January #PitMad Post and Panic: Hone Your Twitter Pitch #PitchWars

Someone asked if people were still willing to jump in and help other writers hone their Twitter pitches for tomorrow’s #PitMad party in exchange for a little help on their own. I figured I’d set up a new post for anyone who wanted to hop in.

If you’re lost on how to construct a Twitter pitch, here’s a good starting point.

Then, come back here and try your stuff – see what fellow writers think of your catchy loglines!

A couple of reminders:

  • Be a giver, not just a taker. Don’t just post your pitch
  • Get a few different ones under your belt. Twitter doesn’t like identical tweets, so make sure you have some variations to work with.
  • Don’t forget to account for the hashtag. #PitMad takes up seven characters, so you’ve got to make you point in 133.

Hit the comments and show us what you got!

203 thoughts on “January #PitMad Post and Panic: Hone Your Twitter Pitch #PitchWars

  1. I’ll go! Here’s my Twitter pitch:

    16yo Allura doesn’t want to revert to the man-hunting ways of her folkloric ancestors but falling for the enemy never tasted so good #PitMad

    Or

    16yo Allura’s reluctant to revert to the man-hunting ways of her folkloric foremothers but falling for her prey never tasted so good #PitMad

    1. I agree–I definitely like the first one. I especially like the sound of “the enemy never tasted so good” much more over the same line with the word “prey.” Sounds interesting!

  2. Can’t wait to see everyone else’s pitch. I’ll do my best to offer advice! Here’s mine:

    She has 3 lives: By day a prince’s wife by night the head mistress on a brothel ship It’s the 3rd life that scares Alura the most

    1. I like it, but the lack of punctuation is driving me a bit nuts. 🙂 There were several comments from the agents during the last twitter pitch that they were turned off by bad punctuation in the pitches. Can you tweak the words around a bit to allow for the extra characters?

  3. This is great! I have two that I can’t decide between:

    Child soldiers. Mind-erasing serum. Fixed elections. August vows to end it all but gets in over his head and risks EVERYTHING. #pitmad

    Or

    The Foundation has used child soldiers as their ultimate weapon. That is, until August breaks out and sparks a flawed rebellion. #pitmad

    1. Definitely the second one. The first one doesn’t flow nearly as well and the all caps “EVERYTHING” feels a bit melodramatic to me. The second one doesn’t have that problem at all though. Solid pitch!

  4. Hi Laura. I just read an agents tip and her advice in a query was not avoid the phrase “risks everything” or similar phrases. She advised be specific. So, I vote for the second option!

  5. This is great! Thanks!
    Here are mine:

    First they created her; then they deceived her. Now 17yo Evy might be all that stands between the Corporation and everyone else. #PitMad

    Or

    17yoEvy’s not a graphic novel heroine. Funny sidekicks=0,Cool toys=0,Innocents saved=0.But it might be up to her to save the world. #PitMad

    And

    When Evy’s best friend is murdered, she must use her genetically engineered gifts to find the killer and destroy The Lab. #PitMad

    1. I really like the second and third ones. The Lab is a little vague. What about:

      17yoEvy’s not a graphic novel heroine. Funny sidekicks=0,cool toys=0,Innocents saved=0.But someone has to catch her friend’s killer. #pitmad

    2. I like #1. The last part isn’t entirely clear, though. Maybe, “Now 17 yo Evy is all that stands between the Corporation and world domination.” – or something that tells from what fate Evy must save everyone else. I’d also change “might be” to “is” to give yourself more space – and because, let’s face it, we all know she IS going to be the heroine, right? 🙂

    3. #2 made me giggle, I think because of this: “Funny sidekicks=0,Cool toys=0,Innocents saved=0.But it might be up to her to save the world.” I like the personality of it, though “graphic novel heroine” seems a little awkward to me.

    4. I really like the third one. It’s very clear, leaves a question (what is “The Lab” and why does it need to be destroyed?) and flows well. The first one works as well, but last time I participated in a Twitter pitch fest, I saw a lot of pitches along the lines of “First they created her; then they deceived her.”

    1. Hi Joy. I used the phrase “struggles to survive” in one of my queries and everyone CP who read it said it was too vague. Can you be more specific? I love the premise here and can see you’ve got a great story. Try describing more conflict or stakes. also, maybe use his name so we can attach to a character and not just a boy.

      1. I agree with Talynn. Is it just his disease that’s making it difficult for him to stay alive long enough to get home, or are there other stakes in play?

  6. Thanks for the input! Okay, I’ve revised. How about this one?

    Once an enslaved child soldier, August vows to free those left behind but gets in too deep & risks the one love he can’t live wihout #pitmad

  7. I have a few pitches I’ve been working with

    1.) Alien abduction Cool Telekinesis Cool Serving aliens in their secret war plans in return for the ability Not Cool Upper MG scifi #pitmad

    2.) 13y/o Gary is about to learn everything has a cost, including superpowers resulting from alien abductions. Upper MG scifi #pitmad

    3.) When 13y/o Gary is abducted by aliens & gifted telekinesis, he must serve the aliens in their secret war plans to save their race. #pitmad

    4.) Alien Abduction, Telekinesis, and serving the aliens secret war plans, 13 y/o Gary’s life just got a lot busier. #pitmad

    1. I agree, #4 is the way to go. That said, something about the word serving makes me imagine him sauteing and serving up little alien appetizers. I’m assuming that in the end he’s going to stop the alien war plans. Could you change that to “stopping”, “halting” or “destroying”. It’s a few more letters, but you could change the end of the phrase to ‘secret alien war plans’ to get a bit more room.

    2. I actually like #2, but I’d lose the Upper MG scifi. Since you state the age and the fact that there are aliens in it, I think we can figure it out 🙂

  8. Pitch #2…It is choppy because I’m having trouble getting everything in there in the allotted word count…He has to choose to save everyone in this new world or he lives. Not sure if that comes across 🙂 Thanks for your help!

    Stuck n a supernatural world 13yo hemophobic Parker is mistaken 4a vamp.Evil threatens & his secret can save everyone except himself #pitmad

    1. I do like this one better! IT may feel choppy to you because you know the details, but to me, who has never read the story, I get a feel for the conflict and the stakes and I like knowing his name!

      What is the evil? Or can you say?

    1. I would cut out the befriended by forgotten king so you can give us more description of what the evil is.

      Outcast warrior, Grit, returns from exile to save her village from ___. First she has to kill her closest ally. #PITMAD
      This would give you 23 characters to tell us what evil she’s facing.

  9. Or (Hunger Games + Narnia) – talking animals = Grit of Berth and Stone (YA Epic Fantasy)

    I’ve seen a few pitched this way, but not sure how it goes over in terms of communicating plot.

  10. All right, here are the two I used in the last big Twitpitch party (PitchMas).

    Brenna’s got a talent for finding things that are better off lost. When a powerful ruby goes missing, she risks her life to find it.

    Or

    Brenna’s goals: don’t drool over hot boss. Avoid tyrannical coven leader. Find insanity inducing ruby…or maybe not.

    1. I like the first one. The only thing is the notion of finding a lost ruby sounds MG to me, but the second one shows it’s clearly adult. Can you adjust “risks her life” to make the age more clear?

    2. I like the first line of the first one, but the second line of it seems a little too vague. Why is she risking her life for it?

      The second one makes me grin, though I agree about the lack of stakes. Is there any way you can squeeze in what will happen if she doesn’t find the ruby?

    1. Sorry to be a downer, but I think you have a naming problem. Read it aloud. Coil’s curls? Kill Coil? Sounds like Curly of the Three Stooges. No problem with the premise, just a name that doesn’t work.

    2. I really love this pitch, and I don’t think the name is an issue. We already know it is some form of fantasy from the context, and with names such as Grit and Havoc, “kill Coil” works into the atmosphere.

  11. Any thoughts on these?

    When her fiancé impregnates the town trollop, a society woman seeks new life via Oregon Trail. Gruff guide protects her, for money #PitMad

    After her naïve family dies on Oregon Trail, a resolute woman struggles to survive out west. Gruff guide protects her, for money. #PitMad

    1. I really like the first one for its content, but what if you dropped the “Gruff guide protects her, for money” and said something like, “, escorted by Gruff, a (insert what Gruff is)” Is Gruff a man? Machine? If a man, is he handsome or swoon-worthy or plain? I want to know more about who he is and why he matters to the story.

      1. Thank you so much for your helpful insight! I’ve updated it and think this might work?

        When her fiancé impregnates the town trollop, a society woman seeks new life via Oregon Trail. Poor yet honorable guide protects her #PitMad

    1. I saw the comment on your earlier pitch about needing punctuation. I totally agree that you need it, otherwise I get lost trying to figure out where to pause/stop while reading your pitch. I checked and you’re ok with character count if you add it in.

      My second thought would be instead of focusing on what she doesn’t get for her birthday, maybe use those characters to expand on the storyline? How about something like…

      On Prism’s birthday she discovers blah blah blah.
      Or
      No gifts on your birthday sucks. But learning blah blah blah is much worse

      Ok, I’ll stop now 🙂

  12. Please check out these two
    #1. Her enemies adding themselves to her SaveList is not plausible. But 16yoBlue can’t save her own people by avoiding the implausible.#pitmad
    #2. 16yoBlue doesn’t know she is a catalyst. Or that saving her enemies doesn’t mean she won’t be their destruction #pitmad

    1. Ditto. They both feel pretty vague, but I do like the elements in #1. I think rearranging it and inserting character references would help.

        1. I’m having a hard time visualizing it… if you’d like to, I would love to read a longer synopsis of your storyline and help you chase it down (email: rachel [dot] hollerback [at] gmail [dot] com). Sometimes being so close to your own story makes it hard to write a concise pitch. I know it was hard for me!

    1. Wow. I LOVE the voice in this! It has me wondering what kind of world it is set in. Is there any way to reference that?

      1. Great suggestion, @RachelP. Thanks. @RachelO, it’s an agrarian near-paradise with just a small problem – if you’re outside the palisades after dark, the nightbears and dogpacks will eat you. In the longer queries I think I’ve focused too much on the world, but it’s really just background for the MC’s conflict.

        This TwitPitch thing is a great exercise in dropping all the stuff that matters only to me (vis-a-vis the query) and getting to the point!

  13. Would love some crit and/or preferences on these. You guys are rockin’ this comment thread! P.S. Thanks for doing this, Becks!!

    #1: When their parents are killed, royalty siblings Kierstaz and Mikel set out to avenge them… but confront their own humanity instead. #PitMad

    #2: When a rebel mob unseats the Orions of Serengard, siblings Kierstaz and Mikel must decide how far they will go to reclaim the crown. #PitMad

    #3: When Serengard erupts into war, crown princess Kierstaz tries to avenge her parents. But it may mean losing everyone else she loves.#PitMad

    1. I like 2 and 3, but for all three of them, I’d like a little more on the stakes. Is there any way to work in a bit about what stands in their way of revenge?

      1. Thank you so much, Amanda! Maybe something more like this?

        #1: Overthrown and hunted, crown princess Kierstaz tries to set the kingdom aright. But is it possible to reverse the will of the people?

        #2: Overthrown and outnumbered, crown princess Kierstaz struggles to set the kingdom aright. But is it worth the lives of her knights?

        1. I like both much better, especially the 1st one. And don’t forget, you can change one tiny thing (something as simple as leaving off a period at the end of the sentence) and it fools Twitter into thinking is a brand new, totally different tweet! You can change “aright” to “to rights”, etc.

          1. Thanks a bunch. This is my first time pitching anything on Twitter, so I really appreciate all of this!

        2. Suggestion:

          Overthrown and hunted princess tries to rebuild kingdom. But the people say, We’re better without you.

          We don’t need her name, but we do need a delicious conflict. Princess? Who cares? (That’s why we kicked the Brits out 240 years ago.) But fighting against both odds and common sense? Hey, we love them underdoggies!

          1. On the other hand, in the fantasy genre names often matter and often stick with a reader long after the story ends. I LIKE knowing her name, feeling that connection with her, beginning to form a picture in my mind of who she is… all starting with her name. (P.S. Sounds like a GREAT story!)

          1. Thank you all so much! I feel like I have great stuff to work with now. Good luck tomorrow, everyone!

  14. Not sure if anyone’s still critiquing, but I’m in. Here’s my Twitter pitch:

    When 17 y.o. Cade’s girlfriend dies in his arms, he learns that the “accident” is something much more sinister—and he’s at fault.

    Thoughts?

  15. Here’s mine, if anyone is still commenting!

    Sera’s a princess in another dimension & Caden is an incubus w/a duty to bring her home—but he’s not about to tell her any of that. #PitMad

    1. The only thing I can think of is maybe cutting down “he’s not about to tell her any of that.” That last bit sounds a little wordy to me, but otherwise I think you’re on a great track. 🙂

        1. Ohhhh, hmm. I didn’t get that she didn’t know she was a princess. That’s tricky. Ok. Maybe play around with something to the effect of “but those secrets will stay with him”? Something that indicates both of those facts (she’s a princess and he’s an incubus) are knowledge only he’s privy to.

          1. Good idea. But rereading it, do you think it’s that important to fit the fact that BOTH things are secrets into 140chars? I don’t want to sacrifice good writing for trying to cram in too much info (as is my downfall in all forms of pitching).

          2. How important that is is up to you. Only you know how significant it is to your story. I really like what watingforaname did, though. It’s a little over the character count, but if you can fit something like that…

    2. I didn’t check character count, but what about:

      Sera doesn’t know she’s a princess from another dimension or that Caden is an incubus sent to bring her home – and he wants to keep it that way.

    1. Hmm, you have an interesting premise here (steal the boy, and a treasure and defeat her family’s secret society) but I don’t know who your protagonist is, or what you mean by the “new girls, how to be unpopular” bit. Perhaps revise so that we know who your protagonist is?

    1. Maybe something like “12 y.o. Celia must steal a boy and a treasure from the hometown princess and defeat her family’s secret society before lunchtime.” Something like that? Also, don’t forget to save room for the #PitchMad hashtag! 🙂

      1. I should also say, I do like your second version better, though I generally try to stay away from using plus signs and other symbols of the like. But that’s just me! Good luck!

  16. Ava Jae, wow. You’re a rockstar helper. Woot! Also, I love your pitch, and I STILL want to read more, even though it’s been more than a year or two, and I only saw the beginning. BTW, I agree: use After to begin your pitch.

    1. Happy to help! ^_^ It’s great practice for everyone involved. And thanks! I’ve adjusted it in my notes. (Has it really been a year or two? Wow. Time flies).

  17. JessieDevine: I think everything after the hyphen (what Ava pointed out) isn’t the BEST thing to put there. It does the job of summing up, but try to use the thing that makes your pitch unique to make it pop. Others have written about Incubii before. You’ve got to share what makes yours special. Good Luck!

  18. Okay, here goes. Trying a different approach this go around:

    3 high schools, soph yr. Nightmare in study hall hits 10K online. 16yo Joel’s daymare has just begun: Amber’s boyfriend isn’t him. #PitchMad

    1. Hmm. Well, minor point: if you say Joel’s a sophomore, you don’t need to say he’s 16. We have a pretty good indication of his age, so you can use one or the other. The premise is understood, but I think you might be able to improve it by combining the first two sentences so it’s not quite so choppy.

  19. Rachel, What do you think of this?

    Reverting to her ancesters man-hunting ways mean the death of Allura’s love-life. Pity falling for the prey never tasted so good #Pitmad

    If not, maybe something stronger than “Doesn’t want to revert”?

    1. Mmm, I think I like the first one better. It gives a clearer indication of the conflict (he’s not Amber’s boyfriend and he wants to be, also he has nightmares).

  20. Thanks, Ava. I appreciate the help. Here’s another go. I’ve got 4 spaces to play with:

    3 high schools his soph yr. + studyhall nightmare hits 10K online. Joel’s daymare has just begun: Amber’s boyfriend isn’t him. #PitchMad

        1. What about something like this:
          When his nightmare caught on tape goes viral, 16-yr-old loner, Joel, might as well kiss his dream date good-bye. #pitmad

          It’s short so you’ve got about 20 characters to add in some other details.

  21. Love your critique and your preferences on these. Thanks for all your help!

    1) Stuck n a supernatural world 13yo hemophobic Parker is mistaken 4a vamp.Evil threatens & his secret can save everyone except himself #pitmad

    2) Searching for his sister’s killer 13yo Parker gets stuck in a supernatural world& is mistaken 4a vampire.Can he live to find answers? #pitmad

    3) 13yo Parker is secretly the only human in a supernatural world.When evil threatens,he must choose between saving everyone or himself #pitmad

    1. Okay, left your critique on my own comment for some reason? I apparently don’t know how to run a computer. Here’s what I meant to say:

      I like #1. I don’t like #2 as much because it ends in a question and I think that always seems a bit cheesy (I don’t know for twitter pitching though, it could be okay). I don’t like #3 because the stakes don’t seem high enough. It seems obvious that most ‘heroes’ would choose to save ‘everyone’ over themselves. In books anyway.

    1. I like #1. I don’t like #2 as much because it ends in a question and I think that always seems a bit cheesy (I don’t know for twitter pitching though, it could be okay). I don’t like #3 because the stakes don’t seem high enough. It seems obvious that most ‘heroes’ would choose to save ‘everyone’ over themselves. In books anyway. 🙂

  22. Joy, I like a combo of the first and second one. I’d drop “evil threatens” as it comes across as cliche. Too few characters for that. (you don’t want them to see your MS as one big cliche)

    maybe this order?:

    13yo hemophobic Parker: mistaken 4 vampire + stuck in supernatural world. Should he save himself, world, or find sister’s killer? #PitchMad

  23. These are the 2 I’ve got so far. Any other critiques/suggestions? Thanks!!

    1) 13yo hemophobic Parker:mistaken 4 vampire + stuck n supernatural world. Can he save himself, world, & find his sister’s killer? #PitchMad

    2) Stuck n a supernatural world 13yo hemophobic Parker is mistaken 4a vamp.Evil threatens & his secret can save everyone except himself #pitmad

    1. I like the first one a lot, particularly because of the second sentence. I think it does a good job of setting up his goals: save himself, save the world, and find his sister’s killer.

  24. Does this capture your story? The dinner part might be cheesy, but it might convey the quest to get home.

    13yo hemophobic boy must find his sister’s killer, save a world of vampires, and get home in time for dinner.

    What intrigues me most about this concept is making a hemophobic kid the savior of a blood-thirsty (literally) race. If that’s the angle you were going for (since I haven’t read your story, I don’t know) – werewolves and other creatures aren’t crucial to your pitch. You can stick to vampires for now, I think, in order to emphasize Parker’s unique personal conflict.

    1. Give the boy’s name. Also not everyone may know what a hemophobic is and might think you mean a hemophiliac. How about, “Terrified of blood, 13-year-old [NAME] must find his sister’s killer, save a world of vampires, and get home in time for dinner.”

  25. I have one, if anyone’s still up. Thanks in advance for any/all help!

    The fate of Asgard is in the hands of a 16 year old farm girl. High school just got a lot more complicated. #PitchMad

    1. Tighten it.

      The fate of the city of (her friend, the king, etc.) Asgard is in the hands of 16-year-old [NAME]. High school just got a lot more complicated. #PitchMad

      Knowing she’s a farm girl adds nothing but space. Tell us who or what Asgard is, and consider renaming. It’s too easy to jokingly call it “Ass-guard.”

  26. Any help for my 2nd pitch would be great! It’s:

    Most girls receive gifts for bday. Not Prism. She is the gift, wanted as a toy for revenge: the death of all fae, including herself

    1. Thanks for the help Talynn! I like yours too. What about: most girls receive gifts for bday. Not Prism. She is the gift – a gift that will end her race.

      Or something similar to tighten the second half, if you can.

    2. Hi, Talynn! This is actually confusing. How about:

      Most girls receive gifts for their birthdays. But Prism is the gift for her own.

      It puts a spin on birthday gifts and makes the reader want to know why she’s a gift for her own birthday.

      Pitches don’t have to give it all away, or anything. They just have to hook it in. The pitch for the screenplay to Alien was three words: Jaws in space.

  27. Here’s the pitch for my modern-day Frankenstein novel.

    Mary’s boyfriend may be a monster, but he’s not responsible for the string of murders in town. She would know. She built him. #PitMad

    Thoughts?

  28. Too late to jump in?

    1) Juliette won’t wait to be rescued, unlike other girls in love with vampires.

    2) Upon discovering her ex is a malicious werewolf, Juliette will risk her life to protect his enemies.

    3) Upon discovering her ex is a malicious werewolf, Juliette will risk her life to protect his enemies and the new man she loves.

    4) Leaving behind life as she knows it, human Juliette will lead a vampire army in a battle against werewolves led by her ex-boyfriend.

    1. I think the first one has the best voice, but the third & fourth ones give a better idea of the stakes.

      Fortunately, the first one’s short enough you could expand on it a bit and tie in the whole “leading vampires in a war against her werewolf ex” thing.

    1. First line makes a lot more sense, though “2 win he must overcome his past” sounds vague. I’m not sure what Joel wants to do. Can you be a little more specific? Was Amber his girlfriend before who broke up with him because of the video, or is she a girl he had a crush on who’s now dating someone else?

  29. And on the off chance someone’s still around, here are four for mine:

    16-yo Kiral’s choice: Find & destroy a magical artifact first, or watch her father use it to take over the world. #pitmad

    Someone tried to kidnap Princess Kiral. They failed. Now she’s got to find the mastermind before they try again. #pitmad

    Kiral is the last Sorceress. Bad: She doesn’t know it. Worse: Someone else does, and he wants to use her to take over the world. #pitmad

    Kiral’s father wants to use her magic to find an artifact that will let him take over the world. She and her fire invite him to try. #pitmad

    1. The first one doesn’t work for me just because that’s one of those choices that doesn’t really seem like a choice, y’know? If you could find another word there like “goal” or “objective” or something similar that isn’t so business-y, then I think it works. I like the middle two a lot. I think the last one is good but could be a little tighter. Like: Kiral’s father wants to use her to take over the world. She’s got a core full of magic that says he’s welcome to try.

      (Without knowing details, that’s my best attempt…)

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