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Pitch Workshop – B’s critique #2

Wednesday, 8 February 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Name: Kate
Title: Possessing Mortality B’s notes: I’m scratching my head at this title. I get it, after reading the pitch, but it doesn’t roll off the tongue very well. At a conference, the agents talked about how important a title is for your manuscript. It has to hook just as the first line and first page does. Possibly some sharper verbs here that mean the same thing? Death Grip, Amassed Souls, Soulemny…I don’t know, play with it. I could be wrong, others may think differently.

Genre: YA Paranormal
Word count: 52,000


Maggie, a Soul Collector, is about to be promoted, but finds herself stuck inside a teen mean girl and vulnerable to her long forgotten and dark past making her question what side she is on. 

B’s notes: Okay, this is near perfect for me. I know the stakes and I get a sense of the voice. I did get tongue-tied on teen mean girl and there’s too many ands. And I need more about what of hers is stuck inside this mean girl and where. I’d rework it like this…

Maggie, a Soul Collector, is due for promotion, but when her soul gets stuck inside a mean girl’s body, she becomes vulnerable to her forgotten dark past, making her question what side she’s really on.’ 


“Dylan.” I snapped my fingers at the shivering ginger-haired boy staring at the passing cars.

Great, here we go again with the post-traumatic, or should I say post-death syndrome. Dylan came to my service a few weeks ago and his training sheet was—shall I say—lacking. Any presence of a car would turn the kid into a pile of nerves. On the human plane those machines were everywhere, so I had to guide him easily through his training as a Soul Collector. Felix, my boss, constantly urged me to be easy with the newbies but after years—and years—of being a training officer, I couldn’t help but make the job a little fun.
Our target, Joseph Landry, exited the deli—or should I say waddled from—with his brown paper bag filled to the brim with greasy food. The smell washed over me and I practically gagged. Humans tended to put the most horrific things into their bodies.

B’s notes: I love this. Great voice! But I do have a few suggestions. I think the third paragraph would make a better hook and should be moved to the first. Then continue as the other two are. Also, I think you should say what time period Dylan is from, since he gets nervous about cars and all. You’ll notice that I added practically to gagged. I don’t think she’s actually gagging (choking/retching) here. If she were, she’d need CPR or a vomit bag. So practically is needed. All and all, nice writing. 
I hope this helps! <3

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

  • Kate says:

    I do agree with all of your points. The title still bugs me and I might change it. It’s funny because the third paragraph used to by my first so I’ll definitely be changing that up.

    I appreciate your criticism and I look forward to reading others as well. 🙂

  • E. Arroyo says:

    I agree. The pitch is so succinct and nicely written. Dylan caught my interest right away and I’m wondering what role he plays in the story. Great job.

  • Great pitch and start. I would keep reading.

  • Jani says:

    I love the pitch, it’s great! I would definitely read this.

  • Mara Rae says:

    I think the reworked pitch looks awesome! My only other comment would be to limit the “should I say” interjections. Two that close together makes them less amusing.

  • TL Sumner says:

    I love the voice!!! I am hooked and would definitely read on. The pitch captured the stakes and I really liked Brenda’s revision.

  • Stephsco says:

    Great suggestion on moving the 3rd paragraph up. I wouldn’t have thought of that. I agree it would make for a stronger opening. I personally am not a fan of a lot of physical description right away (the ginger-haired boy – it can work just as well w/out the hair color description).

    The observation of humans putting horrific things into their body is a good one, and again sets the tone the protagonist isn’t human.

    Good luck with your writing 🙂

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