Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bait And Pitch: Week 1: Contest Pitches

Note: If you’re here looking for fishing tips, you’ve come to the wrong end of the blogosphere.

Okay, this week we are working on CONTEST pitches. That means you are giving us your best 35-word pitch on a single manuscript and we will give you our communal feedback. Read the full list of rules with all their glorious explanations here

The Rules

Bait and Pitch is open to ALL fiction categories
This is open to manuscripts of any status. 
Post your pitch using the format below as a comment on this blog post.
One pitch per week. 
You post, you crit. 
You edit, you critique again.
If you revise, post it as a REPLY to your original pitch. 
Critiques must include AT LEAST one piece of positive feedback. Purely negative or power-trippy critiques will be deleted. 
Don’t be an asshole. 
If you cross the line, *I* will critique your pitch in a similar manner. K? *grinz*

Formatting Your Pitch

NAME: The Wicked Pitch of the East

CATEGORY/GENRE: MG/Fantasy

TITLE: WHAT'S NEW, BUTTERFARTS?

PITCH: This is where you will write your 35 words (and only 35 words). 

Cheers!

The Wicked Pitch of the East (aka Dannie)

241 comments:

  1. Name: Laurie L

    Category/Genre: YA Historical

    Title: The Summer That Saved Me

    Pitch: In the summer of 1973, seventeen-year-old Cass has two loves: her abusive boyfriend and Janis Joplin. One of those loves could kill her. The other could free her from her ball and chain forever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Laurie, First of all I love the title. The first sentence caught my attention right away. There is such a clear picture with the year and Janis Joplin. Love it! The only thing that seemed off was the ball and chain reference? Maybe try... One love could kill her––the other could set her free.

      Delete
    2. Great title!

      I'm with C.C I think you have a strong start but the ending could pack more punch. I'd also drop 'those loves'...

      In the summer of 1973, seventeen-year-old Cass has two loves: her abusive boyfriend and Janis Joplin. One could kill her--the other could set her free.

      I think the only question it raises is how will Janis Joplin set her free?

      Delete
    3. I also like the establishment of the setting... if I were an agent I'd probably request at least a few pages based on that. ;) I could make a guess at stakes... she has to get away from the boyfriend? To convince herself that she deserves better than the boyfriend? I'm ASSUMING that the boyfriend is somehow the main conflict... but I want a little more in the way of details. What is the inciting event that makes her want to or need to change the status quo?

      Delete
    4. Love it, but agree about the ball and chain reference. Is that related to Janis Joplin? Can you add that, somehow clarifying?

      Delete
    5. Hi Laurie,
      I love the idea of a Historical novel set in the 1970s. I think that's very marketable (thanks, Rainbow Rowell!) And I think what makes the first sentence of your pitch so strong is the specificity. You give us a very concrete idea of what your book is about. As the pitch continues, you get less specific, and consequently, we lose the originality of your story.

      And I think--based on these comments--you might want to consider whether your target audience (in this case agents) will know that Ball and Chain is a Joplin song. Maybe consider putting it in quotation marks? That way the reader will feel more confident they're getting you right.

      Delete
    6. Hi Laurie,

      Love your title. Sounds very sweet and intriguing and I can guess from that title alone, it will contain heartbreaking scenes but also something sweet at the end. Love the first sentence of your pitch but the next just falls flat for me. Not sure what you're trying to imply with the 'balls and chains'. Maybe because i'm from UK so it sounds foreign to me.

      Delete
    7. Hi Laurie,
      I love the idea of a story set around a love of music. And the 70s setting speaks to me. I would love to know how that will impact the atmosphere of your story. I was also thrown by the ball and chain reference, so putting it in quotes would be a good suggestion, if you plan to keep it. It might be better to sacrifice a clever turn of phrase in favor of something that flows easier for any generic reader.

      Also, this is repeating others again, but you might want to find a different way to say "love" in either phrase so it's not repeating.

      Good luck!

      Delete
  2. NAME: Frank Anderson

    CATEGORY/GENRE: YA/Contemporary

    TITLE: EMPIRE, NEVADA

    PITCH: Sixteen-year-old Paul Simpkins struggles to find himself after the local mining company shuts down, forcing his entire town to close.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Frank, you have extra room in your pitch which is a good thing! I think if you add what Paul wants and what happens if he doesn't get it it will help hook the reader more. One formula that helps is: When _____ Paul must______or else____. Hope that helps!

      Shari

      Delete
    2. HI Frank - I agree with Shari, make the most of the words available. I want to know more about Paul... why does the mining company shutting affect him so much? What's at stake? Why should I care about him? Look forward to seeing more

      Delete
    3. First off, this makes it sound like his struggle LEADS to the closing of the town.

      I think this may be clearer, with some blanks left for details

      After the local mining company shuts down, forcing the entire town to close, sixteen-year-old Paul Simpkins struggles to find himself by_____. If he is unsuccessful, then________ will happen.

      I added the final sentence because the stakes aren't clear in attempt #1

      Delete
    4. You know I love this concept :) And I think the title is great, too. I do think you need to be more specific. How does the company and the town shutting down impact your main character? He's sixteen and this is a modern story so it's not like he was working there. So how does this create a conflict for your MC?

      Delete
    5. Like others, I think you should include what else is happening, and the stakes. It's too vague imo and i can't get a clear idea of where this story is heading. The mine is closed, so is he out of job, which means he has to look for a job somewhere else to feed himself? Or maybe the shutting down town means he will lose his home? I need more specifics and why it's effecting him a lot.
      Pitch formula usually starts with this: MC wants to do something but there are obstacles and here are the consequences.

      Delete
    6. Dang, my creative juices aren't flowing well today. Here's the best I've got now.

      Sixteen-year-old Paul Simpkins is tired of change, but after the local mining company shuts down, forcing his entire town to close, he has to learn to adapt, or risk becoming a friendless loser.

      Delete
    7. Let's see, how about something like: When the local mining company closes and shuts down his entire town, sixteen-year-old Paul Simpkins (must________, or risks_____to_____.) (What does he do? Get a job, move, start a business with his life saving, etc and whatever he does...what impact does this have?) Does that help?

      You are off to a great start, we just need the conflict of the story. What does he do and what's at stake?

      Delete
    8. Hi Frank,
      You are lucky that you have a whole lot of words left to play with. You've got the basics down but now you need to color it in and give us an idea who Paul is, what he wants and why he's impacted by the closing of the town. What does he stand to lose or gain by the changes to his world. What choices is he going to have to make?

      Good luck!

      Delete
    9. Ok, Getting more of the conflict in is where I struggle. Paul's mother committed suicide years before the novel takes place. He has just gotten comfortable with his life as it is, then this happens. His friends all move away, and he is forced to move to Reno, where his dad will keep working for the company that closed his town. Paul struggles to make new friends, and his ex-best friend turned enemy moves to Reno also and ruins Paul's attempts at forming a new life. Plus, Paul's crush moves there, but disappears after her abusive father shows back up. Paul finally has too much, so he runs away and goes back to Empire, where he is forced to start taking action again.

      I have no idea how to simplify that down, and no perspective on how to clearly get his conflict(s) down briefly.

      I am toying with the idea of having his love interest run away, and that being the impetus for Paul's return to Empire. I do think that would make the plot center more on this budding romance, who has only gotten more interesting as I edit. I may also remove the ex-best friend antagonist. I'm going through it with a critique partner right now. I'm hoping to have a clearer idea of what to focus on/remove after she has read the whole thing.

      Delete
    10. You've done a great job summarizing the story in one sentence. It sounds very intriguing. Like others have already said, I'd love to see something more specific, as well. What's the central conflict? That would add tension and some punch to the pitch. You've got a great start!

      Delete
  3. Name: Shari Schwarz

    Genre: MG Adventure

    Title: THE LEDGE

    Pitch: A harrowing mountain adventure for teenage brothers, Jack and Bryce, results in a tragic climbing accident and near-death experience (NDE) for Bryce. Left alone and scared, Jack must risk his life to save them both.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Shari - this has improved from the version I last saw - the ending sentence leaves me wondering 'oh no what happens to Jack'... love it! I did like the line about Grandpa's cabin thought - don't know if you can rework that in?

      Hiking to Grandpa's cabin was supposed to be fun. Instead teenage brothers Jack and Bryce got a tragic climbing accident and a near-death experience. Jack must risk his life to save them both. ... or something. Good luck!

      Delete
    2. Hi Shari,
      Hurray for MG boy books! And books about family. These are definitely themes agents look for in MG. You do a great job here of setting up the stakes. This pitch as is raises some questions for me though. Are we looking at dual POV here or is Jack the MC? What about these characters makes them especially interesting or unique? And can you be more specific than teenagers? Because most teenagers are on the old end for MG?

      Delete
    3. This does sound good! I too was wondering if it's dual POV - NDE sounds like it. Maybe an adjective on the mountains? Are they the Rockies? or dangerous in some way?

      Delete
    4. Thanks for all the tips! I'm out of room! lol :) Dannie and Liz, it is dual POV which makes it even harder to write ONE 35 word pitch! I've narrowed it way down though. I'll try to see if I can add a thing or two that you guys suggested. Thank you soooo much!!

      Delete
    5. MG Adventure...represent! I'm digging the premise since I have family in Colorado and love to hike, but I doubt it's as dangerous as your story sounds. My only thought is adding a bit about the MCs to make us root for them right away. Give us a bit more detail about them but don't give it all away. I'd root for them just because they're climbing but others might need a bit more.

      Delete
    6. Thanks, Sean! Do you (or anyone else) think this is better or not?

      16yo depressed Jack and 13yo survivalist Bryce embark on a harrowing mountain adventure when Bryce has a tragic climbing accident and near-death experience (NDE). Alone and scared, Jack must risk his life to save them both.

      Delete
    7. I like it! One random thought I had for the opening line, up to you, and I'm not sure if it works with your characters or not... "13yo survivalist Bryce drags his depressed older brother Jack along on a harrowing mountain adventure."

      Delete
    8. You've got a great pitch. Stakes are clear and I know exactly what Jack wants. I am not sure why the NDE needs to be included since you aren't referring to it elsewhere in the pitch, so could you pull that and use that word somewhere else?

      Delete
    9. Great idea, Sean (although it's the other way around--complicated, I know!)

      Liz, I put near-death experience AND (NDE) because some people get tripped up if I only put NDE and others get tripped up if I only put near-death experience (thinking it's just a kid who almost dies.) But, you gave me an idea to see if I can use it twice in the pitch: once as near-death experience and another time as NDE. It might be too much but I'll give it a shot. Thanks!

      Delete
    10. What a great story! I like your second attempt, it really lays out the stakes and we get to see who the boys are. The only thing I wanted to mention was the (NDE), but it looks like you are looking into it! Great job and good luck!

      Delete
    11. Hi Shari! I love this concept! I'd read it in a heartbeat. I also write a lot of MG, so it's close to my heart. You do a great job summarizing the story in your pitch. It's pretty good as it is. I'm wondering if you can tell us a small detail about how he risks his life? That could give it some extra punch and tension. Great start!

      Delete
  4. Name: C. C. Ford

    Genre: YA Fantasy

    Title: THE ROYAL DEVICES

    Pitch: Lucas faces temptations that every eighteen-year-old does . . . except with every sin comes a price––his immortality. His desire for Gabriella is his salvation but a love built on lies is bound to fall.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi C.C... I love the line except every sin comes with a price --his immortality. And I get from the first sentence the implied temptations (i'm thinking sex / drugs, right?) but the last sentence loses me a bit. Who is Gabriella? Is she immortal also, or human, or something else? And why is their love built on lies? Tighten up that last sentence and I think you've got something great... good luck

      Delete

    2. Lucas faces temptations that every eighteen-year-old does (BE SPECIFIC HERE - NAME ONE AND TAKE OUT THE GENERALIZATION), but with every sin comes a price and for Lucas, it's his immortality. His desire for Gabriella is his salvation but a love built on lies is bound to fall.

      Be more specific in that last sentence, like mrsc suggests. Tighten it up, esp. the stakes, and it should be perfect.

      Delete
    3. Hi C.C.!
      Love the title a lot. I'm questioning what it has to do with your pitch though? Is either Lucas or Gabriella some sort of royal? You do a great job of giving us stakes (for me, immortality is a pretty big stake and you make that clear). And I think I understand what your MC wants (an honest relationship with Gabriella?) I think overall if you gave us more specificity that way, it yield a better understanding of what your story is about.

      Delete
    4. I am interested to hear more. I think the first line could be tighter- "Like every teenager, Lucas faces temptation, but for him, sin comes with a price..." Good luck.

      Delete
    5. Hi C.C.-- I think you could free up some room with your first phrase--every teenager faces these temptations...since it's universal, do you need to state it at all? Also, I'm wondering what makes this a fantasy. If you could allude to that a bit more it might be more intriguing. I like the sound of the wonderful and tragic love story part of it though! Good luck to you!

      Delete
    6. Round 2! Thanks for all the great feedback! Hopefully I didn't over think and make it worse...

      Pitch: Every teenager faces temptation, but for Lucas the seven sins carry a price: immortality and a Royal mark with every sin. Gabriella appears and becomes his salvation but their love is forbidden––she’s his keeper.

      Delete
    7. Hi C.C.
      This is an interesting premise and I have a lot of questions about the world you're building. I would love to be clearer on why Lucas seems to have a second set of rules than others. Why is his love for Gabriella forbidden and why is she his keeper?

      In your second pitch - I think that it becomes less clear that he's losing his immortality. It reads like the punishment is to give him immortality.

      Since not only does every teenager face temptation, but everyone, maybe drop that in favor of explaining the world a little: "In X city, for Y people, the wages of sin are Z things."

      Good luck!

      Delete
    8. Ok, that's better....I think you can x-out "appears" since it's a vague word. Does it mean appears out of thin air? appears on the scene? I still think you can take out the first sentence--we all know this and it doesn't tell us what's happening in your story. Maybe you can weave it in with the beginning, "When Lucas can't resist temptation... or something like that?? Just an idea. Also, I think "with every sin" seems redundant because in the first sentence I think it's implied that he is sinning. Hopefully those are some ways to free up space to tell us more. We want to know more! :)

      Delete
  5. Name: L.Cotton

    Genre: NA Contemporary Romance

    Title: FATE'S LOVE

    Pitch: Twenty-five-year-old Livy’s dad taught her guys can’t be trusted. It's why she's still denying her attraction to Ethan, after eight years. He won't wait forever; she'll have to choose —protect her heart, or risk it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies

    1. Twenty-five-year-old Livy’s dad taught her guys can’t be trusted, so she's denied her attraction to Ethan for eight years. But he won't wait forever, she’ll have to protect her heart (HOW?), or risk it (BY DOING WHAT?)

      This intrigues, but as it reads, it sounds like a story of a girl who has to trust a guy and feel love, even though her dad told her not to trust. That, in and of itself, doesn’t sound that interesting. Why is she special/different? Or (as I suggested in the last line), what is it about her hear and her risk that makes an exciting plot?

      Delete
    2. I looove this!
      But she's denying Ethan's love for her because her dad says don't trust men? I think there should be a stronger reason for not trusting men. Like maybe she got burned before by a guy that makes her stop trusting men.

      Delete
    3. Let's refrain from telling people how to fix their pitches. The words are theirs to write. Please just say what works or doesn't work for you.

      Delete
    4. Hi L--
      You have me curious--I definitely want to know more about this couple's history!
      For me, I think beginning your query with backstory (Dad) might be a mistake. It gives background but doesn't tell us about the story itself, which in a 35-word pitch, is a better focus. That might work better for a query pitch though. Because you have limited word space here, consider focusing on the characters we're going to watch on the screen.
      One more thing to consider--a major obstacle for ALL NA contemp romance: how is your book different from what's on the shelves? What's your hook?

      Delete
    5. This has come such a long way L. I think the conflict for her is clear - and her impetus for needing to make the a choice is apparent. Good luck on the homeward stretch of PitchSlam!

      Delete
  6. Name: Jenny Mundy-Castle

    Genre: Historical fiction

    Title: RED MOON OVER LAGOS

    Word Count: 67,000

    Pitch: In 1978, when her psychologist husband uses human subjects for LSD experiments and worse, expat Julianne Krueger's troubled marriage takes a backseat. She must stop him before he kills again in the country she loves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Intriguing! Only question is the emphasis on place. I think you are using "expat" and "country she loves" to signal that the story takes place in Lagos. Is there another way to signal this? Are the human subjects US soldiers? Locals? That might draw me in more than "in the country she loves." Good luck!

      Delete
    2. I agree--maybe make the killing stakes more personal--does she care about his test subjects? Otherwise this sounds fascinating.

      Delete
    3. This does sound interesting! Anything with a crazy psychologist and LSD experiments AND WORSE is going to be good. I agree with Geni P about who are the human subjects? What country does she love? Why is her husband doing these experiments? I think if you can answer some of these questions, your pitch will go a long ways! I would still like to read this!

      Delete
    4. I love the premise of your book and that it's historical fiction. I liked it better when you said that he was killing the Nigerians that she loved. That helped me understand where it was probably set. Good luck!!

      Delete
    5. I LOVE your title, and this sounds really interesting like the husband could be working for the CIA or DOD. The only quibble I have is that the first and second sentences don't seem to go together - first sentences tells me a woman is married to a workaholic, second sentence seems to abruptly inform me that he's a serial killer and she knows it and must stop him, but the two sentences feel sort of like they are from two different books. Is the husband killing his LSD test subjects? Is there a way to maybe say that?

      Delete
    6. I love the premise. It does take a second reading of your pitch to understand the things everyone else is pointing out, but I agree that changing "the country" to specific people will add a lot to the human element.

      My only other quibble is with switching from the co-worker/husband as a counter to the troubled marriage, because it took me a second to put together that the troubled marriage is WITH the psycho psychologist, even though you said "husband". It seemed like a dichotomy as written. Maybe "... when expat Julianne's psychologist husband ...., *their* troubled marriage ...." might make that less confusing for me.

      Delete
    7. Hi Jenny,
      As a therapist, I actually know a good bit about this history! There is a lot of really interesting anecdotal evidence from that time period. So I really connected to your first sentence. My concern about it is that it makes your MC's husband seem more interesting than your MC. My instinctive question here was what makes your MC qualified to stop him from killing? I felt like I wanted to know more about her before her husband, if that makes sense. You give us great conflict and an awesome unique premise. There seems to be a great story here!

      Delete
  7. Name: Geni P

    Genre: YA Magical Realism

    Title: EDEN

    Word count: 57,000

    Pitch: Lucy knows the perfect guy is out there somewhere. They met in a magical garden. But the garden left her unable to ask his name or number. Now she wants to find him for real.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know why but this gives me some biblical feels of the creation of mankind. I wonder if the guy is Adam?
      Anyhow, I really like this--heck, I love this!
      My only issue is this part: But the garden left her unable to ask his name or number.
      I don't understand how the garden stops her from asking for his name? What can the garden do?
      Now she wants to find him for real. -- This gets me thinking that they meet in dreams? Is that why she wants to look for him? If it's a dream, how does Lucy knows he's real unless this dream is not an ordinary dream?

      Delete
    2. Round 2:
      Lucy falls for Isaac in a magical garden. It's perfect, and that's a problem.
      Lucy wants Isaac for real. But reality's too messy for paradise, and Lucy doesn't know how to find Isaac anywhere else.

      Delete
    3. This is definitely better, MUCH more specific. It also makes me want to read it waaaay more. THe last line is perfect.... completely, and has a lot of voice. The first two I think can still use some tweaking for the same level of voice - I so understand the urge to write as succinctly as possible (35 words, what????), but it feels choppy. I'm taking a stab, and may fall short:

      In a perfect magical garden, Lucy finds true love in Isaac. The problem is, Lucy wants Isaac in real-time, but reality's too messy for paradise.... yada yada yada

      You can likely do better, but you are VERY close, I think.

      Delete
    4. Round 2 is a vast improvement. The first gives me the scope of the story and intrigues me to know more. The second gives me more a lot. Naming Isaac is a good idea - now I can imagine him too. I don't know if you need to repeat Lucy all 3 times since she's the only female named in the pitch.

      I'm still curious to know things like - where is the magical garden? How did she find it? Why is Isaac there? I wonder if you could flesh any of that out by tightening the language in the other parts.

      Keep going - this has so much promise!

      Delete
    5. I really like your Round 2, especially "Lucy wants Isaac for real." I agree with M.A. Nicholson about how did she find the garden? Is Isaac only in the garden? Why can't she go back? Just a few questions to think about. Overall, this sounds really interesting. I think you are getting close.

      Delete
    6. Hi Geni--I really like this premise and I agree that V.2. is stronger.
      Here's my question/concern--is this really MR or is it fantasy? I think a little more context will help clarify that for the agent/reader. Where is this magical garden? That might be a good place to start. But you are getting closer!

      Delete
  8. I love magical realism! Sounds awesome, esp. the way the title works with the pitch. How about this to tighten and give some hint about HOW the garden did this, or just a little more about what it is. Also, the stakes are a tad vague - I understand that she has to get him because, well, ROMANCE, but will she go back to her own boring life? Or something worse, maybe? I hope this helps!

    Lucy's perfect guy is out there somewhere. They met in a magical garden, but because of _______, she could not find him later. Now she wants to find him for real, and if she doesn't__________________

    ReplyDelete
  9. NAME: S.A Jeffrey

    CATEGORY/GENRE: YA Fantasy

    TITLE: Blood Reign

    PITCH: Seventeen-year-old Alice awakens on a medieval battlefield in another world. Forced to disguise as a man, she sets out to find home—even if it means killing people to survive and unleash her awakening bloodlust.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love your pitch! But you already know that :) I feel the stakes are clear and the uniqueness of her disguised as a man gives it an interesting twist! Love "awakening bloodlust" Great job!

      Delete
    2. I like it too. Do you need the "to survive"? Are there two other words you'd rather include? The "even if" leads me to believe she's not normally going around killing people and would do so only if it was necessary to survive. It's good as is, I just know I'm always trying to squeeze a couple more words in, and if that's you I think "to survive" can be replaced.

      Delete
    3. The concept sounds great! The first sentence really sets the scene and the character. I agree with Kim that you could cut "to survive." I wonder if unleash should be "unleashing" to match "killing," or even if you kept "to survive," you could cut "unleash her" and make it "awakening her bloodlust." A cut here or there would give you more words if you need them.

      Delete
    4. This is already so strong. Stakes are clear and I love the title. "unleash" did strike me as odd because it seems to parallel "to survive" but it seems like it should parallel "killing". Maybe, "which unleashes her awakening bloodlust".

      Delete
    5. Hi SA--
      Oooh there's good stuff here. I feel like I have more questions than answers after reading this, though.
      ~What sort of "another world" are we talking about? Because if it's a parallel universe that's possibly a sci fi thing. Or is it time travel? So I think the first sentence could be clearer in these respects.
      ~What does she have to do to "set out to find home" and why does it involve dressing like a man? I wondered if you might be more specific there. Remember, the more specific the better with these things!
      ~I didn't understand the "awakening bloodlust" bit. It made me wonder if she was human or if we were dealing with something more paranormal here? Or does she have this underlying violent side that she's been resisting?
      Great clear stakes though and some nice obstacles in her way!

      Delete
  10. Name: Elizabeth Penney

    Category/genre: YA historical

    Title: Last Summer in Eden

    Pitch: In 1929, a talented young singer must choose between the patronage of a wealthy NY family and the Jewish boy she loves in an anti-Semitic mountain resort town.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do I send forbidden love here? Because I would sooooo love to read this!

      Delete
    2. I think this pitch is very effective. I know your setting, your MC's talent, and the conflict right off the bat. Well done!

      My only question, which may not matter, is about why she must make this choice now. I assume with YA that she is not out on her own yet. Is this just a summer job? If she waits it out can she launch her career & her love? With the time period, she could be on her own, but I'm not clear. Not sure it's worth changing a solid pitch to address this, but it may be something to keep in mind when you are writing a query or otherwise have more words.

      Delete
    3. Thanks so much! This hasn't been entered in a contest so glad I'm on the right track. To answer your question, she's not even out of HS yet and they want to send her to a fancy girl's school. Maybe I can be more specific about their offer.

      Delete
    4. I really like the time frame and significance as it pertains to the character's heritage. Kind of has a "Dirty Dancing" vibe to it...Which is fine...just one guy's observation.

      Delete
    5. Yes, the time and setting really works! Sounds intriguing. My only question is why she has to choose between the boy and the patronage. Including the specific offer for school might clear that up.

      Delete
    6. This sounds fascinating and I'm not sure I have much to offer to improve it. I was wondering if she has to choose between NY versus the remote resort town, or if it's just between the private school you mentioned and the boy. What I mean is - is the crux of her problem that she's being shipped off away from where the boy is, or is she actually being separated from him because of who he is? The use of "anti-semitic" to describe the town gives me a sense that it's the boy that is the source of the conflict, but I feel like it could be a little clearer.

      Delete
    7. The family doesn't want her to see the boy. Maybe I should say this:
      Pitch: In 1929, a talented young singer from an anti-Semitic mountain resort town must choose between the scholarship offered by a wealthy NY family and the Jewish boy she loves.

      How's that? Re: Dirty Dancing - this is based on a town in NH. They had hotel ads saying "Christian clientele" until the 1940s. But the town became a Jewish resort in the end. Go figure.

      Thanks all for your input. Much appreciated.

      Delete
    8. Liz, I think you are really, really close. The only thing you might consider playing with--and I'm not even sure you need to, but it would be cool if you could--how do the scholarship and the Jewish boy come in conflict? For me, that clash could be a little clearer. But I really, really dig this. I'm not a big fan of historical but THIS is right up my alley! In my pretend life as an agent, I'd be requesting a full!

      Delete
    9. A little switcheroo:

      Pitch: In 1929, a talented young singer from mountain resort town must choose between the scholarship offered by a wealthy and anti-Semitic NY family and the Jewish boy she loves.

      Ta-da! :)

      Delete
    10. I like this--it puts the family and her boyfriend in more direct conflict. Sounds awesome!

      Delete
  11. Name: Monica M. Hoffman

    Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

    Title: EVOLUTION: DAUNTLESS HOPE

    Pitch: In 2112 when conflict between humans and beings with superhuman abilities explodes, Hope’s elemental power can bring balance and peace if she can relinquish her forbidden love for one human, and forfeit her own life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds abit like x-men. I like the conflict between humans and the mutants, but the next part kinda falls flat to me.

      'Hope’s elemental power can bring balance and peace if she can relinquish her forbidden love for one human, and forfeit her own life.'

      What kind of power? Balance and peace sounds too vague imo, and also, how is her love for a human can kill her? Is it because superhumans and humans are not allowed to mingle?

      Delete
    2. I love X-men and this sounds like that with some steaminess thrown in. Woohoo! I agree with SA here. Can you name the power? Show why the love is forbidden? Why she'd forfeit her life?

      All in 35 words? We are SUCH rockstars, we writers!

      Delete
    3. Why would her power bring balance and peace and no one else's? And why must she give up her forbidden love? I think you can save some space by eliminating the first part: "In 2112 when conflict between humans and beings with superhuman abilities explodes" and just go with Hope has the power to end the war between humans and beings with super human abilities if she can ______. Or something like that.

      I love a superhero story big time. This sounds like fun. Good luck :)

      Delete
    4. Futuristic mutant super powers FTW! I love your title - nice play on words.

      If I'm understanding, Hope has to sacrifice BOTH love and life to save the world? I can follow how she might need to die to fight for a world, but I'm not clear on why her forbidden love impacts the peace of the land. I hope she'll prevail!

      Good luck!

      Delete
    5. Very helpful comment! I really appreciate it! Revising now...

      Delete
    6. Hoping I have improved with this pitch. Also, I meant ALL the comments were very helpful! Thank you!

      Revised pitch:

      Hope’s control over fire, water, earth, and air can stop the fighting between humans and beings with superhuman-abilities, but it will destroy her. Her love for one human motivates her to live, which threatens all.

      Delete
    7. Now that first sentence is killer. Her power is clear and what she's fighting for is clear. You might save two words with "between humans and super-humans". And then you could use them in the second sentence which is *so close* but then the "which threatens all' is vague.

      Her love for one human motivates her to live but *violates the peace treaty*. (or what have you)

      Delete
    8. M.A, what a huge help! Cutting those two words I think made a difference.

      Next Round:

      Hope’s control over fire, water, earth, and air can stop the fighting between humans and super-humans, but it will destroy her. Her love for one human makes her rethink martyrdom, which threatens her species’ survival.

      Delete
    9. Hey Monica,
      You're getting stronger with each round here! Good conflict and some nice world building.
      You might consider saying Hope's control over the elements to save a couple words and give us her age. That's pretty important with YA because if she's thirteen or twenty, she's probably not a YA MC.
      You are sooooo close! Well done today!

      Delete
  12. NAME: Sonia P.

    CATEGORY/GENRE: YA/Fantasy

    TITLE: THE LAST STORED

    PITCH: Three children were stored on Earth – Amber is the only to survive. The power to save a dying world lives within her but to do so, she must touch evil; fail the disease spreads.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This sounds interesting. The only thing that is confusing is why does she need to touch evil? What is evil? It is disease? Also, where is everyone? On another planet? I guess some of these questions would entice me to want to read more.

      Delete
    2. Three children with the power to save a dying world were stored on Earth, but Amber is the only to survive. To do so, she must touch evil; fail the disease spreads.

      OK, I moved the information around a bit, but I think you've got to explain why she has to touch evil. I'd also recommend clearing up that the disease she is trying to stop is what's killing her planet. If I'm right about my guess on that one.

      Delete
    3. I wonder if you need that first part. Save yourself a few words and maybe start with: Amber is the only child on Earth. Her mission: To ______before a deadly disease (reaches her world or continues to spread?) and kills everyone.

      Not sure that helps. But what I don't understand is 1) Is she alone on the planet, or just the only child? 2) If her people are somewhere else how will a disease spread to them (or is it already spreading among them)? 3) And which is the dying planet, Earth or a planet where her people are (if they aren't on Earth).

      Very intriguing! Hope this helps :)

      Delete
    4. I agree with Meredith on cutting the first part. Starting with Amber is the only child on Earth is really dramatic and pulls me in right away! I might want an age range? Or was she left as a child and now she is older and must save the planet? Also what does "touching evil" consist of? I think it's a great start! Good luck!

      Delete
    5. Gonna go ahead and agree with the last 2. You've got a lot packed into 35 words and it's bursting at the seams. If you save a few words by cutting the first part, you could tell us something about how we got here, I think it would breathe a little more. It sounds like a completely compelling story and I'd love for you to be able to color it in a bit more.

      Good luck!

      Delete
    6. There is great conflict here, and I agree with most of what's been said above. We need more context to go along with it. But I think the concept here is really, really intriguing.

      Delete
  13. Name: Sean Lamb

    Category: YA Contemporary

    Title: TROUBLED

    Pitch: 17yo Kyle Grimstone wants to escape the treacherous conditions of St. Bonaparte Military Academy. His one way out is through Headmaster Sterm, the deranged dictator who decides each cadet’s fate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like it! The only thing I'm left asking myself is what are the treacherous conditions. I know it would probably be hard to get all that in a tight space like this. Can you get in something to illuminate the conditions?

      Delete
    2. Hmm. This is really close. And technically it entices me to want to read it. But you could be a bit more specific.What's at stake if he doesn't get out? Maybe something like: 17yo Kyle Grimstone needs to get out of St. Bonaparte Military Academy. If he can't get past Headmaster Sterm then________. Hope this helps :)

      Delete
    3. Yup and yup to the above. I think you can cut a few words and up the punch also. Like this, maybe -

      17yo Kyle Grimstone must escape the treacherous conditions of St. Bonaparte Military Academy. His one way out (CAN YOU NAME THE ONE WAY?) is through Headmaster Sterm, the deranged dictator who (CAN YOU BE MORE SPECIFIC HERE? WHAT DOES HE DO, EXACTLY, IN THIS PROCESS?)

      Sorry for the caps, I'm not yelling, just trying to be clear : )

      Delete
    4. Thanks! That's the part I'm struggling with. Hard to keep it short and get the point across. I was thinking about changing it to something like "barbaric regime"

      Delete
    5. Hi Sean, This sounds exciting--esp for a contemp. And I think there need to be more boy books out there, too! I have 4 boys of my own who need really good and exciting reading material. I agree with the comments above that I want to know more about the treacherous conditions. And what happens if he doesn't make it out? Or what happens if he does? Good luck to you!!

      Delete
    6. Thanks, Shari (and others)! Tweaked it a bit...

      17yo Kyle Grimstone wants to escape the questionable disciplinary methods at St. Bonaparte Military Academy. If he fails Headmaster Sterm’s review for release, he’s ready to exercise a less civilized plan to get out.

      Delete
    7. Hmm, I like "barbaric regime" over "questionable disciplinary methods." I think it has more voice. If you're looking to cut words to add something else, I think you can go with "military academy" instead of the full name, as that will save you a couple. As for stakes, something like, "17yo Kyle will do anything to avoid another year/summer/term of the barbaric regime at his military academy, including x, y, and z." Granted, that omits the headmaster part, and if that's a good portion of your story, you'd want it in. Not sure--just my thoughts. Regardless, I like the sound of your book!

      Delete
    8. Thanks, Kim! Revising again...

      Delete
    9. Aaaaaand one more time:

      17yo Kyle Grimstone will do anything to avoid another year under the barbaric dictators at military school. If he fails Headmaster Sterm’s annual review for release, he’s ready to execute a less civilized escape plan.

      Delete
    10. This makes me think a little of Pat Conroy's Lords of Discipline which I loved. Honestly, I like the first pitch a lot more than the second - I think it was clear with the "only one who decides each cadet's fate" that Sterm has all the power.

      Here are my questions - if this is military school and he's 17, is it like a high school where he is hoping to graduate? Under what condition could he be held at the school for another year? Or was he put there because he's a delinquent minor and it's some kind of juvenile detention?

      Definitely lose St. Bonaparte since it's 2 words that don't add anything. Don't lose the specific attributes of Headmaster Sterm being a tyrant. In the second pitch, for all I know, he's the good cop at an otherwise corrupt school. The first pits him as the antagonist.

      Your book is going to rock.

      Good luck!

      Delete
    11. I'm really intrigued by this last version, Sean. I want to know more about this less civilized escape plan. For me the second sentence here is a little stronger than the first. I feel like the first could use a little more tightening. I wondered if that might allow you to tell us a little something more about Kyle (even if you had to drop his last name to do so.) The questions that popped into my head--does he deserve to be there? do I want him to escape? Just an idea to consider but you are well on your way with this!

      Delete
  14. NAME: Meredith
    CATEGORY/GENRE: YA Sci-Fi Romance
    TITLE: Ice Queen

    PITCH: The Angel Experiment meets The Snow Queen when sixteen-year-old Arianna falls for her hottie new neighbor. If she can’t learn to control her emotion-induced power, it’s bye-bye sleepy beach town…hello frozen wasteland.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like, like, like. This works. I wish I could say, change this or that, but I know how hard these are to do and I just want to clap for this one.

      Delete
    2. I really like the last 2/3 of this pitch. But, for me, I'm not familiar with The Angel Experiment or The Snow Queen so those don't speak to me at all.Maybe an agent or judge would look those up and study them a bit to garner a better understanding of the image you're trying to paint. If they know it or look it up, I'm sure this is perfect. Good luck!

      Delete
    3. Nice work. I don't know the comps, but I get the gist of what's going on. This sounds kind of like Frozen? Stakes and conflict are clear. I guess I'd echo Shari, wonder if you could use the 8 words you spend on the comp titles to add something else. The story arc is already clearly there, though, well done.

      Delete
    4. You know AJ, it's funny you mention that. This was my original pitch:

      Loving sixteen-year-old Arianna has deadly consequences. If she can’t figure out who or what she is, she won’t just risk killing those close to her, she’ll turn her entire beach town into a frozen wasteland.

      BUT since Frozen came out I worry it sounds a LOT like that. The thing is the story is totally Science Fiction....no magic or fantasy. There's a reason behind everything and it's human-made. So, I went with the comp titles because The Angel Experiment is really more like this story and hoped that would steer is slightly away from the Frozen reference. Of course that's going to be next to impossible at this point. Lol, should have queried this a year ago ;)

      Delete
    5. This sounds like it could be a really good coming of age story about a teenage girl, but like you say, I worry this sounds too much like it could be a reactionary story from the movie FROZEN. I sort of like your original pitch more, just because it doesn't include 'emotion induced power' which I think is the part that makes me flash to FROZEN. Obviously this is your pitch, I can't tell you what to do - just want to say I like your original one, and the one you posted is yep, very similar sounding to that movie.

      Delete
    6. I think you give us great details here. We know who your MC is, what she wants, and what stands in her way. It all flows together smoothly.

      Until I read your comment above, I was going to invite you to consider calling it fantasy instead of sci fi. Because sci-fi is just not selling well in YA right now. I wonder if you could get away with spec fic? But I think the pitch itself is really really close.

      Delete
  15. NAME: AJ

    CATEGORY/GENRE: MG/Fantasy

    TITLE: DARK SKY'S ASHES

    PITCH: When twelve-year-old Conley accidentally frees a killer dragon, a secret society is his one hope of mastering dragon warfare before Kansas City burns and his family dies. He must win the battle in the sky.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like you combining the urban setting with the mythos involved. The "secret" society obviously begs a lot of questions, as does the question of, "Where's the military?" But 35 words can make it difficult to convey complexities and logistics. Nice idea.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Dan. You're right, secret society raises questions I don't have time to answer in 35 words. In this version of the pitch, I also don't have room to clarify that Conley will have to get more dragons in the sky to combat the one he sets loose.

      Delete
    3. I dig the idea and the further explanation helps me to visualize the scenario much easier.

      Delete
    4. AJ, just a thought (you already know I like your whole idea and beginning of your book!) since secret society trips people up, maybe ditch it? And the last sentence could be put more in the middle of the pitch...Using more of the following formula. When Conley_____ then he must ____ or else _____. I'm sure you've tried all the combinations. I think your pitch is fine the way it is though if it's the one that you feel most comfortable with.

      Delete
    5. Hi Shari, you may be right. I go back and forth, although I don't think people need to know much about the secret society in the pitch. An earlier version read like this:

      When twelve-year-old Conley frees a mind-reading dragon with a killer agenda, he must get his own dragons in the sky before Kansas City goes up in flames. So long, summer break.

      However, I think that one lacks some intensity and ends up sounding a little generic. I tried to rewrite with some additional key phrases to add specificity (I hope): "dragon warfare," "secret society," "battle in the sky."

      Delete
    6. You know where I am on this already, so I'll be brief. Well, brief for me.
      I don't think it's generic. I think this one *sounds* more Middle Grade. I actually think the first one you posted here, combined with your first page, sounds decidedly too mature for MG. (Which I don't think your story itself is.) I think the first one you posted here IS more dramatic and action-oriented. But for me:
      "killer dragon" "mastering dragon warfare" "his family dies"
      them there are YA phrases to me. Not MG.
      Okay, I lied about being brief. :)

      Delete
  16. Name: Dan Freeburg

    Category: Childrens (8-12) or Y/A Fantasy

    Title: The Willies

    Pitch: A young widow and her son move back in with her parents. The boy quickly becomes a target for the bully at his new school. One night he notices lights on in an old treehouse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THis sets up the scene beautifully, but I have no idea about the When..... then... of it all. What does he do? Stand to lose? Here's a tightening of the start of the pitch:

      A young widow and son move back to her parents, where he becomes a bully-target at school. At night, the lights in an old treehouse signify____. If he doesn't___, then___/

      Delete
    2. What POV is the story told from. The boy I'm guessing? Maybe reword it to capture his (or whoever the narrator is) voice. What's his name? And how does the bully connect with the lights in an old treehouse? Is the treehouse an escape? Is there evil in in the treehouse? Is the part about moving in with the grandparents really necessary? I need a connection here that ties everything together.

      I can tell there is a great story in there and the description is vivid. But I think you can pull more and make this a bit more specific. It sounds like you have a great MG literary read ;)


      Delete
    3. Thanks. Having a hard time tightening. There is so much more to this and I'm getting hung up on the 35 word limit. :)

      Delete
    4. Billy and his mom have moved to a new town, where he becomes the target of a bully. A treehouse, sitting on long-abandonded property, houses some very unlikely allies.

      Delete
    5. This is already better ;) I take it the allies are not necessarily human? Now is there a downslide to working with them?

      Delete
    6. They aren't "human" and he gets their help transitioning to "real-life" friendships and coping withe loss of his best friend (his father). The down side is he will eventually have to say, "goodbye"...But this is something "The Willies" had been preparing him for throughout the course of the story...See?...I'm not so good with the 35 word limit. ;)

      Delete
    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    9. Billy and his mom have moved to a new town, where he becomes the target of a bully. A long-forgotten treehouse is home to some unlikely and supernatural allies. But for how long?

      Delete
    10. Ok...one more crack at it before I go to work:

      Name: Dan Freeburg

      Category: MG/Fantasy

      Title: The Willies

      Pitch: Billy is having trouble making new friends and is being bullied at his new school. He finds some unlikely, supernatural help living in a long-forgotten treehouse. But, will he learn to stand on his own?

      Delete
    11. Hi there, I like the sound of your book! I think you can ditch "Billy and his mom move to a new town" since it's backstory, then that will free you up a bit. Can you hint more specifically at the "supernatural help?"

      Good luck!

      Delete
    12. "The Willies" were children that had been "created" by an old man who used to own the property, because he and his wife couldn't conceive. They are in varying stages of "creation" as a result of the old man (a chemistry teacher in his yourger days) could never quite "perfect" the process. The "bully" that Billy faces in school is the son of the man who accidentally torched the house and property (as a prank in his youth). The treehouse still sits on the land. The bully's dad has grown up to be a land developer who wants to bulldoze what remains of the property (treehouse included) But Billy's mother belongs to a group wanting to preserve the land as a wildlife sanctuary or for historical reasons.

      ...as you can see...it's hard to tighten this...Guess the idea is too "broad"?

      Delete
    13. Billy also makes friend with a young girl who is in foster care...at the end of the story, The Willies disappear and the little girl is adopted...Billy is okay, because of the new found confidence the Willies have instilled and the Willies show up in the final scene at the girl's new home, living in the attic...ready to help her to make that transition too.

      ...okay...now I've really got to go to work. (You don't want me posting illustrations) ;)

      Delete
    14. Hi Dan,
      You've got a lot of good stuff to work with here. Here are the things in your notes above that stand out and pique my interest:
      ~children created when he and his wife can't conceive.
      ~being bullied by someone with a possible ulterior motive.

      I'm not quite clear on whether or not Billy is one of "the Willies"?

      So here's how we boil this down...
      (1) Who is your MC? I'm not clear on this
      (2) What does he want? Need to know #1 before I can know this
      (3) What stands in his way? A bully, a land developer
      (4) What's at stake? A tree house, Billy's desire for friendship? Not sure here.

      In theory, if you can answer these four questions, you'll find your pitch hidden within. Hope this helps!

      Delete
  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Name: Elinor
    Category/Genre: Adult Urban Fantasy (might be NA, MC is 25?)
    Title: DEAD TALKER
    Pitch:

    Anna, an unlicensed necromancer with a black magic past, must prove she's on the right side of the law when she teams up with local Detectives to stop a killer hunting witches in Georgia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really good, not much to critique on this one. "Unlicensed necromancer" pulls me right into your story's world. I like the noir vibe, intentional or not. Is there any reason "Detectives" is capitalized?

      Delete
    2. Again, I really like when "The Old" is wrangled and thrust into modern day urban settings. It always makes me feel like, "Well, if it could happen there, it could happen here...NOW". Using ancient religions and their practices to confront a current dilemma is very appealing.

      Delete
    3. I can read this now!? This sounds sooooo interesting! I can't think of any story off hand that has a necromancer in it! You pitch is easy to follow. Great job! I agree with AJ about Detectives.

      Delete
    4. Awesome! I have nothing negative to say (aside from questioning the capitalization of detectives). Your story and character are very clear. Good work!

      Delete
    5. You've done well, young Padawan. :)
      I didn't count your words but it might be cool if you could give us a city/town, so that we know if we're in Atlanta or Macon. KWIM?

      Delete
  19. Name: Kim Long

    Genre: MG Fantasy

    Title: SADIE SCOTTSDALE AND THE WASTED WISH

    Pitch: After her sister is accused of breaking the Wishing Rules, it’s up to ten-year-old Sadie to clear her name. If she fails, her sister will forever be known as the Wisher who wasted her Wish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You summed it up nicely. Clear and straightforward. Not a whole lot to critique with this! One thought: Could you fit in the rule that she broke? Maybe... "Sadie's sister is accused of breaking Wishing Rule #1: Don't tell anyone what you wished. It's up to 10yo Sadie..." or something like that. I don't think it's completely necessary but I think it could introduce the reader to their world.

      Delete
    2. Hi Kim! That first sentence is great. It sets up the problem clearly. My only question is about the "Wisher who wasted her Wish." What are the consequences of that title? What will Sadie lose if that happens?

      Delete
    3. Hey you--that is one of the Rules! Can you see through my computer? Thing is, while the evidence is clear (to most) she must have broken them, the reader is kept guessing as to which one she allegedly broke. I see what you're saying on specifics though. I always wrestle vs too much info vs too little info and usually fall on the too much side!

      Delete
    4. I wrestle with that too...You want to save something for the reveal, but don't want to strip away all the "good stuff"...btw...I like your pitch.

      Delete
    5. This sounds fun and I love MG fantasy! The thing that hung me up was that you used the word 'wish' several times but it's vague each time. Maybe Sean's suggestion would help. Good luck!

      Delete
    6. Thanks for the comments. How about:

      After her sister is accused of breaking the Wishing Rules by making a selfish wish, ten-year-old Sadie tries to clear her name. No one wants to be related to someone who wasted her Wish!

      Is the explanation point too much?

      Delete
    7. I agree with the other comments--I like the idea and overall I think your query is good. I just get a bit hung up on that "Wisher who wasted her Wish" phrase. It's is kind of vague and, to be honest, doesn't sound like much of a consequence. Will that make her an outcast or something?

      Delete
    8. That's better. So what will happen to her if she doesn't clear her name?

      Delete
    9. Hi Kim!
      I'll preface this with the disclaimer that I don't read a lot of Middle Grade and it's the sort of creativity I'm incapable of capturing myself.
      I think this is an interesting concept. My question for you is--what are the stakes for Sadie? I'm not sure that being ashamed of her sister is a stake for her so much as it is for the sister. Are these stakes high enough?
      I do agree that "wisher who wasted her wish" is probably a bit too much alliteration, even for MG!
      And I wanted to know what Sadie's wish is! I might read on for that alone.

      Delete
  20. Name: Tricia S
    Genre: Adult Romance
    Title: The Billionaire's Deceit
    Pitch: Anna is shocked to find her ex, Jace, about to demolish her uncle's home -- the only safe haven she's ever known. Intent on stopping him, she puts her heart and her family at risk.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I like the conflict set up in the first line! My main question is about the specifics at the end. How will she stop him? How are they at risk? If you need more words, you could cut the name Jace, and maybe change "about to demolish" to demolishing.

      Delete
    2. I think your first sentence is great! But I agree that it's not clear what the risk is. I think if you can make that clear your pitch will be solid.

      Delete
    3. I'm interested as to how this is a Romance. Are Anna and Jace going to end up together? Even though he's demolishing her uncle's home? It sort of sounds like suspense from this query. I like the set up of the uncle's home about to be demolished, but HOW does she stop him from doing it? How is the family at risk?I know it's hard to fit all that stuff in.

      Delete
  21. Name: Laurie D.
    Genre: YA light fantasy
    Title: Perception
    Pitch: Instead of helping Evan forget his disease, drinking reveals disturbing neurological symptoms. Grounded, wanted for experiments, and falling for the girl who snitched, he faces treatment as a lab rat or sacrificing recovery for freedom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like your first line here. I would maybe mention the girl who snitched first and then the other complications after if you can.

      Delete
    2. How's this:
      Instead of helping Evan forget his disease, drinking reveals disturbing neurological symptoms. Falling for the snitch who exposed him and wanted for experiments, he faces treatment as a lab rat or sacrificing recovery for freedom.

      Delete
    3. Wow! Awesome concept. Of course, it's a lot to internalize, so I think maybe untangling the complex ideas will only help you hook someone. As in:

      Evan wants to forget his disease, but drinking exacerbates his neurological symptoms. Maybe that's why he fell for a girl wanted for performing experiments. Now he will either become her lab rat or die free. (or something that works better)

      Delete
    4. I like the conflict presented to the MC. Falling for the one who snitched on you is a tough situation. His choice is also a hard one. Freedom or recovery? Yikes! Is that freedom from the program? Freedom from alcohol?

      Also, I strongly suggest editing the "Ing" words for stronger words.
      Nice work!

      Delete
    5. Love the concept. I think your stakes are clear and I know what Evan wants.

      Questions: I'm not clear what his disease is or why he's wanted for experiments though. What did the girl snitch? That he had something worth testing?

      Wording: "He faces treatment or sacrificing" doesn't scan for me - am I misunderstanding the sentence? I like suzanne's suggestion - become a lab rat or die free, if that's true. "He must become a lab rat, or relapse in freedom."

      Delete
    6. I would open your pitch with "drinking" being the thing that Evan turns to in order to forget his disease. The first sentence is somewhat confusing otherwise, until the second half appears. A minor switch-around should do the trick.

      Otherwise: Great stakes! There's no vagueness in this pitch, which is usually a problem for people.

      Delete
    7. Thank you guys so much! Here we go again:


      When Evan drinks to forget his rare liver disorder, disturbing neurological symptoms emerge. Falling for the snitch who exposed him and wanted for experiments, he faces treatment as a lab rat or freedom without recovery.

      Delete
    8. This definitely has more clarity after switching around the placement of a few words, but now that I see it revised, I might almost suggest ditching the first sentence to focus on the second. I say this because I have some confusion on the second half of your pitch. For instance: What did the snitch expose? Wanted for what experiments? His experiments? Experiments on him? (I have a feeling it's "experiments on him", but you could make this a little clearer. I also think it's the strong point of your pitch, and you should focus on the experiments, the snitch, and the stakes (treatment as a lab rat or freedom without recovery).)

      You should definitely keep the details in the first sentence, but condense them so that you have more room for clarification in the second sentence.

      You're doing well in revisions. I think you're getting close to a final product!

      Delete
  22. NAME: M. A. NIcholson

    CATEGORY/GENRE: Adult Contemporary

    TITLE: XO

    PITCH: Forty-one-year-old Juliet has a faltering marriage, a starry-eyed memory of her first love and an internet connection. Contacting Nick seems innocent enough until the thrill of rekindling past romance lures her from rebuilding her present.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (Not sure why I was logged in and now I'm not but this is me from the above pitch.)

      I've already revised this - as I do - in my sleep now, it would seem. (I'll be pitching to my cat soon.)

      Forty-one-year-old Juliet has a faltering marriage and starry-eyed memories of her first love. When she contacts Nick, the thrill of rekindling a pre-maturely thwarted romance lures her away from repairing a comfortable life with Ethan.

      Delete
    2. Is it terrible that I like the previous version better? (To make you crazy?) I like the Internet connection angle, because that gives me a sense of how Juliet contacts Nick. And I don't think I need to know Ethan's name. I think the above pitch is really great.

      Delete
    3. Not crazy - You get so many pieces of advice until it's hard to know which to go with. The feedback said the pitch started strong, which is my first, but there was a hook back to the internet in the original pitch that I've had to drop to satisfy their other requests. Dropping it here frees up words - that's all.

      Time to stop over-thinking, yes?

      Delete
    4. I like the first one you posted better, too. :)

      Delete
    5. WORD. I will fight people for the Internet angle. That's a buzz word that makes this solidly contemporary. Otherwise, you might not know.

      Delete
    6. Thank you thank you thank you. It's been reverted. And again I say thank you.

      My brain is legitimately made out of pudding about now.

      Delete
    7. You know, I like the original pitch. It gives me an intriguing glimpse of the plot.

      Delete
  23. Gotta' get ready for my "real" gig (job)...I will check back later and comment and review what others have said. Thank you so much to those that took the time to read and critique my pitch and to those that let me see what they're up to as well...Best of luck one and all...I'm sure I'll see (and read) some of you around again...peace.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Name: Talynn Lynn
    Genre: YA Fantasy
    Title: The Grave Clothes Laundress
    Word count: 55,000
    Pitch:

    Since her boyfriend died, seventeen-year-old Kaleah’s been haunted by nightmares. She searches ancient burial grounds for answers, but instead she finds a gorgeous gravekeeper who believes death is the key to her salvation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think this one is great. You've hooked me! We see the problem and the stakes clearly. The only comment I have is that you could cut "instead she" out to free more words.

      Delete
    2. Love the title. Love YA too!

      Is the the gorgeous gravekeeper female? It could be read like the gorgeous gravekeeper thinks death is the key to *her* own salvation, rather than Kaleah's. Maybe specify with "the key to Kaleah's salvation," if that's what you're going for.

      Also, any way to add what sort of nightmares these are? Otherwise, I don't see why they lead to the burial grounds. I would like to somehow know the relationship between the two (which I know isn't easy in a 35 word pitch).

      Delete
    3. I love it--only thing, and this is nitpicking, is "answers." Why would she think searching a burial ground would be related to her nightmares? And I take it the boyfriend's death is a key to her nightmares, just the leap to the burial ground is a bit unclear. If you get rid of "instead she" as suggested above, maybe you can reword to add a word or two showing that connection?

      Delete
    4. How's this?


      Name: Talynn Lynn
      Genre: YA Fantasy
      Title: The Grave Clothes Laundress
      Word count: 55,000
      Pitch:

      Since her boyfriend died, seventeen-year-old Kaleah’s been haunted by nightmares of the dead. She searches ancient burial grounds for answers, but instead finds a gorgeous gravekeeper who believes death is the key to Kaleah's alvation.

      Delete
    5. I think it's great! I have no criticisms at all. It sounds interesting and unique, good job!

      Delete
    6. Oh! I see a typo. I forgot the "s" on "salvation." Oops!

      Delete
  25. Name: Suzanne Leder
    Genre: Adult Epic Fantasy
    Title: Adamant: Enemy of Elsinaire
    Word Count: 131,000
    Pitch:

    A royal invitation reveals Ange and Nellwyn are legitimate Ormondes. Demanding to know why their father banished them like bastards, they unearth a secret powerful enough to ignite a civil war — and endanger their lives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I critiqued this on Blog Hop and I think it's getting a lot stronger.

      The questions remaining - what are legitimate Ormondes? I think I liked it better when you had it as children of a legendary soldier. This then ties into the next sentence - so we understand the connection to the father. And did he banish them or abandon them?

      I'm not sure if "and endanger their lives" is needed since we don't know how and igniting a civil war is pretty heavy already. Maybe those 4 words could be used in the first part to give us more information about Ange and Nellwyn.

      Delete
    2. I'm definitely intrigued and you have me wanting to read more! The one thing I suggest is to be more specific than "endanger. " that word could mean several things: death, sickness, always on the run. Other than that, I really like it.

      Delete
    3. Revised pitch:

      A royal invitation reveals Nellwyn and her dying sister are a legendary soldier’s legitimate daughters. When they demand to know why they were abandoned, they unearth a secret powerful enough to ignite a civil war.

      Delete
  26. NAME: Julie Graham

    CATEGORY/GENRE: NA/Thriller

    TITLE: The Snapping of the Lock

    PITCH: Everyone said Darcy’s best friend was no good. She didn’t believe them until he stabbed her and left her for dead. Now the only way for her to save lives is to take his.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have nothing to say besides that this is certainly tight and gripping. I'm curious how the title relates, but I don't think you should put that in your rather perfect pitch!

      Delete
  27. I like! A lot! This sounds really good. I don't have anything to say other than good job! I would want to read this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pretty cool! Would love to read this. ;)

      Delete
  28. Name: Carson

    Category/Genre: YA Contemporary

    Title: FALLING FOR INSANITY

    Pitch: Jessica, a patient in a mental institution, murdered her best friend’s mother. To save her sanity, she must put her trust in the hands of a troubled intern, or risk losing her freedom forever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds intriguing! I like the idea of her sanity as what's at stake. I feel like the qualification kind of breaks up that first sentence--maybe if you moved it around somehow to the second sentence? That would leave you with a really gripping opening. "Jessica murdered her best friends' mother."

      Delete
    2. Excellent suggestion. I see exactly what you mean.

      Here is my revision:

      Jessica murdered her best friend’s mother. Now in a mental institution with her sanity at stake, she must put her trust in the hands of a troubled intern, or risk losing her freedom forever.

      Delete
  29. Name: Victoria Davenport

    Genre: YA soft sci-fi

    Title: EMBER

    Pitch: (Original)
    Hunted by an assassin, manipulated by the rebel Order, and living in the slums of exile, half-human half-synthetic Falcon is fighting for her life and her family, while the rebellion plots to make her Empress.

    (Revised)
    Living in the slums of exile, Falcon and her chosen family fight to survive--but as violence escalates between humans and genetically engineered synthetics, a rebel plot forms to make her Empress, tearing them apart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Living in the slums of exile" is definitely a gripping opening. I might suggest removing "chosen" before "family"; it will simplify the phrase and give you another word to work with. I would also suggest removing the dash and beginning a new sentence at "but".

      You have a lot of information. It all sounds interesting, but you just don't have enough words to mention it all. Perhaps adding some of the information to the first sentence could provide more clarity? Something like, "Living in the slums of exile, Falcon and her family fight to survive in the midst of a war between humans and genetically engineered synthetics." Though that is wordy, and you would definitely need to trim it down, I think transferring some info in the second sentence and moving it to the first could help smooth things over.

      But overall, this is an awesome idea. If you tighten it up a little, the pitch will be golden.

      Delete