Salt by Danielle Lewis
Ariella’s blue eyes reflected back the blue of the ocean as if from the same brush stroke. She hadn’t even bothered to bring shoes or a towel. Visitors needed accessories to survive a day at sea while she, a seaside dweller, only needed the sea to survive. Her pink lips curved up in a smirk as one of the mothers nearby dropped a bag of chips into the sand and it was instantly seized by seagulls as pillage. All she knew was she needed nothing besides those white, constant crests and a surfboard to be happy. Ary pushed back her hair which was crisp to the touch from the dried salt and sand of yesterday. She bent down to grab her pink and blue surfboard and sighed. A tiny, half dollar sized crab was perched on the top of her foot. She shook her head to herself as she gently took the sweetly sleeping crab off of her foot before she hoisted up her board with one arm and no effort. The crab scuttled away as if apologetic.
There was no explaining the way sea creatures loved her. There was no explaining a lot about Ariella— her mother’s disappearance, her best friend’s inability to return her affection, his brother’s disappearance, her eccentric father, and a town with whom Ariella has a personal relationship with every surfer bum, sea turtle and tourist shop owner. And that’s not even listing her newfound ability to drown and survive.
The Book Doctors: This is an intriguing pitch. It leaves us curious, which is, ultimately, the goal of any great pitch. But while we are curious, we are not entirely sold. We don’t really know enough. You spend the first two-thirds of the pitch describing our heroine, and some of that is great, because we do really emotionally bond with her. But she’s also kind of mean, which concerned us. Why does she feel so superior to the visitor who loses her chips? We also don’t feel you can spend so much time elaborately detailing her approach to the ocean with her surfboard. Then the next small paragraph goes by so fast, we don’t really understand how any of this manifests into the plot of a book. It becomes a laundry list. Not a story. We want to know that you are capable of showing us a new and fascinating way that a human has a relationship to sea creatures who love her. We want to see how she interacts with surfer bombs and sea turtles alike. But most of all, we want to understand exactly how it is that she drowns and survives. Of course, we don’t want you to give away everything. But you don’t give away enough at the moment. We don’t understand what this character desperately wants that she doesn’t have. We don’t see a series of events which lead to a fiery climax. And once again, we have no comparable titles. Beautifully rendered portrait of a world and a woman, intriguing possibilities of heretofore unseen relationships with sea creatures, living, dying and drowning. Pitch is too thin, needs meat on its bones, unclear how any of this potentially amazing stuff is actually going to manifest.
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