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 thoughts on “Have You Got What It Takes?

  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.


  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!


  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.


  4. 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!


  5. 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.


  6. 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!


  7. 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.


  8. 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.


  9. 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!


  10. 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.


  11. 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.


  12. 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.


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