Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Have You Got What It Takes?

Hey hey!

And how are my intrepid readers doing today? If you've stumbled across this post, it's more than likely that you've got a pitch that needs some polishing. As Pitch Madness is just around the corner it's time for you to polish your pitch to the highest standards possible. That's why I'm offering my gut reaction to pitches that you post here. I'm part of The Red Team this year, and I'll be looking for specific, unique, concise pitches.

So, feel free to put your pitch here and I'll give you my gut reaction to what you've got. Be warned - 100% honesty is going on here, so if you're looking for someone just to boost your ego, then you might be best looking elsewhere. That's not to say if I love it I won't tell you (I certainly will!) but my aim is to tell you whether it works for me or not and why/why not. And to help you on your way, check out my post on the dos and don't in pitching: http://yabookcase.blogspot.com/2015/02/three-dos-and-donts-in-pitching.html

So go on, give it a go...

104 comments:

  1. Hi, my name's Keith (@KFentonmiller). Here's my 33-word Pitch Madness pitch (so far) for my Adult/Magical Realism novel. Thanks in advance!

    Kasper needs Hermes' fabled "wishing hat" to avoid the concentration camps, but he can't find his lover or the hat, just as the veil-wearing Nazi called "the stealer of faces" closes in.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi. You have a lot of good elements here. I love that you are specific in this query - I get a strong sense of your world in just a few sentences. I also like that you show the conflict, and hint at the consequences. You have a really good pitch started.

    My only concern is that there are one or two places where I'm having to make a logic guess, and I'm not sure if I'm right or not. First, I'm guessing the wishing hat will allow him to wish his way out of the concentration camp.

    Second, I'm wondering if "veil-wearing" has any significance. Lastly, is the "stealer of faces" a physical trait? Could you drop the "veil-wearing" and juggle the words and use the extra words available to clarify that the Nazi will put him in the camp/and or steal his face?

    Overall, this would have grabbed my attention in a good way. I like the combination of elements you have here very much. If you could clear up the little logic blips, then this would be fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Fiona! How about this?

      As Kristallnacht erupts, Kasper needs Hermes' fabled "wishing hat" to escape the Third Reich, but he can't find his lover or the hat, and a shadowy Nazi nicknamed "the stealer of faces" is closing in.

      Delete
    2. This is looking stronger. I like that you clarify the Kristallnacht, as that gives a strong sense of place, time, and atmosphere. I am assuming Kasper is a Jew, yes? If so, I would say that, just so it's crystal clear. Otherwise, this looks very strong indeed! Nice job!

      Delete
  3. Hello, thank you for doing this! Here's my 35-word pitch for my YA Fantasy.

    Ice-wielder Lacey longs to rule Blackwood with political finesse, but when an enemy clan targets the territory's elite, she must team up with fiery rivals to prevent their bloodlines from becoming extinct. UNSPOKEN meets FROZEN.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a very clear and succinct pitch which gives your character's goal, the conflict, and the consequence, so you've done a very good job here. My only two quibbles - one her age, so we know if this is upper YA, lower YA, etc (though I'm assuming upper). And I think you could clarify her position (is she one of the elite?). You can tweak your sentences to fit in the word count. Overall - strong and well put together. You've been doing your homework!

      Delete
  4. Thanks for doing this! I'm looking forward to pitch madness. Here is the 32 word pitch for my young YA fantasy.

    Virtue and Vice are tangible forces in Álfheim, controlled by magical orbs. Twelve-year-old John must protect Love, but doing so pits him against the dark sorcerer blocking the portal home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! Okay, I like that you have protection in this plot (it's always a great theme to work with) and you show the magical element of your fantasy well.

      I was a little confused at first as I thought "Virtue" and "Vice" were characters. So when I read this the first time, I couldn't work out why there were so many characters. I had to read this twice. So I suggest tweaking so people know it is the qualities of virtue and vice, and not the people (because if it is people, then it is two too many for the pitch).

      Also, a 12 yo MC is a very young MC for YA fantasy. It makes me wonder if you're pitching this in the right age group.

      Lastly, Why does John have to protect Love? From what, or who? And why does he have to protect her? Also, where is "home"?

      There are some elements here I really like - you have a really nice twist with the tangible forces and evident drama. But I do think you need to address the above questions. Nice start though!

      Delete
    2. Thanks so much for the feedback =)

      Delete
  5. Okay, here's my pitch & thanks, Fiona!

    Gutsy grad student Miranda tumbles into her gothic romance. A pistol-wielding, poetic lord and a purple squirrel help her battle gorgons and trolls. But can they prevent mayhem and murder? Maybe not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, so this one is fun and quirk. But it also threw me for a loop. Grad student says NA. Purple squirrel says MG. So I'm fumbling for a genre. Not to say you can't have purple squirrels in NA, but if it's not a 100% relevant to the core pitch, then I'd leave it for the book to reveal within the context of the story.

      I love the fun elements of gorgons and pistol-wielding lords,, but the core story line of character, problem, only choices, consequences isn't quite there yet.

      It feels disjointed and I have a few too many questions - how does her romance connect with the lord, what has the purple squirrel got to do with anything, and how does the battle come about? What choices does she have?

      I think if you could clear up the logic, this could be a lot stronger.

      Delete
  6. Here is my pitch. Thank you for this opportunity.
    Title: The Mason of Hearts
    Genre: YA/NA Fantasy

    A witch attacks Preventor Mountain, killing many. Three young Preventors must stop her without giving her what she wants most – their blood, possessing the power to release her lover from death’s grasp.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now I love a good witch-y story. And I like your premise here very much. You have a good conflict and good world building. However, I can't quite connect to your characters as they are nameless, and thus faceless. Is there a main character or is this told from three POVs? Also, if she has killed many, what exactly are they preventing her from doing now? Killing more? Something else? If you can clarify that, it would help.

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Fiona! That helped a lot!

      Here is my revised pitch. Is it better?

      Sara and Dustin, two young Preventors, must stop Elfria, a witch, from killing the Kingdom’s Heir, without giving her what she wants most - their powerful blood, to release her dangerous lover from death’s grasp.

      Delete
    3. This is much stronger! I really get a stronger sense of your characters and of what is really at stake. I like this one a lot!

      Delete
    4. Thank you muchly, Fiona! Glad you like it. You really helped me work out a better pitch. Thanks for running this!

      Delete
    5. Fiona, I played a little more with my pitch. What do you think of it now?

      Sara and Dustin, two young Preventors, must stop a witch, from killing the Kingdom’s Heir, without giving her what she wants most – their blood.

      Delete
    6. Oops... here it is:

      Sara and Dustin, two young Preventors, must stop a witch from killing the Kingdom’s Heir, without giving her what she wants most – their blood.

      Delete
    7. Hi. I actually think your version which stated what the powerful blood was for worked much stronger. In these versions, it doesn't make clear sense as to why she wants their blood.

      Delete
    8. Here is one last one. How does this one sound:

      Sara and Dustin, two Young Preventors set out to protect the land’s heir from a heart-collecting witch. They must avoid giving her what she wants most - their blood possessing power to destroy the Kingdom.

      Delete
    9. Oh this is the closest one. I lobe the heart-collecting. That really adds something. Your last fragment reads a little awkwardly, so if it can be smoothed out, this would be good to go, I think.

      Delete
  7. Thank you so much for this incredible help.

    Title: Revealing Of Song and Ash (Book1 of 5 Should I say this?)
    Category & Genre: NA Speculative Fiction
    34-Word Pitch

    Upon accepting her destiny, Tori must wield the most ancient language, against fierce immortals invading earth. To save humanity and keep the enemy from restoring their Kingdom, she must destroy Ashur, her first love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ancient languages catch my eye, and epic love tragedy = good. However, you're missing a few things -

      a) accepting the destiny? What is this? Is this a world where destiny is set out for every person? Or is it a chosen one thing?

      b) How do you actually wield a language? Is it magical?

      c) What has her lover got to do with the plot? Is he one of the immortals? Why exactly does she need to destroy him?

      As someone who doesn't know your book, I can't make the logic jumps. If you can clarify these things, then I think you'd make a much stronger pitch.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for your feedback.
      Working on revision. :)

      Delete
    3. These are some tough questions to answer in 35 words, lol

      Hope this revision is better. I also added the answers to your questions in hopes that if my pitch is still confusing, that perhaps you could guide me in fitting these answers in. Again, thank you so much.


      Tori’s tasked with a great burden, to learn a powerful and ancient language that allows her to traverse realms, and battle fierce immortals. But to save humanity, she must kill their prince, her child’s father.

      a) Her destiny is a "chosen one" thing. Her enemies as well as her own "family" have long awaited her birth and rise to power.

      b)The language is wielded through purity and truth, no magic but very powerful

      c) Hopefully I cleared this one up. lol

      Delete
    4. Sentence one is great. Love it. All I have a question about is whether the prince is humanity's prince or the immortal's prince? It's not quite clear.

      Delete
    5. Ok, will figure this out. Thank you.

      Delete
    6. Here are three options that hopefully clear up the confusion.


      1. Tori’s tasked with a great burden, to learn a powerful and ancient language that allows her to traverse realms, and battle fierce immortals. She must also kill their prince, her child’s father, to save humanity.

      2. Tori’s tasked with a great burden, to learn a powerful and ancient language that allows her to traverse realms, battle fierce immortals, and kill their prince, her child’s father, all to save humanity.

      3. Tori’s tasked with a great burden, to learn a powerful and ancient language that allows her to traverse realms, and battle fierce immortals, killing their prince, her child’s father, to save humanity from extinction.

      4. Tori’s tasked with a great burden, to learn a powerful and ancient language that allows her to traverse realms, and battle fierce immortals, killing their prince, her child’s father, and saving humanity from extinction.

      Delete
    7. Hi Heather - number one gets my vote, Having it as two sentences makes it read tighter, as one sentences feels a little too complicated. Good job on this!

      Delete
    8. Thank you so much Fiona, for all your time and guidance, it has been invaluable.

      Delete
  8. Hey Fiona, thanks so much for doing this. My MC's name is Fiona too, obviously a great name. Here's my 35-word pitch for Project Snowfall, a YA Techno-thriller,

    A chance encounter with a mysterious girl, who’s a secret lab-project created as an eternal sixteen-year-old, lands a target on Fiona Townson. While dodging government-trained assassins, Fiona digs for answers as her own existence unravels.

    Thanks again,
    Jamie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh eternal 16 yo. Nice! Though I have seen a few pitches going down this line. HOWEVER, this is not the issue. There is always room for a great book.

      The first sentence is strong and captures me. However, why is Fiona's (feels weird for me to type my own name and speak in third person! lol) existence unraveling? Can you clarify this? What are her choices, also?

      Tell us these things and it will be more specific, thus more unique. Nice start though!!

      Delete
  9. Hi! Thanks for doing this. My MG fantasy/adventure is titled Bad Things Come in Threes. Here is my pitch:

    REIGN meets CORALINE when the Adessi triplets enter a magical olive grove to find their parents, only to discover a parallel universe that wants them dead. Maybe for good reason: Mom and Dad are tyrants.

    Thanks again!
    Shyla

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You had me at Coraline. No really. I adore Coraline. Thus on personal preference alone you grabbed me. Comp titles can give an agent a good feel for your book.

      Your pitch is also very strong. I actually love this whole concept. I have a tiny squibble...I'd love to see the They must choose to X or X part of the pitch. However, you don't have the spare word count. If you can think of a magical way to do that without losing the elements you have, then do it. If you can't...this is strong enough, IMO.

      Love it!

      Delete
    2. Thank you! I'll work on the title. :)

      Delete
  10. Thanks for doing this, Fiona!

    My pitch is:

    On Santa Rosa Island, legend states Goddess demands women die in childbirth. But when Lucina discovers the deaths aren't supernatural she must outsmart the Goddess to keep her best friend from being the next victim.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is clear and to the point. You have your set up, the conflict, and the problem to be solved. I only have a small quibble - "legend states Goddess" doesn't flow properly. I know you only have 35 words to work with, but you want to make sure your grammar and flow is as smooth as possible, as it is the first showcase of your writing. And that's one of the most important things - your first impression on an agent. So if you can clarify it as "a Goddess" or even better the name of the goddess, then it would be stronger. Oh, and lastly, this is a small thing but I think it should be "the Goddess" in quotes on the last one, as it gives that nod to the fact it's not a real goddess, if you see what I mean? A very solid pitch though.

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Fiona! That's really, really helpful. And I think I might be able to squeeze in "According to legend, Santa Rosa Island's Goddess demands women..." which makes it a bit more clear. I'lll definitely be using quotes, too--that's a great idea!

      Delete
  11. Thanks for doing this. Here's my pitch for Deadwood Gamble, an NA romantic adventure.

    Alice has five days to find a lost treasure to keep a gangster from hurting her family. Vance has five days to get out of Alice’s friend zone, if they survive that long.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I like this. You show the romance and the adventure well in your pitch, which is actually a hard thing to do. So kudos to you there. My only thing? I'm not seeing why this is NA and not just plain adult?

      Delete
    2. Thanks. I've toyed with submitting it as adult but the characters are college students.

      Delete
    3. In that case, I think you need to work that into the pitch.

      Delete
  12. Thanks for your input, Fiona.

    Seventeen-year-old, Juliana, dreams of a national mountain bike championship, but her life becomes as dangerous as the downhills she craves, when the girl she desires tries to kill her. She can’t win if she’s dead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh I really like this premise. The mountain bike championship angle catches my eye, as drama and a girl with an unusual sport to boot is unique and a good twist. That would have got me looking further. I don't think you need the last line, it feels a little gimmicky. I think you could cut it and use the word count to clarify a little more about who this girl she desires is, and why she might want to kill her.

      Delete
  13. It doesn't look like this posted the first time, so here's another shot. Below is my 35 word pitch for a YA contemporary titled, PENNED.

    Jasper and Mia fell in love while in a juvenile prison. Despite the passion that brews, Jasper may never be out from behind bars and Mia may never be able to let him go.

    Thank you! Sara Cremeno

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh a nice angsty YA. You have a strong pitch here. As a reader, I'm imagining maybe an epistolary book (but that is simply because of your title), and I'm thinking lovely, lyrical writing. Heartbreak and tragedy. This is one that really does a lot in a few words. In fact, I think the concept shows that a great concept can be boiled down to 35 wonderfully well.

      My only thought - I know you say Mia won't ever be able to let him go, but I think you could make it clearer by saying she will get out of prison and will have to leave him behind, as I am guessing that is what is going to happen. But as a reader of a pitch, I don't want to guess...I want to know the stakes completely. So if you can touch that up, this will be fantastic. I love it!

      Delete
    2. Thank you so much! Great suggestion that I will definitely use!

      Delete
  14. THE DISAPPEARENCE OF IMMANUEL YOUNG.
    Ya Science Fiction Thriller
    89,000

    Immanuel, a seventeen-year-old reincarnate vessel, wants nothing more than to keep control of his own mind. Teaming up with a criminal hybrid and stopping an assassination his past-self initiated is his only hope—supposedly.

    Thanks!

    Kosoko Jackson
    @KosokoJackson

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You definitely hit the genre and sub genre well. Your pitch makes that clear, which is great. At first, I understood "vessel" as spaceship, and then I thought it was a term for his body, as a "vessel". I know this might sound strange, but I'm not sure which it is, as sci-fi has had anthropomorphic characters in it before.

      Also there is a lot going on here, but I don't quite see how they tie together - why does he risk losing control of his own mind? What has the assassination got to do with him keeping control of his own mind? Assassinating who? And why?

      I think you need to clear up those core questions so the concept becomes clearer.

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Fiona! Maybe this works better?

      Seventeen-year-old Immanuel, born to have his mind replaced with another from the past, wants nothing more to than to keep control. If he stops an assassination of a CEO the past-self orchestrated, he can. Supposedly.

      Delete
    3. Sorry for the double post! I changed some wording around to tie the title 'THE DISAPPEARANCE OF EMMANUEL YOUNG' into the pitch. Not sure if its any better XD

      Seventeen-year-old Emmanuel, born to have his mind replaced with another from the past, wants nothing more to than to keep from disappearing. If he stops a CEO’s assassination the past-self orchestrated, he can. Supposedly.

      Delete
    4. This is almost there! I love the first sentence - it is much, much clearer. And I know you have only so many words to work with, but I'm wondering how him stopping the assassination of a CEO will make him stop from disappearing? (CEO of what?)

      Delete
    5. I dont want to take you away from helping others, so if i'm sending too many versions, let me know!

      Seventeen-year-old Emmanuel, born to have his mind replaced with another from the past, wants more than anything to keep from disappearing. If he stops a genetic company's CEO’s assassination the past-self orchestrated, he can.

      Delete
    6. Okay, this is almost there. I understand now it's from a genetic company, which makes sense. I still have an underlying question though (sorry!) - but...can you clear up the role the genetic company has? Are they the ones who install the replacement minds? What is it about the CEO's work that means if he is assassinated that Emmanuel won't get a chance to keep his mind? We need to know what the CEO's actions are in order to understand the full reality of what this means to Emmanuel.

      Delete
  15. Title: THE SECRETS WE KEEP
    Category/Genre: YA Contemporary/mystery


    35 Word Pitch:

    During an out of body experience, Lyndsay sees her HS janitor moving a dead body. Now she must prove he’s a serial killer before he kills again…and before she becomes his next victim.

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi! Okay, I do love a good serial killer plot. And I like that you have a real YA setting here. I do have a couple of concerns - there is a recent YA Contemp out with the same title as yours (actually, from some of the Pitch Wars mentors). Also, I have seen this idea before. Now, it might be yours if you've entered other contests. If not, it's another book I've seen. However, the out of body experience gives a good twist.

      But onto the pitch...

      The pitch is as solid as a rock. You have character, conflict, consequences. So we're all good there. I have one tiny logic blip...if it's only one body she sees, then it doesn't make a serial killer, just a murderer. You'll need to clarify this. Other than that, this looks strong, if a little familiar to me.

      Delete
    2. Hi Fiona,
      LOL Yes it probably does sound familiar because I've entered it in Pitch Wars before. And I am aware it has the same title as Trisha Leaver's book (I found out from an editor at FSG before Trisha's was released). I actually had a good laugh with Trisha about it because the editor wound up requesting a different ms of mine than this one because of that. Luckily, Trisha's book is very different though and I don't know of any other books that have my same plot. So I was gonna keep the title for now, because let's face it, NY will change it anyway if they pub it (and I didn't know about Trisha's book when I titled mine). Thanks for your comments on the pitch though - you nailed the one thing I wish I was able to fit in! But it's already at 33 words so I can't quite figure out how to do it. I guess I'm relying on the reader taking a leap of faith that Lyndsay discovers more about the janitor along the way. I've had a lot of success with this short pitch before in twitter contests, and the ms is out with several agents right now, but I'm not quitting until I have that all too elusive offer of rep in hand! Thanks so much for your feedback!

      Delete
    3. That's great that it's your book that is familiar to me then! Also, yes, titles can change.

      I did have a thought about your pitch and a tweak to offer:

      During an out-of-body experience, Lyndsay sees her HS janitor moving a dead body. When another body turns up, she must prove he’s a serial killer before he kills again…and before she becomes his next victim.

      35 words on the nose. Hyphens are your friend ;-) I think you can get away with them here. :-) And it gives you the word count wiggle room you need.

      Delete
    4. Thanks so much for the tweak, but alas, since that's not what happens I can't use it :(
      It's more like this - the clues mount that he's a serial killer who's going to kill again. And as quickly as she's investigating him, he's catching on that she knows too much. But just talking this through has given me an idea of how I might be able to tweak my pitch, so thanks again! Now I hope I can make the words fit!

      Delete
    5. Well, here it is, but I can't decide if it's weaker or stronger than the original:
      During an out of body experience, Lyndsay sees her HS janitor moving a dead body. As clues mount, she must prove he’s a serial killer before he kills again…and before she becomes his next victim.

      It's 35 words on the nose though...

      Delete
    6. My vote goes to this version. :-)

      Delete
  16. A WHOLE NEW BALLGAME (MG)

    Pitch: When Jonah befriends his new neighbor, Annie, who has Cerebral Palsy, he must decide whether their friendship can survive outside the confines of home or if others’ preconceived notions of their differences will destroy it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey hey! How are you? :-)

      Alrighty...let's take a look at this pitch...

      Love the diversity angle, and I love how it's not in there just for the sake of being in there. That it's a core element of your plot. And I love the friendship angle too, as this is so important in MG novels.

      Only one thing: I do think you need to put in the ages. Is this upper MG? Lower? Where does it fit? If you can give the MC's age, this would help.

      Other than that, I really like the sound of this contemp MG. Nice!

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Fiona! Once again, you are giving your time to help us all. So generous. I will revise to add Jonah's age and take out something else. Thank you again!

      Delete
  17. Thanks, Fiona. Will work on your suggestions.

    Best,
    Gayle

    ReplyDelete
  18. LAND OF SAND AND STARS
    YA historical fantasy

    Pitch:
    When her life-absorbing abilities fail on the tyrannical High King, Āmitis plays both sides of the Median/Persian war. But falling for his grandson – the King Persian – endangers her plan, her life, and two empires.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh! Historical fantasy is always fun! And a Persian setting is great. I also love the scope of this concept.

      A few thoughts though - is she sent to kill the High King by the other empire? I'm not sure of her position here. And how does this lead to her playing both sides? Is she a spy of some sort sent to kill the High King?

      I love the romance angle here, but I think you need to clarify those other points!

      Delete
    2. I posted it yesterday, but didn't see it show up so I'm posting it again - just in case! Also, does "life-absorbing" count as one word?

      When Āmitis’ life-absorbing abilities fail on the tyrannical High King, agreeing to their marriage protects her province. Her secret plans and two empires are jeopardized when she falls for his grandson – leading the Persian rebellion.

      Delete
    3. I totally changed it again - figured more options are better!
      This one perhaps?

      When her life-absorbing abilities fail on the tyrannical High King demanding betrothal, Āmitis agrees in order to manipulate the Median/Persian war to her advantage. Falling for Cyrus – his grandson leading the revolt – jeopardizes everything.

      Delete
  19. Hi Fiona! I need help with this terrible thing!

    UNDER THE BLUE, MG Sci-Fi
    Thirteen-year-old Braya’s domed city survived global flooding, but a dangerous plague threatens. If she can keep everyone from fighting, they might find a cure before her Father, and the rest of the city, dies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have great scope in this project, and I love that you have family ties in this plot as a stake.

      There are some questions I have though - why is she the one who can stop it, if she's only 13? Is the flooding important? Does it need to be in the pitch?

      If you can clarify those points, it would be much stronger. :-)

      Delete
    2. Is this version any better?

      Thirteen-year-old Braya lives in an underwater city that endured global flooding. When rescuing some survivors results in a plague, Braya must unite Arvia’s old and new citizens, or everyone in the domed city will die.

      Delete
    3. I think the flooding is important because the whole story takes place in a city underwater. And she doesn't find the cure to the disease, she just talks her friends into telling her what cures it and then they all go get it. Anyway, 35 words doesn't give me much room for that. :)
      Thanks for doing this, BTW. It is so nice of you.

      Delete
    4. Ah yes, knowing that the flooding has created it as an underwater city is very important. I didn't realize that in your first pitch (and actually thought it was domed in the same way that the Stephen King novel "Under the Dome" handles it. So rephrasing it this way really helps.

      as for the pitch - my issues is that there is a logic error here. If a group of pre-teens know what the cure is, then why don't the adults? Do they stumble upon the cure and decide to "rescue" the city?

      I think you need to clear that logic up in order for this pitch to work.

      Delete
  20. Hi Fiona,

    Here's mine:

    BIRTHDAY DISASTER
    Adult Romantic Suspense

    A hand on a detective’s crouch lands Attorney Daniella Montgomery in cuffs. Evidence identifying her in a serial homicide lands her in jail. She’ll need to find the killer before she lands behind bars permanently.

    I do wonder though if it's dual POV do we have to make the pitch that way too?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I love this pitch! I actually wouldn't change it.

      So onto your question - this is a tricky one. Having a second POV should really be addressed as it means you have a second lead character just as important as the first. If both POVS are vital to the story, then they should make it into the pitch, IMO. However, I am loathe to say to do this as your pitch is so strong. Can you show me a version of a pitch accounting for the other POV and it will help me see whether you need it in there or not?

      Delete
    2. Here's with both POVs:

      Her hand on Detective Jones’s crotch lands Attorney Daniella Montgomery in cuffs. He reveals evidence identifying her in a homicide, throwing her in jail. They must find the killer before she lands behind bars permanently.

      Delete
    3. Love this! It shows both POVS and retains that lovely feel! Very nice!

      Delete
  21. Hi Fiona:

    I took your advice above. Second try:

    Seventeen-year-old, Juliana, dreams of a national mountain bike championship, but her life becomes more dangerous than the downhills she craves, when she falls for an heiress, who hides deadly deceit behind her beauty and lies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gayle, I really like this. I think it's much stronger. By taking out the gimmicky line and clarifying what's happening, it makes me much more compelled to read the pages. Nice job!

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

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi, Fiona! Thanks in advance for your input.

    RETTA VS. MUTANTS
    YA Fantasy/Horror-Comedy

    Pitch: That basketball scholarship is Retta’s, provided she can manage her family’s shenanigans…plus one ex-con brother, some creepy, green-eyed garden gnomes, and a dead body—okay, maybe two. Veronica Mars meets Shaun of the Dead

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    1. This has a ton of voice. I like the comp titles too, and I like the humor. You've also got a very interesting mix of elements in here.

      I'd like the core conflict to be a touch clearer though - will her family shenanigans stop her from being able to practice and that's why she won't be in the team? A little clarity and this is good to go!

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  24. Hi Fiona, Hope I'm not too late for some input re my pitch.

    My Contemporary YA is titled The Ugly Buckling

    The Pitch:

    Albino wallflower Chloe Buckling is forced into the spotlight to reunite her broken family and win a life-changing scholarship before losing the only boy who ever cared and what’s left of her vision.

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    1. This sounds like it has some really wonderful plot elements in it and a core plot that is nice and unique. However, the pitch feels a little overloaded with so much going on. I think you need to clarify the most important story thread - is it that she's albino, or that her vision is in danger? Is the fact she is a wallflower necessary to the pitch? If so, what is it that makes her have to come into the spotlight? What is this life changing scholarship?

      I would pick your main plot thread to work around and keep it focused in order for this to work. Otherwise the overload of elements makes it feel messy.

      Love your idea though!

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    2. Really appreciate your insight, Fiona. You're absolutely right and I'll make some changes to focus the pitch. Hope you don't mind me sending you another version (or two) of this.

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  25. Hi Fiona,

    I hope I've improved my pitch for my contemporary YA, titled THE UGLY BUCKLING.

    Possibility #1
    Albino wallflower Chloe Buckling’s dreams of becoming an artist are shattered when she’s diagnosed with impending blindness; until she’s drawn out of her self-imposed shell, and into heartbreak, by unattainable classmate Ethan Randall.

    Possibility#2
    Albino wallflower Chloe, the ugly ‘Buckling’, is drawn out of her self-imposed shell, and into potential heartbreak, by unattainable fellow art student Ethan Randall while stepping into the spotlight to save her sister’s future.

    Thanks in advance for your feedback.
    Hanna L.

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    1. These actually sound like different books! I like the first one best, but I still think this needs to be clearer. Your first sentence pitches her dreams as an artist and her blindness. But the second doesn't deal with the conflict choice over that at all. The second pitch brings in her sister and we need to know what that future is.

      It looks like a big, complex book you have here (which is great), but you need to make sure the logic of the pitch ties together. It should be character + conflict + consequences relating to the core plot thread.

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  26. Thanks again for your generous insight, Fiona. You're right about this book being complex. Your mention of putting character + conflict + consequences relating to the core plot thread into the pitch is spot on. Now to figure out which plot thread is core! You have my deepest gratitude for taking the time to help a Pitch Warrior prepare for battle.

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    1. Looking forward to seeing what you do with this!

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  27. Thanks for the fabulous offer!!

    Trafficked into slavery, sixteen year old Carina must put her trust in a tortured stranger if she wants to escape the same monsters he does: his family.

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    1. Hmm, this is a tough one. I love the dark theme, but the pitch isn't personalized enough. We need more insight to Carina to know why we care for her over any other person in this situation. Is there a way to show us a little more about what she stands to lose, other than just going into slavery (yes, that is a biggie, but looking for a more personal slant here).

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  28. Hi Fiona,

    Thank you so much for offering your help to the writing community! I hope I'm not too late to submit my pitch for critiquing - it could probably use some help!

    CRUMBLING
    YA Fairy-tale retelling

    Pitch:
    A sassy, talking gingerbread house endangers a senile witch in her quest for friendship and a normal teenage life in this light-hearted take on the Grimm story of Hansel and Gretel.

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    1. Okay I think this is fun but needs some work.

      If a witch is senile then how can they lead a normal teenage life? Or do you mean the gingerbread house is a teenager? This needs to be cleared up. Also, I think having an anthropomorphic main character in YA is a very difficult thing to do. Not that you can't do it, just that it's tough. I also think you need to show your stakes and what the main character has to lose if they don't succeed in the plot.

      It should be character + conflict + consequences.

      As I said, this sounds fun and quirky and I like a good retelling, but the plot could do with clarification.

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    2. Thanks so much for the feedback! That really helped - I didn't realize my pitch was confusing since I've read it so many times and I know what happens in my book. The witch is senile and the Gingerbread house wants to lead a normal teenage life (just to clear that one up before my next attempt).

      I'm not sure if this one is any better, but if you have time to give an honest opinion or critique, I'd love to know if you like this pitch better or worse than the first one!

      "Hansel and Gretel stumble upon a sassy, talking gingerbread house, who desperately wants friends. The candy cottage must protect her senile resident from the witch-hunting crowds that follow, or lose her own life."

      Thanks again for all your help!

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    3. Actually I've changed it again. This is what I've come up with:

      Hansel and Gretel stumble upon a sassy, talking gingerbread house. Ginger, the house, endangers the mind of her magical creator, and must risk her own consciousness to protect her senile resident from a witch-hunt.

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    4. Hi Emily! Okay so I think you're almost there. I love the first line you have on this last version. Really voicey and fun.

      The second line isn't quite clear. You say Ginger endangers the mind of her senile resident but it doesn't make it clear how.

      I had a play around with your pitch (though I had to bastardize a bit as I don't know the particulars). But this should give you a sense of what your pitch says to me:

      Sassy, talking gingerbread house, Ginger only wants to be a normal teenager. But when Hansel and Gretel find her, she must risk her own consciousness to protect her senile creator from a witch-hunt.

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    5. I love this - and it definitely works for what my book says. Thank you for all of your help!

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  29. Hi Fiona! You are so amazing for offering this chance. I hope I can still get my pitch critiqued? It's for my 85,000 YA contemporary fantasy, The Black Night Rave.

    When Jessica goes missing, Skyeler must decide if being a mage is worth all the risks. Accused of her murder, he must prove she's alive; otherwise he'll be stripped of his magic and exiled.

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