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Pitch Workshop – B’s critique #9

Sunday, 12 February 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake
We’re on day five 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: Ladonna
Title: Threads of Deceit
Genre: YA Steampunk
Word Count: 84,000


Seventeen-year-old twins, Isabell and Amelia Kincaid, (last name isn’t needed) couldn’t be more different, but after their lives our (are) ruined, they must unite, becoming the perfect team to save what’s left of the royal family and reclaim their freedom.

B’s notes: This sounds intriguing, but it’s vague.  How are their lives ruined? How are the twins different? What happened to their freedom? Did they get thrown in prison? What do you mean ‘what’s left of the royal family’? Were they murdered? How do they unite to save the day? Give me more details in the comments and I’ll take a shot at your logline.
B’s additional notes: After receiving more information from Ladonna, I took a stab at her logline. Phew, this one was tough *wipes brow*, but here it is…
‘When huntsmen capture, Isabell and Amelia, their lives take a turn for disaster and they must unite to reclaim their freedom and stop a plot to murder the royal family by the King’s right-hand man.’
What do you think? Help us out in the comments below. 


Isabell knew of several wild girls who snuck out of their houses. She had never considered herself one of them—until tonight. She grabbed her suitcase and tiptoed up the stairs.

B’s notes: Great opening!

She stood inches from her mama and auntie’s door, willing her fist to bang on the grainy surface and tell them the truth. Tell her family what she had planned with the help of her sister. Instead, she stared at her fist and started to doubt her decision, but she didn’t have a choice at this point.

B’s notes: I’m confused. Does her mama and auntie sleep together? Why doesn’t she have a choice at this point? What’s drawing her to tell her momma and auntie?

Still, she clutched the handle of the suitcase, sweat seeping through her fingers. This had to work. Her body tingled with a mixture of excitement and fear. Amelia, her twin sister, had the rebellious spirit not her. But it felt, so, so good. She lifted her chin a little higher. She was seventeen, legal, and allowed to do whatever she wanted, right? (This sounds like she’s not too certain she’s allowed to do whatever she wants. So why not just sneak out and not risk it?)
B’s notes: First off, where’s Amelia? Is she going with her? If they’re sneaking out then why does she want to tell her momma?  Doesn’t make sense to me. You pulled me in with that first line. I thought, cool, they’re sneaking out, but then the stopping to say goodbye to momma and auntie didn’t fly with me. I’d love to see them sneaking out, arguing in hushed hisses, almost get caught, and then escape. Since this is Steampunk, maybe throw in a detail to get us in that mood. Like she turns off a gas-lamp or something. 
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

  • Thank you so much. Now I know how to fix it.

  • E. Arroyo says:

    Awesome suggestions, Brenda.

    Good luck and thanks for sharing the snippet.

  • Stephsco says:

    First, I love the character names, and I like the idea of a twin sisters adventuring together.

    Regarding the revised pitch, do you need the comma after capture? The flow feels off, I can’t figure out of a word is missing or if the comma needs to go.

    ‘When huntsmen capture, Isabell and Amelia, their lives take a turn for disaster and they must unite to reclaim their freedom and stop a plot to murder the royal family by the King’s right-hand man.’

    Can you say who the huntsmen are – like, “when the [blank’s] huntsmen capture Isabell and Amelia, they must stop a plot to murder the King’s right-hand man or else [what are the stakes – what happens if they don’t; why do they need to stop it, etc.)

    Since it’s steampunk, is there a way to get a little bit of that world into the pitch? Like maybe whoever the huntsmen are can have a descriptor word to show the style of their world. Or maybe the sister’s reasoning for wanting to stop the murder has something to do with the type of world they live in.

    Best of luck to you 🙂

  • Although Steampunk has never captured my attention before, I may start reading some. I thought it was a great beginning.

  • Oh, thanks Brenda that is good. And thanks for the comments. I appreciate it.

  • Brenda Drake says:

    You’re welcome, Ladonna!

    Stephsco – You’re right, the comma isn’t needed there. I had it like this – When huntsmen capture twins, Isabell and Amelia, their… – I had to remove twins to keep the pitch at 35 words and forgot to remove the comma. As far as stating what happens, it’s not needed, it’s implied. The royal family dies if they don’t stop the man. But that’s just my thoughts on it, which could be completely wrong. LOL Anyway thanks for catching the error! <3

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