Pitch Madness: Pitch Honing Session


*** THIS HONING SESSION IS NOW CLOSED TO NEW PITCHES. PLEASE SEE THE NEW POST. ***
Pitch Madness is just around the corner and it’s time to sharpen those pitches! The Aussie Owned & Read team is here to help!
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Don’t know what Pitch Madness is? You can find out more about it here. Basically, it’s your chance to have your manuscript skipping the slush pile and being seen by a heap of fabulous agents.
Two of the Aussie Owned & Read team are involved in choosing some of the pitches that will make it in front of the industry professionals, and we want to help you make your pitch shine! Put your pitch in the comments as per the formatting below and we’ll let you know our thoughts on how it an be improved. You are also welcomed to help out your fellow writers aspiring to be part of Pitch Madness by providing feedback on other posts too. Sharon and I are on Team Dark Side and we are really looking forward to seeing what you have to offer.
Title:
Category and genre:
35-word pitch:
Happy pitching!
Team Darkside 1
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALauren K. McKellar is an author and editor. Her third release,

Eleven Weeks, just came out last week, and you can currently find her on Facebook here or rocking quietly in a corner. 

306 Comments

  1. After re-reading them, I completely agree that they’re repetitive. I’ve scrapped the majority of the second sentence! Here’s hoping that this one is stronger with clearer stakes, and “inhuman” is only used once:)

    Trans-dimensional loan sharks grant inhuman abilities, and Zeeth’s friend Fanzam is up to his eyeballs in debt. When Fanzam disappears, Zeeth wrangles powers, which, if overused, will end his life before he rescues Fanzam.

    Thank you so much for your help! I’ve learned a lot by reading other pitches today, and I’m feeling more confident and excited for PitMad.

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    Reply

    1. This is much better! The only thing I wonder about is that the way the last sentence is written, it sounds like he’s more worried about his friend going unrescued than he is about dying! As a suggestion, you could ramp it up a little with something like: “will kill him and leave Fanzam to suffer forever.”

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      1. Hi Cassandra! Thank you for your input. Funny enough, Zeeth actually is more worried about finding Fanzam than he is about dying. He suffers from a range of phobias and anxieties, but he’s also the most selfless character in the series, and he feels guilty for his inability to save his friend in this situation. But I could always ramp up the ending regardless, if you think that makes it sound stronger:)

        Like

    2. Def improved! It’s a small detail but I’d change the end to ‘before he CAN rescue…’ (by my calc you have the word free)

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      1. Thank you, Beck! If my pitch doesn’t change, then I’ll definitely add in “can” since I have an extra word!XD

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  2. Thank you all for the feedback! I’m giving it another try:
    Title: Dragonflame
    Category & genre: YA fantasy
    35-word pitch:
    When a dragon army invades Naya’s homelands, the mage-in-training befriends an exiled renegade dragon. Naya could use the dragon’s life flame to save her people, but it would drain his power…and mean his death.

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    1. Great! My only tweak would be to change “the dragon’s” in the second sentence to “her new friend’s”. It emphasises the stakes/why she’d care, and also avoids repeating dragon a third time. 🙂

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      Reply

  3. I’m probably too late, but I thought I would post anyway 🙂

    Title: GLORY
    Category and genre: YA/Urban Fantasy
    35-word pitch: When MINORITY REPORT meets MY SOUL TO SAVE, there can be no margin for error: eighteen-year old Mae marks a future killer for execution. Confirming guilt will take patience and sanity. Mae will try anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

    1. Good news: “eighteen-year-old” should be hyphenated the whole way through, so you have one more word than you thought. 🙂 I’d use it to pop in a pronoun (either “his” or “her” between “confirming” and “guilt”). I also think the last sentence falls a little flat. You could go with something like:

      “Confirming his guilt will take patience … and could cost Mae her sanity.”

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      1. Thank you so much for popping back to this thread 🙂 Should i post my new pitch on the new thread?

        Ah, you spotted the deletion of ‘his’ to get that word count down lol. My bad for the editing on the hyphenated age :S. I see what you’re saying on that last line. I have a habit of coming off a little dry. Also, after taking into account Beck’s advice, I’ve changed the pitch to make the personal stake’s clearer, but I fear that last line might still be flat. I’m going to keep working, but this should show you where I’m heading 🙂

        The latest ‘mental-detector’ for a group that kills future murderers, eighteen-year-old Mae refuses to endorse her first target’s execution. She must comply or die. Unfortunately, Mae doesn’t do ultimatums. MINORITY REPORT turns urban fantasy.

        Like

    2. Love the idea. I like the voice in this and the comps. Am left a bit unsure whether the stakes are personal or just her job. Who might die if she can’t prove guilt?

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      1. Firstly, thank you so much for your help yesterday. It’s the first time I’ve had personal stakes mentioned, so that was a great lesson for me 🙂 I’ve tried to keep the voice in this newest pitch, but as you know, when you start playing with one word, the other 34 change lol. Is this more of what you are looking for?

        The latest ‘mental-detector’ for a group that kills future murderers, eighteen-year-old Mae refuses to endorse her first target’s execution. She must comply or die. Unfortunately, Mae doesn’t do ultimatums. MINORITY REPORT turns urban fantasy.

        Like

      2. I really like that new pitch. I wondered who was going to kill her, the future murderer or her employers (because if it’s the latter, she really needs to find a new job!). 😉

        Like

  4. Title: Don’t Go Down the Snack Food Aisle
    Category and genre: Adult/Commercial Fiction
    35-word pitch: Bruised by a layoff, a 34 year-old battles the insanity brewing from returning home and a new job with deranged co-workers. To prevent the looming meltdown, Tess Lindsay seeks therapy from a weight loss center.

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    1. I love love love the name!

      I’m not sure about “the insanity brewing” as a phrase. Also, I’d move her name up to the first sentence – something like:

      “Bruised by a layoff, 34-year-old Tess Lindsay struggles with returning home and a new job with deranged co-workers. To prevent her looming meltdown, Tess seeks therapy from a weight loss center.”

      (Note the hyphen aslo goes after “34”.)

      That is only 31 words, so you could expand on why the weight loss centre (ok, I used the Aussie spelling!) is important to the story. Does she find love there? Or herself? Both? 🙂

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      1. Cassandra – your feedback is really helpful. Thank you! Is the following any better? Bruised by a layoff, 34-year-old Tess Lindsay returns home because of financial distress. To survive an overbearing mother and a new job with deviant co-workers, she attends support group sessions at a weight loss center. -Thanks, again, for your help.

        Like

    2. Could you switch it around to name the MC first. eg Facing a meltdown brought on by a new job with deranged co-workers, thirty-four-year old Tess seeks therapy from a weight loss etc.
      I think you could make what’s standing in her way a bit clearer.

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      Reply

  5. I love this website, but I mistakenly signed up for all the posts & now I’m swamped, with all my other email. How do I un-notify?

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      1. Both. Help, Stacey! Again, LOVE the website–I’ve been posting my Pitch Madness 35-word blurb on it & have gotten great feedback–but I’m now just getting waaay too much email.

        Like

      2. Okay. Cass has kindly provided some instructions to unsubscribe from comments. (see above) As far as new posts go, when you see a new blog post from us arrive in your email, there will be an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email. We only post on Tuesday, Thursdays and every second Saturday, so it will be a couple of days before you see one. 🙂

        Like

    1. Hi Mary,

      I can’t do anything from the blog’s back end because I don’t have the permissions (and I’m not sure that Stacey will be on much for the rest of the day), but I googled and found this for you:

      Click this link to manage your comments subscriptions:

      http://dashboard.wordpress.com/wp-admin/index.php?page=subscriptions&option=comments
      You’ll see there:

      This is the comment subscription
      page for yourname[at]email.com. You have x comment subscriptions and y site subscriptions.

      Click on “x comment subscriptions” to manage your subscriptions.

      Like

      Reply

  6. Title: BIRTHDAY DISASTER
    Category and genre: Adult Romantic Suspense
    35-word pitch:

    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.

    Like

    Reply

    1. I quite like this, although the first sentence did confuse me a bit – do you mean “crotch” (as in groin!) rather than “crouch”? If you do mean the latter, this needs some work because I’m not sure how that’s possible. :p

      Like

      Reply

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