Saturday, March 22, 2014

#PitMad Twitter Party Workshop

First up, thank you so much to everyone who gave Team Smartie support during Pitch Madness. It was such an awesome ride again. You can see my team listed on this post here. Please read each one and give them some love.

Now, if you plan of entering the Pitch Madness Twitter After Party, aka #PitMad, then you need to hone your pitches. Yes, PITCHES. Don't just have one. You can post twice an hour so vary it up.

If you'd like help you can find it here on my blog, but here's the rules:

  1. You need to post your full query and your draft pitches (130 words including #PitMad). 
  2. You MUST comment on at least two other entries to provide feedback.

So, here's an example of the process.

My query for my YA SciFi Dirty Rainbow:

Cyborgs freak out Jenna McBride. Her mother and

her bestie, Hetty, assure her cyborgs are simply 

mindless drones used for labour since men became 

extinct. As the Australian head-of-state, Jenna's 

mother should know.

When Hetty has a horrific fall, cyborgs take her 

mangled body away for treatment. Her mother 

attempts to alter Jenna’s memories to ensure she 

doesn’t learn the truth: Hetty will never return. With 

the help of her neighbour, Ashley, Jenna 

investigates why her mother would take such a 

drastic measure. But Ashley has a secret too; she’s 

on Australia’s most-wanted list. Falling for Jenna is 

hazardous for their health.

In her search for answers, Jenna discovers the 

grisly truth about Hetty’s disappearance, cyborg 

creation, and her mother’s role in it all. But she also 

puts Ashley in danger. Jenna must choose: family 

loyalty, or save Hetty and Ashley from the woman 

who raised her.

And here's a sample of just some of the pitches I created from that.

Your mum should love you, care for you and protect you. 

Not erase your memory and arrest your girlfriend. But 

Jenna's does SciFi

Cyborgs shouldn't freak out Jenna. They are just mindless 

drones created for labour after the extinction of men, right? 

YA SciFi (Scored a request)

Extinction of men didn't stop women. They perfected  

procreation, developed drone cyborgs for 

labour&created Utopia, at a price. YA

When Jenna finds her GF's name on her mum's 

undesirable list with a capture order she must decide 

between family and love YA SciFi (Scored a 


Men extinct? No worries, use drone cyborgs for manual 

labour. Mindless androids devoid of feelings. Then one 

waves at Jenna YA SciFi

Don't be an imperfect. Don't be scared of cyborgs. Don't 

fall for the country's no.1 wanted when your mum is the 

leader YA SciFi

Another example using my debut novel SLEEPER.

The Blurb:

A new heart should mean new life, not a living nightmare. 

Mishca Richardson’s life is at an all-time high after her heart transplant. With new boyfriend, Ryder, the two of them have the perfect summer romance. Even the nightmares that have been plaguing her sleep since her operation can’t dull the high she’s on. 

Things start to unravel as Mishca develops superhuman abilities. She does her best to hide them so as not to end up a science experiment in a lab. But she can’t ignore the instant attraction she experiences when she meets her university professor, Colin Reed. 

Torn between the blossoming love and the obsession, Mishca must decide if she wants Ryder or Colin. But the organization responsible for her changes and her connection to Colin, is moving to secure Mishca so that she can be the weapon he always intended her to be. If Mishca can’t resist her programming she’ll have a lot more to worry about than romance.

Some potential Twitter pitches:

After a heart-transplant Mishca turns into regular superhuman. She tries to hide them, but how long until her maker finds her #PitMad NA

A new heart should mean new life, not a living nightmare. Mishca is about to find out just how evil love-at-first-sight can be. #PitMad NA

Mishca discovers love-at-first-sight is no fairytale, it’s a living nightmare, when she falls for her uni professor. #PitMad

So add your query and draft pitches below and I'll give you some feedback. Don't forget to Pay-It-Forward with others.

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  1. ahh thank you!

    QUERY for Crushing:
    Sixteen-year-old Lindy McGregor met her dream boy yesterday, but she’s in love. So what if he’s a murderer?

    She should have been victim #5. Matthew spared her life, leaving her in the ER with a stab wound because he says she’s the only girl for him.

    For that, she’ll ignore the dead girls, distract her cop dad and derail the investigation. If Matthew wants to change, Lindy will forgive. He’s all she ever wanted: someone who loves her, wouldn’t dare to screw her around, and sees her for what she is.

    Not like her previous boyfriends. Liars, cheats and bastards, all three. All dead now.

    As long as Matthew keeps his promise, they’ll live happily-ever-after.

    And if not?

    Well, Lindy is a killer too.

    CRUSHING is contemporary YA, complete at 75,000 words.

    #YA Lindy murders her exes, but she’s found the One. As her detective daddy hunts a killer of teenage girls – Lindy’s new boyfriend. #PITMAD

    I don't like my pitch, and I could really use some help!

    1. Hey Beth. Remember these can be teasers and can be a bit more abstract. You want to work on drawing the agents and editors in with intrigue as well as the basic drift of the story. I’d say for yours you’d want a few different options. Here's some I've come up with:

      Lindy takes her guns to breakups. 3 dead ex-boyfriends so far. Matt could be #4 that is if she isn’t his 5th kill. #PitMad YA

      Two teenage serial killers find love. It could be happily-ever-after if killer Lindy’s cop dad doesn’t crack the case. #PitMad YA

      Two teenage serial killers find love. It could be happily-ever-after if they don’t kill each other. #PitMad YA

      Killer Matt spares Lindy’s life when he realizes she’s the ONE. She forgives him. After all, Lindy’s a killer too. #PitMad YA

      Hushed meets Romeo and Juliet when two teen serial killers fall for each other and try to forgive the murderous past. #PitMad YA

      A breakup with Lindy is permanent. 3 dead beaus prove that. But Matt is different. He’s a killer too. #PitMad YA.

      Lindy can forgive Matt’s murderous past. She’ll cover for him with her cop dad. If he breaks her heart she’ll kill him. #PitMad YA

      Lindy breaks up with boyfriends via a bullet. Matt stabs her but saves her with an ER trip, Lindy knows he the one. #PitMad YA

    2. Great idea to hash tag the category. I added that to mine.

      I like your pitch. I like the "the One" angle you took with the pitch. It shows voice. You could play with taking it one step farther into the second part of the pitch.Something like:

      #YA Lindy kills her exes, but she’s found the One. Detective dad’s also seeking the One, a murderer of teen girls–Lindy’s new beau. #PitMad

      Good luck!

    3. Sharon gave some strong options! For what it's worth, 1, 3, and 7 really grabbed me. The body count in #1 adds interest. #3 just instantly pulls me as a recipe for something cool and dangerous. #7 teases -- you don't know how its going to end, but there are hints of love and death.

      So many wonderful options!


    4. I like your pitch, but I like SM Jonhnson's 1-3, but I think you've both got something good here.

    5. Your story creeps me out. I've read assassin stories like Killing Sarai but this one has a more creep factor.

      I like Johnston's first pitch--no, I like all the pitches. Seriously, this is such as awesome concept (y)

    6. I think you should go with all the pitches. All great.

  2. The full query for DARKENWEAR, INC.:

    Thirteen-year-old Persephone Stone stumbles across a terrifying secret: DarkenWear Inc., the hottest fashion label on earth, is imprisoning magical creatures from an unknown realm in its superpowered clothing and accessories. Unicorns live in jacket linings. Dragons warm the fingers of gloves. Goblins lurk in the shadowy folds of skirts. And it’s up to Persephone to set them free.

    But the arrival of a mysterious storm and a green-and-white-haired boy conjures lost memories and Persephone discovers that the scar on her arm is actually a dragon bite. She’s slowly transforming into a fire-breathing monster. Not good, considering dragons top DW’s list of exotic materials for their upcoming collection.

    Persephone must tame her inner dragon, stop production, and expose the fierce, feathery fashionistas for what they are—nasty, no-good harpies—before she and every other enchanted creature are transformed into designer handbags and fabulous pairs of shoes.

    DARKENWEAR, INC., FEATHER VS.SCALES is a Fantasy Adventure with series potential and is complete at 46,000 words. This story will appeal to fans of THE SCHOOL OF GOOD AND EVIL by Soman Chainani and Rick Riordan’s PERCY JACKSON series.

    Pitch drafts:

    Option 1
    #MG Fant 13yo Persephone must stop DarkenWear from trapping creatures in magic fashions before everyone’s hangbags or fab shoes. #PitMad

    Option 2
    #MG Fant Unicorn coats, dragon gloves--13yo Persephone must free creatures trapped in DarkenWear’s fashions or become one herself #PitMad

    Option 3
    #MG Fant TOP SECRET: DarkenWear traps dragons in fashions. 13yo Persephone must stop ‘em before everyone’s hangbags or fab shoes. #PitMad

    1. Love what you have. If you list the MCs age then they should know it’s MG and that will give you a few more characters to play with. Here’s some other options:

      A dragon bite is transforming 13yo Persephone. Now she’s being hunted for her hide by an evil fashion label. Dragon skin is so in. #PitMad

      Hottest fashion label on earth puts magical creatures in its designs. A dragon-bite victim must stop them before she becomes shoes. #PitMad

      Harpies trap magical creatures in clothing. 13yo Persephone must stop the feathery fashionistas before they make her a handbag #PitMad

      13yo dragon-bite victim, Persephone must fight-off fashionista harpies. Dragon hide is an exotic material at the top of their list. #PitMad

      The Devil Wears Prada meets Percy Jackson when harpie fashionistas hunt magical creatures and seal them in their designs. #PitMad MG

    2. This is a pretty good concept. I would say to mention Persephone's age earlier in the query(first line) because I almost thought it was YA. I think the pitch with the comp. titles would work really well. Good job.

    3. Oh man, I love this concept. It reminds me of this book 'Switch' by Horowitz about using kids as testers for good makeup brands. I love the supernatural elements in it!
      I like your option 2 best. I think it's an interesting twist to add that she's also becoming one of them.

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  5. Query for Ancestral Secrets - Adult Magic Realism

    When twenty-five-year-old Samantha Perry loses her entire family over the course of three months, she searches for answers. She soon finds their accidental deaths were not accidents at all, but the aftermath of a generational bloodline curse. A curse that reaches all the way back to the Salem Witch Trials.
    With the help of her best friend, and a handsome history professor with a passion for genealogy, Sam finds a pattern of death spanning ten generations. She also discovers her direct relationship to Betty Parris, the first girl to show signs of affliction, thus starting the witch trials.
    Faced with certain death from the curse's reach, Sam seeks a way to break its hold on her and future generations. One by one, she uncovers her family's secrets taking her on a journey from Salem, Massachusetts to the island of Barbados. There she is plunged into a dark and dangerous world. A world filled with magic, witch doctors, and the evil that destroyed her family.
    When her friend and new love interest are kidnapped and held ransom for a magical amulet stolen years ago by her grandmother, Sam becomes desperate for a way to save them. She is helped by a gypsy fortuneteller, a sarcastic bar owner, and a magical protector, who has watched over her his entire life. In order to save them and herself she must accept who she is and her family's not so perfect past.

    #Pitmad A MR Sam's bloodline hold secrets to the killer curse. Stemming from the Salem Witch Trials. She must break it before it gets her

    When Sam's family dies off one by one, she LOOKS for answers, only to find an ancient curse dating back to Salem witch trials.#Pitmad AMR

    Sam loses her family to a generational bloodline curse linked to Salem Witch Trials She fights to find the source and stop the deaths #PitMad AMR

    1. I like this concept, but I feel the first paragraph of query could be condensed to be more punchy. "Looking for answers" is vague, and I think you need to get to the fact that her family's deaths are related to the salem witch trials sooner. Also, things like curses aren't that unique, so try to show what makes the manuscript unique. What does this curse do? Give us a little insight. You hint at this "dangerous and deadly" curse, but why should I care, you know. But I do really like the concept.

      Maybe a pitch like:

      #Pitmad A family curse linked to Salem Witch Trials. 25yo Sam must break it, or be next to (insert unique point not necessarily death).

    2. You’ve for some really great pitches here. A couple more to consider:

      Sam’s ancestor was 1st accused at Salem Trials. Sam must break the curse placed on her family then or face an early death. #PitMad AMR

      A Salem Witch Trials curse kills off Sam’s entire family. The curse must end with her: breaks it or becomes its last victim. #PitMad AMR

      Generations of Sam’s family fall victim to a killer curse, so they die young. She must break it or be the last in her bloodline. #PitMad AMR

    3. Hi Sam
      i am not an expert here, but i really like the third paragraph and believes that the query could be worked around it. Love the concept should be a good read. Best of luck.

    4. Y'all are making me blush. Should I do PitMad even when I have the requests from PitchMadness?

    5. Also fun fact. This entire story is based on a search our family did on where we found that we are in fact related to Samuel and Betty Parris (He was the Pastor at the time and she was the first girl that showed the illness they deemed to be witchcraft, and I do have that part in my query)

  6. I like your first pitch. It has stakes and consequences so good job on this!

  7. Query for YA Fantasy:

    I’m writing to seek representation for my debut novel, BLOOD REIGN, a YA Fantasy of 78,000 words. This novel is an ALICE IN WONDERLAND retelling set in a medieval world. This is a standalone book with a series potential.

    Seventeen-year-old Alice never considered herself the suicidal type. Until she was cornered between her mother's killers and a five-hundred-foot drop. Rather than facing the killers' dark plans for her, Alice jumps.

    Instead of dying, Alice wakes up on a violent battlefield where men in metal armour are killing off peasants. Terrified, Alice flees from the battle but only to meet an old seer who believes Alice will save this world from the evil queen’s reign and her royal army.

    To protect herself from men preying on women, Alice disguises herself as a man and sets out on a journey to find a witch who can bring her back to her world. Aided by a gorgeous runaway slave and a physician, Alice must wade through the ongoing war between the monarch and rebels to find the witch--even if it means killing people to get home.

    Pitch options:

    #PitMad #YA 17yo Alice awakens on a medieval battlefield in another world. Disguised as a man, she fights demons and war to get home.

    #PitMad #YA What if Alice woke up in a carnival of horrors instead of Wonderland? Demons, war and a heroine disguised as man.

    #PitMad #YA In a world where men rule supreme, Alice disguises as a man as she embarks on a dangerous journey to get home in another world.

    #PitMad #YA In BLOOD REIGN, 17yo Alice awakens in a medieval world. She must pretend to be a man to get home or get preyed by men.

    #PitMad #YA 17yo Alice awakens in a different world. She must find her way home or get stuck here forever and risk eaten by demons.

    #PitMad#YA Fairy tale retelling: Alice falls in a horrifying Wonderland. She must keep her humanity intact or succumb to her joy of killing.

    #PitMad #YA When a seer told her she will save the world from death, Alice is torn--she just started to enjoy killing.

    1. I love your query and was totally into it until the last line. It pretty much fell flat for me (though I'd still read the story!).
      As for your pitches, I like 2, 3, 4, 6. and 7..

      #1 was good until "she fights demon and war to get home." I know space is tight, but I had to reread several times. With the pace of #pitmad, the pitch needs be clear and concise.

      #5 Same thing, "and risk eaten by demons." There's obviously a word left out the reader can fill in, but it should be a smooth read.

      This is just my opinion. I hope it helps and good luck!!

    2. This one was my favorite: #PitMad#YA Fairy tale retelling: Alice falls in a horrifying Wonderland. She must keep her humanity intact or succumb to her joy of killing.

      I love the idea of her disguising herself as a man as well. If you could focus on these two things I think you'll have better luck as "demons" can be seen as overdone sometimes.

    3. Love your pitches. I’d be wary of the ones mentioning demons as there is a lot of angel/demon ones out there already and I don’t think yours is really like those, but the word can distort it. Here’s a couple of other options.

      Alice in Wonderland meets in The 12th Night when Alice awakens into a medieval past & dresses as a man on her quest to get home #PitMad YA

      Alice dives off a cliff to avoid killers, mystically falls into a battlefield where she discovers her own killer side. #PitMad YA

      Rather than facing the killers' dark plans for her, Alice jumps and falls into an evil Wonderland where she may become a killer. #PitMad YA

  8. The Heart Song: YA

    The Query:
    After running from her past for 400 years, Hania, uses her experiences during the Trail of Tears and World War I to fight her way back to finding her self-worth, and place in a world where self-dignity and kindness is lost. With her unusual companions—a snarky New York run-away, a free-spirited musician from Denver, and an elderly medicine man from Moab—she discovers how to create an army of golem women warriors to defeat, Halleck, a leader set on controlling mankind by destroying all free-will. Through their quest they not only succeed in finding their own worth, but also make strides to bring back love and compassion to the world.

    The Pitch
    Hania, a Golem, must decide if she will open her heart to her Native American history to defeat an oppressive leader and save her friends.

    1. I find this premise interesting. I think it would create more intrigue if you noted in the query that Hania is a Golem. It becomes kind of a striking revelation to read the query and then find out via the pitch what she actually is. I am still learning this magic called pitching, but I will help as much as I can :) In the pitch, I would include her age so the reader has an idea of what she has experienced in life. Though, honestly, I like this. I don't think a lot needs to change, just a little more detail. I have read that it's a good idea to have a few pitches to cycle through for Pitmad, so you can use a different perspective for each.

    2. Amber, thanks so much for the feedback!

    3. You're welcome :) Good luck with your writing.

    4. Your pitch needs to be shorter as it needs to fit #PitMad in it. I also can’t tell what category it is – is it YA? Adult? I would like to know what type of leader Halleck is. Because I was short of information, it made it hard to craft extra pitches. But here’s one I came up with.

      After running from her past for 400 years, Golem Hania must create an army of golem women warriors to defeat a corrupt leader. #PitMad

    5. Thanks so much for the feedback and for doing this! I will get to work with some new ideas!

  9. Query for NA fantasy, The Light between the Stars:

    So far, being the Astralure has meant one thing to nineteen-year-old Sona: the ability to summon the Spirits residing within the constellations. The rest of that truth finally comes when her island home is attacked by a man looking for the Astralure – every Spirit has one thing to offer, but not everyone thinks it should go to one person.

    Raussick Crost has spent all of Sona’s lifetime studying the lost art of star-calling, and the loopholes therein. Most people know only of 11 Spirits, including Sona. Raussick has need of the 12th, a nameless war force hidden inside an undocumented constellation.

    With the help of three friends and the strength of her village, Sona escapes to the mainland, where she summons her first Spirit with the help of a forest dragon. Sona is given the gift of understanding dragon speech, and she uses it to talk with the clans visited by Raussick. But what they tell her she couldn’t have been ready for – the lies and secrets started with those closest to her.

    Pitch 1:
    Sona can summon 11 Spirits residing within the constellations, but a man with war in his blood needs the Spirit not on her list.

    Pitch 2:
    Sona must learn all that it means to be a Star-Caller, before she is used to bring down a war force hidden in the sky.

    Thanks for your time in helping!

    1. This sounds like such a fun and unique story. I want to read it!!! The only advice I have is that I had to read it twice in order to understand what is really going on. I am not sure if it is the names or the what, but I was a little confused. Second time around I got it. The last line in the first paragraph is one of the confusing statements-I am not sure how that fits-is she the only one with the gift? It seems it could even be removed. Also I can't tell if Raussick is evil or good? What is his goal with the power? I really like your pitches though!

    2. Gah, I forgot the #Pitmad on my pitches, but I left space for them. Oops >_>

    3. Thanks, MeriAnn :) I appreciate the feedback. I'll go back through and try to clarify it some more. It's been a bit of a struggle to simplify something so intertwined. Back to work! Thanks again :)

    4. Firstly, I LOVE the title of your novel. My gut reaction was for the second pitch. "before she is used to bring down..." I think says a lot in few words. Good luck.

    5. Thank you so much :) And to think I almost changed the title, haha. The opinions are SO appreciated.

    6. In this instance, I don't feel like I have anything to add, other than don't forget the #PitMad hashtag at the end. I rely like you Twitter Pitches. I'll keep thinking and hopefully come back with more ideas.

    7. That's so nice. Thank you. This blog and the time you are willing to put towards helping people has been very beneficial. Yay, excited for PitMad :D

  10. Thanks so much for doing this, Sharon. Go #TeamSmarties!


    Rose Thomson and her two brothers are about to be homeless. They build and sell souped-up go-karts to scrounge extra cash, but their foster father has been unemployed for a year and can’t pay the bills anymore. When the bank issues a foreclosure notice on their shack, Rose grasps at a last-ditch solution to their problems: ROBOT SMACKDOWN.

    Twenty million people watch ROBOT SMACKDOWN on TV each week, eager to see heavyweight robots bash each other to smithereens. The sport has been dominated by professional builders and their machines of destruction, but this year a dark horse will compete for the ten million dollar prize: Team Thomson.

    With new personas developed for TV, Rose, a.k.a. Gearhead Red, fires up a welding torch, Walker the Sweet-talker scavenges parts, and Frankie “FrankenEinstein” Thomson devises a killer weapon. Team Thomson has just eight weeks to unleash a robot that will crush the competition, or they’ll be out on the street.

    Going up against the best in the world, Team Thomson must be ready to rumble.


    Three foster kids must build a killer bot and win ROBOT SMACKDOWN’s $10M prize. If they lose, they’ll be out on the streets. #PitMad #MG

    Slumdog Millionaire cast + Real Steel action = ROBOT SMACKDOWN #PitMad #MG

    14-year old Rose Thomson battles professional robot builders for the $10M ROBOT SMACKDOWN prize. #PitMad #MG

    14-year old Rose Thomson is soon to be homeless. Her last shot: build a killer bot and win ROBOT SMACKDOWN’s $10M prize. #PitMad #MG

    Robot smashups + underdogs Walker the Sweet-talker, FrankenEinstein, Gearhead Red = reluctant reader no more. ROBOT SMACKDOWN #PitMad #MG

    1. What a fun concept!
      My favorites are the 1st one- go ahead and turn three to 3 if you need it.
      And the 4th. You can make shorten it to 14yo for more room.
      The 2nd doesn't do much for me but maybe for someone else. The 3rd is missing some oomph you have in the 4th. The last one is fun but doesn't tell much of the story.
      I also really like the last sentence in your query. If you could tweak that into a pitch, I think that one would be something you can use

    2. I love the concept behind this one. During pitchmadness, I showed this one to my 13 year old son. I really don't have much to suggest. I think 1 and 4 are great pitches. The last one is a little confusing though. The first one and the fourth one are the best. I would try different variations of those during pitmad and hopefully you'll do great.

      I played with the 3rd one to include the stakes.

      To help her foster father save his house, 14-year old Rose battles professional robot builders for the $10M ROBOT SMACKDOWN prize #PitMad

    3. I like your number 4, and Angela's suggestion. Stakes are clear. Age of protagonist and that it's a girl and a foster child says a lot too.

    4. Thanks so much for the feedback and suggestions, Kim, Angela, and Sandie! Best of luck to all of you.


    5. Go Team Smartie Indeed! You've got some good pitches here. I'd be varying them to try and catch an agent's eye. Here's a couple of extra options:

      Slumdog Millionaire + Reel Steel when 3 foster kids turn to robot fighting as a way to help their broke foster dad #PitMad MG

      The bank is about to foreclose. 14yo Rose is not going to let that happen. Not when she can weld up an entry for Robot Smackdown #PitMad MG

  11. Thanks so much for doing this.

    Seventeen-year-old Ada knows there are three steps to (a not awful) adulthood:

    (1) Pass her genetic potential tests as a Hybrid—the superior rulers of humanity.

    (2) Leave her foster village with guy-friend Zeran to live in the Higher Society—home of Hybrids, and more importantly, her long-lost parents.

    (3) Live Hybridly ever after.

    But step three is foiled when Ada discovers she has defective Hybrid DNA. It's bad enough she won't have their preternatural intellect or their ability to sustain themselves with little sleep or nourishment. It's worse that Zeran triples in the potential she lacks, making his reassurances feel like a slap to her defective face. But what takes the freaking fruitcake is her father exiling her after deeming her worthless to society. So she makes like her near non-existent powers and disappears.

    By the time Ada notices a note from Zeran expressing his love for her, she's lost in the vast wilderness between the Higher Society and her village. As Ada tries to make her way back through man-eating animals and deadly dust storms, she meets a group of young travelers seeking the land of genetic refugees—the only place she could ever fit in.

    Now Ada faces an impossible choice: embark on a dangerous journey to an island of rejects, or risk losing new ties to return to Zeran—the boy who had always accepted her—and a family that never will.

    WRITTEN IN THE LEAVES (99,000) is a YA science fiction with series potential. Featuring a multicultural main character and cast, I believe this Gattaca meets The Uglies novel will appeal to a wide range of audiences.


    Defective superhuman abilities. A powerful father exiles her b/c of this.17yo Ada braves harsh wild seeking island of genetic rejects #Pitmad

    GATTACA meets CAST AWAY.17yo Ada has defective subhuman DNA, exiling her from society. Dangerous journey thru wild may be way back in. #Pitmad

    1. Great query! I am a little confused by the pitches though. One mentions superhuman abilities, while the other mentions her subhuman DNA, so I'm a little confused as to if she's superhuman or not human at all. I reworked them a little. Hope this helps. Good luck!

      Exiled for defective superhuman abilities, 17yo Ada braves harsh wilderness seeking other genetic rejects. #Pitmad

      GATTACA meets CAST AWAY.17yo Ada has defective hybrid DNA, exiling her from society. Dangerous journey thru wild may be way back in. #Pitmad

      Exiled for her defective DNA, 17 yo Ada must leave behind the man who loves and accepts her for who she is. #pitmad

    2. How about a combination? Defective superhuman abilities. Her own father exiles her b/c of it. 17YO Ada's only way back in may be thru braving the wild. I didn't check the words or length, but...

    3. Thanks so much for the help. Yeah, it's hard to describe the nature of her powers (they're basically just have high intelligent/abnormal physical endurance. So subhuman might be more accurate but harder to understand :P

    4. Great pitches and query. Here's some other options:

      GATTACA + THE UGLIES as 17yo hybrid Ada must make her way through outcast wastelands perils to return to the boy who loves her. #PitMad YA

      17yo outcast Ada can escape to utopian reject island or go back to society to the boy who loves her & the family that never will. #PitMad

      Gattaca + The Uglies with multicultural cast. Exiled, hybrid Ada must choose between love or acceptance as she searches for home. #PitMad YA

    5. I LOVE these! Thank you so much for your help. :)

  12. Hello #TeamSmartie! This is my query for Luma, a YA horror with soft science fiction elements.

    Abbey and her best friend, Callie, had countless adventures at Majestic Isle, until an accident closed the island amusement park. When seventeen-year old Abbey hears an underground club has popped up amid the broken down roller coasters and rusty bumper cars, she drags Callie out for the night of their lives.

    Unfortunately, it might be the last night of their lives.

    The club isn’t the haven for misfits Abbey hoped for – it’s a buffet and the club goers are the main course.

    What was once an innocent sanctuary of fun is now home to something dark and sinister.

    If Abbey and Callie survive the night, they may find they are the key to stopping an infestation of creatures with an insatiable appetite for human flesh.

    A couple of my #pitmad pitches:

    A club held at an abandoned island amusement park. A massacre. A night Abbey and Callie may not survive. YA horror #pitmad

    Abbey must survive massacre at abandoned amusement park in this Lovecraft type plot meets comic book intrigue. YA Horror #pitmad

    Thanks so much!!

    1. What a cool concept! Very creepy. Seems like a lot of agents are seeking out horror with a high scare factor, so this could be great. Couple of suggestions:

      -Consider taking out "with soft sci-fi...". I think that dilutes your pitch.

      -Second para: how about "It might be their last." The repetition from the previous para weakens the sentence, IMO.

      -Considering combining paras 3&4 to create more tension. "What was once an innocent sanctuary of fun is now home to something dark and sinister. The club isn’t the haven for misfits Abbey hoped for – it’s a buffet and the club goers are the main course."

      -Last para: "they may find" feels like it could pack a stronger punch. How about "Abbey and Callie learn they're the key to stopping an infestation of creatures with an insatiable appetite for human flesh. If they don't survive the night, neither will the human race." Obvs the wording is trite, but you get the picture.

      -Pitches: I like where you're headed, but they don't feel like they represent the awesomeness that is your concept. How about:

      A night of adventure at an abandoned island amusement park turns into a race for survival. Abbey must survive the attack of the night creatures.

      Night creatures take over an abandoned amusement park. Abbey must keep the monsters from escaping, or the human race will be eaten alive.

      Anyway, some ideas. Good luck!

    2. Rebecca, I think you've got such a great concept here, and it's clear from your query that you've got a great command of language. So yay for you! :) I think my favorite of all the pitch suggestions is UC's from below:

      A night of fun turns to fear when Abbie & Callie are trapped at a party turned massacre in an abandoned island amusement park. #pitmad

    3. Love this pitch, but I think yo'll need some variety. Here's a couple of extra options:

      Drawn to an underground club at an abandoned amusement park, Abbey wants to party. But instead she’s the main course. #PitMad YA Horror.

      Between broken rollercoasters & rusty bumper cars is meant to be a party. Instead Abbey finds monsters who think she’s delicious #PitMad YA

      YA DUSK Til DAWN set in an abandoned amusement park. Abbey’s party turns into a horror movie plot when creatures want to eat her #PitMad

  13. I'm trying to reply to Rebecca Fields but blogger is fussing and won't let me reply to her post now.

    I love the abandoned carnival aspect. My current manscript takes place at the fair with carnival rides. But it's not horror. Yours is creepy! :)
    I think you could play with the theme a bit more to make your pitches stronger. The first one could be more specific. The second one is missing some details but I don't know Lovecraft so maybe that's why.
    I played a little bit with yours just for fun, I hope you don't mind. Maybe it will jog some inspiration for you.

    Clubbing at the Majestic Isle isn't all it was made out to be. Especially when Abbey and Callie may wind up as the main course. #pitmad YA

    1. Thank you so much, Kim! I'm playing with the pitches, trying to see what I can come up with. :)

    2. as a huge fan of YA horror, Rebecca, I love this! I think of yours, this is definitely the best: "A club held at an abandoned island amusement park. A massacre. A night Abbey and Callie may not survive. YA horror #pitmad"

    3. First of all, I love this one. I love horror novels. Anyway I wrote a couple of pitches for you. I did them fast so they could be played with a little more, but I find pitches with that start out with when and include the word must do the best.

      When Abbie & Callie find themselves trapped under an abandoned amusement park, they must fight to stay alive. #pitmad YA

      When Abbie & Callie find themselves trapped under an abandoned amusement park, they must fight creatures with an appetite to make it through the night #pitmad YA Horror

    4. That's interesting, Angela! I didn't know that about "when" and must." I'll play with the wording and see what I can come up with. Thank you so much!!

    5. I really like your first pitch and concept. Clear, concise, and to the point. But you might also consider:

      When a party at an abandoned island amusement park turns out to be a massacre, Abbie & Callie must find way out or be trapped in. #pitmad

      A night of fun turns to fear when Abbie & Callie are trapped at a party turned massacre in an abandoned island amusement park. #pitmad

    6. Thank you so much for the feedback, U.C.!

  14. Hi, Guys! Here's my full query and pitch for an NA I have.


    Eighteen-year-old Ash is losing her mind. She sees and hears things that can't be real. Even her love for her boyfriend, Jake, lacks its old passion. Between that, a family history of schizophrenia, and Mora, the girl talking to her from inside the mirror, she's sure she's doomed to a life of pills and psychiatrists.

    Mora tempts Ash with the promise of a trade: If Ash gives Mora control of her body for just one night, allowing Mora to experience the human world, Mora will show Ash what life is like without the shadow of insanity plaguing her every thought and even throw in private time with a sexy incubus.

    Desperate for even one moment of peace, and lured by the power of the incubus and the dream world Mora presents, Ash accepts the trade and opens the door for Mora to take over her life permanently.

    For Mora isn't a hallucination at all; she's something far more malevolent – a spirit trying to push Ash's essence aside and steal her body for good. Now Ash is in a battle to reclaim her body and salvage her sanity.

    But even if her muddled brain figures out how to fight back, she’ll only have one day to succeed. And who's going to believe a crazy girl?

    So I haven't thought much about my Twitter pitches for this so help is greatly appreciated. Ahem…

    Ash is convinced she's crazy, but Mora, the girl in the mirror is real and desperate to take control of Ash's body.

    1. I like the premise here, and I think the query is well done, so kudos on that. I'll try to give some pitch ideas. I'm thinking maybe something like this?

      Trading the girl in the mirror control of your body for a day of mental peace may not work if she decides to extend her stay. #pitmad

      or maybe,

      Mora, the girl in the mirror, wants a body. Ash wants some literal peace of mind. A trade seems fair, until Mora decides to stay.

      Hope this helps :) I kinda winged it - not so good with pitches yet. Good luck! :)

    2. Great premise. Amber's second suggestion really spoke to me, if that helps.

    3. Hi Lisa! Really interesting premise here. I like the setup -- evil girl in the mirror = creepy!

      I think it would help you to identify it right off the bat as paranormal. Since NA is such a new category, I automatically jump to thinking a NA will be contemporary, so that threw me off as I got a few paragraphs in.

      A suggestion: what do you think about cutting out the reference to Jake? Introducing three characters right up front might be okay, but since Jake doesn't seem to figure into the rest of the story, this might make you seem unfocused.

      Also, I think it might be tighter and stronger if you ended the query at "Now Ash is in a battle to reclaim her body and salvage her sanity." Hooks me; I want more! I worry that the following paragraph dilutes the strength and punch of that line.

      I also really like Amber's second pitch. Another thought, riffing on your strong ending line:

      18-year old Ash hears voices from the girl in the mirror. After the girl tricks her into swapping for a day, Ash battles to reclaim her body and salvage her sanity.

      Good luck!

    4. Wow thanks, guys!! Great stuff. I might just steal those pitch suggestions or some marriage thereof. :D

    5. Sounds like tons of fun, Lisa. How about something like this for the short pitches:

      Mirror-dweller Mora promised Ash sanity in exchange for 1 day in the real world. What she wanted was a body to possess forever.

      When Ash learns a spirit sharing her body plans on taking over for good, she has one day to reclaim her body and save her sanity.

    6. Those are awesome, Rebecca! Thank you!

    7. I love Jeff's suggestion to end your query on that line. My favorites of the other folks' pitch suggestions:

      Mirror-dweller Mora promised Ash sanity in exchange for 1 day in the real world. What she wanted was a body to possess forever.

      Mora, the girl in the mirror, wants a body. Ash wants some literal peace of mind. A trade seems fair, until Mora decides to stay.

      My own suggestion:

      Ash thinks she's going crazy, but the spirit in the mirror is real - and wants to take over her body. #PitchMad #NA

      Ash thinks she's going crazy, but the voice she's hearing is real - and belongs to a spirit who wants to take over her body. #PitchMad #NA

    8. Here's my 5 cents:

      Ash agrees to swap places with Mora, the girl in the mirror, to get a break from her insanity. But Mora’s playing for keeps #PitMad

      Ash sees Mora in the mirror and agrees to trade places for one night. When the trade goes south, Ash must fight for her body. #PitMad

      When you’re crazy trading places with the girl in the mirror is a sane thing to do. Ash thought it was a good idea at the time #PitMad

  15. The blurb from my query for women's commercial fiction

    In the tiny coastal town of Tall Gum Point, hermit Charlie conceals a dark past. Beneath the floor boards of the cottage Charlie hasn’t had the courage to enter in three decades, a box of letters lies hidden. When writer Nicole Miller stumbles upon the letters written by the long-dead war widow Ivy, three lives become enduringly entwined.

    Having fled her (not-so) perfect Sydney life, Nicole is determined to lose herself in the cottage renovations and keep the people of The Point at bay. But, the locals have other ideas. Between the well-meaning efforts of town mother-hen Mandy, the advances of determined golden-boy Johnny and her own increasing intrigue with Charlie and Ivy, Nicole finds herself being drawn in to the lives of those around her. Slowly she begins to lower her guard and open herself to the possibilities her new life presents – friendship, redemption, romance perhaps, and a strength and form of love she never expected. But, as she moves closer to finding her place in The Point and learning Charlie’s secret, Nicole’s own past catches up with her and threatens to destroy all that she has begun to cherish.

    My pitches...
    1. Devastated Nicole finds solace in a mad hermit & a box of hidden letters. When her past returns she must discover her true heart #WF #PitMad

    2. A mad hermit. A cache of hidden letters. A past fled. When 3 lives collide, can Nicole let go of her past to embrace her future? #PitMad #WF

    3. #WF #PitMad With the help of a cranky hermit, a long-dead war widow and town golden boy, can Nicole let go of her past & embrace her future?

    4. #WF #PitMad With help from a cranky hermit, a long-dead war widow and a quirky bookclub, can Nicole let go of her past & embrace her future?

    5. War-widow Ivy is dead. Angry hermit Charlie can't reconcile a dark past. Can Nicole shape her future by uncovering their story? #PitMad #WF

    6. Are Nicole's new friendships with a hermit, a dead war-widow & a quirky bookclub enough to save her when her past resurfaces? #PitMad #WF

    Thanks heaps in advance. NO idea about pitches????

    1. I quite like the query. One thing I may suggest as a reader is to cut down on the characters mentioned, as I had a bit of a hard time remembering. Maybe omit Mandy? I think the 3 mains would be easier to follow. For the pitches, I think I favor #2. Including a question was one thing I read the Pitch Madness slush readers commenting on (and you can find online lists people have made of them all - look up requested Pitch Madness pitches), but it can be done. It's kind of iffy. Also, I think the stakes need to be more clear (something I've needed a lot of help with on my own pitches). I do believe that you're going in the right direction though :) Best of luck on this :)

    2. Thanks. Didn't know that questions were iffy. Can certainly tweak that. I've struggled with the whole stakes thing so thanks for that too. As its WF and not another genre where the stakes are literally saving the world, I find it a bit hard. Will put thinking cap on. Ta :)

    3. Oh, I understand. My stakes don't have to do with a world that needs saving either. Reading through the lists of pitches requested by agents helped me a lot, as I got to see all the different formats that work. Maybe mentioning one specific thing that Nicole left behind that has resurfaced could bridge the gap. Someone that helped me a lot in #pitchpractice said she likes to go by this: WHO did WHAT, WHY? - and insert stakes. Maybe...

      Nicole flees (WHAT) to start fresh, befriending a mad hermit and the town's golden boy. (insert interesting turn).

      I might go that route, or at least start there. Yours is a bit harder for me to think of a pitch off the top of my head lol. Hope this helps.

    4. Hi Sandie. My one suggestion would be to be more specific in both the query and the short pitches. I noticed that several slush readers for pitchmadness cited vague pitches as a problem (e.g. see "enduringly entwined" "a form of love she never expected" and "embrace the future" all feel vague to me. If you shared some of the specifics here it might also help people suggest different pitches.

    5. Here's an option:

      Letters from the past, hidden under floor boards, could be Nicole’s redemption or ruin. #PitMad Woman’s Fiction

  16. The query for my YA Historical Mystery:

    Amid the grit and splendor of medieval Germany, an impetuous teenage noblewoman investigates a brutal murder.

    When a young woman is killed near the abbey of St. Nicholas, fifteen-year-old Eva von Hirschburg is struck by similarities between the victim and her own dead mother. She vows to find the culprit and convinces peace-loving Brother Clement to help, but they clash when Eva accuses a man Clement wants to protect.

    Meanwhile, Eva is courted by the charismatic Friderich. Eva is drawn to the dashing nobleman, but fears he is only looking for an indiscretion. Worse, Friderich doesn't trust Clement and wants Eva to relinquish her obsession with the murdered woman.

    When Eva suspects Friderich's childhood friend, she must risk her heart and life to catch the killer before he strikes again.

    Possible pitches:

    Teenage noblewoman partners with peace-loving monk to investigate a murder. Veronica Mars meets Pillars of the Earth. #pitmad YA

    Amid the grit and pageantry of medieval Germany, an impetuous teenage noblewoman investigates a brutal murder #pitmad YA

    When Eva von Hirschburg suspects her suitor’s best friend of murder, she must risk heart and life to catch a killer #pitmad YA

    Teenage noblewoman and peace-loving monk hunt a killer. A medieval Veronica Mars with the sexy feel of the Luxe series #pitmad YA

    Eva von Hirschburg is falling in love with Lord Friderich. What will he do when she accuses his friend of murder? #pitmad YA

    1. I really like the first one - gives the basic premise and then has good comps!

    2. I want to read this book! Your first pitch speaks to me the most, probably because I love both Veronica Mars and Pillars of the Earth! I'm totally the target audience for your book. Hee!

      I also like the third pitch. Hmmm ...

    3. Here's another option:

      Medieval German teen noblewoman Eva is drawn to the dashing Friderich, but fears he is only looking for an indiscretion. #PitMad


  17. Seventeen-year-old Misty Hunter hates falling asleep. Everyone in the underworld believes that she is the crowned Messiah, and that her death will free the condemned souls. Discovering that she is on their commander’s most wanted lists doesn't help either.
    When Misty meets Juan, the new hunk in her community, all she wants is to fall in love and live an average teenage life, but her relationship is soon threatened by the inheritance of a mischievous demon whose only mission is to transport her into the grasp of his cohorts.
    When Misty is captured and dragged before the commander, she unwillingly unearths the hidden secrets of the underworld that could release her community from the control of an evil ruler.
    I HAD A DREAM, is a Young Adult Urban Fantasy of 99,350 words. It is a story of romance, mystery and a lot of adventure, based in a parallel world.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Pitch: When 17 year old Misty Hunter is dragged into Hades she must gather clues from a series of horrific events to escape.

    2. Misty's captor is a monster and she might have fallen in love with his master, But is she willing to spend her eternity in hell.

    1. I like the first pitch, but I feel like if you condense certain words u can add a tad bit more details like say 17yo as opposed to spelling the whole thing out. Also try to show what is a little bit more special.

    2. How about this?

      17yo Misty can save the damned from the underworld, but falling in love with Hades' master makes her fight for her own survival. #PitMad

    3. The underworld wants Misty. All she wants is to be a normal teen. She has to find a way to break Hades control #Pitmad

  18. Here's my pitch for my romantic suspense WATERS OF OBLIVION:

    Reine Baldwin is a young art historian who isn’t afraid of the permanent end to mortal life because for her that’s no longer a possibility. She drowned on her honeymoon in 1498, but after miraculously reawakening, she’d gained supernatural healing and a propensity against aging. These gifts came with a price and she unwittingly sacrificed something perhaps more precious in return: her memories. After not being able to remember the first twenty-three years of her life, Reine swore to maintain her safety – and thereby her memories – at all costs, even if it meant living on the run and avoiding all risks.

    She is successful for more than five centuries, but during a freak snowstorm, the Georgetown graduate student meets Gabe Moran. Breaking her own rule of avoiding relationships, she falls for the handsome journalist’s charm and lets her guard down. When her office is ransacked, a busted pipe floods her classroom, and shadowy figures begin to pursue her, she begins to wonder whether meeting him hadn’t been coincidental.

    But before she has a chance to discover the truth, Reine’s greatest fear becomes reality – she wakes in an unknown place with a pounding headache and no recollection of the past. In the course of finding out who she is, Reine realizes that someone must have tried to kill her. But who knew her secret and what do they want her to forget? And most importantly, if dying was supposed to wipe her slate clean, why are there certain things that she’s already starting to remember?

    Possible #PitMad entries:

    Art historian sees her likeness in a Renaissance portrait, leading to a husband and a past she may not want to know.

    WATERS OF OBLIVION: If immortality was supposed to wipe her slate clean, why is Reine starting to remember?

    A charming stranger, a late night break-in, and an invitation to Venice become a prelude to reclaiming a forgotten past.

    In WATERS OF OBLIVION, 23yo Reine has been alive for centuries. But she only begins to truly live when she meets others like her.

    Art historian Reine would give up immortality for the right guy, but when she finds him, her husband from 500ys ago also shows up.

    She became invincible in Venice, but art historian Reine never imagined returning 500ys later would compromise her immortality.

    Art historian Reine's husband doesn't believe in "til death do us part," reappearing 500ys after she drowned on their honeymoon.

    1. I like the last one: Art historian Reine's husband doesn't believe in "til death do us part," reappearing 500ys after she drowned on their honeymoon

    2. You've got lots of great options. Don't forget the #PitMad

      Here's another one:

      The underworld wants Misty. All she wants is to be a normal teen. She has to find a way to break Hades control #Pitmad

  19. This is my favorite of your pitches: "Art historian Reine would give up immortality for the right guy, but when she finds him, her husband from 500ys ago also shows up."

    Feels like it could be tweaked a little, though. Maybe something like:

    Art historian Reine finds a guy worth giving up immortality for, but then her husband shows up. Where's he been the last 500 yrs? #PitchMad

  20. My query/pitch for my Young Adult historical novel, THE GIRL IN LILAC AND GRAY, inspired by a true story and set in Civil War-era Alabama:

    Seventeen-year-old Confederate nurse Annabelle risks her reputation to help starving Union soldiers at the prison-of-war camp outside her back door. She forges a tentative bond with soft-spoken soldier Nathan, and the two begin secretly exchanging letters.

    Using Nathan’s inside information, Annabelle and her mother smuggle supplies through the prison stockade. But the sadistic commandant and the chaos of the last days of the War drive Annabelle and Nathan apart. They must fight to survive a flood, an invasion and a steamboat explosion, so they might have a chance to be together.

    Potential Twitter pitches (Geez, I'm terrible at this):

    When a Confederate nurse falls for a captured Union soldier, she risks her reputation and freedom to keep him safe. #PitchMad #YA #histfic

    When a Confederate nurse risks her reputation to help starving Union soldiers, she meets one who holds the key to her future. #PitchMad #YA (gah ... too cheesy?)

    Confederate Juliet meets Union Romeo at a Civil War prisoner-of-war camp. #PitchMad #YA #histfic

    1. You have a nice query going on here. For the pitches, I'm drawn to the second one. Maybe it could be tweaked like this:

      When a Confederate nurse risks her life to help starving Union soldiers, she meets Nathan, the one worth living for. #PitMad


      A Confederate nurse. A soft-spoken Union soldier. Together they must survive for a chance to see if this could be love. #PitMad (a bit of space left to play with this)

      You have a good story for pitching, so have fun and experiment with the points of view and what's portrayed. Hope this helps - I'm no magician of pitches yet lol. Good luck!

    2. Don't forget it's #PitMad not #PitchMad.

      A couple of options:

      Based on a true story: 17yo Confederate nurse who exchanged letters with a Union soldier before driven apart searches for him. #PitMad

      On opposites sides of the civil war, a nurse and soldier struggle through a flood, an invasion and an explosion to be reunited #PitMad YA

    3. Thanks Amber and SM! Great suggestions! And I was totally forgetting about it being PitMad!