Get Your #PitchOn Workshop: IMPERFECTLY FINE

Name: Dannie Morin
Country of Residence: USA
Genre: YA Contemporary
Word Count: 59,000

Pitch: Sixteen-year-old Abbie Benson (No need to do all caps for her name) lives with no guarantees and only one truth: She’s going to die first. (First as opposed to who? Her parents? Her family? It might be better to simplify it and simply say: “She’s going to die young.”) Abbie has cystic fibrosis, a fatal, genetic disease. When an armed robbery goes wrong, Abbie’s rockstar father and stepmother of four hours (you don’t need this detail) are murdered, leaving Abbie alone with survivor’s guilt and her own mortality. (I don’t think we need that part either since you’ve already established her mortality.) Enter Cole Monroe, a dangerous guy she’s supposed to hate. (Enter how? From where? Does she seek him out? And I’m not sure the “she’s supposed to hate” is going to do much unless you have room to explain why she’s supposed to hate him. I think it’s enough that he’s dangerous.) The thing is, Abbie knows Cole’s lethal. (How is he lethal?) She’s counting on it.

Overall commentary: This premise has a LOT of potential that ends on a very strong note but suffers from sounding just a little disjointed in the middle. I think you need to start the pitch in more of a past tense rather than present, like “She’s always believed she’d die first,” so that it flows better into the, “But when an armed robbery goes wrong…” Pare down some of the details – like maybe you just say “family” instead of specifying her father and stepmother – so we can get a little more about how Cole comes into the picture and why he’s dangerous since that’s your real hook.

Okay, #PitchOn peoples, what are YOUR thoughts? Remember, for each critique you leave in the comments, you get an entry in the draw for one of eight 10-page critique from S.M. Johnston and workshop hosts Larissa HardestyStephanie DiazCatherine ScullyJodie AndrefskiPaula SangareTalynn Lynn and Kaitlin Adams. Please use the same names for all of your critiques. Also Sarah Nicolas will be giving away three query critiques. The opportunity ends October 14.  

Don’t forget – this is all just gearing up for a great, great contest on October 15th!

Commissioning and Managing Editor of Hardie Grant Egmont, Marisa Pintado, will be poised and ready to take your pitches both on Down Under Wonderings and on YAtopia on October 15th.

Marisa is looking for YA in any genre and is accepting submissions from anywhere in the world. It’s your chance to skip the slush pile and put your pitch right under the nose of a fantastic editor. There’s even better news – there is no limit on how many requests Marisa will make from the contest.

Here are the rules:

  • Your manuscript must be complete, polished and ready to query – this means no first drafts or almost finished manuscripts.
  • It must be YA.
  • When the contest goes live on October 15th, post your entry details in the comments section of either YAtopia or Down Under Wonderings – each blog is accepting 100 entries only.
  • Your entry detail needs to include a 50–70-word pitch.
  • You can enter more than once if you have more than one complete, polished, ready-to-query manuscript.

Just as it’s important to get someone else to look over your manuscript before you query, it’s also a good idea to get feedback on your pitch before you post. With that in mind, S.M. Johnston has lined up about twenty blogs who are ready to help you hone your pitch. These workshops start on October 1 and you can find the list of blogs participating here.

5 thoughts on “Get Your #PitchOn Workshop: IMPERFECTLY FINE

  1. I agree, chop, chop, chop. There’s too much detail here. Tell us what our heroine wants 1) she wants to die, and what stands in her way? 2) Is it Cole Monroe? I don’t think you really need to explain all the gory details of why she wants to die in the pitch. Just the fact that she wants to die is conflict enough for me! Nice work!

  2. I’m a fan of contemp YA and really do love the premise the author has created. It’s something I would consider buying. I agree with everything that has been said about the pitch. I think that it’s quite strong right up to the enter Cole sentence. I can’t help thinking that it might be in the author’s best interest to leave Cole out of this pitch, and focus on the turmoil Abbie goes through with her family. Just a suggestion. Good luck to the author. I hope you find representation.

  3. Love the end, would definately want to read more. I think perhaps you give too much information away in this pitch. Love the first two lines, drop the word ‘first’, replace it maybe with ‘soon’. Don’t tell us what the disease is, just the hint that the girl is to die is a good hook. Maybe less information about the murder, mention a tragedy or something…hope this is okay, I mucked up my pitch pretty badly, so it’s kind of the blind leading the blind!

  4. Hey I like your pitch a lot but the pitch makes us ask a lot of questions. You need to base it on what the character wants, what the stakes are. I liked the beginning which I think can be cut down ‘Sixteen-year-old Abbie Benson lives with no guarantees and only one truth: She’s going to die young.’ from there onwards about her having the fatal disease and turning into an orphan is really horrible for her. But suddenly enters Cole, and I’m wondering why she’s supposed to hate him? Why he’s considered lethal. Does she like him because he gives her hope or worsens her condition.
    Besides all these I suggest chopping it down to its bare concept. But I would read it, sounds interesting. all the best

  5. I think you have an interesting concept here, but your pitch isn’t as concise as it could be. I’ve reworked your first few lines a bit: “Sixteen-year-old Abbie Benson’s cystic fibrosis means she lives with no guarantees and only one truth: She’s going to die young. When her rockstar father and stepmother are murdered, she’s left alone with survivor’s guilt.” I’m not sure what to do with the bits about Cole… Why is he dangerous? Why is she supposed to hate hiim? Why is he lethal? Why is she counting on it?

    Other than survivor’s guilt, what are the stakes for Abbie in your story? What does she want/need? What will happen if she doesn’t get it? She’s more than just a girl with a disease. Give us a reason to connect with her, and you’ll be great! 🙂

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