January 20, 2011
The Impossible Pitch
My novel Charlotte’s Inheritance is nearly impossible to describe well and makes writing a good pitch difficult. I’ve just read about a contest that I want to enter, but I need a good pitch. I’ve written a new one, but I’m still not completely satisfied. What do YOU think? Would you want to read it? Have you already read it? Offer suggestions! Help me! Here’s my pitch:
What happens when a Jane Austen heroine finds herself surrounded by Darwinian men? She takes notes about the mating habits of the common dunnock and attracts a mate of her own.
Charlotte’s Inheritance is the coming-of-age story of Charlotte Wasseaux, born in nineteenth century England and raised in an Anglican convent. Her father is an ornithologist, a man of nature and logic in this pre-Darwinian era. At seventeen, Charlotte is re-united with her father and brought to live on the family estate, Endersley. Charlotte is quiet and insecure and wants only to please her emotionally-distant father. Because she has a talent for painting, he allows her to help him in his work. Charlotte attempts to break down the barriers her father erects, not suspecting the secret he holds about their past, and how that secret is hidden in her prized pocket watch.
Charlotte must decide what sort of person she wants to be, what sort of road she wants to walk. She has many role models to choose from: her father, the cold, logical naturalist; Theodore Drell, the affable, atheistic scientist; Mrs. Pearson, the wise Quaker; Lucien Bonaparte, the patriarchal Catholic; Lucy Gibson, the hard-working governess; Reverend Farrell, the generous romantic; Angelina Handley, the selfless nurse; Morton Greenwood, the clumsy explorer. From each of these friendships, Charlotte gains knowledge, confidence and direction.
Charlotte’s Inheritance is a story about a young woman, finding herself, in a world re-defining itself.