Monday, July 30, 2012

Pitch Critiques #5 & #6

            It’s time for our last set of pitch critiques. Hopefully they help everyone. Please remember that this is very subjective, as is pretty much everything within the writing world.
            Without further ado, let’s get to it.
            Critique #5
Two teenagers on opposite sides of a magical war must find and kill each other to bring it to an end. 
This is a very interesting beginning. Not only is it the best part of your pitch, but it’s really your whole pitch in a nutshell.
Arianna finds Shane without realizing who he is, and she’s falling in love with the nemesis she has been hunting her entire life. Until he tries to kill her. Now they each have a choice – follow their hearts or follow their destiny.
The problem with the rest of this is that it’s telling me the same thing as your first sentence. I would have been more interested if it told me why the war would end if one of them kills the other. Then maybe a bit about how they begin to fall for each other.
Speaking of how they fall for each other, that’s a bit confusing to me. Does Shane know who Arianna is before he tries to kill her? If so, does he fall for her before or after he tries to kill her? These are vital issues that could help this premise really hit home.

Critique #6
As a Pure, sixteen-year-old Alphi McClure is told she can't befriend the dark Grey species, but when one small child in the underwater village breaks into her heart, Alphi will do anything to protect him -- even attack the village's Pure leader.  Desperate for the open-mindedness of a larger civilization, Alphi flees to her uncle’s magical city, but when he turns his wand on a defenseless Grey, Alphi has no place to turn -- until the Grey rebels attack her uncle; and when they do, she joins them. Fighting alongside the rebels is like a breath of fresh water, until her own mother joins the opposing side. Alphi scream for peace, but peace is no longer an option; war will come, and when it does, she will have to meet the bloodshed head on.
I’ll be frank here. This could have been a rockin pitch, but by time I finished reading the whole thing I felt like I had mental asthma. The whole thing is riddled with commas, semicolons, and dashes. Typically we use these to combine alike sentences and or allow the reader a small pause. In fact I use dashes myself for that all important dramatic effect.
What this tells me is that the writer has what I call Mini Synopsis Syndrome (MSS). Basically they’re too close to their story to see the basic premise.
Now before anyone starts grumbling about this, here’s an example of how this could read as a pitch:
Alphie is a Pure and has been taught her whole life to hate and distrust the Greys. After rescuing a small child that turns out to be a Grey, Alphie does what she can to protect him. However the cost of that secret turns deadly and Alphie will have to hurt those she’s grown to love in order to save the child she just met.
Is it perfect? Hell no, and I probably got a lot of things wrong about the premise of the story. However I hope this does show everyone something. Simpler is usually better when it comes to pitches. Not only does complex exhaust readers mentally, but it can also give the wrong idea of your story.



  1. Your critique of the first pitch just gave me one of those Aha! moments and it isn't even my pitch. Thank you!

    1. Don't you just love Aha moments?


  2. This is a great feature. Pitching can be positively terrifying, and trying to get your story down to a couple of power-packed sentences is enough to make you tear your hair out. Kudos to the folks who were brave enough to let their pitches be critiqued. The comments are really helpful.

  3. This is great advice! Thank you!