Name: Dannie Morin
Country of Residence: USA
Title: IMPERFECTLY FINE
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 Hardesty, Stephanie Diaz, Catherine Scully, Jodie Andrefski, Paula Sangare, Talynn 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!
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.