Tuesday, December 17, 2013

#PitchMAS Twitter Pitch Honing Workshop


Before you do ANYTHING, please read this awesome post from one of our participating agents, Julia Weber. Seriously, PLEASE READ IT.



The blog pitches have been submitted, the window has closed, and Tamara and I are busy selecting our TOP 75 pitches! 
*When we finally come to an agreement--easier said than done--these TOP 75 will be posted on the  #PitchMAS blog, NOT this blog!

There have been some AMAZING pitches! But, if you don't make it to the TOP 75, and even if you do, this is only the FIRST half of #PitchMAS! 

On Friday, 12/20/13, we will begin our Twitter pitch party! ANYONE can participate! It doesn't matter if you've made our TOP 75 blog pitches (or not), or even if you submitted a blog pitch (or not). We urge EVERYONE to participate in the Twitter pitch party as well because we've been known to attract a few ninja agents and editors in the past! 
*The ONLY stipulation is that your pitch must be for a completed manuscript only. Also, please keep your Twitter pitching to no more than two times per hour, per manuscript.

I'm assuming you participated in our awesome pitch-honing workshop HERE, and received a ton of feedback from your peers. You did do that, right? RIGHT?

No? Well you're in luck! 

And even if you did participate, I know that we can still question ourselves like crazy--we're writers, duh--so if you'd like a bit more help/feedback on your 140-character or less TWITTER PITCH, I'm opening my personal blog for this purpose. 

Twitter pitches MUST include the hashtag, #PitchMAS, or agents/editors won't see the tweet. 

I also highly recommend squeezing in category/genre IF POSSIBLE.

Please post your pitch in the comments below and start helping one another hone those bad boys! 

Example of a Twitter pitch: 

20yo Analisa has 40 days & 40 nights to change her fate aboard the Ark of Dreams, or risk being forced to repopulate new world.  NA

(PS. You may never actually ADORE your Twitter pitch, but we do want you to at least like it. A little.)

263 comments:

  1. When aliens grab her friend & demand diamonds, an 11 y/o girl must find a way to comply that doesn’t involve grand theft or death #pitchmas

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    1. How does an 11yo girl have diamonds? Why do the aliens pick on her? Are her family diamond merchants?

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    2. She has to find a way to get them - steal them, fake the aliens out, whatever. She finds them while on a cruise vacation wth her family and 2 best friends and the aliens choose them because the kids find them. Any ideas on how to clarify that?

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    3. I do like this one but there is no way we'll understand why they want diamonds in such a short space. Maybe consider just saying for ransom so you don't risk the confusion.

      Actually, you'll have a chance to try both during the day. Might be best so if you get requests on one and not the other you'll know which one works best

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    4. Great idea Stacey! I could try:

      An 11 y/o girl known for lying must convince her parents of an impending alien attack during vacation when they snatch her friend #pitchmas

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    6. Sorry, having a hard time signing in. I like the second one better too, Kimmy. :)

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  2. YA An 18 y/o girl gets death threats when she reports in her conspiracy theory column that a teacher is pregnant by a senior. #PitchMAS

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    1. Yep. I'd start it with 18yo girl and leave out the An. Good one!

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    2. I agree this one is good. Maybe move YA to the end past the hashtag only because my brain wants that to be the beginning of the sentence.

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  3. 17yo Jenny's pirate mother returns. If Jenny goes she'll have the chance to finally have the family she's dreamed about but at what cost?

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    1. Hi Kathleen! This is unclear to me. Her mother returns, but if Jenny goes where, to join the pirating life? Try to clarify. Good luck!

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    2. Agreed. There's no connection between the two lines.

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    3. Jenny's pirate mother returns. If Jenny goes with her she'll have the family she's always dreamed about but the cost may be too high. YAHst

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    4. Better. But whats the cost? Too vauge.

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    5. Also, agents hate rhetorical questions, so just put in the stakes. How about "17yo Jenny's pirate mother tries to recruit her but if Jenny goes she'll lose her normal life but gain the family she's always wanted." - I didnt count the words, but just for an idea.

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    6. Jenny's pirate mother returns to claim her. If Jenny goes with her she'll have the family she's always wanted but lose her soul. YAH

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    7. Will she literally lose her soul? Otherwise that might be misleading. With the "returns to claim her" you don't need the "with her" after goes, because that would be clearer, you know, if you want he space :) In case that was confusing you could say "Jenny's pirate mother returns to claim her. If Jenny goes..."

      You could also do something slightly simpler to leave space for more about the stakes like. "When Jenny's pirate mother's comes to claim her, she'll have to choose between family and..." ("becoming the kind of monster she always feared," is kind of what I imagine but of course, I don't know this story as well as you so feel free to roll your eyes and ignore that. lol) but by combining the two lines it give you a little more space to play around with the ending bit. But if she is literally at risk of losing her soul, what you have above is pretty good!

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    8. If Jenny follows her pirate mother into piracy she risks damnation & if she doesn't she risks the loss of her mother's love. YAH

      Or yours--When Jenny's pirate mother returns to claim her she'll have to choose between family and the damnation of her eternal soul. YAHst

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    9. The first one is repetitive. You don't need "pirate mother" and piracy. And using the word "risk" twice. You also don't need the &, just make it a new sentence. Something like "If Jenny follows her mother into piracy, she risks damnation. If she doesn't, she'll lose her mothers love forever." Or something. Just a few tweaks to make it work and you're good :)

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  4. When dark creatures kill her family, 17yo Rian travels back in time to stop them. Failing means she could die. #pitchMAS

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    1. The last line feels just thrown on. Stakes could be higher to me. "Risk herself to save her family" is basically the same thing but feels more emotional than just "she could die"

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    2. Rian's plan: go back in time to stop the creatures who killed her parents. Being trapped in the past and risking her life. No.YAUF #pitchmas

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    3. I also have this one:
      17yo Rian just discovered she's got the ability to weld fire. Too bad the dark wizards known as the Gehu found out too. YA UF #pitchmas

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    4. I like the concept of the first pitches better, feels more original than the fire ability but that one is fine if you want to use both.
      But that one still needs a little tweaking. "Being trapped in the past and risking her life" isn't really a full sentence. Rephrase it a bit. Actually, I think I like the first sentence of the first one you posted better: "When dark creatures kill her family, 17yo Rian travels back in time to stop them." Maybe use the becoming trapped in the past part as the stakes instead of just dying. or "even if it means risking her own life to save them", well, there are a lot of options.

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  5. One social worker, one grandson, and one matchmaking grandmother on her deathbed spell a recipe for disaster. #pitchmas A

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    1. I'm not sure I follow. Grandma on death bed tries to hook up grandson with social worker? Don't make us guess. It's okay to try a clever structure but make sure its clear

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    2. Agree with Stacey. Maybe skip the social worker and say something like "one reluctant grandson plus one matchmaking grandmother on her deathbed spell a recipe for disaster--his. #pitchmas A
      Or something like that?

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    3. Thank you! Perhaps my other idea works better:

      A social worker finds herself in a complicated situation when a one night stand turns out to be a client's grandson.

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    4. Oh yes!! Yes! Much better. I like it

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    5. Agree, second one is much better! Plus, you can always pitch both alternately!

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    6. Awesome! I shouldn't have doubted that second one, thanks ladies!

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  6. 17yo Supreme Carri Helms & Watcher boyfriend Riker can’t enter Heaven. But fight to protect it when Hell tries to recruit them. #PITCHMAS YA

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    1. The punctuation in this is weird, plus since we don't know what Supremes and Watchers are, maybe cut that part out. Sounds interesting but needs clarification.

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    2. Whats a supreme? You probably use too much space on the first sentence. You don't need full names or descriptions we don't know out of context.

      "17yo Carri and Ryker can't enter heaven..." is all you need for the first line. This gives you space to explain the whys

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    3. How is this?

      17yo Carri Helms and her boyfriend Riker can’t enter Heaven. But, fight to protect it when Hell tries to recruit them. #PITCHMAS YA

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    4. No comma after but. Otherwise its better. Still could use more explainations but I know you can only add so much. Play with it, you might come up with something genius

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    5. Thanks Stacey! Do I leave in boyfriend or take it out? Is this better?

      17yo Carri and her boyfriend Riker can’t enter Heaven and must choose to fight or protect it when Hell recruits them. #PITCHMAS YA

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    6. This one is much better! Love it!

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    7. Yoy don't NEED boyfriend but it doesn't hurt to have it. Your choice

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  7. The Fallen Angels & demons that destroyed Roanoke Island want 17yo Carri leaving her Watcher to see history isn’t repeated. #PITCHMAS YA

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    1. Again, why?
      I don't think i like the first part of this, it confuses me. What does roanoke have to do with anything? Both the angels and the demons destroyed it? Together? And why do they want them apart?

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    2. Thank you for pointing out all these questions this raises. It's hard for me to step outside my story and remember nobody knows what I do. Let me see what I can tweak!

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    3. Still unclear, what history? and again, we don't know what a watcher is. Maybe something like The Fallen Angels & demons that destroyed Roanoke Island want 17yo Carri in Hell to see history isn’t repeated. #PITCHMAS YA----but this still doesnt say what the history is.

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    4. Sorry the history I'm referring to is the disappearance of people from Roanoke Island in 1590. Does this make it better or worse?

      The Fallen Angels & demons that destroyed Roanoke Island in 1590 are back and need 17yo Carri to help them break into Heaven. #Pitchmas YA

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    5. Oh yes. Much better. Story is very clear.

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    6. Is Carri an angel? If not, why would they need a 17yo girl to help them? I saw she's a Supreme, maybe say: Those that destroyed Roanoke Island in 1590 wants history to repeat but only Head Angel Carri can prevent the disaster. Or something similar...

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    7. Kathleen, she's not an angel, but of a very special bloodline that holds the ability to enter Heaven through the backdoor so to speak.

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  9. An 11 y/o girl known for lying must convince her parents of an impending alien attack during vacation when they snatch her friend #pitchmas

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    1. "When they snatch her friend" feels thrown on. Can you keep this mostly the same but put it at the beginning? "When aliens snatch her friend, 11yo (name) must convince her parents of the impending alien attack or find a way to save him herself" or something

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    2. Sure, is this better?: When stranded aliens snatch her friend, an 11 y/o girl known for lying can’t convince her parents to help, forcing her to save him #pitchmas

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  10. A death camp. A Gypsy curse. Two souls forever bound. She dies. He's damned by an eternity of darkness...until she is reborn PNR #pitchMAS

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    1. Too many short phrases. You have me until "she dies." Where it just starts feeling choppy.

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    2. Ty for your advice, will definitely work on it! :)

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    3. I'd string it together more. A gypsy curse binds two souls for eternity but one is forced into darkness and one must be reborn to free the other. OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT...

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    4. A Gypsy curse binds their souls. She dies in a death camp, he's damned by an eternity of darkness...until she is reborn to him PNR #pitchMAS

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    5. Agree with Stacey. Maybe try: In a death camp, a Gypsy curse binds two souls forever. When she dies, he's damned by an eternity of darkness...until she is reborn PNR #pitchMAS

      I didnt check the word count, but something like this?

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    6. Ooooh Kathleen, I really like that! TY! Back to work!

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    7. I agree, there are too many short phrases, but it sounds quite interesting. Meshing the sentences together might help.

      I like what both Kathleen and Kimmy came up with. Can't wait to see revisions.

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    8. Yeah, I most like Kathleen's suggestion. I'm curious about the death camp too. Is that part historical? Cause I might mention that, give a date or a setting to make it clearer. It's a fictional death camp, don't worry about it.

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    9. Concentration camps...they also called them the death camps, that's why I wanted to keep it in there. Still not having luck with any phrasing I really like yet.

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    10. Yes, but do you mean Nazi concentration camps? (there are others but that's the most well known, that's why I mention it) That's what I meant. Is is a historical reference? Because that's a neat idea and might set your story apart a bit more.

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    11. Yes, Nazi concentration camps...that's why I want to keep it so badly. I really like Kathleen's suggestion but then it takes that part away completely.

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  11. Is this better?
    When stranded aliens snatch her friend, an 11 y/o girl known for lying can’t convince her parents to help, forcing her to save him #pitchmas

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    1. She seems reliant on her parents saving him, suggesting she can't or doesn't want to, especially when you use 'forcing' in the pitch. It doesn't make the protogonist very likeable, in my eyes. Also, it's a good idea to give the category and genre too!

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    2. Oh she's likeable, but at 11, its hard to fight aliens without adult help! I have to see how many characters to add MG but I say she's 11, so that should be ok if I can't fit the MG. Any suggestions for a better word than forcing? I would say 'take matters into her own hands' but thats too many characters!

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    3. When stranded aliens snatch her BFF, 11yo NAME known for lying can't convince her parents she's telling the truth. She must save him or he dies. Or something....

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  12. As one of the last Untamed humans, Seven's on the run. But her capture brings new knowledge: someone's lying, but who? #pitmad YA dystopia

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    1. The who is lying isn't very catchy since we have no clue as to how big that could be - who is lying, her parents? the government? her friends? also, agents HATE rhetorical questions! Try to make it into a sentence like this ( i didnt count the words, just for an idea):
      As one of the last Untamed humans, Seven's on the run. But her capture brings new knowledge: someone's lying, and the closer she gets to the truth, the more danger she's in #pitmad YA dystopia

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    2. Thanks, Kimmy! Good point about rhetorical questions. Just realised I got the hashtag wrong!

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    3. I like the first sentence a lot. The second one loses my attention though and I think it's because of the question. Not sure this is accurate, but here's my take:

      As one of the last Untamed humans, Seven's on the run. Someone's lying and to find the truth requires her capture. #pitchmas YA dystopia

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    4. Thanks! How about this:

      As one of the last Untamed humans, Seven's on the run. But a raid on the Enhanced Ones' town leads to capture, knowledge & war. YA Dys

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    5. Like the others, I love the first sentence but the rest is iffy. Hard to really wrap my head around what you're saying because I have no context. Is there another way you can present it?

      "...Seven's on the run. It's only when she's captured that she learns she's the only one who can save human kind" (this is actually cheesy, so don't really use this even if it's relavent find a more unique way to say it. I just don't have enough context to really give a good example without making things up (which, apparently, I like to do. lol)) Because even the suggested fixes still seem pretty vague. Who's lying, about what? I have no idea what Seven has to do with anything yet. Try to make it as clear as you can.

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    6. One of the last Untamed humans, Seven's needs to flee. But capture, knowledge & war are the only things she can possibly run toward. YA Dys

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  13. 17yo Carri harnesses the power to open the gates of Heaven. Now Hell knows and won’t stop until she’s theirs. #PITCHMAS YA

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    1. I like the idea, but is she in danger of being hunted, imprisoned or killed? Also, it's a good idea to give the genre as well as the category.

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    2. Is this better Madeline? Also, do I write YAUF (Urban Fantasy) or YA UF or does it matter?

      17yo Carri harnesses the power to open the gates of Heaven. Now Hell knows and won’t stop hunting her until she’s theirs. #PITCHMAS YAUF

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    3. I like that better! I'd put 'YA/UF' :)

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    4. Thanks so much! I finally feel good about this one.

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  14. Is this even better now? Thanks for all the amazing advice!

    When aliens snatch her friend, 11y/o Trinity must convince her parents of the impending attack or find a way to save him herself #pitchmas

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    Replies
    1. I like it. But that other one was good too. Not sure you need the "known for lying" part in the other one and that might give you more space to say it how you want. Up to you :) but you're getting there for sure!

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    2. Thank you! I think I will use a mix of all since we can pitch twice per hour. Maybe one or the other will grab some attention!

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    3. Yup! That's how I like to do it too :)

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  15. Elyse is the last guardian and high queen of Ever After but doesn't remember because of the evil queen’s curse. Until a fateful kiss from an escaped fairy tale prince brings all of her memories back. Na UF #Pitchmas

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    Replies
    1. Hmm, this could be a pitch for the show Once Upon a Time. While that's almost a good thing since it's pretty popular and fairytale retellings are pretty in, I'd try to find a way to set yours apart. What's unique about this? It's urban fantasy so is it set in our world? Is she a normal college student? Maybe cut "high queen" to give you more space to tell us a little more

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    2. Wait, I just realized that this is way too long for a twitter pitch. I don't know if you planned on using two tweets but I guarantee that will backfire. Twitter pitch events get CRAZY, and even if you're lightning quick, your two tweets won't be next to each other making the agent do a lot more work to read the whole thing than you want.

      So again, I might have made a few things up here, but this gives you an example of how you could feasibly make this fit into a twitter pitch and still get the point across: "The last guardian of EverAfter can't save something she doesn't remember. Until Prince Charming comes PenState help her remember NA #Pitchmas"

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    3. I agree with Stacey. If I can suggest, maybe start with something like: "Elyse is the last guardian of Ever After, but the Evil Queen's curse makes her forget her duty." And then go from there.

      Also, what are the stakes? Can you include a hint about them? What happens if she -doesn't- get that kiss? Is the kingdom destroyed? Does she become mortal and die? What's the risk?

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    4. I didn't even realize it was too long. I used word instead of plugging it into twitter to see how long it was. Not nearly enough sleep. (Word said 40 words...not characters. Big duh on my part.)

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    5. Lets see how this one does...

      Elyse is the last guardian of Ever After with no memory of the realm. An escaped prince, a kiss, and a battle will bring her home. #pitchmas

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    6. Is Elyse now in "our" world (I use the term loosely lol)? Or is she stuck in her realm with no memory of who she is? I would still try to include the genre if you can :)

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    7. She's in "our" world now. Grrrr it's so hard condensing it all. lol.

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    8. I totally understand! Lemme see if I can help in some way hehe

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    9. Maybe start with something like...Cursed by an Evil Queen and cast into another world, yadda yadda...I don't know what the stakes are if she doesn't get back home and why it is so important that she does. I know it's really difficult but keep at it and I know you will come up with something amazing.

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  16. 40 yrs after vampire Tybalt -didn't- take a life, a cunning mage seeks revenge. Who can help? Fae, witches and ratkin, oh my! #PitchMAS UF

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    1. Huh? Someone wants revenge for him not taking a life? And the 40 years since he didn't take a life, is confusing unless you name a specific life because it, what's happened in the 40 years since, he's constantly taking lives? I'm just not getting it with this one, sorry!

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    2. 40 years after vampire Tybalt vows to never take another human life, a mage hunts him. Now he has to pair up with a fae, a witch and a rat to defeat the evil wizard. OR SOMETHING.

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  17. Alright, I'll throw mine in. This book is hard to pitch, unfortunately so I don't know if it's possible to do everything I'd like it to do.

    I've got a few options so bare with me:

    MG-Darcy finds an abandoned underground city guarded by monsters with rather sharp teeth. Her adventure goes from fun to dangerous #pitchmas

    Lost in the maze of tunnels below her city, Darcy must hope the darklings are nicer than they look, or be lost in the underground forever #pitchmas MG

    Darcy wants to live underground, but her mom won’t let her and the darklings want to eat her. No one said being 12 was easy #pitchmas

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    1. I think the second one is the strongest of the three.

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    2. The second one definitely makes me want to read it to my kids!

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    3. I would have to agree the second is my favorite, but I love the last one as well because it's fun.

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    4. Okay, thanks everyone! Yeah, last one is one that made me laugh. I think I'll use it once or twice because I just want to, but it has a lighter feel than the book really does and doesn't show some of the books best hooks.

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    5. I like the second one too although the last one did make me chuckle.

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  19. Any better?
    A Gypsy curse binds two souls but when she dies in a Nazi camp, he is damned to an eternity of darkness...until she is reborn PNR #pitchmas

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    Replies
    1. I would probably break this into two sentences. Leave off the but, start the second with When. And I don't think you need the ellipses.

      That said, this reads clearer and cleaner to me.

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    2. I like this, but I like S. L. Gray's suggestions too.

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    3. I'm liking your premise here. I scrolled up to see the earlier version. I'm tempted to make it more short sentences. The "but when" throws me out of the pitch, maybe cut that out and create two sentences?

      I also feel you could leave the concentration camp, as historically that makes sense. But you'll save characters by going the Nazi route.

      However I really want to read this, so isn't that the goal?

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    4. A Gypsy curse binds two souls. When she dies in a Nazi camp, he's damned to an eternity of darkness until she is reborn to him PNR #pitchMAS

      Is this better?

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    5. You don't need the 'to him', but I like it better as two sentences, yes. :)

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    6. And thank you everyone for your help! It is very much appreciated! This is my first time ever doing anything like this, so it means a lot that I am getting such wonderful advice/support.

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    7. No problem. It looks pretty good to me :)

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    8. I think I got it now!
      A Gypsy curse binds two souls. When she dies in a Nazi death camp, he's damned by an eternity of darkness until she is reborn PNR #pitchmas

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    9. I would totally read this book. Good luck!

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  20. Let's try this one instead:

    A reluctant vampire discovers new powers as he tries to survive a mage's traps, a literal deadline, and an unexpected prophecy. #pitchMAS UF

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    Replies
    1. This is better, but just an honest comment: both vampires and prophecies have been overdone in publishing so now they're hard to sell unless they're super unique. Is there a really cool aspect of this story you can show us instead of "literal deadline and unexpected prophecy" it's not bad, I just think you'll have a hard time selling agents unless you down play the ideas they've seen and show them ones they haven't, if that makes sense.

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    2. Probably not in a Twitter pitch. Thanks, though.

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  21. Thanks to this and #pitchpractice I've got a few twitter pitches now. Which one do you think is the strongest?

    1. 17yo Carri harnesses the power to open the gates of Heaven. Now Hell knows and won’t stop hunting her until she’s theirs. #PITCHMAS YA/UF

    2. Banned from Heaven and wanted in Hell, 17yo Carri must fight to save her soul before Hell comes to claim it. #PITCHMAS YA/UF

    3. When Carri learns demons want to use her power to open the gates of Heaven, she must risk her soul to stop them. #PITCHMAS YA/UF

    4. Carri harnesses the power to open the gates of Heaven. Now Hell knows and won’t stop hunting her soul until she’s theirs. #PITCHMAS YA/UF

    5. Carri can open Heaven's gates and demons want her to break them in or lose her Guardian Angel boyfriend and her soul. #PITCHMAS YA/UF

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    1. I like the first two. They're both pretty grabby. Between them, I like #1 best.

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    2. #1 is a definite. Love that one.

      I like the start of # 2 but the end of it somehow feels too simple. I guess, almost vague. I'd love to suggest something to make it better but I'm not sure how. I love up until "Carri" so if you have something genius to put at the end of that one that's more specific/powerful try it. Otherwise, I definitely like #1 best.

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    3. Thanks!! 1 & 2 are my favorite. I think 2 is a bit vague, but love the intro too. I need to see if I can make it more awesome.

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    4. 1 is awesome. I still like 2 a lot too, but I free with Stacey on the ending. It's still good though.

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    5. I tried to rework #2 a bit and this is what I came up with. Do either of them sound better than my current option 2? I'm keeping pitches 3-5 on the back burner for now.

      Banned from Heaven and wanted in hell, Carri must choose a side, but picking the wrong one will put her soul in danger. #PITCHMAS YA/UF

      Heaven banned her. Hell wants her. Still Carri must choose a side and choosing the wrong one will put her soul in danger. #PITCHMAS YA/UF

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    6. Okay, this might totally throw you, but I'm liking the concept behind 5 the most. Why? You mention a guardian angel boyfriend. We know that there is a lot of demon/angel stories out there, stories about running from hell, etc., and the guardian angel boyfriend is the first thing that makes me sit up and say "oh, this one might be different."

      But just use the one that rings true to you and reflects the story the best!

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    7. Thanks Ashley! He's a big part of the story so I'd love to fit him into all of them. I also have this one:

      Hell wants to open the gates of Heaven leaving Carri and her Guardian Angel boyfriend to prevent the end of days. #PITCHMAS YA/UF
      or this one....
      17yo Carri & her Guardian Angel boyfriend are banned from heaven, but it's up to them to prevent Hell from breaking in. #PITCHMAS YA/UF

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  22. Summer lived another life she is just beginning to remember. Katya buried that part of her life with her sister. Is it too late for their old wounds to heal? A #Pitchmas

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    1. Is there something that ties them together, Summer and Katya or is Summer Katya's sister? It sounds very vague and I can't really get a good feel for it at this point. I'm sorry. If I had a little more information, I may be able to help a bit.

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    2. or, without the dreaded rhetorical question:

      Katya’s only chance at forgiveness from her dead sister depends on Summer’s recent memories of a life she never knew she lived during Stalin’s famine. A #pitchmas
      or
      Katya never forgave herself for her sister’s death during Stalin’s famine. But her sister wants closure, and she has come back to tell her. A #Pitchmas
      or
      Katya never speaks of what she did to survive Ukraine’s man made famine, but her great-granddaughter Summer is beginning to remember. A #pitchmas (I used this one last year for pitch madness without much luck. Do I reuse it or scratch it?)

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    3. Do those help? Yeah, that first one is pretty vague if I look at it as an outsider.

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    4. Is Summer her great granddaughter or sister? And I would definitely skip the rhetorical question. And is Summer coming back as a ghost?

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    5. Possibly start with something like this? Haunted by her dead sister, Katya's only chance of forgiveness...I am not sure if that will work, I'm still really fuzzy on who Summer is and how she ties into it, unless she IS the dead sister...

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    6. The first one, I'm not a fa of. The other are good except I still don't fully grasp the connection. Did she think her sister died but didn't really? Is she a ghost, coming back to tell her? I'm just really unsure. I would use the word "Stalin" in there no matter what because that's very very interesting. Just make the story clearer and you'll be in better shape. I love the beginning of the third pitch "Katya never speaks of what she did to survive Urkraine's man made famine" but saying "Stalin" instead will be sure the reader gets the connections and make it more powerful. Otherwise, that line is awesome. After that, just explain the other character's connection better.

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    7. *that's supposed to say "fan"* in case you were wondering lol

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    8. Thank you all so much for commenting. Summer is Katya's sister reincarnated, but I'm not sure how to convey that in so few words. Plus, it's kind of the big reveal in the book, so do I put that out there now? It's clear I need to do something more, cause I'm not conveying it well at all! I will get back to the drawing board and come back with something better hopefully. Thanks again!!

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    9. Is this any better? The end feels rough still but I'm having trouble squeezing this all in. This is tough!!

      Katya never speaks of what she did to survive Stalin's famine. When her great granddaughter begins to remember things Katya knows her sister has come back. A #Pitchmas

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    10. So granddaughter has memories of Katya's sister's death? It's interesting but difficult to put into a short pitch. I feel your pain. I'll try to help a little more when I get home (on my phone now)

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    11. I came up with a little something but it's not perfect...maybe being tweaked with a special touch will help but it gets it all in there...I would most definitely put that in the pitch, it makes it that much more intriguing.

      Katya never speaks of what she did to survive Stalin's famine, but her dead sister has come back for closure as her great granddaughter.

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    12. The second one really catches my attention because it sounds like a ghost story. What about something like this?
      Katya survived Stalin's famine at all costs. When her grandchild tells her secrets, she knows someone's helping from the grave. A #Pitchmas

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    13. And this one might help a little too, I hope...

      Katya never speaks of how she survived Stalin's famine, but now her great granddaughter is haunted by memories of her dead sister #pitchmas

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    14. What about this?... or something

      Katya never speaks of how she survived Stalin's famine. Now her great granddaughter is haunted by memories she can't possibly know #pitchmas

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    15. Either way, I like the haunted memory bit. Just trying to make it so anyone who reads it will understand what's happening for the most part. I think you're almost there

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  23. So granddaughter has memories of Katya's sister's death? It's interesting but difficult to put into a short pitch. I feel your pain. I'll try to help a little more when I get home (on my phone now)

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  24. Thanks Stacey :) Yes, basically great granddaughter Summer (and there goes half of my character count right there) is sister reincarnated. Katya had guilt her whole life because of the way sister died and what she did afterwards to survive. Great granddaughter is a young adult who just now begins to remember what happened.

    I'm still working on it too. I'll post here when I have more. And thank you to you too, loverofwords. Maybe I can still incorporate the "Haunted by.."

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  25. Hey guys, I have never participated in this before. I thought I'd take a shot. :-)

    10yo Alex Offal pays his twin Ethan to take his place in the class play but his brother masterminds a stinky, embarrassing climax. #pitchMAS

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    1. That gave me all kinds of LULZ! Too cute!

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    2. Thanks! I had a lot of fun writing the book. It is very silly. :D

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    3. Oh yes. I think I have a friend or two at Middle Grade Minded that will retweet this one if they see it (they love fary humor lol). No crit needed. Great job!!

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    4. Thanks!! :D I almost didn't go for it, but in the end I decided why not? Nothing to lose by trying. :D The title is The Fart Heard 'Round the World. :D

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    5. I am glad you decided to! My 7 yo would love this! One of his favorite books is Walter the Farting Dog lol so I am sure this would be right on the top of his list!

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    6. I'll introduce you to some people. What's your Twitter handle? LOL

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    7. loverofwords, Two of my beta readers didn't like it because the word fart was in the title and it was such a large part of the plot. :P My sister said she wouldn't buy it for her son because of that, so It's nice to get some validation from other parents with opposite views. :)


      Stacey, I am lmorbison on Twitter. :D

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    8. If my children can read something that makes them laugh hysterically, I am all for it...I mean, how often does that happen? And come on, farts are funny, I don't care who you are lol (I obviously live with too many boys!) But I am glad that I could offer a different perspective for you and I am beyond excited that you decided to participate and put it out there!

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  27. I have a husband who is basically an 8-year-old just with a much bigger allowance. :) And I used to work in daycare, so I have lots of experience in this area, lol.

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  28. To keep her sister safe, 17yo Jenna chose to move to Delford Valley. Too bad the Valley is anything but safe for her. #pitchMAS YA F

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    1. Instead of saying chose to move why not just say moved? It's more direct

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    2. Yea basically all you say here is she moved but where she moved isn't safe. This could jusy mean she moved in next to s mobster. Or next to a hell mouth or volcano or... There's nothing that really tells me what this story is actually about.

      Was she trying to keep him safe from something specific? And what threatens him now?

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    3. I agree with Stacey, that is pretty vague. It implies a threat but gives no specific detail about what sort of threat she might be facing. It doesn't make me want to pick it up and see what the issue is.

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  29. Werewolf and pick up artist Lonnie's maker returns with an army and a grudge. Now he has to play her games to save his friend. #PitchMAS NA

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    1. Is the use of pick up artist necessary? Why does his maker have a grudge against him? What if you reworded it a little bit like this:

      When Lonnie's maker returns with a grudge, the werewolf must play her games or [insert stakes here].

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    2. When Lonnie's maker returns with a grudge, the werewolf has to play her games to save the lives and flesh of those he loves. #pitchmas NA UF

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    3. I'm by far no expert at this - you can see my own struggles above as I work through my own pitches, but ...lives and flesh just sounds off to me. Is his maker threatening to eat them or turn them into werewolves too?

      What about something simple like ...her games or sacrifice those he loves.

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    4. I think I have it...

      When Lonnie's werewolf maker returns with a grudge, he has to play her games to save his friends from slavery or slaughter. #PitchMas NA UF

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    5. You can shorten it even further:

      When Lonnie's werewolf maker returns w/ a grudge, he plays her games to save his friends from slavery and slaughter.

      Now that we've saved some space, what are these games you speak of?

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    6. That is much more interesting than your first couple. Very specific and to the point! I'd be interested.

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  30. I'm still trying to figure out a way to use this intro. Does this one make my stakes high enough?

    Heaven banned her. Hell wants her. With Carri’s soul on the line she must decide between doing what’s right and what’s easy. #Pitchmas YA/UF

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    1. Sounds pretty high. If you wanted to, you could be more specific about her choice. Although, that's tough with only 140 characters.

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    2. This one is better.
      what about "she'll risk her own soul to save ___" or "doing what's right might (will?) cost her soul." Or something

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    3. How does this decision affect her soul? I like Stacey's suggestion.

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  31. I'm going to give this a go... Here's a few I'm toying with:

    1)Outwitting the kidnappers out to kill your sea monster family is difficult when your enemy is a charming boy with a crooked smile. #pitchmas

    2)Kova has a choice: stay human or become a sea monster. But to live below she must do the unspeakable.

    3) Kova must outwit kidnappers out to steal her Atlas coin, give by sea monsters who raised her, before all she loves is destroyed.

    4)Kova's secret is out: sea monsters raised her. Now she must stop the kidnappers hot on her trail or risk losing her family forever.

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  32. Angel Addi starts a war btwn good&evil by following her heart-she'll lose someone,love someone&risk it all on a decision #PitchMAS YA PN/UF

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    1. I like the start of this one, but you lose me after heart -- I think it could be condensed.
      Angel Addi starts a war between good & evil by following her heart risking life and love over a decision.
      or
      When Angel Addi follows her heart and falls in love she sparks a war between good and evil now she must [insert stakes here]

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    2. I like this one the best too, I see what you are trying to do with lose someone, etc., but I think the tension you build up is lost toward the end(no pun intended). :)

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  33. Option 2-

    New Angel, Addisyn'll follow her heart despite her orders&in the end risk them all w/ a decision that could change fate. #pitchmas YA PN/UF

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    1. This is vague. I'm not sure what's being risked and what the orders are. Why would she follow her heart? Why risk fate?

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  34. Twitter pitches: When Mia comes home from college to find her mom has committed suicide, she can no longer hide her past from the man she loves. #PitchMAS NA

    Mia had succeeded in keeping her college life & love separate from her mom's craziness back home until her mom commits suicide #pitchmas NA

    Mia didn't know how odd growing up w/her single mom was until away at college and saw what normal was. Now how to assimilate? #PitchMAS NA

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    1. I really like number 1! This is really nit-picky but is there anyway to hint at this past she is trying to hide and incorporate mom's suicide?

      Without knowing what this secret is, perhaps something like:

      Mia thought her murdurous past was far behind her, until her Mom's suicide threatens to reveal her secrets to the man she loves...

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    2. Out of the three you you listed, I like the first one the most. In the second one, it seems like you could condense it a bit more and in the third one, the question isn't usually liked by agents and editors and you give the impression that having a single mom for a parent isn't normal, when it's more common than people want to realize. You could change it to focus on her mom's craziness (or whatever it is) and how that wasn't normal.

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    3. Thanks for the feedback. Need to keep working on this pitch. There is nothing exciting (murder/mayhem) in her past, just dysfunction and chaos. Mia desperately wants to be normal but she can't seem to escape the crazy drama her mom brings into her life.

      And you are right agirlnamednat, the issue is not that she has a single mom but that the mom she has is a problem. Was trying to make the point it was just the two of them and her mom was crazy.

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  35. A reborn 17yo soul reaper faces Demons, and must decide if she’ll reap the soul of the boy she loves or forfeit hers. NA-PRN

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  36. A/UF An immortal assassin falls for human threatening her father’s life.Will she betray the man she loves or watch her father burn

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