by Nathan Colpitts
Music has power. When words fail, music speaks. It can make us laugh, or cry. A single song can break a heart and mend it, or stir an army to life. In a resounding crescendo the epic fantasy and world building of The Lord of the Rings meets the enchanted music of The Magic Flute in a story which will draw you in and wrap ‘round you like a beloved melody.
In the Commonwealth Harmonies music is a way of life. Ships skip across the seas propelled by the shanties of their sailors; castles are carved from the bedrock of mountains by thousands of voices raised in song. Wars are waged with music as often as with weapons. Yet there is dissent in the Commonwealth as governmental promises of better lives fall flat.
Here is the story of a downtrodden people struggling to save their heritage in a land shaped and torn by greed and power and of insurgents running for safety as war drums thundering. It is the story of a husband and wife in the prime of their lives discovering each other anew and of two young lovers struggling to find a place in a dangerously shifting world.
Arielle: I’m moved by the idea that music powers a people. That’s beautiful! But for me, this pitch doesn’t start in the right place. We need to start with the husband and wife (and possibly with the two young lovers if they get equal time in the book). Then we need a brief scene where we see exactly how music comes into these people’s lives. It’s hard to start with an idea, even an idea as good as this.
David: I love music. And I don’t think I’m not alone there. So this idea that music can actually power ships and carve mountains feels very powerful and universal to me. It’s also very unique. I’ve never seen a pitch exactly like this. And I’ve seen tens of thousands of pitches. But there’s something crucially missing from this pitch. A hero. Someone to root for. Name me a great story that doesn’t have a hero I fall in love with. Even if that hero is deeply deeply flawed. I was trained in Hollywood as a screenwriter. I once had a meeting with an executive from Roger Corman’s company. For those of you who don’t know Corman, he’s a Hollywood legend who made hundreds of movies, and every single one of them made money. When he started a movie, the first thing he’d do was come up with a poster. Not have a script written. Not hire a director. Make a poster. I have no idea who’s on the poster of your story. And that’s a problem. A big problem. I don’t think you should have all the comparable titles in the first paragraph either. Save those for the end. In the final paragraph about the downtrodden people struggling to save their heritage in the land shaped and torn by greed and power, that feels like it could describe hundreds and hundreds of stories. I need more specifics. How is your story about greed and power different than all those other stories about greed and power?