Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Gang's Review Sunday
Paranormal Pitches

Yesterday was your first chance to review two pitch submissions, and quite a few of you did! Now it's our turn to give Kate and Alexia our opinions on their pitches. For each pitch, we'll also post a comment from one of you! If you missed yesterday's pitch session, that's all right, you can always comment/review at any time, or you can wait until next week when we'll be critiquing Paranormal Short Stories. Submissions for next week are now open!

Rin Ryder and the DreamWorld by Kate
I have seen your dreams and they are mine.
Rin Ryder knew that crossing a Nightmare would be listed as the stupidest thing she had ever done, but she wasn't about to give that abomination anything it wanted. Now, with Dreamworld teetering on the edge of destruction because of her prideful idiocy, Rin must uncover the truth about herself and her world before everything and everyone she loves are destroyed.
Spotlight Comment from Munch: I really like the first line. It really grabbed my attention. I read it and I said to myself that I would read that book. You could maybe (and this is a maybe) add a little more information. I think it's a really good pitch, but it seems a little short. In the last line, I think the 'are destroyed.' should be changed to 'is destroyed.' That was the only somewhat grammatical error I found.

The Gang's Review: The Gang agreed that the tagline/short pitch is a definite attention-grabber. It's intriguing and gives us information right away that this is a book dealing with dreams and mystery. Nella and Evie think you could play with it a bit more. A couple of variations to play with: “I see your dreams. They’re mine.” Or: “I see your dreams and they are mine.”

For the long pitch, The Gang also agreed that you need to expand on some of the elements. You have the basic plot there, which is good, and tell us what the conflict and goal of the MC will be, which is also great. Here's some notes for you and examples of places where you can expand.

“…she wasn't about to give that abomination anything it wanted.” This sentence a little off. Because we don’t know anything about Nightmares in your story, we don’t realize that they’re an abomination or that it wants something from Rin. So an example to expand on this would be something like: Nightmares are an abomination, wanting ___________ (what does it want?) from (MC’s age; always list in YA) Rin Ryder. She knows it would be listed as the stupidest thing she’s ever done if she were to cross (into?) one, but _______ (Why does she have to do it?).

A reword here: Now, because of Rin's prideful idiocy, Dreamworld (What’s Dreamworld? Have to tell us. Now, with Dreamworld, a place ___________,) is teetering on the edge of destruction, and Rin must uncover the truth about herself and her world before everything and everyone she loves are destroyed. A writing note: Because you’ve already used “destruction,” maybe try another word here or in place of “destruction.”

Overall you did a great job incorporating the important plot points. Just work on expanding. One more note: This is just a suggestion, and something you may want to consider if you were sending this to an agent/publisher, but perhaps try and find a way to incorporate the tagline/short pitch in the long pitch. Who is "I"?

Trapped in Between by Alexia (A.K.A101)
Being trapped between life and death is hell.
Anya had never thought much in life after death. She had other things on her mind; family, friends, schoolwork. That is, until she was hit by a car and was thrust into the spirit world.
Until she was trapped there.
Anya is still alive, stuck in a coma in the living world. The only way to get back to her body? Recover the missing part of her soul. Armed with a few friends, some new tricks, and a whole lot of luck, Anya sets on a journey through the Spirit world. However, the world of the dead is trickier than she thought. In the real world, the worst thing that can happen is death.
In the Spirit world there is so much worse.

Spotlight Comment by Andromeda: Your pitch makes me think a little about Brody's Ghost (a manga heh heh.) But I think it's good. It gives me just enough info about the book so I want to read it! However, I think you should try to make it more clear what the mood is going to be. Because this could have the potential to be a really funny book, but it could also be a really serious one.

The Gang's Review: Again, The Gang is in complete agreement on your short pitch. Intriguing and mysterious and also gives insight to the plot. One can already tell the MC will be trapped between life and death and there will be conflict and distress. Evie also noted that she loved how it could be interrupted in two different ways: Hell as in torture, or Hell as in the actual place, which would be an intriguing thought, like it’s the real Hell. Readers may wonder the meaning, which is great.

Your long pitch is very strong also. You give everything a reader needs and wants to know. There are a few areas that could be expanded on, but also condensed. A couple suggestions: Give a little bit more of the plot than backstory. One of the reasons we want you to condense the beginning is so you can give a little bit more with the Spirit World.  Here are some notes for you:

(Age?) Anya had never thought much in (change to "of" or "about") life after death, that is, until she’s hit by a car and thrust (suggestion from Laura: maybe "thrown"?) into the spirit world. We deleted the middle sentence to condense this a bit. There was nothing wrong with it, but it was a bit average. Many pitches use that type of opening, so we encourage you to either delete that sentence, or maybe reword to make it unique.

Now she’s trapped there. Just a suggestion, but the “Until she was trapped there” interrupts the flow.

Anya is still alive, stuck in a coma (delete “in the living world” because it’s already implied). The only way to get back to her body is to recover (you want to watch the questions unless it’s at the end of your pitch) the missing part of her soul. Armed with a few friends, some new tricks, and a whole lot of luck, Anya sets on a journey through the Spirit world (Spirit world or spirit world? You have both. We suggest either spirit world or Spirit World. This is also a good place to give a little more on this world, however, that's just a suggestion. ...through the Spirit World, where ___________). But the world of the dead is trickier than she thought. In the real world, the worst thing that can happen is death.

In the Spirit world, there is so much worse. “So much worse” is a little bit vague. Considering we don’t know what it is, though you have made us very curious about it, we want something a little more. For example: “In the Spirit World, you can only wish for death.” Something to really make our heads spin at the thought.

Overall: A solid pitch! You're last paragraph is your strongest and it gives the perfect amount of information for a reader. The main thing for you to watch is your consistency, as with Spirit world or spirit world and with tenses. You switched a few times in your original pitch.

Great work, Kate and Alexia!!! Thank you so much for entering! It was a pleasure reading your work.

Gang, remember to always edit everything you work on and never complety settle as there is always room for improvement!

Also, submissions are now open for Paranormal Short Stories! Enter now! Deadline is this Thursday. 

4 comments:

Kate Anders said...

Thanks for the help! :D I always have trouble with my pitches which is no good considering how important they are.

Alexia Smith said...

Thank you for the help! I'll make sure to use it.

Andromeda/brokenbone95 said...

Can't wait to submit my short story :D

Evie J said...

@Kate and Alexia: Glad we could help! :)

@Andromeda: Yay! Submissions are open! :)