Post-It-Forward 2015 Has Arrived!

Greetings! 

Today is day-1 for Post-It-Forward 2015.

I’ve posted my list of pitches here (and my feedback in the comments below) & you’ll find Nik’s list of pitches here when she’s had a chance to put them up.

This year we’re thrilled by the wonderful cross-section of categories & genres we received!

So how does it work?

The pitches will not have the author’s name or the title of the MS. This is a pitch workshop and therefore the only thing that should count is the category/genre and the pitch. Nik  and I will offer feedback on our own and each other’s lists — that way every single pitch will have receive feedback from at least two people.

If you sent your pitch to us within the scheduled window and followed the (very basic) rules, you’ll find your pitch either here or the Nestpitch blog. As the author you’re welcome to volunteer your ownership of the pitch – that’s entirely up to you. However, as part of the terms of entering, you are obligated to participate with feedback for other pitches. As stated: everyone who has a pitch selected & featured, must, within a week, comment on at least 2 other pitches – at least one on each blog – you have ONE WEEK to post at least one helpful comment on each blog. Of course you CAN offer feedback on more than one pitch per blog, but one per blog is the minimum.

Please note: the comments are moderated, so play nice folks!

Feel free to tweet about your pitch and encourage others to participate. The more feedback, the better for you and for everyone!

We hope the advice and suggestions will offer insight into that mystical and totally subjective creature commonly known as “the perfect pitch.”

Nothing is more contagious than enthusiasm. The more you sprinkle around, the more you have.

The pitches will be distinguished by a number only, e.g. R-1 for mine and N-1 for Nikola’s. 

Comments should read something like:

R-7: “Loved the voice but I wasn’t sure who was the MC, I would suggest removing at least one of the characters in the pitch and leaving it for the query”

Got it? Great! Go forth and post-it-forward folks!

R-1  Category/ Genre: Middle Grade Urban Fantasy

35-word Pitch
Twelve-year-old Cat sees the descendants of fairytale creatures living among us. To stop a ruthless changeling from dominating both worlds Cat must abandon her dream of becoming the fae princess and embrace her trollish qualities.

R-2 Category/ Genre: MG Science Fiction

35-word Pitch

Twelve-year-old, havoc prone, Xavier Howell has a microchip in his head containing super-secret artificial intelligence research, and “The Man” (evil head of the Cornucopia Conglomerate) wants it, even if means cutting off Xavier’s head.

R-3 Category/ Genre: NA Fantasy

Category/ Genre: NA Fantasy

35-word Pitch

After a spell tosses Crysta through time, this medieval princess appears in the modern world with a killer on her trail. Loved ones caught in the crossfire, Crysta faces deadly sacrifices to fulfill her destiny.

R-4 Category/ Genre: YA Thriller

Category/ Genre: YA Thriller

35-word Pitch

For centuries, the children of Blaylock Bay’s founding families have disappeared into the fog, never to return. When her brother joins the missing, Sophie vows to save him, but discovers ghost witch, Jenny Greenteeth, instead.

R-5 Category/ Genre: YA contemporary

35-word Pitch

Convinced her sister’s drug overdose was murder, Mira defies her strict Indian parents & joins Shaun to trap a killer. Shaun’s the only one who believes her. He’s sure his brother’s suicide was murder, too.

R-6 Category/ Genre: YA Fantasy

35-word Pitch

Delania can spy on dreams, making her a coveted ally in a deadly war. When she spies for the enemy king, she risks losing her family and her life. REIGN with magic.

R-7 Category/ Genre: Adult Mystery

35-word Pitch

Kathleen can’t reach the family whose car she hit. And she needs to find out what happened to them, because someone’s setting her up to take the fall for their disappearance – and possibly their murder.

R-8 Category/ Genre: NA Fantasy

35-word Pitch

Kel Adrian, branded and exiled for murder, is bound to a ruthless avatar waging war on Kel’s homeland. Worse yet, a schizophrenic dragon shows him there are even greater monsters.

R-9 Category/ Genre: LGBT YA Speculative Fiction

35-word Pitch

MINDERS meets X-MEN. Assuming his dead twin’s identity, closeted seventeen-year-old Micah must stop crushing on his brother’s roommate and infiltrate an island of teenage telepathic terrorist before a madman brainwashes the world.

R-10 Category/ Genre: YA Sci-Fi/romance

35-word Pitch

Honor and Courage are twins hiding their station-born abilities until Honor spills their secrets, then Courage disappears. To find him, rules-following Honor must join an Earth-born rebel who thinks rules are made to be broken.

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About Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Fiction Writer. Co-Founder #CriTiki Lounge pitch feedback forum and Like A Virgin Writing Contest.
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93 Responses to Post-It-Forward 2015 Has Arrived!

  1. nikolavukoja says:

    R-1 I liked the last line A LOT, in fact, I’d suggest tweaking that a little and making that your first line. My issue is I’m not sure why Cat seeing Changelings is such a big deal, the way I rad the last part of the pitch is that she is one herself Fae – to – Troll? Did I miss understand? And because of that, I’m a bit confused as to what’s at stake – also, is there any way Cat could be something other than a Fae? It’s a bit Shiek-ish (to me)

  2. nikolavukoja says:

    R-2 OK, what on earth is havoc-prone? Are you saying that Xavier (love the name BTW) is prone to creating havoc? Because if you are, writing HAVOC PRONE is NOT the same thing. Accident prone is not the same thing as someone who creates accidents, do you see the difference?
    I wrote this on my own blog for one pitch but it’s true here too. I’m not a fan of lists in pitches or queries. I know sometimes there is a need to repeat something in order to create atmosphere or a scene, but “…super-secret artificial intelligence research…” (where are your comma’s?) followed by “…evil head of the Cornucopia Conglomerate…”
    Yes it’s cute but it’s a hell of a lot of word-real-estate that I rather you used on getting to the stakes.
    Also, “…even if means cutting off Xavier’s head …” – HEAD, with only 35 words, repeating this 3 times is too much; think of it this way, that’s almost 10% of your words, try to change/remove at least one.
    Rather than waste a lot of words on the names of places/people, I want to get to grips or at least have a taste of why Xavier can outwit a spy-ring; and why him? Why has HE got the chip in his head?

  3. nikolavukoja says:

    R-3 OK, so I was drawn into the first bit. I’m a sucker for time-travel and I like the idea that she’s in danger in her present and her new present/in the past, but I was stumped by the line: “…Loved ones caught in the crossfire…”
    Are these Crysta’s loved ones? And if so, how are they caught up in this & what cross-fire? I was under the impression that Crysta was sent back in time, with the killer, not her entire family? And be careful of using generic terms like CROSSFIRE because they actually mean something and are not fodder-words.
    Also, the last bit is very generic, predictable and vague. What destiny? I thought she was sent to the past by a spell not by destiny? And DEADLY SACRIFICES – vague, cliché and, as it’s the last thing the reader sees, leaves the wrong impression.

  4. nikolavukoja says:

    R-4 I actually stopped after line one, because that’s the end of the story. If the all the children go missing, then there will be no one left within 100-years, how have they lived for centuries?
    Is it that selected children go? And SOME children remain, to grow up?
    Which brings me to my next question, why do people stay there? If children go missing ALL. THE. TIME. wouldn’t people simply move?
    I did read on and I’m glad I did, the story is actually about Sophie & Jenny isn’t it? If I’m right, then, leave all the fog & missing children for centuries for the MS and go straight to Sophie & Jenny working together (or against each other, as the case may be) to find Sophie’s brother.

  5. nikolavukoja says:

    R-5 I quite liked this.
    I liked the Indian culture aspect and the simple use of STRICT tells me that there will be a lot of cultural clashes – awesome! I also like that Mira and Shaun have the bond of family members deaths. Given their different upbringings, this should make for an interesting read.
    What I would remove or at least rework is the middle bit. “…Shaun’s the only one who believes her…” I think it sounds forced and if you read it WITHOUT that line, you’ll see it still works, plus you have extra words to expand on something.

  6. nikolavukoja says:

    R-6 I do like the premise but I don’t get why her spying on dreams makes her coveted? They ARE only dreams right?
    The second line is very weak, “…she risks losing her family and her life…” I could write the same thing if my MC was driving a Mac-Truck or eating too much refined sugar. Do you see my point? Don’t waste words on vague, it’s not intriguing, it’s frustrating, or worse, done-to-death-boring.
    Reign with magic? What does that mean? Is that the title? Why waste another 3 words in your pitch on the title?

  7. nikolavukoja says:

    R-7 There are too many Their’s for my liking. I am not sure ‘who’s on first’ here. I feel the emotion but what should be sombre had me scratching my had to try and follow:
    “…because someone’s setting her up to take the fall for their (is this the someone setting her up or the people she hit?) disappearance – and possibly their (same, the people she hit, the someone setting her up or another somebody) murder…”
    Notice I haven’t even asked why Kathleen would be set up or who she is or what is to be gained from setting her up? The reason is I have no idea who the other players are, and in what order.
    I do see you dilemma.
    You have Kathleen, feeling remorse and want to express that –naturally.
    You also have some sort of intrigue/mystery/thriller and want to offer that up in the pitch too – right?
    Trouble is, you MUST chose one, otherwise you end up offering the reader neither.

  8. nikolavukoja says:

    R-8 The first line is good. I felt the impact of tension and danger and I was excited to read the next one, except, it didn’t deliver. Instead of finding clarity and some reason why Adrian is branded and exiled, I was introduced to another character and left scratching my head.
    You have the start of a strong pitch and if you can be convinced to NOT tell us about the schizophrenic dragon, but rather SHOW us that there is more to fear for Adrian than exile, then you’ll have a winner; leave the schizophrenic dragon for the MS and the synopsis; where you have space to explain.

  9. nikolavukoja says:

    R-9 WOW Nelly! What just happened here? Identity theft is always a fun read and the LGBT aspect is very appealing, however, how did we go from a 17yo who takes his twin brother’s place (seemingly without a quiver of fear or remorse) and then becomes (in the same breath) a very juvenile 17yo (stop crushing on his brothers roommate) and all that just before he takes his (I’m guessing) jet-pack to a secret island of telepathic terrorist teenagers.
    There’s so much going on in these 32 words and in so many directions that I have no idea what is really going on.

  10. nikolavukoja says:

    R-10 OK so I stuffed up! I have given Rhiann and myself the same pitch! Therefore, author of R-10 you’ll find my comments on your’s on my blog too & no, you don’t need to comment on four, I just need more sleep before placing my sorting hat on!

  11. Mich Fisher says:

    R-1: What a fun concept! A bit of housekeeping: I think a comma would go after “worlds”. The first sentence could leave space for more specificity about the chageling’s plans by removing “descendants of”. Otherwise, it sounds bang-on to me. Great job with this; it’s a sharp pitch.

  12. Mich Fisher says:

    R-2: I love this idea! The pitch is pretty good already, giving an excellent sum-up of Xavier’s situation and the stakes. If you trim a few of the extra bits, like using just the corporation name instead of “The Man” plus the explanation, you’ll buy yourself a heap of words to add one more distinctive aspect of the story, like how Xavier will try to evade capture, an ally, or a notable event. Also, I think havoc-prone would be hyphenated, so that’s another precious word. I assume the chip doesn’t have any effect upon Xavier, but if it does, that would be groovy to know, too.

  13. Mich Fisher says:

    R-3: This sounds like the ghost pitch of a book I’d love to read. With so few specifics, it’s hard to judge the more unique aspects of the story. My most honest advice would be to scratch the general elements, begin with a medieval princess cast forward in time followed by a killer, and build from there. A possible shorter opener might go something like, “After a spell casts medieval princess Crysta forward in time to [year]”. Ideally, the specifics can replace the existing words so you don’t lose too much of the plot. The identity of the killer and their motive are critical (or whether the killer’s I.D. is unknown). Her destiny and the obstacles she faces are pretty important, as well, so hopefully they can condense well enough to fit. Good luck with the tweaking; it sounds like a great story that’ll be a lot of fun to read. One other note, from a historically pedantic stand-point, Crysta is a very modern-sounding name for a medieval princess. Were I considering this book, it might give me pause, or at least lead me to sample first vs buying. That’s just me, of course, but I thought it worth mentioning, since historical readers do tend to be a fussy lot about anacronisms.

  14. Mich Fisher says:

    R-4: This sounds like a really cool concept, which could use a bit more fleshing out in the pitch. Fog + missing kids + specific targets = excellent creep factor and gives a tantalizing cue that a juicy secret waits at the solution! Clarifying which children of founders disappear would help, since no future generations would exist without at least some surviving. “Never to return” can probably be cut to allow more detail, since disappear is a good, dire-sounding verb already. Instead of Sophie vowing to save her brother, is there a more defined action she takes that might show more unique elements of your story? The ending could definitely stand a bit more clarification, too. Knowing who Jenny is or how she impacts Sophie’s goals would better explain her appearance at the close, which is pretty valuable real estate. Showing why she’s critical to the story would go a long way to rocking the close.

  15. Mich Fisher says:

    R-5: This sounds very intriguing, and you’ve got a rocking pitch as it reads now. The generational culture-clash angle within a thriller adds great potential for looking at familiar tropes with a fresh perspective. The first sentence already has me sold, and is very nearly perfect. If you add something about who Shaun is or how he relates to Mira, it’d be even more juicy and give good clues of what to expect from their interaction. The last two sentences are also good, but if you wanted to tweak, they could be a bit tighter and maybe combined to one punchy statement, which might leave enough opening to hint at action. It’s a really compelling pitch, so any edits would just be making it even more irresistible of a request.

  16. Mich Fisher says:

    R-6: Your concept sounds interesting, and since it’s the MC’s talent is so unique, you could definitely benefit from a pitch more tailored to your specific story. The pitch starts off with a killer of a bang-on hook. I don’t know what purpose spying on dreams serves, but it sounds so cool, I’m on board anyway. Then it falls off, since the rest of the sentence is a bit too general to sustain the excitement of the hook. Is there a concise way of saying how spying on dreams makes her valuable or what advantages it provides her and her allies? Going over to the enemy side pulls me right back in again. It’s a compelling development that you can work even better with some specifics of how/why she’s doing it or how it impacts her directly. You’ve written a story with elements distinctive enough to set it apart in a very crowded genre, so bringing as many of those into the pitch as possible can only help you stand out.

  17. Mich Fisher says:

    R-7: Your premise is intriguing and you’ve got crisp, urgent tone working in the pitch (which leads me to believe your voice will sustain the right level of gripping tension). The opening could be clearer, or even combined with the rest in something like “Kathleen needs to find out what happened to the family whose car she hit”, which would give you some breathing room. Right now, it still looks like a familiar story, so adding something that offers a unique wrinkle to a frame-up plot would close the bejeezus out of an already good pitch.

  18. Mich Fisher says:

    R-8: Your opening kills. It’s got great punch and sets up the MC’s situation beautifully. If you wanted to give yourself more breathing room, you could perhaps tighten it to something like, “Exiled for murder, Kel is bound to a ruthless avatar besieging his homeland.” An opening this strong begs for a close that follows up on its promise of juicy intrigue, adventure, and conflict. Sadly, the last sentence just sort of falls off. Ideally, whether it’s a challege Kel faces, an action he takes, or a choice he must make, the close keeps the hook in with a tease of what to expect. You have a humdinger of an opening and what looks like a cool story, so if you can keep the second half as strong and distinctive as the first, I suspect you’ll get a lot of interest.

  19. Mich Fisher says:

    R-9: Oh man, I love this concept! Seriously, I want to kiss it square on the mouth. It looks like a rollicking trip of a read. I don’t know whether I’d change much of anything, because the mood and voice come through brilliantly. The contrast of the teen angst version of dire against evil madman plot leads me to believe this will be a really fun story with a good dose of wry humor. I assume “terrorist” should be plural. You’ve got a juicy illiteration working there, which I dig along with the super-hero theme, but mileage may vary. You have a killer of a pitch for what promises to be a killer of a story. I would be shocked if you’re not buried in requests.

  20. Mich Fisher says:

    R-10: If I read into what’s said in the pitch, there looks to be a cool story, but the actual words aren’t selling what sets your story apart. The biggest hurdle is that I had to read the whole pitch to work out what you meant by “station-born”, and I’m still not really clear about what “station-born abilities” are, except that they’re special enough to make the MC and his/her twin targets. Is being born on a station special, or are their abilities the more unique aspect of the twins’ situation? It would help to reveal what the twins’ abilities are and why they’ve kept them secret, and if you have room, perhaps a tease at how/why Courage has disappeared and who Honor suspects. The love interest could be fleshed out better, maybe by showing some specific aspect of the rescue plan or action Honor would never have considered without his/her influence. You’ve got a groovy premise underneath the generalities of the pitch. With some more details, this could really shine.

  21. Colleen says:

    R-5: To me, this is intriguing. The only thing I’m missing is Mira’s age.

  22. R-2 This sounds interesting, but I was wondering if the story is about Xavier being decapitated or him doing something with his artificial intelligence. That sounds like a pursuit kind of story but it could be more than just that.

  23. R-3 That sounds like a cool story. However, I am not sure the main plot is about the family being in danger. It would be nice to know more about what happens to her in the modern world like she is missed by a car or she goes to a nightclub for the first time, etc. Saying she “faces deadly sacrifices to fulfill her destiny” is vague and does not say much about the story. Say what her destiny is instead.

  24. Colleen says:

    R-7: I love a good mystery, and this sounds interesting, but it’s missing the POW! of a good pitch. I think it’s the first sentence that seemed a bit meh. Maybe restructure this so there’s more in that first sentence than just looking for someone who’s car she hit. I’m just spit-balling here: Kathleen may have wrecked her car, but she did NOT kill an entire family. Or.. Kathleen’s being framed for murder. Hm. Not very helpful, am I? Sorry, I can’t put my finger on it, but to me it needs more stakes in that first sentence. Sounds like something I’d read, so I hope you get some bites during #PitMad!

  25. Colleen says:

    R-9: Someone already mentioned that “terrorist” should be plural, I think. Um, I usually don’t read LGBT, but to me, this sounds interesting. I didn’t think there was too much going on in the pitch, but I’ve never done NestPitch before. I think it’s cure to add the detail of him crushing on his brother’s roommate.

  26. Gloria says:

    R-2: This is fabulous, but because I’ve read your pitch and first 250 from other places, I think there’s a certain magic missing from it that you have in your other writing. I know how difficult it is to capture that in so few words, but I’m wondering if there’s a way to get more of that flavor in that makes your writing so special. The “super-secret” is a great example of the flavor I’m talking about, but personally I want more of that. A few places to put it could be in the description of “The Man” and maybe the cutting off Xavier’s head. Maybe a different word than “evil” to capture that MG voice you do so well.

  27. christineecho says:

    R-3: I love the concept, but the ‘loved ones caught in crossflre’ part made me pause. If she ends up in the future, with only her and the killer on her trail, who are the loved ones the pitch is referring to? Her descendants? A fairly new love interest? I’m intrigued! 🙂

  28. Danielle Doolittle says:

    R-10. This premise of this pitch has me twitchy with want. I agree with the few mentions of vagueness. “Station-born” gives a hint (I’m assuming space station right?) but are they manufactured abilities? A result of being born in space? Basically: WHY are they hiding it?

  29. tlclark says:

    R-6 the last line is confusing. if there is on thing that will cause me to stop reading (back of a book/or a story I have read 50% of areadly) it is the moments that cause me to stop and go back, reread… I like the idea of working for the rogue but why… is this king really good, does she see something in him that her family doesn’t… I can also see how some might stop to wonder why dreams are such a power to mess with… I love fantasy so I get it… but for those that might not know I would leave it out for now, just say something about using her gifts for this king her family hates, but she does/feels she must because??? I would soooo read this… happy wordage

  30. Lisa Kraft says:

    R-2: I love the MC’s name and the problem of keeping his head. I would love to know the impact the microchip has on his life and why he is the one with it. Does the microchip cause the havoc or does he? Do you mean chaos and mayhem pursue him or that Xavier brings it with him. I agree with most of the comments already given because I would like to see this pitch tightened up and resulting in a sale so I can read the whole thing.

  31. Lisa Kraft says:

    I like the premise of the story. I can see the fun to be had with culture shock and the threat of a killer on her trail. Why does he or she want her dead? If her loved ones are caught in the crossfire does that mean she wasn’t the only one hurled out of her time? Caught in crossfire also seems pretty cliché to me. I would like more concrete details and a sense of the MC’s character. There’s so much promise in this story, I would like to see the pitch match.

  32. Lisa Kraft says:

    R-5: I love the immediate sense of culture clash. I don’t really care whether or not Shaun believes in her (cliche), but I do want to know who Shaun is and what his relationship to Mira is? Is he antagonistic, her best friend or someone she met on the bus? I think you can leave out the cliché and punch up the tension with extra words such an edit would give you.

  33. Lisa Kraft says:

    R-1: I love the premise of DESCENDENTS of fairytale creatures. That gives you so much room to play and makes me wonder what they would be like. I didn’t quite understand “both worlds” since she is seeing them in her world. This sounds like a lot of fun. I like the name and age upfront as it tells me a great deal about Cat, but I wonder do others see the descendents or is it “ONLY” twelve-year-old Cat? Is the transformation literal or a personality shift? I would really like to read this so I can see what fairytale creatures you’ve created.

  34. R-6 I assume this talent is unique in the world you created since she is “coveted.” Now, is her family working for the enemy king or living within his borders, because it strikes me that is the only reason her family would die if she messed with the enemy king. I understand your reference to the TV show, but having never watched it, the idea does not enhance this pitch for me. I would also like to know a little something about Delania. How old is she? Or is she brave–a risk taker? Or does she even care if her family dies? Why would they die? Good luck with your writing and remember everyone is trying to learn how to write the perfect pitch. I know I am. 🙂

  35. R-5 Your second sentence could technically be removed. It is sort of a given that Shaun believes her since they are working together. Removing that sentence will give you additional space to lay out the stakes and tell us about Shaun. Is he Indian as well? Or are they the same age? If not Indian, what is his background? I am curious to know why the parents accept the brother overdosed. Good luck with your writing and remember everyone is trying to learn how to write the perfect pitch. I know I am. 🙂

  36. demoness333 says:

    R-9: I really like this concept, but the wording in the pitch got a bit muddled for me. Perhaps if you moved a few things around, it would be clearer. Something like,

    Seventeen-year-old, Micah, has assumed his dead twin’s identity to infiltrate an island of teenage telepathic terrorist. If Micah can stop crushing on his brother’s roommate, maybe he can stop a madman from brainwashing the world.

  37. R-4. Lovely premise, but I’m left wondering, if she has been thrown forward in time, how are her loved-ones in the crossfire when presumably her family did not come with her? If modern decendents, you might say so.

  38. R-10. Love the names, but too many hyphenated words. Is the station vs. Earth important to know in the pitch? And try rule-bound instead of rules-following. Could you say “rebels from Earth?”

  39. Danielle Doolittle says:

    R-3 I like your premise. A lot. I’m just a bit confused who her loved ones are. Are they new loved one? If she’s not in her time how are they “caught in the crossfire”? Also, that whole line is a bit cliche and vague. I want to know exactly what the dange is to them and WHO they are.

  40. Lisa Kraft says:

    Thank you Rhiann for this lovely opportunity. I have learned so much. You and Nikola are awesome!

    • You’re absolutely welcome! Nik and I both know how hard it sometimes is to be on the receiving end of a crit. Props to you for being gracious – a giant step forward for any writer intending to be published.

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