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#JustPitchIt Pitch Workshop ENCORE!

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#JustPitchIt Pitch Workshop ENCORE!

Welcome back, class! Did you all enjoy your field trip? That Talynn… she’s a pretty good gal, isn’t she? I just love her Victorian-themed blog. Unfortunately, now you’re back with me. *hands tissues out* Take heart, though: Talynn blogs all year long, so you needn’t lose her forever.

If you missed the pitch workshop on Talynn’s blog here are the posts, so you can catch up right quick:

Monday – Pitch Workshop: Your Character

Tuesday – Pitch Workshop Part 2

Wednesday – Pitch Workshop: Part 3

Thursday -  Pitch Workshop Final Day

Through her workshop, you should have a rather nice grasp on how to write a stellar pitch. What I’m going today is not to counterbalance, refute, or add to what she already did a great job with. All I want to do today is tell you precisely what I look for in a pitch.

Just Pitch It!

The motto of this Twitter pitch party has and will remain, If you don’t pitch it, you might as well pitch it. Keep the main premise of that in mind—any pitch is better than no pitch. So, try to have some fun with it and stay relaxed.

You know why I think it’s called pitching? It’s just like pitching in baseball, you can wind up and wind up and wind up, but eventually you have to let go and just trust the ball will go where you wanted it to. So, stay relaxed, do what you can, and then let go.

Hook Me

Do you remember the first day of the query workshop? I made you all change around your query letters to put very specific information in your introductory paragraph. You all worked really hard and ended up with some exceptionally great hooks. Bully for you, because that’s also the starting point for your pitch.

As you write and rewrite your pitches, I want to be sure you always stay cognizant of these checks and balances for your intro to pitch adjustments:

As you are working, I want you check for four main pitch characteristics:

  • Character limit not exceeded?
  • Hook kept?
  • Did I lose appeal or meaning?

Counting Characters

To make everyone’s day go a little smoother, I’m going to make us an Excel form to use for character counting. If you want to make your own, it’s rather simple: Open an Excel spreadsheet, copy and paste your pitch into a cell, and then type  =LEN(cell designation). So, for instance, if I copied and pasted my pitch into cell A1, I would type =LEN(A1) in cell B1 right behind it.

Or you can just use this form: #JustPitchIt Pitch Workshop ENCORE!

For a Twitter pitch party, you want to remember to account for the genre tag, as well as the hashtag attached to that particular party.  To that effect, you’ll notice that I included #JustPitchIt MG/NF to the spreadsheet. You do not have to be writing an MG or NF manuscript in order to participate today. However, since this is a #JustPitchIt workshop, I figured that would be a good hashtag to use. Besides, I’m annoying and I decided to use a long hashtag, so if you’ll be extra set if you use this during #adpit or something similar.

What Really Counts

When I scan through pitches on Twitter, I’m looking for the whole story. Think Friday Phrases (#FP) on steroids. I want the whole conflict stated in one sentence. Where am I and where should I want to be? Tell me the ride I’m going to take, and I’ll let you know if I want to take it.

Quite frankly, I’m looking for themes that may interest me. For instance, one of my manuscript wish lists (#MSWL) include American settlers in the 1800s. So, if I see a pitch that has “America” and “1800s,” unless it’s coupled with “aliens landed,” there’s a good chance I’ll favorite that tweet.

Focus on just getting the main elements across.

For my fictitious manuscript, THE GARDEN OF WINTER from the first query workshop last week, the main elements I would want to keep would be fairy tale and parable. For THE CROSSING, probably prairie, hope, and 1873 would be the elements I would want to make sure made  For BALLINA THE BRAVE, I would keep contemporary, grit, and most likely, courage.

ENCORE! Activity

So, whether you’ve been following along on Talynn’s blog, or you just found out about the pitch workshop today, I want you to paste your final 140 character in the comments below after you’ve double-checked the character count.

I want you to either italicize (to do this type <em>word or phrase to be italicized</em> ) the elements you are focused on getting across. For MG, if you can fit the word count in, too, that’s fantastic! We all have different thresholds for MG word counts.

You do not have to have an MG or NF to participate today. Please just keep your pitches clean.

I’ll try to comment as you go. I’ll be actively watching from about 8 a.m. to around 2 p.m. Then, I’m going to take time with my little one, but I’ll be back on in the evening. Just as with the query workshop, I encourage you all to comment and help one another. When subjectivity abounds, the more opinions the better!

Finally, when you are absolutely sure that your pitch is as good as you can make it, don’t forget to submit your MG and/or NF pitches to the #JustPitchIt pitch submission form. Anyone who has a completed MG and/or NF manuscript can Tweet their pitch May first on Twitter, but to be eligible for publicity plan or full manuscript edit, you must submit your pitch using the form.

 

 

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  1. Sarah Floyd says:

    Hi Jessica,

    I’ll be heading over to the submission form soon — what awesome prizes! Here is my pitch:

    12-yo Meghan finds spell, grows wings! Grandpa demands secrecy, govt. scientists will storm his Oregon farm – unless Meg’s coming out plan works. #JustPitchIt MG 44k

    Thank you! : )

    • These are the elements that I pick up on from your pitch: privacy, government interference, magic. These are all hot topics that could entice the right agent or editor, but they could also dissuade some with the political implications and leanings in an MG book.

      That may sound like a negative, but actually, it’s a positive. As long as those elements truly exist in your book, this pitch is just right. There’s enough information there that if someone favorites your pitch, it’s likely they already know if they want to read the full involved or not. So, well done. :)

      • Sarah Floyd says:

        Yay! I appreciate the encouraging feedback. There is not an unpatriotic or political slant to the story, but there is concern about potential scientific experiments, and ongoing conflict with one particularly menacing paparazzo. My goal was to create a sense of the action. Otherwise it sounds like a family saga, which it is, but there is drama from outside sources, too.

        Thanks for your help!

  2. Hi Jessica,

    My MS is for YAs, but since your offering, I’d love your feedback. Here is my pitch:

    13yo Nehemiah loses all in one night. Keep promise to dying dad to go to Shiloh, or stay in Petra, serve king, win girl? #JustPitchIt YA/T

    Thanks!

    • My first question is what on earth is the T behind YA? *facepalm* Oh! Thriller, I bet. I’m being slightly sarcastic, but also truthful. I actually had to stop a minute and think–which shouldn’t happen with a pitch. Remember, they often scroll rather fast on a Twitter feed. The problem is that I’m not sure your pitch showcases the tension and excitement that thriller suggests should be there.

      Give me a quick synopsis of your manuscript. Let’s see if we can’t rustle up a bit more edge to your pitch.

      • I was hoping Thriller would work, but we’ll see.

        Story set 200 years in future, society goes back to kingdoms and kings over countries and presidents. Starts with young Nehemiah, growing up in Petra in shadow of the Citadel (king’s fortress). Parents teach him this isn’t their true home, their people brought here after their kingdom overrun long before. They are also making plans to return, but don’t tell Nehemiah and his sister — they only find out after parents murdered because of the plans. As dad is dying, Nehemiah makes promise he’ll go to Shiloh, they’re ancestral home.

        As he grows, he gains favor and connections, ends up eventually serving as king’s cup-bearer, the most trusted position. But, all along the way has series of dreams and visions that point to a moment when he’ll have to choose — stay quiet and serve king, or risk his life by speaking up and asking to return to Shiloh, help rebuild city, and restore hope to his people.

        Through his journey in the Citadel, he falls in love, finds out who was really behind his parents’ murders, and how they are tied to a plot against the king and a land-grab back in Shiloh.

        This is the first in a series that will follow the whole story.

        • Great! Okay, let’s see what I pick up on now:

          spec fic
          reverse back to kingdoms
          ancestral return
          a bit of a nod to Joseph (of Genesis)
          love and murder

          Okay. What can you do with those?

          • Ugh, can I express frustration? Not toward you, but another who is hosting #TheWritersTank pitch contest on Twitter.

            I submitted a pitch and 250 words, along with YA/Speculative Fiction. Not commenting directly to me, his slush comments stated, “Sorry guys. ‘Speculative Fiction’ is not a genre”

            I politely argued back that it was, and that even the most-refered-to genre blog on Twitter (Jennifer Represents) says it is. And now you pick up immediately that it is.

            Mis-characterized genres immediately disqualified you.

            Thanks for helping me know I’m not crazy. Now, I’ll start working on a modified pitch.

          • Oh well! Too each his own, and all the better for me! LOL

            One of the imprints I manage at Anaiah is Presence. If you liked my comment, you’re going to get a real kick out of this: http://anaiahpress.com/presence.html

          • You’re close on the nod to Joesph… it’s actually the OT book of Nehemiah.

            How’s this?

            Nehemiah loses all in a murderous moment. Now to uncover a sinister plot, win the girl, save two kingdoms. Not so easy. #JustPitchIt YA/SF

          • I like it all except for “not so easy” at the end. How about Nehemiah loses all in a murderous moment. Now he must uncover a sinister plot, win the girl, and save two kingdoms. #JustPitchIt YA/SF

  3. Hi Jessica, I love your workshops. Thank you for helping us understand what makes a pitch work. I already submitted mine via the form, so maybe I put the cart before the horse, but I want this to be as tight as it can.

    I also have a couple alternative pitches, because I’m not sure this version sounds very unique, but I’ll stick to one for now.

    - -
    When 12yo Conley frees a killer dragon, he must get his own in the sky before Kansas City burns. So long, summer break. #JustPitchIt MG 64k
    AJ Vanderhorst recently posted..Top 10 Albums of 2013 & Honorable MentionsMy Profile

    • I love this pitch, it just doesn’t have the same fiery excitement as some of the keywords you choose to cut. We may keep this, but I want to see what else you can do. :)

  4. Oops, forgot the key words. In this pitch, they’d be:

    killer dragon
    Kansas City
    summer break

    Some of the ones I left on the cutting room floor:

    dragon warfare
    fireproof immortal
    secret cellar
    rotting buildings
    secret society
    battle in the sky
    holding tank for dragons
    boys, brothers
    dragon house

    AJ Vanderhorst recently posted..Top 10 Albums of 2013 & Honorable MentionsMy Profile

    • Haha! I love the way you put that:

      the ones I left on the cutting room floor

      I’m not sure you kept and cut the right ones, though. If I were reading through pitches and saw dragon warfare, secret society, and battle in the sky, I’d be so enthralled, I’d click “favorite,” before I even determined whether your manuscript fit my accepted genre.

      I didn’t get any of the same excitement from the three keywords you kept. :( Those are more setting than plot descriptions, and I want a sense of the plot through the pitch.

      So, I’m going to be a kill joy and ask you to rewrite the pitch with the three keywords I chose. See if you can encompass your story using them. We’ll worry about your pitch submission when we’re all done. ;)

  5. Hey ya’ll!

    I’m with Barry. My NA/YA PNR won’t be participating in this round, but the competitive drive is getting the best of me. Please let me know what you think!

    14 yo Lark sold to stranger, attends school to master raw telepathy. Enters political conflict, abandons friend to save girl, who dies? #PNR

    Thanks again, Jessica!
    RS McCoy recently posted..O is for OverloadedMy Profile

    • With a paranormal romance, I want to see more paranormal elements, and feel a bit of an emotional tug. I know that’s hard to do in such a short character limit, but that’s why I’m trying to get the focus on the elements. The only element you highlighted in your pitch was telepathy. That doesn’t tell me if this is going to be tinged towards spec fic, horror, or what. The elements that I picked up on were political conflict and abandonment; unfortunately, everything before that just sort of fell through my quick-read sieving screen.

      So, I want you to do two things: Decide whether you want to put this out as NA or YA, and then write a quick synopsis of your story line. Focus on picking two or three elements that highlight the romance and the paranormal. Make me a list of three of each.

      • Thanks for your feedback, Jessica. Here’s what I came up with:

        NA

        Romance:
        Affinity
        sacrifice
        tragedy

        Paranormal:
        telepathy
        manipulation
        predators

        New pitch:

        The Affinity firmly bonds 14yo Lark to a yng woman offered as human sacrifice. Reliant on combat skills & telepathy, can he save her? #PNR

        I feel like the ‘can he save her’ bit is pretty weak, but I’m struggling to come up with something inside the word limit :( Ideas?

        Thanks!
        RS McCoy recently posted..O is for OverloadedMy Profile

      • Oh yeah! My themes would be ‘human sacrifice’, ‘combat skills’ and ‘telepathy’ :)
        RS McCoy recently posted..O is for OverloadedMy Profile

      • I’m just curious why you chose NA. Given the age of main character, I expected YA. What is it about your book that leaned you toward an older reader?

        This probably has nothing to do with your pitch, but I’m a curious person.
        JEN Garrett recently posted..Writing Contests – More than Just SweepstakesMy Profile

        • That’s a good question that I probably need to consider in my pitch. The MC starts at 15 but ages to 19 throughout the book. With language, violence and sexuality, it feels more geared for older teens. I chose NA because I don’t think younger teens would think it appropriate. It probably totally depends on the reader and their maturity, but I rather err on the side of caution.

        • You are probably right to err on the side of caution. If you saw my MG vrs. YA blog post, you’d know I’ve struggled to define them myself.

          From what I understand, YA is for Teens all the way through high school, with a little cross-over in Jr. High or Middle School (which overlaps in ages anyway). If a teen is handling adult problems on an adult level, then it’s definitely YA (rather than MG).

          NA is for college-aged readers (about 19-30). But if you get graphic with the sex, go super harsh with the language, and are really explicit with the violence, then NA is a good choice even if your protagonist starts younger.

          OK, I think I’ve just written an extension of that blog post.
          JEN Garrett recently posted..Writing Contests – More than Just SweepstakesMy Profile

          • A couple of thoughts here:
            I’m going to swim against the crowd here because NA typically encompasses ‘coming of age’ stories, which often blend the protagonist’s finding a role/their role in society with a bit of ‘who they are going to be now that they are an adult’.
            To me, this seems like it is YA, even with the violence/sexuality/etc due to the the little i can see of the character arc. Definitely ‘upper’ /older YA but YA. Of course this also proves how difficult it is to pitch to this category, as every press has their own definition of what they are looking for.

            Also, I would caution against phrasing your pitch as a question. I cannot tell you how many twitter pitch contests I’ve seen where agents and editors have commented that they really don’t like this format.

            A possible solution:
            Using his burgeoning telepathy Lark races to save the woman the Affinity has bound him to from being sacrificed. #JustPitchIt YA/PNR

            However, what this is still missing is a hint of what will happen if he doesn’t make it. What is going to make the reader understand why (outside of saving a person!) he has to do this.

          • I understand that sex is now often viewed as an adolescent/coming-of-age issue, but I guess I just have strong opinions about that. The *only* reason I could see this marketed as YA is because 55% of YA readers are over 18. I agree with Jen. When you market this as a YA, that puts it on a YA shelf–the same shelf thirteen year olds may be visiting. Again, this is probably judgmental on my part, but I just don’t think that’s appropriate. However, I don’t get to make market rules, so if your scenes were done with purpose, and they aren’t graphic (basically everything Jen just mentioned above), then YA may be fine. *sigh*
            Jessica S recently posted..#JustPitchIt Pitch Workshop ENCORE!My Profile

          • *Sigh* indeed. Looks like the decision is yours, RS (as if it was ever anyone else’s) whether to label as YA or NA. I guess this is what happens whenever a new age category is being defined (no pun intended – honest) within the current market. Everyone draws the lines a little differently.
            JEN Garrett recently posted..Writing Contests – More than Just SweepstakesMy Profile

          • Everyone draws the lines a little differently.

            Talk about hitting the nail on the head…

  6. Hi again, Jessica! Here are two versions.

    While backpacking, teenage brothers endure the wilderness and a near-death experience that unravels a family secret. #justpitchit mg

    A secret lies at the root of two brothers strained relationship & unravels when a mountain adventure leads to an NDE for one #justpitchit mg

    I already submitted my pitch when I thought we only had 24 hrs. so I’m hoping I can resubmit if we come up with a better one!

    Thanks,
    Shari
    Shari Schwarz recently posted..Twitter and WritingMy Profile

    • Oops! I went a little wild with the italics! lol!
      Shari Schwarz recently posted..Twitter and WritingMy Profile

    • Version 1: This is the one I like the best. For the secondpost per hour, I would say use NDE and add your word count.

      Version 2: This is good, too. The strained relationship may pull in some #MSWL lurkers during the pitch. I would honestly tell you to sub this in throughout the day, too.

    • Help!
      I know I’m supposed to come up with keywords, but I’m also fighting both FROZEN and X-MEN ROGUE (neither of which my story is anything like, but in 140 characters, it starts to).

      Key ideas I didn’t use (but maybe should have):
      superpower genes unlocked at puberty
      juggling middle school with power of disintegration
      people injured by their own superpowers

      OK, here are 4 attempts:

      13-yr-old thinks her power of disintegration is causing others’ superpowers to backfire. What if she’s right? #JustPitchIt #MG #DetnoGirl

      She used to be in control with a killer volleyball spike – now she has a killer superpower that she can’t harness. #JustPitchIt #MG #DetnoGirl

      13-yr-old thinks her power of disintegration is causing others’ superpowers to backfire. What if she’s wrong? #JustPitchIt #MG #DetnoGirl

      #JustPitchIt: Everything’s disintegrating in her 13-yr-old hands – even others’ superpowers. But she’s not evil. Is she? #MG #DetnoGirl

      Can’t wait for your suggestions.

      • You make phrases instead of keywords, just like me! LOL (I’m a hypocritical teacher today.)

        superpower genes unlocked at puberty = ancestral power
        juggling middle school with power of disintegration = adolescent struggles
        people injured by their own superpowers = chaotic powers

        My suggestion: A 13yo’s ancestral powers become gripped by chaos as the adolescent struggles with the power of disintegration. #JustPitchIt #MG

        That leaves you 12 more characters to add to. :)

        • “A 13yo’s ancestral powers become gripped by chaos as the adolescent struggles with the power of disintegration. #JustPitchIt #MG”

          Is it just me or could you change the word “disintegration” to “ice” and you’ve got FROZEN in a nutshell? See my problem? :)

          I’ve got room, so let me see if I can tweak it:

          A 13yo’s ancestral power of disintegration causes chaos in others’ abilities, as the adolescent struggles to harness it. #JustPitchIt #MG

          Or

          A sweet 13yo faces evil in her ancestral power as it causes others’ superpowers to backfire. Can she harness it in time? #JustPitchIt #MG

          Oh, Why, Disney? Why? :P
          JEN Garrett recently posted..May Speaker Event at Placerville LibraryMy Profile

        • Just thinking here: The government unlocks her genes (and her parents know about it). It’s not a huge plot point, because Honey is mostly upset about being lied to all those years. But does differentiate from other superpower novels. Should I put it in?
          JEN Garrett recently posted..May Speaker Event at Placerville LibraryMy Profile

          • As I’ve commented before, many agents/editors are not particularly fond of open ended questions in pitches, so be sure to have a version without one.

            To help make your story stand out is there a way to show a bit of your voice here? Something like this: (This needs work as it is missing some of the elements you’ve been working on, but I wanted to show you a sample of voice :-) ) :

            Honey is sweet. Her mom-never-told-me disintegration superpowers, not so much. And causing things to backfire? The worst. #JustPitchIt MG

          • Thanks for the tip, Alison. It looks like you like the “After Pitch” the one I came up with at the end of this workshop. (No question in that one.) I’m actually headed over to the submission form with that one, now. :)
            JEN Garrett recently posted..Writing Contests – More than Just SweepstakesMy Profile

      • OK, So I already submitted (like most everyone else) but you mentioned if I had a better one, maybe I could submit again? I know you’re probably enjoying Easter Holiday with your family, and I still don’t know which pitch to put on the form. Can you tell me which you like better, and whether I should resubmit?

        Before Pitch:
        13-yr-old thinks her power of disintegration is causing others’ superpowers to backfire. What if she’s wrong? #JustPitchIt #MG #DetnoGirl

        After Pitch:
        A 13yo’s ancestral power of disintegration causes chaos in others’ abilities, as the adolescent struggles to harness it. #JustPitchIt #MG
        JEN Garrett recently posted..Writing Contests – More than Just SweepstakesMy Profile

  7. Laurie Litwin says:

    Hi Jessica

    I thought I’d run this one by you and see what you think. Thanks :)

    With the Little League World Series on the line, Jake has one shot to pull his grade up enough to pitch. Win the spelling bee.

    • I like this pitch. Is it contemporary MG?
      JEN Garrett recently posted..May Speaker Event at Placerville LibraryMy Profile

    • My main concern with this one is the sentence structure is off, you need the last part to make it a complete sentence.

      I admit to also being a little confused. When my kid when through little league it was independent of school, which meant your grades did not matter. If there’s an outside force setting this rule see if you can show it.
      Alison recently posted..Spilling the beans: Literary Agencies & Curiosity Quills PressMy Profile

    • I love that you have an MG aimed at boys that isn’t about overcoming bullying! You probably want to change that mid-sentence period a colon, but otherwise, I love it. Oh wait… That wasn’t very helpful. Let me try again. ;)

      Elements: focus not on bullying, importance of academics, baseball

      I think this is great. Write me a quick synopsis of the story, and I can give you a little better feedback, though.

      Also, when I ran it through the spreadsheet, your pitch would be 142 characters, if you plan to pitch during #JustPitchIt. So, we need to whittle it down two characters, if you plan do pitch May 1st.

      We’ll worry about that after you write me a brief synopsis, though.
      Jessica S recently posted..#JustPitchIt Pitch Workshop ENCORE!My Profile

      • I agree with Jessica’s suggestion of the colon, and I think that would fix one of AJ’s concerns.

        To whittle, you could take out the first the and that would take care of the character count problem:

        With Little League World Series on the line, Jake has one shot to pull his grade up enough to pitch: win the spelling bee. #JustPitchIt

        But, Jessica, my character count is under 140, even with the ‘the’ – not sure whose count is more accurate, but that’s really a little thing. :)

        As far as AJ’s other concern, anyone who has a kid in sports would pick up on that. Since I don’t, I didn’t. (–look at that well crafted sentence, lol)

        This could work to your advantage, though. If an agent is looking for an MG like Jessica described, she or he might want to hear more about why the spelling bee and pitching baseball are connected.

        That’s said, Jessica has been a HUGE help in making my good pitch even stronger, and I encourage you to take her up on that offer to help. :)
        JEN Garrett recently posted..Writing Contests – More than Just SweepstakesMy Profile

  8. Laurie Litwin says:

    This one is YA Historical. But, any feedback would be appreciated! Thanks for the workshop!!

    In 1974 – On the run from an abusive boyfriend, 17 y/o Cass meets Brent, who may be the only one who can help her scars fade.

    • Hi!
      Need a bit more tension here. Be sure to find your keywords/phrases (see above/last workshop) and work those in.

      Example of added tension (didn’t check character count!):
      It’s 1974. 17 y/o Cass is on the run from her abusive boyfriend. Brent may be the one to help her scars fade. If she can trust him.
      Alison recently posted..Spilling the beans: Literary Agencies & Curiosity Quills PressMy Profile

    • Sheesh. 1974 just does not seem like it should be considered “historical,” but you’re right. Wow. Anyway, let’s see what we have going on.

      Elements:
      ’70s, abusive boyfriend, new love

      The ’70s helps, given the end of Vietnam and the social situation at the time. However, how much these help with the uniqueness of your novel is dependent on what you did with them.

      My main concern with your pitch is uniqueness. I would suggest you go back and play around with Part Three of Five of the Query Workshop I did not quite two weeks ago: http://www.jessicaschmeidler.com/?p=1068.

      Post your unique angle, and let me know what elements of the ’70s you pulled into your manuscript. Once you do that, we’ll reassess from there.
      Jessica S recently posted..#JustPitchIt Pitch Workshop ENCORE!My Profile

  9. Hi again, Jessica :)

    Sorry for asking, but is F for fantasy and R for romance?

    Thank you :)

    “Torn between being a hunter & a protector of humans, 17yo Michael will soon realize the real enemy may be his own desires. YA/F/R #JustPitchIt”

    • Reading Level Tags
      PB Picture Book
      CB Comic Book
      ER Early Reader
      MG Middle Grade
      YA Young Adult
      NA New Adult
      A/AD Adult

      Common Genre Tags
      Fan Fantasy
      HistFic/HistFan Historical Fiction/Fantasy
      LitFic Literary Fiction
      Myst Mystery
      PN Paranormal
      RF Romantic Fiction
      UF Urban Fantasy
      SF Science Fiction
      WF Women’s Fiction

      Quite frankly, as long as your pitch is clear enough, I should be able to deduce what the tags mean. Personally, I say leave the “F” off, if it stands for “Fiction.” :)

    • Elements I see: juxtaposition-good; inner angst-good

      This seems perfect for a YA. I like it. I don’t think you need to change anything. :) Lucky girl, you.

      • Wait, I sent another one before reloading the page.

        Really? Yay! :) THANK YOU!

      • Okay, here’s the challenge!

        I’m sorry, you said it yourself. XD

        Torn between being a hunter & a protector of humans, 17yo Michael will realize the real enemy may be his own desires. YA/Fan/R #JustPitchIt

        and

        17yo Michael will soon gain his powers and needs to decide to kill or protect humans. But he might be a killer at heart. YA/Fan/R #JustPitchIt

        • Torn between being a hunter & a protector of humans, 17yo Michael will realize the real enemy may be his own desires. YA/Fan/R #JustPitchIt

          17yo Michael must decide how to protect, when his blood courses with the desire to hunt. YA/Fan/R #JustPitchIt

          *whew* One down. What do you think?

          • How about we add ‘humans’? :)

            How about “17yo Michael must learn how to use his powers to protect humans, but his blood courses with the desire to hunt them. YA/Fan/R #JustPitchIt”

            What do you think?

        • 17yo Michael will soon gain his powers and needs to decide to kill or protect humans. But he might be a killer at heart. YA/Fan/R #JustPitchIt

          Elements: beginning powers, inner struggle, good vs evil
          Elements missing: Romance

          Try to weave in some romantic flair.

  10. Thanks for hosting today! Here’s my pitch:

    Can 17yo Elise withstand the trials of time travel in Dystopian Denver as she competes to be Timekeeper Queen? #JustPitchIt YA/SpecFic 57K

    • You are quite welcome. :)

      I like how well you fit the hashtag, genre tags, and word count in. That would be refreshing to see in the Twitter feed. :)

      As for the pitch itself, I’m assuming the elements you wanted to highlight were time travel and competition. The only hiccup I see is that, and it may be because you phrased your pitch as a question, your pitch seems to be a red flag for a plot lost to journey. Try to restate this as a declarative instead of an interrogative. Let’s just see what that does to the tone.

      • Thank you for the input! How is this?

        17yo Elise learns to time travel and handle the royals in Dystopian Denver as she competes to be Timekeeper Queen. #JustPitchIt YA/SF 57K

        • Yes, that’s much better. Now I see how a plot can exist and develop. :) I would rather see SpecF added back in at the end (since you have a few characters to spare, but no biggy).

        • This sounds interesting!

        • This reads well, but if there is anything you can do to add some tension here, that’d help. And, unless your town is called Dystopian Denver, I’d drop the dystopian.

          Going from your original pitch (and I haven’t double checked, length, sorry!)

          Conquering time travel is difficult. Learning how to handle the royals worse. But Elise is determined to become Timekeeper Queen.

          - still needs work, but wanted to give you an example.

  11. Linh Nguyen-Ng says:

    Hi Jessica,

    I just found out about your workshop today.:) Any feedback is greatly appreciated! Thank you!

    10yo Max fm Apple Family BEE-lieve in friendship and magic to take down evil wizard bugs before they plague the village with poison and darkness. #JustPitchIt MG /Fan 41K

    • I struggled reading this pitch, probably because I’m still learning all the acronyms. What does fm stand for? “From”?

      I had to read this a few times, but what made me go back and re-read was “wizard bugs”. Maybe you could start the pitch with that…

      “Wizard bugs plague the village with poison & darkness, but 10yo Max BEE-lieves magic & friendship will conquer. #JustPitchIt MG /Fan 41K”

      Take it with a grain of salt – you saw my attempts, right?

      Side note: This sounds like a fun book, is it lower MG? I could see those who liked “Bug’s Life” and “Antz” wanting to read it, or maybe E.B. White fans.
      JEN Garrett recently posted..May Speaker Event at Placerville LibraryMy Profile

      • Linh Nguyen-Ng says:

        Hi Jen!

        Thanks so much for your help!

        I played around with the pitch and came up with a couple of versions. What do you think?

        A.
        When wizard bugs plague the village with poison and darkness, 10yo Max leads his fruit detective friends to conquer evil. #JustPitchIt MG/Fan 41K

        B.
        When wizard bugs bring wrath upon the village, 10yo Max Core BEE-lieves his fruit detective friends and magic will conquer evil. #JustPitchIt MG/Fan 41K

        Yes the book is for lower MG. It’s about fruits children solving mysteries in their village.

        Thank you for your suggestions!!
        Linh

        • I like A. but it sounds like Max is a fruit child too. If Max is a bee, then you might want to go with B.

          I’m not an expert, but something’s bugging me (no pun intended) about this book.

          41K is about right for lower MG, but I can’t quite put it on a 10yo bookshelf in my mind, because it sounds so cutsy. Are the fruit children like elves or fairies? If so, it’s easier for me to see 10yo girls reading it.

          But I’m not an agent, and you know how one person can say something and another can completely disagree.
          JEN Garrett recently posted..Writing Contests – More than Just SweepstakesMy Profile

          • Linh Nguyen-Ng says:

            This story is about a world of fruit “people” and magical animals & bugs. “People” with characteristics of fruits/vegetables/nuts etc.Yes, Max is an Apple.

            I did struggle with his age, whether to keep at 10 or 12.

            I understand this is all subjective.
            And I appreciate your comments. Feedback is always helpful!

            Thanks!

          • Are the bugs themselves wizards? The way this reads it seems they are, like stink bugs are stink bugs, and dung beetles are dung beetles, wizard bugs are wizard bugs… right?

            If they aren’t think about putting it at the end with the evil. And think if there are other terms beside conquering evil you can use:

            When wizard bugs plague the town with poison & darkness, Max & his friends BEE-lieve they know how to root out the source. #JustPitchIt MG/Fan
            Alison recently posted..Spilling the beans: Literary Agencies & Curiosity Quills PressMy Profile

          • Linh Nguyen-Ng says:

            Thanks Alison.
            Yes, the bugs are “wizards”.

            I appreciate the feedback. I’ll play around with the pitch.

    • Who is your target audience? Is the story written about (or from) a family of literal bees? I need a bit more for me to see how bees (which seem to target a much younger readership) will pair with plague and darkness (which seems to target a bit of an older readership).

      • Linh Nguyen-Ng says:

        Hi Jessica,

        My target audience is ages 9-14.

        The story is about a 10 year-old boy named Max Core- who’s an Apple- along with his other fruit friends who help the local detectives solve mysteries in the village. The residents of this village are fruit, vegetables, and fungi families. They wear clothes, shoes and style their hair and have certain fruit traits that distinguish them from other “fruit people”. For example, Max has a stem coming out of his head, while his friend Cornelius- from the Cornstalk Family- has rows of kernels as hair.

        A new species of bees and wasps have arrived and are attacking the village with poison. These new species are mutants who know magic. They plan on using their dark magic to take over the village. With the guidance of a friendly wise bee, Max and his team gather clues to help the detectives capture the bugs before everyone is in danger.

        I hope that illustrates a clearer picture…

        Thank you for taking a look at this!

        • Ha! How creatively adorable. :)

          When kids are fruity and villains are pests, [you finish it from here]. Make sure you include a word count with yours.

          Let’s see what you do with that opening.

          • Linh Nguyen-Ng says:

            What do you think of the these?

            A. When kids are fruity & villains are pests, the kid detectives rely on magic & friendship to keep their village safe. #JustPitchIt MG/Fan 41K

            B. When kids are fruity & villains are pests, you have the adventures of Max & friends who save the village from bugs. #JustPitchIt MG/Fan 41K

            C. When kids are fruity & villains are pests, magic and friendship are the cures to saving the village from nasty bugs. #JustPitchIt MG/Fan 41K

            Thank you!

          • I like (A), but don’t mind (C), either.

          • Linh Nguyen-Ng says:

            Just thought of one more…

            When kids are fruity and villains are pests, you have ingredients for sleuth-like adventures with Max and friends. #JustPitchIt MG/Fan 41K

            Thanks!

          • Ha. This is cute, but I still like (A) from the previous post the best. I would suggest submitting (A) to the form, but then holding onto (C) & this one to sprinkle in as your second pitch each hour on Twitter. Use (A) once then vary the second one with the other two.

        • Very cute. Now I’m thinking about the original STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE and ROSE PETAL PLACE, but for today’s tweens.

          I love that it’s not fairies, so it would appeal to the reader who likes that type of book but is tired fairies.
          JEN Garrett recently posted..Writing Contests – More than Just SweepstakesMy Profile

  12. Lucky whoever won the MS reading by Jessica :)

  13. Will 23yo homeless girl choose her inherent evil or her faltering faith when spiraling through world of demons, rogue angels, love & tradgedy? 97k NA/A #JustPitchIt

    Or

    Will 23yo homeless girl pick evil or faltering faith when spiraling in world of demons, angels, love & tradgedy? 97k NA/A #JustPitchIt

    Is abbreviated spelling acceptable in this situation?

    • I think it depends on the abbreviations. I don’t like to see pitches jump into text or online chat mode, but only because I know many editors like to see that you can say a lot with a little when necessary.

      I like the second one better than the first, but I would adjust the world “faltering” in that one. Without “inherent evil” to contrast it, it looks like she has too choices: evil or weak faith. In option one, we know the question is which one will win out; however, in option two, it literally reads like “faltering faith” is the prize to be gained, not a choice to pull from.

    • Since Jessica didn’t say anything about it, I’m curious:

      Jessica said to pick YA or NA, but not include both. So at first I was thinking NA/A meant New Adult/Adult.

      Then I realized A could mean Adventure, which would be perfectly acceptable.

      Also, AJ has pointed out that some agents don’t like any pitches phrased as a question in Twitter. However, that’s kind of like saying editors don’t like to see rhyme in Picture Books (and yet we keep seeing picture books with perfect rhyme).

      Jessica and I had a discussion about questions during the earlier workshop, and basically, if done right, questions are okay. Your question is not weak, but you might play with it and see if the hook is stronger as a statement. If not, leave it as is. :)
      JEN Garrett recently posted..Writing Contests – More than Just SweepstakesMy Profile

      • NA and A both target readers over 18, and NA is relatively new and still being defined. That’s why I would let an NA/A pass. :) Otherwise, the question I would have would be, Was this, or was this not, written for an adult reader in mind? I read YA and A when I was in elementary school–you won’t stop children from browsing, people will read what they want. However, as a writer, you should have a target readership in mind. NA/A insinuates a close proximity to the bull’s eye; YA/NA just means you think you landed somewhere within the circle. See what I mean? Even if you’re wrong, you ought to show you at least aimed in the right direction.

        I don’t know if that actually makes sense, but it makes sense to me. LOL

    • Thanks you guys so much, this is very helpful

  14. I just saw this and am hoping for some feedback. Thanks!

    Scarlett thought meeting her trans dad for her 13th b-day was hard enough but hometown bullies have other ideas. #JustPitchIt MG/LGBT 39K

  15. Tried to play around a little more…How is this?

    Demons urge her inherent evil, angels want her to find faith & fulfill her fate- Nev just wants to save father’s soul 97kNA/A #JustPitchIt

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