Post-It-Forward 2015 – Let the Pitch Critique Begin!

96781-Anna-excited-gif-Imgur-Frozen-j9HvHello all, 

Today is day-1 for Post-It-Forward 2015, and wouldn’t you know it, the Lovely Rhiann got her posts up before me! Mind you, I think it’s my fault, I said March 10th and Well, it IS March 10th here in Australia – time zones sheesh! Anyway, here we go 🙂

I’ve posted my list of pitches here & you’ll find Rhiann’s here

This year we got a wonderful cross-section of categories & genre’s & I couldn’t be happier!

So how does it work?

The pitches will not have the author’s name or the title of the MS. This is a pitch-workshop & therefore the only thing that should count is the category/genre and the pitch. Rhiann & I will be offering feedback on our own and each other’s list, that way every single pitch will get at least two sets of new eyes giving feedback.

ImageProxyIf you sent your pitch in to us within the time scheduled window & followed the (very basic) rules, you’ll find your pitch on either Rhiann’s or the Nestpitch blog. As the author you are welcome to volunteer your ownership of the pitch – that is entirely up to you. However, as part of the terms of entering, you are obligated to participate with feedback for other pitches. As stated: everyone who has a pitch selected & featured, must, within a week, comment on at least 2 other pitches – at least one on each blog – you have ONE WEEK to post at least one helpful comment on each blog. You can of course offer feedback on more than one pitch per blog, but that is the minimum.

Please note: the comments are moderated so play nice folks!

Fell free to tweet about your pitch and encourage others to participate, the more feedback the better for you and for everyone 🙂

The idea here is not only will the pitches below and on Rhiann’s blog get direct feedback, they will offer insight into that mystical and totally subjective creature known by the common name “the prefect pitch.”

Sometimes, seeing or reading something makes magic happen for the reader, a light-bulb or Eureka moment.  If anyone gets such a moment, please feel free to share.

tumblr_lhjnfsdULm1qzp85mo1_500Nothing is more contagious than enthusiastic joy; it’s one of the few things where, the more you spread, the more you have.

The pitches will be distinguished by a number only, e.g. N-1 for mine and R-1 for Rhiann’s.

To comment you will read the pitches & comment something like:

R-7: “Loved the voice but I wasn’t sure who was the MC, I would suggest removing at least one of the character’s in the pitch and leaving it for the query”

Get it? Great – go forth and post-it-forward folks! 

So here are my 10, now it’s your turn, submit your comment & I’ll feed it through – you’ll find my comments VERY SOON I promise! – & if you’re the author of any of the below or the ones on Rhiann’s blog, remember to drop by often over the next two weeks & to also comment on at least two pitches, one on each blog 🙂

 N-1. Category/ Genre: Fantasy

35-word Pitch: Thalia’s writer will lock her forever in a compilation of forgotten rough drafts unless she changes story lines and travels inside the manuscript to steal an artifact for him. Her muse powers are in danger.

N-2. Category/ Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Romance

35-word Pitch: Honor and Courage are twins hiding their station-born abilities until Honor spills their secrets, then Courage disappears. To find him, rules-following Honor must join an Earth-born rebel who thinks rules are made to be broken.

N-3. Category/ Genre: Urban Fantasy (with erotic elements)

35-word Pitch: All Declan wants is to never kill again, which seems reasonable, except he’s the god of death. In a kingdom fueled by slavery and murder, the Hollywood rent boy must choose: conscience or holy war.

N-4. Category/ Genre: YA Contemporary

35-word Pitch: Karen Bleeker has a secret: She doesn’t think the world is ending. Her tin-capped, SPAM hoarding, Doomsday prophet father does. Karen must fight to protect him from being locked up while preserving their fragile relationship.

N-5. Category/ Genre: NA Multicultural Contemporary

35-word Pitch: Chinese-American, germophobic Mei must become a doctor and marry a Chinese Ivy Leaguer OR be shunned by her parents for dishonoring them. AMERICAN PANDA: MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING meets Amy Tan set at MIT.

N-6.  Category/ Genre: Adult-Fantasy/Romance

Marin faces the unknown world of the Fae: traitorous aunt, new and out of control powers, and Danshue – evil fae – calling for her death. And one gorgeous bodyguard professing his love. Life needs more coffee.

N-7. Category/ Genre: YA Techno-thriller

35-word Pitch: The moment Fiona looked into Amirah’s spellbinding eyes, a sisterly bond formed. So of course she’d risk her life when the government comes to claim Amirah, who’s really a botched attempt at creating a super-soldier.

N-8. Category/ Genre: Commercial Fiction (New Adult Sci-fi Adventure)

35-word Pitch: When Allison finds herself forty years in the future, pursued by both sides of a twisted war, the last thing she expects is to meet her soul-mate and find a new family worth fighting for.

N-9. Category/ Genre: NA Fantasy

35-word Pitch: Being a ParaScience freshman is a nightmare come true when Hailey confronts tunneling earworms, carnivorous trees, a roommate from hell, a deadly love triangle and the dream creature that killed her family.

N-10. Category/ Genre: YA Contemporary

35-word Pitch: Seventeen-year-old Allison can barely walk after a violent gang rape. She must fight PTSD, her injured body, and pregnancy or risk losing what she has left of herself that the attackers didn’t destroy.


84 thoughts on “Post-It-Forward 2015 – Let the Pitch Critique Begin!

  1. N-9: I like the phrase “nightmare come true” and “ParaScience freshman.” After reading QueryShark, I pause when I see lists in pitches. Because I’m not sure exactly why she’s encountering these things, the list goes over my head a little. I think it might be better to take these out and use the extra words to go into more detail about the dream creature, what exactly she’s experiencing, and whether or not she’s in danger from this creature too (the stakes).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t have a pitch myself, but I just want to make a couple of comments on things that caught my eye.

    N-9: firstly, I want to read this story. ParaScience? *grabby hands* Seriously, though, I’m a student (BA Psychology and Philosophy), so I probably fall into your target audience. To tighten the pitch, I think you could be more specific. At the moment, it’s very listy; I almost skimmed the details. Out of those, I’m most interested in the dream creature, but it’s left to the very end. What’s it going to do? Is the MC’s goal to slay/friend/uncover the dream creature? This is just too open for me to be entirely hooked. Plus, I’m not sure you should mention the love triangle, considering how out of fashion they are nowadays.

    N-7: I feel like something is missing from this pitch. Maybe it’s just me not feeling the wow factor, but the big reveal of botched super-soldier is drawn out until the end of a longish sentence. How about “She’d risk her life to stop the government claiming Amirah. Even if she is their botched super-soldier” Or something to make it crisper.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. N1 – Love the concept of a muse, but it wasn’t clear that she was a muse until the last sentence. If you can put that early on, I think it would read stronger. I was also left questioning, “Why can’t the writer change the story lines?” (Although let’s be honest, sometimes our stories DO write themselves, don’t they?) I also really dig the phrase “forgotten rough drafts.” I think that evokes a very specific sense of isolation and sadness.


  4. N7 – There’s an intriguing idea here. The word “spellbinding” throws me immediately into love interest or attraction, not sisterly. The second pass through, I began wondering if Amiriah used some kind of techno to make Fiona feel inclined to save her. If that’s the case, make it more clear. If not, then you might want to think about re-wording the first part to iron out their connection better and make the reader believe she would risk everything for her. As it stands now with the “so of course” phrase it seems forced.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. N-1: I really like your premise but the last sentence about her being the muse just made me pause and re-read. It’s not that it doesn’t make sense, it just doesn’t flow right… Maybe consider leaving the muse part out or add it into the first sentence somehow?


  6. N-7: Your pitch gave me just enough information to care and to be intrigued, I really like it! I love the way you ended it with the botched super-soldier. It makes me expect a clever, witty, maybe even sarcastic writing style. Great one!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. N-2: wondering if you could find a replacement word for ‘rules-following’… it is a small bump but it caused me to pause, to stare at the word ‘rules’ as I wondered if that was the name of the love interest… I had yet to finish the pitch, I was snagged by that word… maybe because the names Honor and Courage had already been mention. I thought, they forgot to capitalize the name Rules. it took mere seconds for me to understand but every time I reread the pitch, I found myself stumbling over that turn of phrase once again… 😛 Happy wordage


  8. N-1: I love the idea of characters hopping in and out of books and across pages. What caught me the most was an artifact the muse has to find for the writer though I would like to see in the first line that she is the muse. I’m a little confused about whether Thalia is in or out of THE manuscript and how she gets in or out. Does she talk to the writer? Do they bargain or is she on her own? What’s at stake here? Thalia’s life? The writer’s muse? Does the writer fight her or do they work together? Overall it sounds like fun, and I would love to see it in print.


  9. N-6: You had me at “Life needs more coffee.” That last line tells me so much about the voice and attitude of the manuscript. It sounds like it would be great fun to read, but until I read the last line I wasn’t very interested in the abstract list of what she was dealing with.


  10. N-1 Interesting idea. As writers we do understand the concept of a muse. However, in this case, at the beginning I did not understand Thalia is a muse. I don’t think that fact should wait until the end. Now, is the writer aware of her? Or is she non-corporeal? Often muses are considered purely inspirational beings, why does she care what the writer does with the inspiration? Why would the writer’s actions or non-actions have any effect on her powers? I do not feel real urgency in this pitch. Good luck with your writing and remember everyone is trying to learn how to write the perfect pitch. I know I am. 🙂


  11. N-2 Sci-Fi is never easy, so good luck with this. Now, why do they need to hide their abilities? Is the reason they have powers because they were born in space (sort of implied by the wording)? Why did Honor finally tell (did she fall in love, get threatened…). You have “rules” twice in the same sentence. The same word that close together is something to try and avoid when writing anything. (maybe “straight-arrow Honor”) But if she follows the rules, why did she tell? You’ve chosen these points to pitch because they are important to you, but why are they important. Good luck with your writing and remember everyone is trying to learn how to write the perfect pitch. I know I am. 🙂


  12. N – 1 – I found this really interesting at the start. My writer friends and I tease about “punishing” people who are mean to us by putting them in books, so it reminded me of that and made me smile. I am curious who she is. Does she have a unique attribute as a character you can include here? Why is she the character to do this task? What threw me was the fact she would have to travel inside the manuscript. Isn’t she already there? I’m curious what the artifact is. Perhaps adding that detail would create more intrigue, but maybe not. Consider that. I’m not really sure where her muse powers are. In other words, a few details could be added to strengthen this for me, but really cool concept. Good luck with it. I’d love to read something like this!


  13. N – 3 – I like the voice in the first sentence. It’s an interesting twist that he’s the god of death. Quite a dilemma! I’m not sure what you mean by “Hollywood rent boy” though. And is holy war the other choice? Isn’t his duty to be the god of death, specifically? I suppose the “holy war” phrase, for me, reduces the strong internal conflict you raise in the first sentence. Finally, I don’t get the sense of any romance or erotic elements from this since there’s no mention of that. If you want to show that in the pitch, I’d say to try and tie it in here since including the phrase “w/erotic elements” in a Twitter pitch will significantly reduce your character limit (if you decide to pitch via Twitter). Good luck with this!


  14. N – 4 – I’ve become tainted against the use of “secret” in pitches since it’s so common – even though you do identify the secret here. That said, since you identify the secret, is it necessary to say it’s a secret? You want to show the conflict, which you can do without that phrase. Perhaps: Karen Bleeker doesn’t believe the world is ending but her SPAM-hoarding, doomsday prophet father does. I think that shows the conflict and gives you a few more words to work with. That said, I’m not sure how the second sentence connects to the first. What is she protecting him from? Being locked up by whom? For what? I like that their relationship is fragile, but is she trying to preserve that or mend it?

    Good luck!


  15. N- 5 – Is multicultural a genre tag now? That’s the first I’ve seen that. It surprised me although I suppose it shouldn’t since agents/editors want more diversity. Anyways, that’s just a random thought – to the pitch!

    A germaphobic doctor! That sounds difficult for Mei, so excellent! I have conflicting opinions about this one because on the one hand, the story seems realistic in that her parents want her to marry another Chinese Ivy Leaguer, but on the other hand, that seems to be the common tale for stories that involve ethnic characters. I wonder if there’s a way you can modernize that aspect or perhaps make it read as more unique here. Good luck!


  16. N – 6 – I LOVE the last line, but the beginning of the pitch confuses me. I think the dashes and colon might add to the confusion. So the world of the Fae is her traitorous aunt and her new powers? Why is the Danshue calling for her death? I wonder if you can tighten the writing here to earn a few more words that could clarify some of these details. I’m also curious why the bodyguard is professing his love, although it sounds appealing! Good luck with this. If you can get the first part to shine like the last sentence, you will be great here!


  17. N – 7 – This is interesting to me because I’ve seen several agents post #mswl about wanting to see relationships other than romantic ones developed in stories. You have that here with the sisterly tale. Although spellbinding eyes sound kind of romantic to me…

    I love that Amirah is a botched attempt at creating a super-soldier. I wonder what Fiona will do to save her. I suppose my only criticism then is to show the bond as more sisterly than romantic. Nice job here.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. N – 8 – I received similar comments about my pitch being too vague, but I have to say that I think those apply here as well. Besides the future, this pitch could work for my story as well, so I’d suggest adding some specifics that illustrate how this story is unique. Why is she being pursued? Who’s her soul-mate? Why does he/she fit her perfectly? Who’s her new family? Good luck with this!


  19. N – 9 – I find this very appealing in my first read, which could be enough for an agent/editor to jump at it. That said, this is a workshop, so I’m going to try and pick it apart a bit for you. I was a little confused by the phrase “ParaScience freshman” at first. I wondered if that was the school name since it was capitalized. Or is it a major? “Nightmare come true” is an interesting phrase, but I was curious of that meant she didn’t want to do this in the first place or if doing it was a nightmare. I’m not sure why the love triangle is deadly. I used the word “deadly” in my pitch, and I’m beginning to think it’s as empty a pitch word as “secret.” Nevertheless, it did appeal to me, so take that for what it’s worth. Finally, I am intrigued with the last phrase and wonder if this is where the real story is. Finally, since I hear and see this question often, I have to say, for Hailey, what does she want, and what are the stakes in achieving it. Good luck!


  20. N-6 — I think someone mentioned this above but the last line really gives the reader a clue as to the voice/attitude of your manuscript where the two sentences before read a little listy. Inject the rest with the spunk of that last line and you’ll be rolling in requests!

    Best of luck!


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