Thursday, June 5, 2014

Bait and Pitch Week 7: 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 AND, by popular demand, memoir
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 invite a friend to participate! 
You revise and want more feedback, you critique somebody new.
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



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


The Wicked Pitch of the East (aka Dannie)


  1. Name: Krista McLaughlin

    Category/Genre: YA Contemporary Romance


    Pitch: Alanna is the only deaf girl in her high school. Jared is the geek, who is tormented every day. Two outcasts, one tutoring session, and both might find what they really need. Each other.

    1. Apparently, we both entered at about the same time! :P I love this idea! Your novel sounds super awesome. :)

      My only crit is this: Jared is a geek. He gets tormented because of it. Is there something that makes him truly geeky to cause this torment? You've shown what is unique about Alanna, but I'm wondering about Jared.

    2. Yay for diversity! It's clear from your pitch that this is going to be a diverse story, and also a kind of underdog story, and I'd want to read at least the first couple of pages based on that alone (disclaimer: NOT AN AGENT). I'd like to know more about Jared too... if there's a specific reason he is tormented, mention it. If not, maybe just say that he is tormented or bullied?

      Also - and I hate to say this because it's HARD - but I don't really feel any stakes here. What are your characters' goals? Do they want to make friends, or are they just trying to get their grades up or avoid detention? What do they lose if they DON'T achieve their goals? We know this is a romance already because of the genre, but what are the stakes other than finding each other?

      I know that's a lot to fit into such a short pitch, but I feel like we need to know a little more about the stakes here.

    3. I think this pitch has a lot going for it. It's a very unique contemporary and I think you do a great job of setting me up to want more. I don't have much to add, but I think to get a few more words to play with, you could tighten the second sentence, maybe: "Jared, the geek, is tormented every day." It's only two more words, but if you use them to add more detail to what makes him geeky, maybe you give us more of a sense of why he is so alone. good luck!

    4. I love this concept, but the pitch needs some streamlining, tension and a little more voice. The way you wrote the pitch has me wondering if this is a bi-POV. And if it isn't, maybe you can introduce 'the geek' from Alana's perspective? This would add more voice to the pitch. Also, what is at stake. obviously if its a romantic, they need each other, but what obstacles standing between them?

      Hope this helps!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. We did post at the same time! :)

      The opening line definitely hooks the reader. I was a little confused who Nene is. Is Nene her grandmother or her girlfriend? It just needs some clarification to help the reader know a little more about the general plot. :)

    2. Thanks for the crit! I can definitely work on clarifying my pitch. :)

    3. Hi. Love love the title. GREAT play on Lost in Translation. The idea is definitely eye-catching, too. I was a little lost in pronouns/nicknames as well. I'm not sure who isn't ready to say goodbye- grandma? Why is she at the center of the story? (I'm assuming with YA, this is Megan's story??) If it's Megan, I'm unclear on why the nursing home move means saying goodbye. I think if you can clear up what's going on with the players (Megan, grandma/Nene and girlfriend), the stakes will be much clearer. Good luck!

  3. Probably too late, but here it goes!

    Name: Geni P
    Category/Genre: YA Magical Realism
    Title: Poison Apples
    Pitch: When Bianca Snow’s Disney-like effect on animals gets her dumped, she’s devastated- and determined to win her boyfriend back. She plots to upstage his current flame by winning the talent show, unless a charming new accompanist changes her tune first.

  4. This is a little bit hard to follow. Maybe too cute.

    "When Bianca Snow’s Disney-like effect on animals gets her dumped, she’s devastated- "

    The only part of this sentence that I really understand is that she's been dumped and she's sad. I don't get the disney-like effect on animals, but it does make me wonder if I should be making some "snow white" connection, especially given the title.

    "and determined to win her boyfriend back." That's clear. I like that.

    "She plots to upstage his current flame by winning the talent show, unless a charming new accompanist changes her tune first."

    With the comments about "charming" and "apples" I am assuming you're doing some kind of snow white retelling, but I still don't really understand what and you've made it too hard to folllow. Perhaps be more straightforward and tell me something like"

    "In this snow white retelling, a recently dumped and devestated Biana snow is determined to upstage her old boyfriends new flame by winning the talent show. But then she meets [?], a charming boy who might change her tune."

    The takeaway here is more clarity. Best of luck.

    1. Thanks for the feedback! I'll definitely work on clarity.

    2. I'm a mom of two girls under 7, so I know what you mean by "disney affects on animals" but maybe you could use these four words to describe the situation that gets her dumped rather than her magical power? Does that make sense? The rest of this pitch lays out a great picture of the plot and her plans, and how they may go astray. I like it a lot.

      I've read all your posts on bait and pitch for this novel and I look forward to seeing the story in print! It's a great concept!

  5. NAME: Emily Moore

    GENRE/CATEGORY: MG Contemporary

    TITLE: Rowdy Days of Dom Sanders

    PITCH: When Dom witnesses the drug-related murder of a cop and his boot prints land his rival Taylor in handcuffs, Dom must decide whether to hide the truth or risk revealing his identity to the murderer.

    1. What a great thriller/contemporary!!!! I actually read this as more adult than MG. Is there a way you could insert some MG voice? Sometimes voice is everything even when the plot is super complex. As it reads, the voice is more adult than MG. However, I bet you really nailed this mystery/thriller. I would love to read this!

    2. Hi Emily! I think I've read yours since #LV14 (yes?) and I like how it's evolving. I think your first clause is strong now- I understand Dom's role right away as well as his conflict (although the "his boot prints" was a little unclear- Tyler's boot prints? Maybe "his rival's boot prints land bully Tyler in handcuffs"). I think as you work, play with the last phrase. It might be a place to go for that MG voice as suggested above. You've got the stakes, but I think if you keep working you can make them feel bigger, the way they would to a MG kid caught in the middle of something like this. Great work and thanks for your help.

    3. By reading the comments, I think I understand how this is MG rather than adult. I like changing "rival" to "bully" because imediately I know that Tayler and Dom are kids. My other suggestion is to put in the age. You can do this if you replace "Dom must decide whether..." with "Dom must either..." and start the whole pitch with "When 10-year-old Dom..." (or whatever age he is). As far as the "boot prints" I think Dom was wearing boots that somehow pointed to Tayler, landing him in handcuffs. If this is what happened, then I think that part is good the way it is. If this were an adult, I would never read it, but convince me that Dom and Taylor are kids and, yeah, sounds like a fun read.