Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pitch Critique Contest Day 4

Final day here...


Rosalynn Monroe has until her twenty-fifth birthday to decide whether she lives or dies at the hands of Andrey, the master vampire of New York City. Obsessed with Rosalynn, Andrey is determined to make her his queen on her twenty-fifth birthday unless she can thwart him. Rosalynn has had enough and is sick of his sexual games from this vampire who won’t take the word no for an answer.

There are just a lot of questions on this one. I think with a little bit of word economy, you can explain "why" all of this is happening. The first part really does start off with some potential but after that, the questions just become too vague.

Genre, word count and title...


When her dower inheritance is at the mercy of her malevolent step-brother's nefarious plan to gain control of it, a highly principled Lady is forced to threaten the infamous ‘Terror’ - a man so dark, so reclusive, and so haunted by a mystery in his past, that her attempt to barter the information he desperately wants, for the sum of the heir that she needs, backfires. Creating a whole new problem and he’s 6'4 and furious!

Vague, Vague, Vague.
Watch the thesaurus over-load "malevolent" "nefarious" Just get to the point.
I do think you have something in the second portion with the hero. This guys sounds interesting but you really lose us through the reading because we have no sense of the heroine and certainly the conflict that she is involved with.

Genre, word count and title


To keep her estate as England is torn asunder by rebellion, Vesper gives her oath of fealty to the new king, who then commands her to wed against her will and sends her on a clandestine mission in his fight to save his throne. She immediately finds herself entangled in the schemes of Odo, the malevolent Bishop of Bayeux, who secretly leads the insurrection and seeks to suborn Vesper into treason with a tantalizing promise.

This is one of those "plot only" pitches. What is unique about this? This reads like the storyline for so many medieval romances. Now, if this is a real-life heroine then bring that part out. Right now, the uniqueness is just not coming out, and with historicals really looking for that new story, you have to find that uniqueness in your story.

This person did include the title and genre is the header but incorporate that with the word count in the pitch.


While searching for her mother’s killer, Lucky Fascino’s isolated existence working for an organization of moral assassins is jeopardized by a provocative encounter with another hitman. Distracted by the affair, Lucky makes reckless mistakes that threaten her life and her family, forcing her to choose between keeping a promise and building a normal life. Lucky’s Charm, a 102,000 word romantic suspense, is the first of three completed manuscripts.

So, haven't we gotten enough of BradJolina and Mr. and Mrs. Smith already? As I read this, that was the first thought that ran through my head.

Again, I think we have a lot of vague elements with this pitch. Why are these assassins meeting up? What are these mistakes?

I guess the last element, and this deals with the characters...

"Moral Assassins" How?
"Building a normal life" She's a darned assassin?

It might simply be the wording, but really play with that.


  1. Okay, so I have to say, this was probably the best exercise for me to see just how subjective interpreting pitches can be...and I’ll share what I have learned. This pitch (B) originally started out as:
    Desperate but determined, when she discovers her step-brother’s incestuous plans for her, Genevieve seeks out the much feared...

    And pretty much continued with what I have down. But after going through a lengthy critique session with an editor and both published and unpublished writers helping out - the consensus was, that ‘malevolent’ and ‘nefarious’ were better than incestuous as that kind of creeped everyone out. Personally, I felt that incestuous was far better - I mean, how else can you get the point across that her step-brother wanted to knock her up, as succinctly - but hey, I thought - if incestuous is a problem than I better fix it. And you don’t even want to know about what happened when they got to the word ‘blackmail’ - you will notice I say ‘barter’ now because the term blackmail had different meanings for different people. I thought if you had something someone wanted and you said you weren’t going to give it over until they gave you something in return for it - that was blackmail - BUT NOOOO! I was corrected (and even though I heard the term most recently bandied about in a highly rated movie) - as in “Are you going to blackmail me again? And tell me you won’t do what we need you to do until I let your men go with you,” type deal...I still figure on this point I’d better be safe than sorry.

    Thanks Scott for doing this - it’s pretty neat to see another perspective.

  2. Murphy, I figured that this one was yours! I like the new pitch.:)

  3. And I agree 100% with Scott's comments. I'm reworking the front end to be clearer and even if there is an 'EW' factor? Oh, well.
    And as an aside, all the people who helped me out with this the first time, were terrific - (if you're out there reading) it was a privilege, just as now, to have my words posted for critique - so thanks for that. And at the end of the day? I chose what I wanted to keep and what I should throw away. Malevolent was such a cool word though,(insert me sighing here)Oh well, I'll save it for another time.

  4. Pitch C (reworked):

    As William the Conqueror’s sons battle for his throne, Vesper must prove her honor to others and her worthiness to herself. Interweaving fiction with actual events and historical characters, Honor Bound (about 130,000 words) is a historical fiction that blends political intrigue, feudal honor, and romance rife with sexual tension, set in a world where treacherous plots abound and misplaced trust is fatal. (63 words)


  5. I was with you all the way on the other one Murphy, you did a great job with this new pitch. To be honest, I don't think the beginning of this is vague. It says: Just picking out the points.
    When her 'dower'inheritence is at the mercy of her stop-brother's plans to contol gain control of it...How is this vague?
    Pitch A: you say twenty-fifth birthday a couple of times have a look.
    Pitch C: I like the first one but maybe tightened up at the beginning.
    Pitch D: I would never pitch first of three. That's just me. Liked the premise

  6. These pitches seem more interesting and richer with the words that are used. On the whole I liked them. With the exception of the term moral assassin. What does that mean?

  7. I heard about this and have been lurking out of interest. Job well done to everyone who put themselves out there.
    The critiques are top-notch and to the point thank god.
    Murph, you are as gracious as ever. I hope they know how lucky they are to have you hanging out here. We’ve missed you.

  8. I've reworked my pitch as well. I think I'm getting closer with mine.
    And Murphy,
    you can rework it all you want, and when you're finished I'd be interested in reading the finished product. You said there were some funny parts.:)

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  10. Thank you for taking the time to do this, Scott. I battled with the "moral" assassin portion. My writer's group suggested it since Lucky only kills criminals. Hence an assassin with morals.

    Thought that was obvious, guess I was wrong. Thanks for the tips!

    *edit, dang typos!