Welcome to the Pitch Critique Session!

If you don’t know yet, we’ll be taking 35-words pitches today and critiquing them, in order to improve them for the awesome New Adult Pitch Contest YAtopia is hosting next week, with agent Sara Megibow and editor Heather Howland (from Entangled Publishing).

All you have to do is to post your 35-words NEW ADULT pitch on comments bellow (with title and genre) and critique three other pitches. The NA sisters and YAtopia contributors will reply with suggestions on how to improve them. As our special guest, the lovely NA author Lynn Rush will help us.


And ...GO!



Post a Comment

  1. ((Just copied and pasted this from the form on the YAtopia site. If I'm first I'll come back later to critique three other pitches))

    Your name: Clare Dugmore
    Your email address: claredugmore@gmail.com
    Title: Sibylline Nights
    Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
    Word-count: 105,831 (still in first round of edits, so this will change)
    35 word pitch (This is a hard and fast rule. Pitches with 36 or more words will be immediately disqualified): Separated at birth, triplets Esmee, Maggie and Nola discover they have magical abilities and are forced into hiding by the Paraphysiology Intelligence Division, while they battle terrorist witches who intend to wipe out non-magical people.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Here goes. I'm posting two different pitches, hope that's all right... I couldn't decide which I liked more. @_@

    Name: Mason T. Matchak
    Title: Skyborne
    Genre: Fantasy
    Word count: 128,000

    Shiloh thought the world of Abraxas only existed in books. It’s real. It’s in pieces. And now one of Abraxas’s gods has tasked Shiloh with putting it back together. Her path leads through the stars.

    Or:

    When a monster from stories attacks her homeland, Shiloh learns those tales are real, and their world has shattered. Now, she must follow a path through the stars, and restore the world called Abraxas.

    ReplyDelete
  3. @Mason T. Matchak

    I like pitch two much more. It's a lot more gripping, and I feel like I get a better understanding of the story from it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Name: Talynn Lynn
    Genre: YA Steampunk

    Pitch:
    Candace portrayed beauty, wisdom, and strength. Her life was perfect until the accident. Her heart is shattered even more to learn her sister is out to hurt her in more ways than one.

    ReplyDelete
  5. @Ink in the Book
    I'm sorry! I forgot the title!
    Title: Fabrication

    ReplyDelete
  6. Name: Talynn Lynn
    Genre: YA Steampunk
    Title: Fabrication

    Pitch:
    Candace portrayed beauty, wisdom, and strength. Her life was perfect until the accident. Her heart is shattered even more to learn her sister is out to hurt her in more ways than one.

    ReplyDelete
  7. @Ink in the Book

    Interesting pitch. Off the top of me head, the first thing I'd suggest is changing this line slightly: Her heart is shattered even more to learn her sister is out to hurt her in more ways than one.

    I think repetition of a word makes sentences a little hard to read.

    Perhaps try something like: Her heart is shattered further to learn her sister is out to hurt her in more ways than one.

    ReplyDelete
  8. @Clare Hi, Clare. Great job here. I'm curious. "Separated at birth then find their magical powers"...are they together now? Or are they finding their powers on their own? Is part of the story finding one other? Or is it more: After being separated at birth, triplets Esmee, Maggie and Nola discover....Or once they're united they find their powers?

    That first part was a bit confusing for me. I'm very intrigued by this Paraphysiology Intelligence Division. Interesting concept!! :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. @LynnRush

    Thanks for your comment, Lynn. They're reunited just as they discover their powers. The discovery is what brings them together. Thanks for pointing out the confusion, as I see now I need to clarify that point.

    ReplyDelete
  10. @Clare

    I've revised it a little, does this sound better:

    Separated at birth, triplets Esmee, Maggie and Nola reunite as they discover their magical abilities. Forced into hiding by the Paraphysiology Intelligence Division, they have to battle terrorist witches who intend to wipe out non-magical people.

    ReplyDelete
  11. @Mason T. Matchak Hi, Mason. That's totally ok. We're all here to help. People can post whatever they want, I'm here all day to hopefully help a little. :) I like the title. :)

    Pitch One:
    This one feels fairly vague. I love the choppy part: It's real. It's in pieces. The in the end, it's too vague. But Pitch two is more on target...so I'm heading there

    Pitch Two:
    This one feels stronger. Gives me more insight into the story. I'm a bit worried about that first line, though. When a monster from stories. . . Her stories? Fairy tales she's read? Might a tweak such as: When a fictional character she's read about attacks her homeland....help?

    A couple more thoughts I have: what happens if she fails? Will they come to earth to take over? Or does it just fade out of existence. Is she the only one who can make the journey? What's at stake for her to do this? What compels her to help?

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. @Ink in the Book Hi, Talynn. Thanks for posting. I think we could tighten that first part a bit. See what you think of this: Candace portrayed beauty, wisdom and strength. Until the accident. It's a bit tighter and I'm shown that she had it all, until the accident. I'm immediately wondering **ohh, what type of accident. What happened.** :)

    That second line, though, feels too vague. Doesn't really give me a picture of the story. Since I don't know your book, I can't really suggest much other than maybe consider these questions that came to my mind while reading the last line: What's steampunk about this? Was her sister involved in the accident? Cause the accident? And what's the storyline about? She had an accident and no longer a perfect life, but then what? Is someone still out to get her? What is Candace's goal, motivation, conflict? Does she have to figure out who caused the accident and if not something bad will happen?

    Does that make sense?

    ReplyDelete
  13. @Clare
    Thank you Clare. I did have "Her heart is further shattered..." but I changed it. So I will try it again with that added. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  14. @LynnRush
    Before I revamp I will answer your questions.

    Steampunk issues: One instance - The setting is early 1800's and Candace has a huge fascination with 1940's style cars.

    Sister: She was involved with the accident, but she didn't cause it. Someone is using the sister to get what they want!

    Candace's must find out who is after her before they destroy Candace, her sister, the entire world as Candace knows it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. @Clare would it be ok to say they are "reunited by their new magical abilities"? That feels more active to me.

    Speaking of active, something in the second sentence to indicate your characters aren't just being forced to do everything. They're "forced into hiding" and "they have to battle" make them sound passive. I want to know these girls are going to make some hard, active decisions before I commit to reading more about them.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi everyone!
    Thanks for pitching! I will be back pretty soon to give my two cents.
    LG

    ReplyDelete
  17. Name: Tamara Mataya
    Title: MOONDREAMER: The Sowing
    Genre: NA Urban fantasy
    Pitch: Syxx discovers she's been manipulated into coming to the city for a Fae breeding ceremony. She must overthrow the corrupt Fae council or risk death. Worse, she may have to participate in the ceremony.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like you are saying breeding is worse than death. I'm not getting a good "picture" here.

      Delete
  18. @Sarah Nicolas You're spot on, Sarah!! Great suggestions.

    ReplyDelete
  19. @Clare

    Seems like you have all the elements here you need - conflict, main characters and a point of difference. Well done, IMO.

    This is probably really subjective: the paraphysiology intelligence division bit really hooked me, I got that lightbulb moment of "I want to read this!". But the witches threw me off. I personally kind of feel like witches have been done. But if I saw this in a book store, I'd read the first couple pages to see if I wanted to keep going.

    ReplyDelete
  20. @Ink in the Book

    I know it's a 35 word pitch, but I didn't feel like I really knew what this book was about.

    Could you be more specific about what kind of accident? And the last sentence is quite a few words. I'd switch it up for detail on one of the ways to give the reader an idea of what kind of conflict exists between the girls.

    ReplyDelete
  21. @Mason T. Matchak

    I liked the first of these two better, but I'd leave out the bit on her path and the stars (which doesn't really give me a clear idea of what's going on in the book. The first sentences intrigued me without them. The last just made me go "huh?"

    Maybe use those words to give an idea of what kind of task this is going to be? I.e. is it a magical stitching, or physical tasks? Can you give an image?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Or this one, and let me know which is better.

    Pitch: Plans to attend a concert are derailed when Syxx learns that the Fae Council has manipulated her into coming to the city to participate in a breeding ceremony. There aren't enough o's in 'hell no!'

    ReplyDelete
  23. @Ink in the Book

    Hi there Talynn!
    I think your pitch gives us a hint that there is conflict (and with her sister), but it is vague. I think the first part, about the accident, is great. Is there something you can add to the last part to give us a bit more of an idea of what is going on?

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hey Mason! I like your second pitch better. The only one I agree with the rest is very vague. The last line seems to disconnect it from the rest of the pitch. You should flesh this one out more if you're going to use it. The second is good but I have a few questions. Who's stories in the first line are you referring too? Shilohs? Her village? And who's world are we referring to in the next line? I'm assuming you mean the monsters but the way it is currently wording youre referring to the world of the "tales." The tales themselves can't have worlds. Also the second reference to "world" needs to be more description. Like the mythical creatures world or monsters world or endangered beings world. Also "Path through the stars" needs to be fleshed out more. It's a great line, but it's kind of hanging out there in Nevernever land. Why is going through this route bad? What's hard about it? And what's at stake for Shiloh if she falls? If the monsters lose their home why would that effect her? She doesn't live there. Hope this helps! Good luck. I love this pitch the story sounds great!

    ReplyDelete
  25. @Aimee L. Salter

    Lynn, Sarah and Aimme, your suggestions are excellent, and have really helped me. Thank you SO much.

    Sarah, I hadn't even noticed hoe passive the girls seem, but once you pointed it out, I wanted to fix it.

    Aimee, your point about witches is one one of my critique partners has been trying to make for months. I guess having a second (outsider)'s opinion has really hammered it home.

    How is this sounding:

    Separated at birth, triplets Esmee, Maggie and Nola are reunited by their new magical abilities. With the Paraphysiology Intelligence Division hunting them, they still choose to oppose magical terrorist intent on wiping out those without abilities.

    ReplyDelete
  26. @Feaky Snucker

    I think the second one sounds a little more edgy and contemporary.

    Maybe it's just personal preference, but I would start with Syxx. Perhaps:

    Syxx's plans to attend a concert are derailed when she learns that the Fae Council has manipulated her into coming to the city to participate in a breeding ceremony. There aren't enough Os in 'hell no!'

    ReplyDelete
  27. @Clare

    Unfortunately, Clare, the one you suggested is 36-words =(

    I like the "Os in hell no!" part a lot - it gives a little of the voice, which is always nice!

    ReplyDelete
  28. @Juliana Haygert

    Oh butts. So it is, I thought the limit was 36. Sorry, my mistake.

    I liked the "Os in hell no!" part too, as you said, it really added some voice.

    ReplyDelete
  29. @Mason T. Matchak

    I really liked the first one until the last sentence. maybe use those words to give us a sense of stakes or what kind of choices she'll have to make?

    Unlike the others, I didn't care for the second pitch "monster from stories" makes it sound like an MG to me.

    ReplyDelete
  30. @LynnRush
    Oooo, I like Lynn's suggestion. It is tighter and in much less words than before ;)

    35-words pitches are not easy and we keep asking questions to clarify, I'm so sorry!
    But I'm confused about her sister, I wonder the ways she's coming after Candace and if she became a ghost or what.

    ReplyDelete
  31. @Sarah Nicolas
    I'm with Sarah.
    Loved the choppy part, as Lynn put it, but you lost me on the last sentence.
    I would love to know more about her personal stakes, not only that the world's.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Name: Talynn Lynn
    Genre: YA Steampunk
    Title: Fabrication

    Pitch: (Revise #1)
    Candace portrayed beauty, wisdom and strength. Until the accident. Banished by her sister, who is next in line for the throne, Candace sets out to find the one forcing her sister to turn against her.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Title: Face the Music
    Genre: NA, mature YA, contemporary romance
    Pitch: When 24-year old Allison Banks inadvertently captures the attention of a rising superstar, she must decide if there's room in her life for the extra excitement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds a little broad. Could you skip out on age and last name and zone in on greater detail?

      Delete
  34. @Feaky Snucker

    Hi Tamara,

    I think both have good elements, and neither is yet spot on (which is obviously why you're here for feedback). I think the styles in both pitches are different, so I'm going to say what I'd like to see from your pitch as a whole and you can work out which pitch you want to revise.

    Your pitch definitely needs to be more active, and I'd like to have a feel for Syxx's voice & energy. Even if she's not a first person narrator, she's obviously who your novel focuses on and she must have a personality, but I have no feel for what she'd be like as a character from either pitch.

    Both pitches tell the conflict well, but I want a little more about Syxx's within this conflict. "She must overthrow the corrupt fae council or risk death." Must she? or is that a decision she makes in the novel? Surely there were other options, and maybe not good ones (like death), but she's made a choice and I think it should sound like her choice in the pitch. Or if it wasn't her choice, if this is a choice made for her, that's completely interesting too, and should be apparant. That's part of the conflict and character.

    ReplyDelete
  35. @Clare

    It's getting better, yay!
    Should it be plural, the magical terrorist part? Magical terrorists?
    Also, out of curiosity (nothing to do with the pitch contest), who is telling the story? The three sisters or one of them?

    ReplyDelete
  36. @Juliana Haygert

    Thank you. Yes it should. I also noticed I've got one word too many. :S

    The story is written from multiple POVs, including each of the sisters.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Title: Look at Me
    Genre: Magical Realism

    Carly is the world’s most potent aphrodisiac -- one look from her triggers any man’s inner-animal. She’s the newest member of the President’s security team. Bad time to discover a man immune to her “charms”.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Confused about the last bit. Is the president the one immune?

      Delete
  38. @Andrea

    A nice, straightforward hook. But if you have the wordcount left, it would be great to get a hint about what's unique about your story. I love these kinds of tales, but they're fairly common. Find a way to stand out from the crowd.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I have been given the go ahed by the other NA ladies that I'm allowed to submit a pitch for feedback here. I want to be very up front that I *will not* be submitting this pitch to YAtopia's amazing contest next week. I just wrote a pitch for my WIP to practice and I think feedback is always helpful. Besides, getting feedback on my pitch may help me give better feedback on yours (which is something I'm supposed to do today). I have never done this before.

    Title: #thatghoststory (Untitled WIP)
    Genre: Urban Paranormal
    Pitch: Vera spends more time with ghosts than living people, helping them find peace in death. When Vera is assigned her friend’s ghost, she learns Lennon’s set on revenge, not peace, and she’s his first victim.

    ReplyDelete
  40. @Andrea

    I agree with Aimme. I want to know what's stopping Allison from having a relationship with this superstar? What is the conflict? What could she lose by dating him?

    ReplyDelete
  41. @Clare Clare. Are you trying to say: Even with the PID hunting them they still oppose magical terrorists intent on wiping out those without abilities? Does that help your word count some? You could even get rid of the still, because the "even with" they oppose .... :) Make sense? Nice job. :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. I actually like the first one better; I think it's more telling of the story. Some suggestions:

    Can you do better than "coming" in the first line? Maybe ...manipulated into attending, or ...manipulated into witnessing.

    The second sentence kind of comes out of nowhere, what is the context (I know it's hard with a 35 word limit). Does she already know the council is corrupt, or does she learn it while at the ceremony?

    Thinking out loud here: After being manipulated by a corrupt Fae council into participating in a breeding ceremony, Syxx must overthrow the system or risk her own death.




    @Feaky Snucker

    ReplyDelete
  43. @Clare I like your suggestion Clare. If it's one word too many you can take out the "has" and "that".... so it could read: Syxx's plans to attend a concert are derailed when she learns the Fae Council manipulated her into...

    I do agree about the voice part (Os in hell). That's really important. Love that!.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Her friend's ghost, for some reason this line threw me a bit (I had to re-read it and decipher its meaning; the friend is now a ghost, or the ghost belongs to one of her friends?). I think what you're saying is that her friend died and is now a ghost (right?)

    Maybe try, "When Vera's friend, Lennon, appears as a ghost, he is set on..."

    @bailey m kelsey

    ReplyDelete
  45. @Ink in the Book Nice revision! Tighter. I know more about the story. the "forcing her sister to turn against her" feels a bit vague. So, Candace needs to find out who's coercing her sister to betray Candace or what? Candace can never return? Or Candace will die on her own? What happens if Candace can't find the culprit?

    ReplyDelete
  46. @Andrea

    Andrea,
    The phrase "When Vera is assigned her friend's ghost" is the phrase giving me the most trouble. In part, I think, due to the word limit, and also, because it has to convey a lot in a few words.

    Yes, her friend has died and is now a ghost. She has been assigned to help his ghost crossover.

    No, I have no idea how to make it less awkward, so I like your suggestion, and will work with it, though it does add many words to an already at-limit pitch.

    Thank you. I like your verb "appears" a lot. I'm going to work with that verb. That fits with something.

    ReplyDelete
  47. @LynnRush

    Lynn, that's exactly what I was going for. Thank you.

    I've now got:

    Separated at birth, triplets Esmee, Maggie and Nola are reunited by their new magical abilities. Even with the Paraphysiology Intelligence Division hunting them, they still oppose magical terrorists intent on wiping out those without abilities.

    ReplyDelete
  48. @Andrea Hi, Andrea. Thanks for submitting your pitch. I like the title! :) Yes, I need to see more conflict in this. I'd ask a few questions: Inadvertently? Why? Is she hiding from relationships because she was burned before? Is she reluctant? What about excitement in her life scares her? What happens if she resists? Will she remain locked away at home? I'm a brainstormer, so I tend to ask a lot of questions to try and find my way. But I do need to see more about the GMC in this pitch for Face the Music.

    ReplyDelete
  49. @Ink in the Book
    I like this revision! It gives us more information!

    ReplyDelete
  50. @Aimee L. Salter Aimee. Your Look at Me pitch is off to a great start. Very interesting. A couple things that caught my eye were:
    that first sentence was fun, but the second seemed a little out of the blue. I think if you combine the second and third sentences into one tight one, that might help. I mentioned before I'm a brainstormer, so I often write what comes to mind, horrible or not, because sometimes it'll trigger the "right" sentence I'm looking for:
    It's a bad time to discover a man immune to her "charm" which trying to protect the President. OR As the newest member of the President's security team, it's a bad time to discover a man immune to her "charms."

    And as I was doing this brainstorm (see how it triggers ideas?), I asked myself, WHY is it a bad time to find someone immune? I don't understand how that is connected to being a member of the security team.

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  51. @LynnRush
    Excellent notes, thanks! Pitching is NOT my forte, so this is a great opportunity today!

    ReplyDelete
  52. @bailey m kelsey

    The friend's ghost part does read kind of odd. I think even changing the wording around to be like "When Vera's assignment is the ghost of a friend..." Or, even just switching to the ghost of a friend may make it read better.
    I really love the rest of that sentence.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Your first sentence is extremely clever, but then the second one kind of falls flat. I'm wondering- president of what? And what about this man, is he a threat to the president?

    Maybe try something like, "Carly is the world's most potent aphrodisiac, a useful talent when protecting the President. Trouble comes when the one man immune to her charms poses a serious threat to the one she's sworn to protect."

    @Aimee L. Salter

    ReplyDelete
  54. Agreed, 'ghost of a friend' reads a whole lot better!

    @lgkelso

    ReplyDelete
  55. Thanks for the feedback! Let's try this:

    24-year old Allison is the oldest surviving member of her family, a role she doesn’t take lightly. When she captures the attention of a rising superstar, she must decide if there's room for the excitement.

    @Andrea

    ReplyDelete
  56. Kenzie moves a lot. She’s afraid to let people close because she might have to leave suddenly. It’s not until her suicidal friend gets pregnant that teaches Kenzie the true meaning of the word home.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Name: Carmen Brack
    Title: Bound in Ink
    Genre: NA fantasy/paranormal
    Word count: ca. 95,000 (I'm still revising)

    Pitch: When Seb discovers that his new tattoo marks him as a tithe-payment to a fairy ruler, he must either fight - which endangers his friends - or enter a feral world as a toy mortal.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Forgot the title and stuff. Let me try again.
    Fade Into You
    YA/NA
    Kenzie moves a lot. She’s afraid to let people close because she might have to leave suddenly. It’s not until her suicidal friend gets pregnant that teaches Kenzie the true meaning of the word home.

    ReplyDelete
  59. @Kelly Allan

    A few things I'm thinking ... why does Kenzie feel she'll have to leave suddenly? Why does she move around a lot?

    Also, the second sentence seems a little of to me. I think "teaches" should be switched to "Kenzie learns".

    ReplyDelete
  60. @Carmen B.

    I love the concept of this, but think a few tweaks could be made.

    First, as I've learned from those above who critiqued mine, perhaps making it more of a choice and not forced is more appealing. So perhaps change "must" to "can".

    Secondly, and this might be personal preference, but toy mortal sounds awkward to me. I would re-order it as mortal toy.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Okay, this was in yesterday's post, but I'm open to critiques on this. :D

    Title: The Truths about Dating and Mating
    Genre: NA - Contemporary

    Pitch:

    Life-long best friends Ian and Ivy have become campus-wide sensations with their call-in sex-edutainment radio program, but are finding it hard to practice what they preach when they start falling for each other.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love this one! Want to read it right now. Perfect pitch.

      Delete
  62. @lgkelso "Ghost of a friend" does read better... thanks for the turn of phrase!

    ReplyDelete
  63. Name: Talynn Lynn
    Genre: YA Steampunk
    Title: Fabrication

    Pitch: (Revision #3)

    Candace portrayed beauty, wisdom and strength. Until the accident. When her sister Chantel, who is next in line for the throne, banishes her, Candace must find who forced her sister’s decision. Before they kill Chantel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I see what you're trying to do with the fragments, but they are distracting to me.

      Delete
  64. Or this:

    Allison is the oldest surviving member of her family, a role she takes seriously. When she inadvertently captures the attention of a superstar, she must decide if there’s room amidst her responsibilities for the distraction. (or excitement, drama, etc)...

    @Andrea

    ReplyDelete
  65. @Andrea

    I like this revision a lot, and it clearly sets out the main point of the story.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Revised 35-word pitch -- thanks Andrea & Lindsie for your speedy feedback! (This is adjusted to keep it at 35 words, but I do still like "ghost of a friend" for a pitch coming in at 37 words. For the record.)

    Title: #thatghoststory (Untitled WIP)
    Genre: Urban Paranormal
    Pitch: Vera spends more time with ghosts than living people, helping them find peace in death. When Vera’s friend reappears as a ghost, she learns Lennon’s set on revenge, not peace, and she’s his first victim.

    ReplyDelete
  67. @Clare
    Thanks for your input! I think you're right about the must/can thing.
    About the mortal toy: I had that one first, but then the meaning of mortal becomes muddled in my opinion. I want to stress the opposition between him, a mortal without special powers, and the immortal fairies he'd be facing and to whom he'd be just a pretty thing to pass the time.
    It sounds a bit weird either way - I'll try to come up with something better.

    ReplyDelete
  68. @Carmen B.

    Perhaps it's just me, but I read toy mortal, as like a miniature mortal. You know, like toy trains?

    But I read mortal toy as in a (Fae) toy that is mortal.

    Hope this helps.

    ReplyDelete
  69. @Andrea
    Yup, the revision helped clarifying why she "can't" be with him.
    Sounds interesting!

    ReplyDelete
  70. @Andrea
    This sounds VERY interesting!
    And I think Andrea's suggestions are spot on!

    ReplyDelete
  71. Author: Kelly Allan
    Title: Fade Into You
    Genre: YA/NA

    Pitch: Kenzie isn’t used to sticking around. She loves her vagabond life with her mother. It’s not until her suicidal friend gets pregnant that forces Kenzie to examine her definition of the word, “Home.”

    ReplyDelete
  72. @bailey m kelsey
    ooooo, "she's his first victim" set some pretty high stakes right there. NICE!
    And yes, it sounds tighter now ;)

    ReplyDelete
  73. @Jaycee DeLorenzo
    You know I <3 this story and think this pitch is so true to the story! I think it sounds great ;)

    ReplyDelete
  74. @Ink in the Book

    Aha, the stakes were raised!! Nice. I like this one ;)

    ReplyDelete
  75. @Clare
    I didn't think of the mini-mortal thing, but you're right!

    Hm. I think the whole final part of the pitch had unlucky connotations. Here's a revised version of the whole pit:

    When Seb discovers that his new tattoo marks him as someone else’s tithe-payment to fairy royalty, he can either fight - which endangers his friends - or submit to becoming a powerless pet in faerie.

    What do you think of this? Thank you so much for the critique!

    ReplyDelete
  76. @Carmen B.

    You're welcome, glad I could help. I really like the new pitch.

    I have one question though, is the Fae realm also known as faerie? If so, you've taught me something new. :)

    ReplyDelete
  77. @Kelly Allan I like all the stakes you have here, but none of them feel tied together to me. I have no idea how any of this might relate in the story, except I assume it must because you put it all in the pitch. I like the interesting points, but I asked 'why?' at a lot of them. Why does Kenzie love her lifestyle? Why does her suicidal friend's pregnancy change that? Reading this I want for a sense of connection, and I think that connection would enhance the urgency you must have in your plot.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Author: Lauren Harris
    Title: THE MARK OF FLIGHT
    Genre: NA High Fantasy
    Length: 120k

    With her war-torn kingdom’s future under threat, kidnapped Princess Arianna must choose between warning the capital of encroaching war or risking her life to help the slave who gave up everything to rescue her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow. I like this one. I don't think I have any constructive criticism to offer.

      Delete
  79. Revision #3
    Author: Kelly Allan
    Title: Fade Into You
    Genre: YA/NA Contemporary
    Pitch: Kenzie’s vagabond lifestyle is threatened by a sudden and close friendship with a person who desperately needs help. Kenzie must make a decision: leave with her mother or stay with her friend.

    ReplyDelete
  80. @Kelly Allan
    Hm. I agree that the old version appeared somewhat disconnected, but now that you took out the 'suicidal friend who is pregnant' part it all sounds a bit vague. It sounds like she feels forced to stay against her will (the word "threaten"), and the idea that she will learn something if she stays is missing.

    What I like here is the basic conflict: choosing between her mother and a friend in need.

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  81. @Lauren Harris

    Hey! For starters awesome stakes! And a love story? Swoon. :). Here is my input, when you describe Ariannas home as war-torn I assume it's already under treat so you're wasting words a bit. Also using the word "kidnapped" to describe her isn't the best adjective to use. I would think "determined or brave" would be better. If you want to discuss her kidnapping then discuss it a bit differently.

    Now a question. You state "Capitol". The Capitol of what exactly? It could be anyone's Capitol.

    Also, maybe be a bit more descriptive and as far as the love interest when you state "he gives up everything." What is everything? Now you can't laundry list, but state what this means. His life? His family? Give the most important maybe and what it means if he loses it.

    Also what is Arianna the princess of? Maybe put "her war-torn kingdom at stake, Princess Arianne must escape the clutches...yada, yada...

    I think that's I all got. Great job here :D

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  82. Replies
    1. Thanks! That gives me some good ideas. :)

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  83. @Andrea That's WAY better than my pitch. Are your talents for sale? :)

    It's not exactly my conflict, but I can modify that to find the right balance. THANK YOU!

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  84. LOL! If only I could get mine up to par!!

    @Aimee L. Salter

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  85. Agreed!! This sounds like a fun read!

    @bailey m kelsey

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  86. Ohh, way cute premise! And well-written pitch, too!!


    @Jaycee DeLorenzo

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  87. Yep, I have to agree with Bailey. What's the connection b/t Kenzie's vagabond lifestyle and her pregnant suicidal friend? Is it her devotion to her friend that makes her finally define "home"?


    @Kelly Allan

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  88. Let me play around a bit...

    Enjoying the freedom of her vagabond lifestyle, Kenzie has never had to answer to anyone but herself. But when a desperate friend is in need, she must reevaluate her definition of what home really means.

    I'm not sure if that really meets your premise or not, but it's another approach! Have fun with it!


    @Kelly Allan

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  89. Isn't it fun to see what happens when we're given a little constructive, supportive criticism? Thanks, NA Alley, for hosting this little soiree! And thank you, too, Lynn Rush, for your expert advice!

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  90. @Ink in the BookI agree with Aimee and LG - the pitch definitely shows the conflict, but it's very vague. I don't understand the first sentence - by "Candace portrayed beauty, wisdom, and strength", do you mean she has those qualities, or does she portray them in art or some other medium?

    I suggest taking that first sentence out, starting with "Candace's life was perfect until the accident", and then hitting hard with the conflict and how it drives the story.

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  91. @Ink in the Book
    Ach, should have read more to see that you'd revised it. @_@ This pitch is much better, really makes me want to read the book.

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  92. @Lauren HarrisStrong and to the point, I definitely like this one. ^_^ The only change I'd suggest is that her kingdom's future being threatened is pretty vague, so if there's a way to specify the threat, adding it would help. I'm not sure what words to take out to fit that in, though. Oi.

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  93. @bailey m kelseyOoh, this sounds cool. And who knows, as wired as things are these days, #thatghoststory might work as a title. ^_^

    The only thing I'd suggest changing is to specify that the friend's name is Lennon in the first part of that sentence, such as: "When Vera’s friend Lennon reappears as a ghost, he's set on revenge, not peace, and she’s his first victim." The way you have the sentence structured now, it took me a second to realize that Lennon was the ghost.

    Other than that, yes, I like this.

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  94. @Mason T. MatchakMany thanks for the feedback, everyone. ^_^

    For the first pitch, that's the second version of it; I went with it because Shiloh taking a path through the stars is a significant story element, but a short pitch might not be the best place. Perhaps I should use this version:

    Shiloh thought the world of Abraxas only existed in books. It’s real. It’s in pieces. And now one of Abraxas’s gods has tasked Shiloh with putting it back together, and saving her homeland as well.

    I know it's vague about how saving Abraxas will save her homeland, but I couldn't find a better way to get that in without going over the word limit.

    And thanks for feedback on the second pitch as well, but I don't think I'm going to use it. I have to agree it does make it sound a little juvenile, and considering some of the people Shiloh meets... yeah, not MG. @_@

    Thanks again, everyone.

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  95. This may be too late in the day to get feedback, but I figured I'd post anyway!

    Your name: Rachel Solomon
    Your email address: rachel.l.solomon@gmail.com
    Title: The Almost Adults
    Genre: NA contemporary
    Word-count: 108,000
    35 word pitch: After flunking grad school and moving in with her parents, Jordan is waiting tables at a dysfunctional Indian restaurant. Stuck in extended adolescence with her new coworkers, Jordan must learn to move into adulthood.

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  96. @rlynn-solomonI like the first sentence a lot - calling the restaurant itself dysfunctional, not just the people who work there, says a lot about both the place and the people, and suggests a location with real personality. Definitely a good way to start.

    I think the second sentence needs work, though. Learning to move into adulthood is very vague, and it doesn't give any real sense of conflict or story. What does Jordan want to do with her life, and what can she do to get there? Will working in the dysfunctional restaurant help or hinder that?

    Hope this helps at least a little. ^_^

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  97. @rlynn-solomon

    Hey! It's great you show her inciting incident. We see how the story began and it's very interesting. My concern is I see no stakes. What happens if she doesn't move into adulthood? Will her parents cut her off? With she lose a love interest? I would get rid of the first part of the second sentences about her co-workers and add that there.

    Say something like:

    "With the smell of (some form of Indian cuisine) in her hair, Jordan must learn to move into adulthood before she (yada, yada, yada)."

    Hope this helps. It sounds like a great contemporary. And if it's romance play that part up!

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  98. @ClareThis is really good, Clare! I like it a lot and want to read it.

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  99. @ClareThis is really good, Clare! I like it a lot and want to read it.

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  100. @Mason T. MatchakI like this and think it sounds great, but I kind of want to know what will happen if she doesn't. In short, make the stakes a little higher.

    Great pitch!

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  101. @Juliana HaygertI like this one very much. You've raised the stakes and created a more thorough presentation - not easy in 35 words!

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  102. @rlynn-solomonThis reads good, but I'm with Mason and Victoria - cut out the dysfunctional restaurant and tell us what's at stake for her if she doesn't move into adulthood.

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  103. @Mason T. Matchak

    I do like this revision! What happens if Shiloh fails her task????

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  104. @Feaky Snucker
    Great voice. Really. And I still like this story:)

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  105. @Andrea
    Yes, this revisions sounds good to me! Is there room in her heart for love with a superstar? How can she refuse? hehe:)

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  106. @Ink in the BookLate-night revisions are the best revisions:

    Shiloh thought the world of Abraxas only existed in books. It’s real. It’s in pieces. And if Shiloh can’t put it back together, the dark gods who destroyed it will conquer her world as well.

    Jaycee, Ink, thank you both for helping me find exactly what was missing. ^_^

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  107. @Mason T. Matchak Mmm... I love the smell of progress. :) Great job, Mason!

    We're trying to find a way to incorporate stakes, right? Maybe you can rearrange the pitch to gain a few words...

    Shiloh thought the world of Abraxas only existed in books, but it’s real—and in pieces. If she wants to ‘accomplish X’, she must ‘do Y’ before ‘Z happens’.

    In this instance, it sounds like Y would be restoring Abraxas. That only leaves two blanks to fill in! (And some rewording, of course) Just a thought! :)

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  108. @Carrie Butler Oops! Looks like you fixed it before I made it back here. Nice work! :)

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  109. @Ink in the Book High five for revision! Be a little more specific about the stakes, and I think you've got it. :)

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  110. Not to go all Terminator on you guys, but… I’ll be back. :)

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  111. @Jaycee DeLorenzo

    Thank you for all the amazing help, everyone.

    I feel like I have a good pitch going into the contest now.

    Much appreciated. :D

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  112. Good luck everyone. all the pitches I read are fantastic.

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  113. @Carrie ButlerThank you! I swear, I wouldn't have even thought to focus on the stakes without the feedback here; I was too focused on showing what I thought were important story details. But I think I've got it this time, thanks to everyone who's helped. ^_^

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  114. @Mason T. Matchak Ha, it probably could go as a title but eventually I'll actually title the thing. Right now, I'm fond of the hashtag.

    Thank you for your suggestion; I was wondering if that was going to trip someone up, so thank you for mentioning that it did.

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  115. Title: Sweet Pea (working)
    Genre: Thriller
    Word-count: 87,000ish
    35 word pitch: Gracie doesn't ask questions, she just gets names and places and does what she was trained to do. Nobody suspects the nineteen year old vigilante until it’s too late.

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  116. @blamethegoat

    I like how the first sentence basically shows us what she is without telling us. I think you should use your second sentence to give us more idea about the story though. What challenges is she going to face? What does she want?

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  117. @Clare

    I really think this workshopping has worked well. It's much stronger now.

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  118. @Carmen B. Carmen. I like this revised pitch better. Great job. The word PET works much better than toy mortal. :) i'm assuming you're suggesting something similar to Boy Toy, right? :)

    Nicely done.

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  119. @Kelly Allan Hi, Kelly. Your Fade Into You story sounds intense-intriguing!! :)

    For the pitch, it feels a bit wordy. Can you combine the first and second sentence together and tighten? And, I might want a hint as to why she has to move all the time. Is this Paranormal? A mystical reason she has to move? Is someone after her? Something like Kenzie keeps people at arm's length since ________. But when her suicidal friend....

    Just something to consider. :)

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  120. @Ink in the Book Hi, Talynn. Great revision on Fabrication! I'm curious. Why is there a period after the word decision? I'm not a wizard at grammar, but can you have it read as When her sister Chantel, who is next in line for the throne, banishes her, Candace must find who forced her sister's decision before they kill her. Someone correct me if I'm wrong on the grammar. :)

    Really nice pitch!

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  121. @blamethegoatI hate to say it, but I really think this should be reworked. The idea of a 19-year-old vigilante has me intrigued, but there's no sense of story or conflict or consequences in this pitch. Anything that tells us what she's dealing with in the story, or who or what she's up against, would make this a much stronger pitch.

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  122. @bailey m kelsey Really nice job on this revision Bailey.

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  123. @blamethegoat Hi, BlameTheGoat. In response to your Sweet Pea pitch, I agree with Sarah on the first sentence. It's good. I'd remove the word "Just" to tighten. Take the second sentence to tell me more about the story, though. Some thoughts that come to mind for me (I'm a brain stormer/question asker to try and narrow things down). What are the stakes if she doesn't follow the rules? Is someone controlling her? Is she assigned to kill someone she can't? Give me a bit more about the plot. :)

    Great start. It's often the hardest to get that first sentence going and I think you have a strong start.

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  124. @LynnRush
    Thank you so much for this advice. I will remove the period and make it one sentence!
    Everyone has been so helpful and I appreciate it!

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  125. @bailey m kelsey I second Mason's comment. Fix that and you're all set, Bailey! :) Nice work!

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  126. @Jaycee DeLorenzo The only thing I noticed is an abundance of hyphenated words. Lifelong could be made into one word. (See: Merriam-Webster.)

    Other than that, I think you're good to go! :) I can't wait to read this book! Well done.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! I already changed some of those, didn't know about lifelong, though. :)

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  128. OKAY! Revised!

    Author: Lauren Harris
    Title: THE MARK OF FLIGHT
    Genre: NA High Fantasy
    Length: 120k

    When Princess Arianna’s kidnapping threatens to rekindle war, she must choose between warning her kingdom of the enemy’s approach or risking her life to help the slave who gave his freedom to rescue her.

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  129. This is GREAT Lauren! So intriguing, so during her kidnapping she finds out a wars abrewin'??? Stellar! This looks amazing and I'm really wanting to read this based on the pitch :)

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  130. @twentysomethingfictionwriter

    Thank you! Thanks for the detailed critique - it really helped me figure out what needed illumination. :D

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  131. @bailey m kelsey

    Better? When Syxx learns the corrupt Fae council has manipulated her into the midst of a Fae breeding ceremony, she must overthrow the system or risk her own death. There aren't enough o's in 'hell no!'

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  132. @Andrea

    Better? When Syxx learns the corrupt Fae council has manipulated her into the midst of a Fae breeding ceremony, she must overthrow the system or risk her own death. There aren't enough o's in 'hell no!'

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  133. @Feaky Snucker

    "manipulated her into the midst of" bothers me. You can manipulate someone into something, or someone can be in the midst of something. The preposition there is a little off.

    Why not "manipulated her into a fae breeding ceremony"? Fewer words AND clearer! :)

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  134. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  135. EVEN MORE UPDATED. Because I tinker. : /

    When Princess Arianna’s kidnapping threatens to rekindle war, she faces a difficult choice: warn her kingdom of the enemy’s approach or risk her life to help t