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Pitch Workshop – B’s critique #14

Tuesday, 14 February 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake


It’s now the seventh day of our pitch workshop. For ten days, Shelley Watters, Cassandra Marshall, and I are critiquing two pitches each per day. Click on my partners-in-crime pics on the sidebar to go to their sites and read their critiques.

Next up is … 

Name: Juliana Haygert
Title: Gypsy Heart
Genre: New Adult Urban Fantasy
Word count: 75,000


With a past weighed down by mistrust, Mirella finally finds hope in a new friendship with an unlikely guy, only to discover her mother’s lies about their heritage as Tziganes–a powerful and hunted race.

B’s notes: This pitch is vague. Why is the guy unlikely? What are her mother’s lies? What happens when she finds out about her heritage? What are Tziganes? Who are they hunted by? How are they powerful? I need to know more to help with this pitch. If you want to answer the questions above in the comments below, I’ll take a crack at the logline for you.

B’s additional notes: After getting more information from Juliana, I took a shot at her logline. Here it is…

‘When her mother’s lies unravel, and Mirella develops her hidden gifts, she discovers a secret world of hunters and their hunted – the problem is she’s a hunted, and what they want is her heart, literally.’

I don’t know if this works, but you decide. Narrow in on the theme of your story. You don’t have to try to explain everything, you just need to entice an agent to read on. Good luck! 


Only a crazy person would spread out a blanket in the backyard to have a picnic with her plants. Well, my mother was crazy insane, so why not?

I crossed my arms and observed her for a few minutes. My mother rested sandwiches around the blanket, offered them to each shrub, and laughed out loud as if she had just heard a very funny joke. Untangling them from the thick gold hoops on her ears, she flipped her long black curls, and sang to the plants with her squeaky voice, her arms opened toward the warm sun.
I cringed and looked away, deciding it was time for me to pretend I didn’t see her crazy(you use crazy several times in these first words – mix it up) stunts, like I had been doing for all my life.
Out of nowhere, a thick cloud blocked the sun and a cold wind blew on my neck. I turned around and gasped.

B’s notes: This is a fun beginning. I love her mother. Ha. The voice is great and it flows well. Love the cliffhanger at the end. Wonderful!

I hope this helps! 
Remember this is subjective and others’ may feel differently. So I’ll now pass it on to the readers to critique. Please leave your comments, and remember the rules of critiquing … be nice, which I’m sure you all will be, but I have to say it … you know.



Filed: Misc, Workshops

  • Juliana says:

    Hey, Brenda. Thanks for doing this.

    Why is the guy unlikely? Because he is a stranger. She barely trusts her mother, let alone a stranger.

    What are her mother’s lies? All Mirella knows is that she has a developed sixth sense. Her mother lies about what/who they are (she knew and didn’t tell her), about her father, about why they can’t trust anyone, and that they are hiding, actually. Oh, and her mother found a way to conceal her powers so she won’t attract too much attention–something Mirella learns halfway through the manuscript.

    What happens when she finds out about her heritage? She discover a whole new world around her, with powers and hunters and the hunted. She learns she is part of the hunted. Also, her freedom–something she values a lot–is jeopardized since Tziganes like to stay together and protect each other.

    What are Tziganes? Who are they hunted by? How are they powerful? I invented Tziganes based on Gypsies. They have real powers and are hunted by Alchemists who want their powerful blood and heart.

    Of course, there is much more about the story and plot, but that’s the beginning 😉

  • Brenda Drake says:

    Okay, I gave it shot. I hope this helps you get your logline to where it needs to be. Good luck!

  • Maybe it’s the romance writer in me, but I’d like to know more about the guy. Who is he, and why is he significant? If he’s a key character, I’d like to know why he’s unlikely. You said because he’s a stranger, so maybe you can work that in:

    Growing up with her true nature cloaked in the veil of her mother’s secrecy, Mirella isn’t a girl with a trusting nature. But when she meets [guy], the two strike up an unlikely friendship, and she learns that she is one of the Tziganes…

    I’m not sure I understand what Mirella’s power is. What can she do, and how is it unique? Telling me what her power is and why the Alchemists are after her and her power(s) could draw me in further.

    Good Luck! 🙂

  • Stephsco says:

    Janelle has a lot of good suggestions. I’m not great with pitches, but her sounds like it’s getting on the right track.

    Best of luck with your writing.

  • Ella says:

    The word “tziganes” made me smile. My Yiddish grandmother used to call the gypsies tgiganes. I presume that’s where you got your inspiration? I’ve always been fascinated by gypsy lore. Interesting premise here. I do agree with Brenda’s comments on your pitch, but the story sounds fun!

  • Juliana says:

    @Brenda Thanks!

    @Janelle I understand that you might want to know more about the guy (Phillip) and about Mirella’s powers, but those are mysteries to be discovered along the manuscript, so I think it would kill a lot of the growing tension of the middle of the book if I told about it at the pitch.

    @Stephsco Thanks!

    @Ella Yup, Tzigane means Gypsy in French 😉 I was always fascinated about their lore too!

    I’m in love with the feedback! Thanks ladies!

  • I also smiled when I read “tziganes”. It’s Macedonian for gypsies. Great suggestions, Brenda.

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