue Mansfield, Daryl Mansfield, Don Brooks,
and Soldier, their dog, start their 10 year mission into
space.
    Soon the Appolo 203 Mission 10 spaceship
is going about 36,000 MPH. Then 128,000 MPH. Then
up to 85,258,500 MPH. From there on, the speed of
light, 186,000 MPSecond.

2014??? Holy crap we better get going already!
I bet back in 1977, I was thinking, “sometime waaaay in the future. Like…2014. Yeah.”
Damn I feel old.
WTF is with everyone with the same name, and one random dude?
I wonder which country’s spaceship that is…
I also wonder what that device is next to the crowd. Looks like it’s zapping them.
BTW pay attention and see if any of those names are mentioned again. A reminder to not front-load your stories with a lot of characters who never re-appear.
Used a character named “Mansfield” in the first draft of Steam Palace but he got cut.
Have a couple characters named “Sue” here and there.

trapped 007

(2)
    “Slow down the spaceship,” Don exclaimed
after a few days on their mission.
    “It’s the Captain’s orders. We have to contact
Earth!”
    Bzzzzz, Click. “1-10 to Earth 1-10 to
Ear—Hey! The spaceship’s going backwar-
ds very fast! Fire the engine’s. Full speed
ahead,” Captain Mansfield demanded.
BOOM Fizzle, Crack!
”Stop the engines! It’s a black hole!”

Couple lessons here:
A) Never underestimate the power of onomatopoeia.
B) Nor the power of exclamation points!
C) Nor the power of a black hole. In other words, never park your spaceship near a black hole to make a phone call.

trapped 008

(3)
    As quick as a wink, they’re on the other side
of the black hole. Now the dimensions are height,
depth, width, time, and bending light!
    “How do we get back through the hole,” every-
one asked. Even Soldier was upset.
    Life in the spaceship was the same
except you kept on bumping into things
you didn’t see!

I really hate that light-bending Universe! Look at what it does to poor Sue Mansfield. On the left-hand size, she’s this totally hot zombie. On the right, she’s plain Jane.
For the record, neither my handwriting nor my drawing ability has improved one iota since 1977. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone in my critique groups.

trapped 009

(4)
    “Prepare the spaceship to land,” Captain Mans-
field ordered. With him, Don, and Mike at the
controls, Sue and Daryl watch out the win-
dow, they try to land on land. Crunch! A
perfect land!
    The land had oxyegen, trees, inttegent
life! English?!

“HALT! DO YOU COME IN PEACE OR WAR”

“PEACE”

An interrobang?! Yes!
Seriously, whatever else you do in life, DO NOT MISSPELL “INTELLIGENT!”
And don’t repeat words over and over again and again.

Next: TRAPPED: A Graphic Novel, Part Two

Monday, October 31, 2011

Once Upon a NaNoWriMo

Once upon a timeNaNoWriMo

It’s that special time of year when we ask ourselves, “WTF?”

It’s that time when we commit to writing 50,000 words of utter crap in a mere 30 days.

It’s when we kiss our families goodbye on Halloween and hope to see them again sometime after Thanksgiving, when we crawl like literary bears into our NaNoWriMo caves with only pen and paper for sustenance (or a laptop).

But it’s also the time when we enter that “special” world.

Like Fight Club, there’s that “look” people have when enduring NaNoWriMo. The bags under the eyes. The cramped wrists. We nod secretly in the halls of our workplaces or cafes, saying things like “Wrote 1300 last night”, “I hate my heroine, I think I’m gonna kill her off”, “Just hit the major Act II turning point dude”, or “got meth? Just kidding. But not really.”

For when we enter NaNoWriMo, we enter a hallowed arena upon which few dare to tread. A challenging obstacle course full of traps and pitfalls such as go-nowhere plots, impossible-to-escape jails, characters who disappear without warning, and of course the most dreaded monster of all: the “I forgot to backup my work and lost everything.”

But once we surmount these setbacks and push through to the final 50K finish line, we can look back upon ourselves with pride, and for some of us, for the first time in our lives, we can call ourselves, “Novelists.”

GOOD LUCK EVERYBODY!