#SonofaPitch – Martin’s Wings Entry

TTITLE: Martin’s Wings

AGE & GENRE: #Adult #Romance

WORD COUNT: 104,000


Martin flies—away from Podunk Pennsylvania, away from his kooky family’s hypercompetitive holidays, away from his fiancé waiting at the altar. This commitment-phobic pilot’s abiding M.O. = Move On. But, when a winged runner waves her wand, his own wings may land. The cute girl offers Martin a taste of her cotton candy and a taste of his own medicine as she plays flirt and flee with him.

In pursuing the pixie, Martin faces flak from his wedding walk-out. His enormous family barrage him with unsolicited love advice and disparaging nicknames—all while he endures toddler tantrums, barren buffet tables, and cheap beer. Worse yet, Martin’s smiling ex parades through parties on the arm of his old football teammate.

Will this California pilot fly solo forever? To earn his Happily Ever After, Martin will need to stop running away from love and start running to it—if only he could get that fairy to stick around for longer than a New York minute.

Like Martin, I grew up in the boisterous warmth of a large family. I, too, fled Pennsylvania’s rain and ragweed in favor of the sunshine and fish tacos of Southern California.  With a past career in Museum Anthropology, I hold degrees from Brown University and Carnegie Mellon University. Martin’s Wings is my first novel.


FIRST 250 WORDS:  Martin’s Wings  by Nat Mumpower   (Excerpt)

“There’s only one way out of this room, Marty.” Uncle Lars pointed to the altar doorway. “Whether boon or doom awaits you there, no one can know.”


Thunder rattled the sacristy’s stained glass. Martin jumped. High. That’s when the rain started. Sheeting. On Martin’s wedding day. Full on roaring thunderstorm. Deluge, really. One that violently morphed into the rapid, crackling ping-ping of dropping hail.

Doom then.

Squinting out the yellow-tinted stained glass, Martin discerned a flurry of suits and dresses charging the cathedral gates. Icy munitions poured down, riddling car roofs, dinging hoods, and pelting wedding guests. “You know,” Lars said, scratching the skull underneath his erratic Einstein hair, “some cultures consider hail good luck for your nuptials.” Good luck? “There are others, however,” he continued, “who view hail as God’s retribution on the iniquities of humanity.” Bad luck. “Sin lately, Marty?” Ummm… “Did you remember your Mother’s Day gift?” Shit. “Marty! Marty! Marty! Any dick off the street can tell you Mother’s Day is the single most important 24 hours in your Mother-in-Law’s existence. Women who selflessly wipe poop off baby butts and open rent-free basements to socially backward thirty-something sons need to have some kernel of joy in their otherwise bleak lives.”

“She’s not my mother-in-law…yet,” Martin croaked, deep voice catching in his throat.

“She will be. She will be,” said Lars, pitifully attempting a Yoda-ish voice. Drawing no response, Lars shrugged. “At least you’ll get laid tonight. Another thirty years, you might not be so lucky.”


11 thoughts on “#SonofaPitch – Martin’s Wings Entry

    • Thanks so much for your feedback! Glad to hear the minimum words phrase – I have a penchant for being long-winded and I’ve really been scaling back.


  1. Hey, Nat, I tried to find your entry yesterday when you left your thoughts on mine, but I didn’t see it then.

    First thought, 104k is pretty hefty for a romance. Many agents would balk.

    The query is interesting, but it seems like you’re trying a little too hard to be clever and sacrificing clarity. In the end, I think it seems cute/interesting, but I’d rather have a clearer picture of what exactly is in the story (especially if I were an agent).

    The trying just a little too hard to be clever routine seeps into the first 250 words as well. I’m all for throwing grammar out the window for effect, but when you use the same effect (in this case ultra-short sentences) six times in the first few paragraphs, the effect is lost. You do some filtering and your background in academia betrays you as you sometimes gravitate to more complex words when simpler ones would suit the story better “Martin discerned…”

    The one-sided conversation is confusing and doesn’t do much to advance the plot. Is he marrying a man? (his mother in law is referenced opening her basement to her son implies this, but I don’t think that’s what you intended).

    You’re a good writer, but this whole thing reeks of confidence issues. It’s like you’re not sure if people will like it so you stuff more-more-more in there until it’s bursting at the seams. The trick with good writing is that the reader should forget they’re reading. The story plays out in their head and the eye-brain-language center connection is transparent, the flipping of pages becomes as natural as breathing. When the writing exhibits this much strain your readers can’t relax and simply absorb the story.

    I know, it’s the impossible task maintain the high-level of self-consciousness necessary to write a good story, but do it with absolute confidence.

    I hope this helps!


    • Thank you for taking time to read and critique the query & first 250 for Martin’s Wings. Your constructive feedback will help tighten the query & narrative. Critical points of view are always welcome when revising/editing so your time & effort are appreciated.


  2. Very dynamic writing style. I like this and your main character is quite interesting. This looks like a great read.

    I like your bio and the way it weaves beautifully into your query.

    Best of luck to you!


  3. Some people love the repetition thing (AWAY). It’s a pet peeve of mine. It seems like a waste of limited words in the query. That might just be a ME problem, not a real one. I’m not sure I like the sentence that starts “But, when”. I feel like you should pick one or the other for that sentence. I’m not sure I understand the wand reference. Is she literally a pixie? The query started to get confusing there, because it becomes unclear what the genre is. Up to that point, it feels like a contemporary romance or literary fiction. At that point, it shifts into feeling like fantasy. I like the idea it is a mash-up of genres, but I feel like it needs a little more focus to make that clear from the outset, so the reader isn’t confused. The other issue I see is the second-paragraph. Some of that stuff seems like a distraction from what I really want answered after reading the first paragraph. If the first paragraph didn’t leave me with so many questions, the second paragraph wouldn’t distract me so much.

    I hope some of that is helpful. I’d appreciate returning the favor. Thanks.



    • Thank you very much for your thoughts Rachel. The “fairy” is a runner gal dressed for a Fairy 5K. Throughout the book, she’s referred to as a fairy even though she’s not actually a fairy. What I hear in your critique and others – the query will benefit from more clarity and less extra fluff. I really appreciate the time you took to read through and respond to the work.


  4. Hi Nat!

    I like your writing style and your premise. I have a couple of suggestions about the query that come strictly from my own ongoing learning curve with query-writing, and of course you can take them or leave them!

    1. The first three paragraphs seemed a bit long to me. You give a lot of background information and story set-up, and I think it might be better if it were trimmed down a bit and the protagonist’s conflict/what is at stake for them is immediately apparent.

    2. Katie Teller critiqued my query, and told me that rhetorical questions are generally a no in queries (I had a couple too, which I will be taking out!)

    2. I just said this same thing to someone else- I noticed that you included some personal info in your bio that wasn’t necessarily writing-related. I did this in the first version of my query too, thinking that my career in education and years of experience working with adolescents would be pertinent to my qualification for writing YA. However, I read somewhere that this can cause agents to toss out queries and that the info in the bio should be strictly writing-related- awards, previous publications, etc. I don’t know if this is true, but I’m leaving mine out just in case. The article I read said to just skip the bio if you’re previously unpublished and haven’t won any significant awards, etc.

    Again, feel free to take or leave these suggestions. Thanks again for your feedback on my query and first 250 and good luck! Glad to have connected with you!


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