Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bait And Pitch: Twitter Pitches

Hi my lovelies!!!

I hope you are all doing well and writing the ish out of NaNo. It was brought to my attention by a member of the Clubhouse today that #SFFPit is quickly approaching. If you write SciFi or Fantasy and you don't know what #SFFPit is check THIS LINK

For the next couple weeks, we'll be doing Bait and Pitch workshops with Twitter Pitches to help you prep. You can still participate if you're not doing #SFFPit! After all, #PitMad is right around the corner, too. So enjoy! And peer pressure a friend into joining us! 


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 TWITTER pitches. That means you are giving us your best 140 characters including your hashtag & Category/Genre abbreviation (info below) 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. 
Bring a friend.
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. 
Don’t be an asshole. 
If you cross the line, *I* will critique your pitch in a similar manner. K? *grinz*

Formatting Your Pitch

Yes, you MUST use the #BaitPitch hashtag, as you would with any contest. 

NAME: The Wicked Pitch of the East



PITCH: #BaitPitch (YA/F)When Max grows up,yada yada yada.Use Twitter/Word to make sure you only have 140 characters or expect the verbal beatdown.


The Wicked Pitch of the East (aka Dannie)


  1. Okay, I'll get this party started! I'm trying a new version of my pitch this time. My goal is to really show the stakes, so MC doesn't sound passive in her story, but not an easy task in 140 characters. I removed the end "her ticket out," which I really liked, but doesn't fit. Any suggestions would be great. To give you a better idea of what I'm trying to get at, here's a logline I used (that allowed more than 140 characters): Orphaned Bailey Scott sucks at lying and has always been protected by her older brothers. Devastated when separated from them, she must now protect them by lying convincingly about the dangers she faces in her foster home, or risk permanent separation when the oldest turns eighteen, her ticket out. SEE PITCH BELOW:

    NAME: Susan Silberman
    CATEGORY/GENRE: YA/Contemporary

    PITCH: Orphan Bailey sucks at lying but must, about dangers in foster home, to protect brothers so can reunite when bro turns 18. #BaitPitch YA/C

    1. Susan, I don't know why my comments keep getting deleted, but here it goes again…

      The concept is strong and emotionally charged.

      I think the permanent separation is important to the stakes, but as you've already discovered, it's difficult to work that information into the Twitter pitch.

      Here is a tighter version of your pitch, if you're looking to save some characters:

      Orphan Bailey sucks at lying but must if she's going to survive in her foster home until she turns 18 and can reunite with her bro. #BaitPitch YA/C

    2. Actually, I don't think the version I posted is any tighter. It's just different. :p

    3. The word orphan reminds me of Victorian England so I'd just use her age to start with. Fifteen-year-old Bailey sucks at telling lies but the danger in her foster home means she has to until her bro turns 18 and can rescue her.

      I like the idea of it and I know mine is too long but maybe it'll help. I want to know what the danger is if you can work it in.

    4. I really like Alicia's version. I'd tweak it slightly to make it: "Bailey sucks at lying but has to if she's going to survive in her foster home until she turns 18 and can reunite with her brother."

  2. Alicia Tubbs

    A grief counselor must evade the FBI if he's going to destroy a device that records deadly secrets from the dying. #A #SF #SFFpit

    1. To free up space in case there is anything else you could add, I would remove "if he's going". It may just be me, but when you use "deadly" and "dying" it seems a bit redundant to me. Of course, "deadly" could be the perfect word here, since I don't know the secrets being recording, but I would see if there are any other descriptors you could use that would relate so closely to "dying." Good job, if I were an agent, I would request.

    2. Sorry, meant to say 'wouldn't relate so closely'.

    3. Thanks, Chris and Magali. I think I'll change "deadly" to "lethal."

    4. This sounds interesting! I want to know the secrets too! Maybe change it up a bit. To evade the FBI a grief counselor has to destroy the device recording lethal secrets of the dying before X happens.

  3. NAME: Chris Owens



    PITCH: Teen boy is abducted by a gov't project & forced to travel back to 1937 to foil coup against FDR by cabal corrupting history #SFFpit #YA #TT

    1. I love the concept, Chris. This pitch makes me think about events that shape and change history, and what our world would look like if those events hadn't occurred.

      I'm wondering if instead of mentioning cabal corrupting, you could hint at the ultimate impact that this change in history will have on the future.

      If you're looking to free up characters, here's a tighter version of the pitch:

      Teen boy is abducted by the gov't & forced to travel back to 1937 to foil coup against FDR. #SFFpit #YA #TT

      Maybe after "FDR," you could add something about what will happen if this foil works??? Just some thoughts.

    2. I like time travel books! Maybe start with the actual age of the boy. Seventeen-year-old NAME travels back in time to 1937 to foil a coup against FDR (or assassinate FDR or whatever it is) but it wasn't his idea, it's the FBI's and his father is to blame. Or whoever it is. I want to know why the FBI is targeting him in particular, is he gifted in some way? What happens if he fails in his mission?

    3. Love this!! :D The only thing I feel it's missing is the "or-else." Like, if the MC does NOT do what he's forced to do, what will happen? Meaning what will happen to him personally.

    4. loved it - i want to read it really would love to read the book
      as for the pitch maybe give the or else like Rachel said
      "Teen boy is abducted by a gov't project & forced to travel back to 1937 to foil coup against FDR or else...."

  4. Susan Silberman: I know it's difficult to fit everything about your ms in 140 characters and make it sound unique and interesting (it's actually cruel I think lol), but I feel like some of it could be phrased differently to hook readers a little better. Personally, I'm a little confused as to what's going on (please correct me if I'm wrong): Bailey is an orphan who needs to lie about the dangers of their foster home to protect his brothers until Bailey turns 18 years old and can get them out? I love that you used the word 'sucks' - it puts voice in your twitter pitch, which is quite hard to do - so great job on that! :)

    Alicia Tubbs: the repetition of 'deadly' and 'dying' so close together makes the pitch sound strange (especially if read out loud), but I do like the idea behind it! It's clear though - we know the MC is a grief counselor, and what the stakes are so good job on that! :)

    Chris Owens: well, personally, I don't know what 'FDR by cabal corrupting' is, but I do love the idea of a teen boy being sent back to the 30s like that! The only thing is I don't see stakes in your pitch, so it doesn't make me feel like any of it is 'a big deal': I want to know what'll happen to this boy once he's there - is he going to be trapped? Will he be able to come back? But I have so many questions because I don't know what the stakes are. I really love the idea - I'd just love to see what the stakes are! :)

  5. Thank you very much for doing this - it's really, REALLY helpful!!!

    NAME: Magali Frechette

    CATEGORY/GENRE: ADULT/Paranormal Mystery


    PITCH: To get revenge, Celina has to pay up her life and soul. However, the demon she made a deal with stands in her way. #BaitPitch A/PM

    1. Hello Magali, I think your pitch has a lot of promise and I only have a few suggestions. I like the first sentence, it is drawing, but the second sentence is a little vague. If you could find a way to elaborate on the stakes, the pitch might gain more attention. Like, is the demon stopping Celina because he's in love with her, or are his motives more nefarious; along those lines (but of course in as few words as possible). You could try something like-Celina has paid her life and soul to get revenge, but the (insert adjective here) demon holding her contract wants (???).
      Good Luck,

    2. I wonder what kind of revenge Celina wants and how the demon stands in her way. I think leaving out life would make it tighter since giving up your soul means you also give up your life (except not in Supernatural, LOL).
      Maybe something like: The deal Celina made with the demon is about to happen but he's come early to claim her soul.

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  7. Okay, now for my turn before the firing squad.

    NAME: Jamie Zakian

    CATEGORY/GENRE: Young Adult/ SciFi Thriller


    PITCH: #BaitPitch A chance encounter and a magnetic connection hurls Fiona into a deadly pursuit. The secrets hiding within may save her life.#YA

    1. thank you very much for your critique - great help! :D

      I really love your pitch, actually - the only thing is that I had to reread your first sentence because I didn't understand where the 'within' was coming from in the last one. Not actually sure how I'd reword that...Maybe something like:

      #BaitPitch The secrets hiding within a chance encounter and magnetic connection may save Fiona's life from a deadly pursuit. #YA (I checked to make sure it was 140 max)

      Hope this helps - and feel free to ignore this since you know you're own story best! ;)

    2. A chance encounter with who or what? What magnetic connection? Why is the pursuit deadly? What secrets hiding within? This sounds interesting but I need more information which is hard to do in a Twitter pitch, believe me (see my efforts below). Give us more.

    3. I agree with Kathleen, this is too vague. What separates your novel from other stories? To me, it sounds like a basic "girl meets boy, he's dangerous and there are a lot of secrets she has to unravel". Draw us into the worldbuilding or explain why she's being pursued. Maybe try to pull some lines from your query to start and work from there.

      Good luck!

  8. NAME: Kathleen S. Allen

    PITCH: #BaitPitch Seventeen-year-old Mac's determined to get her officer's rank back by going undercover to cut poisonous gems and catch a traitor.#SFFpit #SF

    1. I am curious as to how Mac will get her officer's rank back (and why she lost it) so it definitely does bring out the readers' curiosity. The only thing is that I don't see any stakes, so it makes it difficult for me to care about what will happen in the story.

      Also, you only need to write the #BaitPitch and the genre, you don't need to add the #SFFpit so that'll add more room for your 140 max characters :)

    2. #BaitPitch After a spaceship crash, seventeen-year-old new hybrid Mac loses her rank but determined to get it back she accepts a new mission: spy. #SF

      Still needs work. Here's the 35 word pitch: Seventeen-year-old Mac’s stripped of her rank because of an outdated rule that hybrids can't be officers. She’s determined to get it back by going undercover to cut poisonous gems in order to catch a traitor.

    3. Just out of curiosity though, what are the stakes? What happens if Mac can't get her rank back? What are the risks of going undercover to cut the poisonous gems? What happens if she doesn't catch the traitor?

      Someone gave me great advice for the twitter pitches (it helped a lot!):

      Character needs X because Y. However, Z's going to make getting X hard.


      [Character] + [obstacles], [do something] or else [consequences]

    4. Here's the query, it's a complicated plot.

      As the youngest captain in the Starcon fleet, seventeen-year-old Captain Maggie “Mac” MacIntyre has a lot more to worry about than getting her crew to follow orders. After a mutiny and being thrown off her own ship—and on her first day--she’s framed for blowing up an ambassador’s ship. Being captured by space pirates does not end well after a crash sends their ship careening into the planet’s surface.

      When Mac wakes up, she has two metal legs embedded with special gems. And since she's now a hybrid human, rules dictate she can no longer be an officer in Starcon, even if she could beat the murder charge. Despondent over her circumstances, a glimmer of hope arrives when the president promises to reinstate her position as an officer if she goes undercover to ferret out the spy who’s been stealing gems and secretly funneling them to feed the war effort. Mac agrees but being a gem cutter has its own problems since handling the gems can be deadly without the right precautions.

      Her investigation leads her to discover that her former starship crew—believed to have been killed when the ambassador’s ship blew up—is alive and awaiting execution. Now she has to decide: stop the spy before more stolen gems are taken and complete her mission reinstating her position as a starship captain or go AWOL and rescue her crew.

    5. Do you have an account on AbsoluteWrite forums? (

      It's a great place for getting your review critiqued by writers who have gone through the process many times. I suggest putting your query there if you haven't already (requires that you participate and critique as well, and then you can post once you have 50 posts)

      To me, it sounds a little more like a synopsis, and has too many details for a query. The skeleton of a query should answer the following 3 questions (as katiemac wrote on the forums):

      1. What does your protagonist want?
      2. What does s/he have to do to get it?
      3. What happens if s/he fails to get what she wants? (the stakes)

      So far, you've added too many characters and too many names and details that it makes it very difficult to follow your query.

      I think that if you can get your query critiqued, it'll greatly help your pitches! While getting my own query critiqued a few months ago, I even realized I had plot holes and that the stakes didn't make sense, which ended up modifying my storyline, and for the best! It also became easier to write pitches because I got to the basics of my storyline.

      I wish you all the best! :)
      If you do post on the forum, let me know and I'll have a go at critiquing :)

    6. I think your story sounds interesting. I'm definitely wondering why Mac lost her officer's rank. Your 35-word pitch is great. Maybe something like "17yo Mac’s stripped of her rank because of rule that hybrids can't be officers. She’s determined to get it back by going undercover #SFFPit" will work. But it brings up questions, like "an officer for what?" an "what's a hybrid?".

      By the way, your query was very clear for me. I agree that some of the detail can be cut.

    7. Here's an idea. I love Sci-Fi, and after reading through your shared work, here's a pitch I put together.

      "Framed for murder, 17yo stripped starfleet officer Mac will cut poisonous gems to find a traitor and save her condemned crew "

      I don't feel like the fact she is a hybrid is seriously crucial to the stakes (although I could be wrong!!) so that's what I came up with :D

  9. Okay, here goes!!

    Name: Rachel Stevenson
    Category/Genre: YA/E (technically historical fantasy, but going with #F for the pitch parties)
    Pitch: Either one of the two below:

    #BaitPitch #YA #F 18yo minority girl is trapped in scandalous world of 1811 nobility, hunting down the man who saved her life a decade ago.


    #BaitPitch #YA #F In THE RED AND THE SCARLET, 18yo Fyr +bro must warn an 1811 Slavic world of an otherworldly invasion before they are arrested

    I know it's unusual to use the title in the pitch, but I've been told it's a catchy title and that catchy titles are okay to use in pitches XD Opinions??

    1. Pitch 1: I was initially confused by your mention of "1811 nobility" since I thought that was the number of noblemen, not the year. Maybe say "In 1811, 18yo minority...". This pitch sounds more like a historical drama than a fantasy.

      Pitch 2: This pitch definitely sounds like it's for a fantasy novel. I think I would take the title out and use the extra characters to clarify the otherworldly invasion. You could mean aliens, elves or unicorns with "otherworldly". Like "18yo Fyr + bro must warn an 1811 Slavic world of an otherworldly invasion by killer bunnies before they're arrested for indecency #SFFPit". Something that gives us a bit more detail.

      Either way, good start. I love the title!

    2. LOL, nope, definitely meant the year 1811! Thanks for pointing that out!! XD

      Part of the problem with pitching this book is that the otherworldly invaders are pretty obscure, and part of the story is discovering who they really are.

      How about "18yo Fyr must warn an 1811 Slavic world of an otherworldly invasion and hunt down the man who saved her live before she's arrested"

      And thanks so much!! :D

    3. I think that works better. Does she have to hunt down this man to clear her name of some crime? Then you could change "before she's arrested" to "to clear her name" since that gives a reason for the hunt and implies she's in trouble with the law.

    4. Hi Rachel!

      Love this concept!!! And I, too, love the title.

      I feel like both pitches contain essential elements that need to be combined in to one pitch. While I think the title is awesome, it’s taking up a lot of real estate and not really giving anything away about the characters or plot. The beauty of the title is that it creates a sense of mystery by making a separation between two things normally perceived as similar. But I think when you have so few words to get attention, and you have so many unique elements (as you do here), you probably need all the space devoted to plot and characters.

      The elements that I responded to the best were:
      - 18yo girl (I think this is essential)
      - World of 1811 (cool period)
      - Slavic (interesting and underutilized setting)
      - Otherworldly invasion (I was really hooked by the idea of this event in the time period you mention)
      - Before arrested (I think this speaks to both the stakes and the fact that the MS has a sense of urgency)

      Personally, for me, the term minority felt a bit too vague. I’d either name the minority or leave that out. The two pitches left me wondering if the brother and the man who saves the 18yo’s life are the same person and if that information is critical in such a condensed pitch.

      Also, the notion of “warning” the world felt a bit unclear. I’m wondering what the 18yo actually has to do. I’d think I would be more hooked if I knew. Does she need to alert the military so they can prepare for war? Does she need to tell people not to drink the water so they don’t become zombies?

      I think your MS sounds super cool and I’ll be rooting for you in #PitMad!! ☺

    5. Thanks so much! The awesome thing is that both of you confirmed what my concerns were with the pitches themselves :D
      I think then, I will leave out "minority." She's part of a fictional tribe based off Mongolians, which is too much to explain in a pitch!
      The brother is 12 and is a different character from the man she is hunting down. Although her brother is a crucial character, I'm wondering if it would be better to leave him out of the pitch.

      How about, "In 1811, 18yo Fyr must save Slavic world from otherworldly invasion+hunt the man who saved her life, before she's arrested." (Leaving space for hashtags etc.)

      And thanks for all the feedback!! :D You all are great!! :D

    6. I think the revisions you made are great!! Hard to get everything in there but I think you did it. :)

    7. love the title and it's use in the pitch - #2 confused me though - i wish there was the space to add the title to the 1st pitch

  10. NAME: Tiffanie Lynn

    CATEGORY/GENRE: YA High Fantasy



    *I'm currently playing with multiple pitches. Feel free to critique however many you like.*

    Pitch 1: When True Love is the most dangerous magic, 18yo Marty must decide between following her head or her heart. Both could kill her #SFFPit #YA

    Pitch 2: 18yo Martia meets a prince and falls for him. Too bad True Love is a dark, dangerous magic and there's a witch hunt for lovers #SFFPit #YA

    Pitch 3: DELIRIUM with a fantasy twist: True Love is a dangerous form of magic, but 18yo Martia will fight to prove hers isn't evil #SFFPit #YA

    Pitch 4: True Love is dangerous black magic, but 18yo Martia will risk her life to prove it can be controlled in a diverse fantasy world #SFFPit #YA

    Pitch 5: When 18yo Martia meets Narin, she didn't expect True Love. The magic? Dangerous. The punishment? Death. The only choice? Fight #SFFPit #YA

    1. I love the third one the best!! Perhaps clarify that True Love is a form of magic in Martia's world, and that it is frowned upon? I'm picking up that it isn't liked in her world, which automatically hooks me and makes me ask why? So, maybe something like "In 18yo Marty's world, True Love is a dangerous form of black magic. She'll fight to the death to prove it's controllable."

      It's really a great premise. I just feel like the pitch needs a little more "pop." :D

    2. Thanks, Rachel! I think you just gave me a new pitch: "In Marty's world, True Love is a fatal form of black magic. When she meets Narin, she'll risk dying to prove it's controllable #SFFPit #YA"

    3. Yay!! Love it!! :D I think this is perfect.

    4. Numb'a 1 really caught my attn! I love how it ends that either could end in death

    5. I like #5 best, but would tweak it a bit: "When 18yo Martia meets Narin, she didn't expect the dangerous magic called True Love. Punishment is death. Can they fight back? #SFFPit #YA"

  11. NAME: ndlockard


    TITLE: a smile that lit cigarettes

    PITCH: #BaitPitch Ed’s mission for sobriety and stability is threatened by his assistant and a wild card of a woman #NA

    PITCH 2:Ed, a man-child, battles for sobriety as his assistant threatens his stability, plus a wild card of a woman, enters his life. #NA #BaitPitch

    PITCH 3:Ed, a man-child,battles for sobriety as his assistant threatens his stability, + A SMILE THAT LIT CIGARETTES, enters his life #NA #BaitPitch

    1. Sounds interesting, but the "wild card of a woman" has me confused. Is there any way to describe that woman more, since she's obviously "the smile that lit cigarettes"? To save some characters, do we have to know that Ed is a man-child, and could the plight with his assistant come second instead of first?

  12. NAME: Shannara
    CATEGORY/GENRE: MG/Contemporary Fantasy


    PITCH: Dad gone, Mom vanished. Grandma: notorious liar & monster fighter. G-G-G-grandpa: evil mage & cold-blooded killer. Family sucks. #PitMad #MG

    I ran this and other pitches at the #PitMad yesterday and they were retweeted quite a few times, but no agent takers.

    1. I really like this pitch (and the second one in the next comment) but I'd shift the punctuation/ formatting to make it humorous.
      "Dad: gone
      Mom: vanished
      Grandma: notorious liar & monster fighter
      GGGgrandpa: evil mage & cold-blodded killer.
      Family sucks. #PitMad #MG"

  13. I have some more pitches I'd like someone to look at. Feel free to just comment on one or as many as you want.

    NAME: Shannara
    CATEGORY/GENRE: MG/Contemporary Fantasy


    PITCH: When townspeople turn into monsters, Max must fight his own evil ancestor in order to save Grandma and his friends. #PitMad #MG

    12-y-o Max always wanted a real family, but a deadbeat dad, monster-slaying grandma, and an evil ancestor are a lot to take. #PitMad #MG

    Max finds out that Grandma lied to him… that monsters are real… and great-great-great-grandpas can be freakin’ scary #PitMad #MG

    1. I really like your second pitch! But perhaps use 'a lot to take' to instead raise the stakes? What does Max have to lose?

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