Why We Chose What We Chose

Pitch Madness is truly Madness.  Over 400 submissions racked up in the inbox, giving the slush readers an immense job to root out the entries that would progress onto the next rounds.  Those who progressed then bumped into round two, where they were subjected to the same treatment.  If a submission managed to squeeze into the third round, that’s where the hosts and co-host came in.

So, why did the hosts pick what they picked?

Here were our top ten reasons:

1)  Kickass concepts (original, well thought out, commerical or potentially award-winning)
2)  Writing with voice and character
3)  A piece we’d love to read to our own kids/teens
4)  A submission that would fall into current editor and agent wish list needs (yes, we do actually research the agents participating, and so should you, as it heightens your chances of being picked!)
5)  Submissions with parallels to other books (we liked retellings and reimaginings, and books that could slide into a gap in a burgeoning market)
6)  Books that gave us something unusual (we liked to take a few risks)
7)  Writing with a good balance of character, pertinent detail, but not too much description in the opening pages
8)  Genre mash-ups (we find those really cool!)
9)  Something that put a new twist on an old idea
10)  That indefinable X Factor

So there’s a little insight on our reasons for picking what we picked.

And I tell you what, for all of you being such good sports, I’m going to give away ten first chapter critiques to the first ten people who comment on the blog and say what it is THEY like in a entry.

Good luck!


P.S.  My comments in reply don’t count as one of the ten!  😉

50 thoughts on “Why We Chose What We Chose

  1. I didn't enter this time around, but had fun looking at all the entries. What a hard job it would be! I'd probably choose entries based on what I'd like to read more than anything (I guess I wouldn't make a very good judge). So I'd probably be drawn to contemporary YA, funny stories, and fantasy. A funny contemporary fantasy would be amazing to read – anyone want to write one of those for me?


  2. It's so hard picking entries, as there were loads I loved reading but didn't quite fit the bill (I find that when I'm interning too!). I love Contemporary YA, and I wish I could write funny, but apparently my funny bone has taken a long walk off a short pier. BTW, if you want a critique on anything, feel free to email me on freelance_writer_fm@hotmail.com. Critiques go to the first ten replies, regardless of whether they entered the contest or not. 🙂


  3. I definitely don't envy you. I intern as well, but it's easier because it's more anonymous, I think. Oh, and I'd love to send you the first chapter of my current project! Expect an email soon 🙂 I look foward to seeing what everyone else likes in an entry.


  4. I think the entries that have the best chance have intriguing pitches that created all the right questions (and don't confuse the judges), plus make them want to read the story to find the answers.

    For the first 250, I think those that make it to the final round have a nice dose of voice with a little backstory fed in, just enough to entice the reader to read more. They also need a hook that makes the reader say, “Oh my God! What?!”

    And I'd also love a crit. Thank you so much for this opportunity.


  5. Great post. Thank you for the insight on how entries were selected.

    I was drawn to the pitches that were clear in what the conflict(s). Loved the ones that hinted at both the external and internal conflicts the main character would face. I also want to be surprised. Give me something that hasn't been a hundred times before.

    In the first 250 words, I like to know where I am, who I'm following and why I should care. Action is also key. 250 words of description tend to make me stop reading. And make me care about the character. I don't have to like them, necessarily. Love if they are flawed, but have some redeemable characteristic that makes me want to follow them to the next page.

    I would love a critique if they are still available. Thank you for offering to do this.


  6. Thank you! 🙂 And best of luck with the agent round reveals today. So exciting! Can't wait to see if any of the entries I loved are selected.

    Do you want the pitch included it the email, as well?


  7. Thank you for sharing this!

    I think I would be drawn to the entries that were unique, but clear in the premise. Clearly defined stakes in a pitch would be a must for me, only because I'd like to know from go why I'd want to be invested in a story.

    For the excerpt, voice would trump everything for me. A manual on the art of watching paint dry can be the most fascinating thing ever if written by the right person.

    Reading the entries, I can see why you all had a tough time picking! They are all wonderful, and I've already picked out a few I can't wait to read when they're published!

    Thank you for offering the critique as well! That is really awesome of you 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s