My second #PitMad!
My first #PitMad, back in December of 2019, I was a wide-eyed fawn, brimming with hope and anxiety. You can read about that (and my favorite pitches) at my first To Pitch Madly post.
This round, however, I was ready.
TweetDeck posted my pitches for me, so I could respect some limitations on Twitter-time for the day. I set the realistic goal of retweeting at least five pitches that blew me away and connecting (via following) at least 15 writers. Did both and then some!
What follows are my favorite pitches this February 2020’s #PitMad.
I’m mainly into HORROR and SCI-FI, but I couldn’t pass up several FANTASY pitches. For what this humble writer’s opinion is worth: I loved these pitches, and as a reader, I can’t wait to see these stories published.
— HORROR —
What I liked: Classic horror setting made fresh with an illness that may or may not be a product of Shelly’s mind. Is “The Badness” (great creepy name) inherent in Shelly, or is it an outside force acting upon her? Regardless, we don’t get time to gasp, because in the next sentence, whatever’s been hiding in the seabed of Shelly’s subconscious is dredged up… with “grave results.” I love the vagueness of “what she did to June years before” too. Murder? Betrayal? Something worse? How did June die?? This pitch left me with such juicy questions.
What I liked: Shut up, I love the hotel name. I love this whole reference to Dante’s Inferno. What a superbly clever way to tap into a whole body of rich, disturbing, and emotionally potent visuals and concepts. For the record, the mystery alone in the first sentence would’ve been more than enough to hook me. I’d trot into Nine Circles just to learn what the heck Dante missed that night. The stakes in the last sentence, though? Talk about a sucker punch to the throat! Holy shit, this pitch went from carrot to stick so fast I got weirdly pleasant whiplash: that’s a great twist, a great extra layer of tension/conflict, and it looks like @PequenoJota incorporated it into the pitch with characters to spare.
— FANTASY —
What I liked: Not long ago I read that great action films always share one thing: you suspect, on some level, that the main character could actually die. Okay, this pitch isn’t for Die Hard, but Sofie’s vulnerabilities do create delicious tension. Here’s a kid with “new powers” and “friends” and a “connection with dangerous beasts.” Yet she’s only 16, somehow without a family to protect her (and even worse, adopted by one with “sinister motives”), and she’s in a world that assumes her to be a “pawn.” Strength isn’t communicated by overt statements of power so much as by clarifying a character’s weaknesses, and this pitch totally shows that off. I’m rooting for Sofie already… and holding my breath! That tension, man. Great pitch.
What I liked: VOICE. This pitch has it. And that leads me to believe the book is oozing with it! Also, even though the story starts at the point of a sour breakup (hilarious), there’s fresh romantic chemistry at play, which I kind of adore. Humor is obviously going to play a role here, not least with the fact that Finn will have to use his ex’s pendant to save the guy he actually loves in front of his ex + 100 people. Nothing like confessing a crush while you’re still wearing your ex’s jewelry. Compounding all this is that Finn has somehow lost his clothes. What is this evil wizard’s deal? Who is this guy Finn’s in love with? Why is Finn naked? Hilarious pitch, plus loads of fun conflict.
What I liked: Mother of STAKES, I love it! First off, these gods sound like dicks, so I can’t wait for them to get theirs, and I imagine Amasis feels the same. Of course, the damndest thing is thing is that I kind of want Amasis to die—well, to be able to die. He’s not just bored of life. He actively “craves death.” (I like that way of expressing what Amasis wants, even if the phrasing choice was partly brevity-induced.) I’m definitely into the structure of this narrative too, which I suspect will be oriented around these “five pawns.” If Amasis, one of the pawns, is this interesting a character already, who could these other four pawns be? And if you had any doubts, I’ve been assured there is indeed ample dark humor.
What I liked: I’ve had the privilege of actually reading this book. Patya’s story is steeped in the research that Kathi (a character herself) did while living in Peru. Landscape, historical, and cultural details… to capture these, Kathi read countless books (Spanish and English), visited every museum Peru has to offer, and trekked to many of the actual sites.
Patya herself is a striking female character with a long arc. Journeying with her through Nazca territory, you wince as riverbeds crack and leaders crumble. But you also experience how a young woman can locate tremendous strength in her own kindness; Patya is intuitive and oriented around healing, and her coming of age story is (in my opinion) about the magic rooted in those qualities.
— SCI-FI —
What I liked: Didn’t think I’d ever guffaw right after the phrase “involuntarily seizing,” but here I am. This pitch is straightforward: context, stakes. And you know what? That’s all it needs, because this concept is fresh, unique, and (have mercy on my soul) hilarious. Poor freaking Lawrence! How long has he been zipping into the future mid-seizure? His whole life? How long is he stuck in the future once he gets there? And what’s up with the time police, because that “choice” makes them seem oddly sinister… (Going to briefly note that I love this is #OWN voice too. Feed me more of that sweet, sweet diversity in #YA, please!)
What I liked: First off, way to break the “rules” of a traditional pitch effectively. This pitch is hilarious, and I would sure as shit clip n’ save that ad (or, ya know, screenshot it). This story promises extravagant parties on an interstellar cruise ship, which means gaudy ballrooms and costumes and ridiculous party-planning drama. It’s got matchmaking, which means more than one couple is at play (on the isolated “universe” of a cruise ship). It’s got SPACE PIRATES, which, come on, what better way to take a sci-fi romance to the next level? And given that last line, I’m somehow suspecting that we’ll see at a least a bit of all that this big personality intends to ban.
What I liked: I’m already nuts for the chemistry of this relationship. Whether they end up as a couple or not (though that romance hashtag gives me hope), the way that both characters are primed to change each other is so exciting. In order to help her “pair,” Mia will surely have to question systems and norms and maybe even rules that she seems to accept at the start! There’s also part of me that loves Mia already too, because her reaction to her “pair” being in trouble isn’t “I’ll turn him in,” but I’ll “get close to him to stop it.” Come on, there’s something there right from the start, right? Right??
— KIDS’ LIT —
What I liked: Sometimes our writers group in Lima, Peru needs a soothing palette cleanser after so much horror, dark science fiction, and intense life-changing fantasy. Dina writes children’s books, and they’re so nostalgic and calming that I figured her pitch might do the same for anybody buzzed off the rush of the stories above. I’ve had the pleasure of watching Dina tinker and tweak this lovely story into the required children’s book word count (a painstaking process). Odi Bear is a sweet, relatable little guy who sometimes struggles with anxiety—his mom and Riley Raccoon are always there for support.