Sunday, January 15, 2012

Can You Hit a Perfect Pitch? Contest Time!

Update:  A big THANK YOU to everybody who's been here and taken the time to critique my pitch.  You guys make a huge difference. I've posted my entry. Anything else will just be nitpicking.   Good luck to everybody.

I'm entering another of Brenda Drake's contests. Can You Hit A Perfect Pitch? Blog contest with agent Ammi-Joan Paquette.  Good luck to everybody entering. Can't wait to read your entries.

I'm pretty okay with my first 159 words but I desperately need help with the pitch.  Mine sucks! It's a twitter pitch that I expanded. So have at it.

Updated Pitch:  While fighting for her own survival, Kaila must keep the people around her safe from a murderer who constantly changes faces. To stop the killing, Kaila has to deliver something she doesn’t know or have.

First 159 words:

The cold steel of the knife cutting into my side was what made me realize this was really happening.
I stared down at the crimson stain as it spread through the white shirt I wore, frozen with shock. To think I’d originally come here to ask forgiveness for not making it in time, knowing I wouldn’t have been able to do anything anyway. I needed to apologize.
His name was Landon, and the way he looked at me, like I wasn’t really there, made my heart beat faster with fear. He took a step back and dropped the steak knife to the floor. The blade, painted red, made a mess where it landed. Flecks of blood splattered this jeans and sneakers.
  “You were the closest. You should have saved him,” Landon said with cold detachment while wiping a stained hand down the side of his jeans. “My best friend is dead and somebody has to take responsibility for it.” 


  1. Alright, I have to say, it definitely needs work BUT I think the idea is good. You don't find a lot of YA murder mystery novels and I really like the first sentence. It definitely hooks the reader.

    The pitch needs some re-writing and I'm confused..there's a character named Kila and Kaila? If so, you might want to consider changing one of those names because they are so similar in spelling that I could see it confusing people. If it's meant to be Kaila then just double check for those kinds of typos because it could really confuse someone.

    try re-wording the pitch a bit, perhaps like so:

    While fighting for her own survival, Kalia must try to keep the people around her safe from a murderer who constantly changes faces (I love this part of it). In order for the killing to stop, Kaila must deliver, but how does one give something they don't have?

    Obviously, I haven't read the whole story so I am just going with what you had there, but I think switching some words and whatnot can really help.

    Also, read through your 150 words again. You can use some commas in there. Try reading it aloud and see where the natural pauses are.

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks, Mbee. Your suggestion is great. I'm a bit of a comma nazi and know that I have the tendency to leave them out rather than put in too many. Thanks for the notes. I'll get right to fixing this.

  2. I can tell you have an awesome idea, I think the pitch just needs to be tightened up a bit. Make it punchier. Something like, "Kaila must keep herself alive long enough to save the people around her from untimely deaths by a murderer that constantly changes faces. But the killer will only stop once Kila (Kaila?) gives her [whatever the specific thing is]--and Kaila doesn't have it."

    Sorry, that's over 35 words... >.< But it doesn't have to be exactly that.

    I really loved the excerpt! Good job!

    1. Yeah, the pitch is my biggest problem, but so far you and Mbee have given me great feedback. And I fixed that silly name typo.

  3. I like the first part of your pitch, but I think it'd help to say what that something is she doesn't have in the second half.

    If part of your problem is that you've hit your word limit and can't quite explain what she needs, I'd trim down the beginning a little like this... to give you some extra space at the end.

    Fighting for her survival, Kaila tries to keep others* safe from a murderer whose face constantly changes. To stop the killing, Kaila has to more specific on what she had to do.

    * or the community or her city

    That gives you a few extra words to play with and I think once you get that in, you'll have a good pitch.

    Sounds interesting. Good luck.

  4. The excerpt is great with the mystery and tension and keeps the reader turning the page. To tighten your pitch maybe change "try to keep the people around her safe" to "keep the people around her safe".

    1. Thank you, made the correction :)

  5. The pitch is the hardest. It's even harder than to write the query LOL
    But I love your first words. I've read your synopsis but I had no idea where exactly where your first scene was and whoa, I like it!
    The scene you painted there is really intriguing. Good job!
    And good luck ;)

  6. Hi Jani,

    So there's stuff here to work with. I rather like the idea of the killer changing faces. That wording makes me think if it's supernatural? If not, I would change the wording. Something to: "To stop a killer who never goes by the same identity, Kaila has to deliver something she doesn't have, but entering his world will risk her safety and those around her."

    That's my idea, but you then need the motivation of her trying to stop the killer. What's her deal? Why does she need to do this? Is she trying to prove something? Hope this helps.

    Also, if you're looking for another blogfest, stop by my blog on February 13th. I'd love to have you.


    In My Write Mind

    1. Thanks, Justin. I get what you're saying. Your thoughts definitely helped.