Monday, October 1, 2012

Get Your Pitch On Workshop Critique 2: CHASING FREEDOM

Name: N.S Dorrington
Country of Residence: Cayman Islands
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Word-count: 81,000
Pitch: Chase Finn is a threat. The Government agents tracking him will stop at nothing to see him neutralised. They aren’t the only ones. Chase is just a pawn in a centuries-old war, and unfortunately no-one has bothered to ask what he wants.
They’ll discover that the most important thing about Chase isn’t that he’s a werewolf, it’s that he’ll sacrifice everything, even his own freedom, for the people he loves.

*You do a good job of packing a lot in such few words without getting too jumbled.
*This pitch is action-packed and fast-paced- this only shows good things about the actual novel.
*The things that drew me in were: Chase is a werewolf. The government wants him dead. He’ll sacrifice everything to save his loved ones.

Some Suggestions:

*There are way too many generic phrases in here: threat, government agents, neutralized, centuries-old war, werewolf, people he loves. None of those phrases stand out as unique to me, and with fantasy, it needs to be unique- you need to show how your novel is different. Why is he a threat? Who are the government agents- angels, vampires, humans? Does neutralized mean dead? Who specifically does he love? Why must he have to sacrifice everything for the people he loves? Why must he make that choice? These are just some questions to think about- they don’t have to all be answered in the pitch, but you need to find a way to really make your novel stand out.
*I think you should mention Chase is a werewolf sooner- maybe in the first line. When the novel is fantasy, these elements need to be mentioned first.
*Why is Chase Finn a threat? I want to know this. Werewolves are overdone in the marketplace, so perhaps the reason he’s a threat makes the story more unique. Perhaps, the first two parts of your pitch should mention the werewolf and why he’s a threat. Play around with a couple of different options and see what comes out.
*Here are the main points in this pitch: Chase is a werewolf. Something about him makes him a threat. The government wants him dead. He’ll sacrifice everything to save his loved ones. I think the big thing we need to know is what is the threat?

Hope this helped! And remember, I'm just one person with one opinion. Please feel free to post other versions in the comments section, and I'll give you some more feedback! Would love to see a couple of different options.

Don't forget: Check out all of the workshop host blogs to critique as many pitches as you can. For each critique you leave in the comments, you get an entry into the drawing to win one of eight 10-page critiques from our contest host Sharon Johnston and workshop hosts Larissa HardestyStephanie DiazCatherine ScullyJodie AndrefskiPaula SangareTalynn Lynn and Kaitlin Adams. Also, Sarah Nicolas will be giving away three query critiques! Please use the exact same name for all of your critiques. The opportunity ends 10/14/2012.


  1. So good to see some feedback on this! I'll be curious to know what other people think - if other people comment.
    Just to address a couple of the points you make that I think are interesting. Werewolves have been overdone which is why I don't mention he's a werewolf earlier in the pitch. If I had my way I wouldn't mention it at all, because it's actually the least important thing about him. The reason he's a threat is because as a bitten werewolf he stands on both sides of this war - the human government vs the supernatural elements in the world - he is both human and supernatural. But trying to explain that in a 70 word pitch is next to impossible!
    Maybe I need to have a look at how I can try and fit it in, but I have to admit I'm not sure how.
    Thanks for the feedback though. Need to sit and have a think about it now!

  2. Kaitlin has given you a great critique. You have a very intriguing world here, but what's Chase's internal, personal conflict? What does he want? Maybe something like: Trapped in the middle of a centuries old human-supernatural war, werewolf Chase Finn must (x,y,z) before (a,b,c happens). Obviously, I don't know the story well enough to really suggest the lines, but hopefully, you get the idea. :) Nice work!

  3. Some more great feedback! Thank you!
    Chase's personal conflict is that he wants the freedom to make his own choices rather than being used by everyone around him.
    I just don't quite know how to fit that into 70 words.

  4. Hi N.S.
    This story sounds exciting and I love fantasty.
    Like Kaitlin said, I also think it is important you mention that he is a werewolf sooner (or some other fantasy element of the book).

    I really think you have done a good job explaining his outlook and character :)

    Maybe another thing that I agree would help is a little more detail. Like Kaitlin said, why is he a threat and who does he love? A good piece of advice I read on an agent blog is that the pitch should give a taste for the journey a book will take us on and show us why the story is unique. Expounding more details will help that happen a little more in your pitch.

    It is looking great, good luck :)

  5. Thanks for the feedback! I agree with the more detail thing - but I just don't know how to fit it into the word count. Need to sit down and have a real play with this I guess!

  6. Fitting in detail is so hard but i reckon can shift this from unclear to crystal. Why is he a threat? How neutralised?
    You really caught my interest though. best of luck.

  7. I'd love to see a few more specific details in this. It's good, but that would really strengthen it and make it stand out. Goodl luck!

  8. Ok, so can I give you guys a redone pitch and see what you think of it? Trying to incorporate some of the suggestions?

    Chase Finn is being hunted. The Government agents tracking him know he could be the catalyst in the centuries-old war between humans and supernaturals, and they want him on their side - or dead. They aren't the only ones, and unfortunately nobody has bothered to ask him what he wants.
    Chase doesn't care that he's a werewolf, he just wants the freedom to make his own choices. When the choice is his freedom or the ones he loves he may end up sacrificing everything.

    I think it might be slightly over the word count, but I can work on that. Mostly I just wonder if it helps to clarify the points people were making.....

  9. This is so much better!! You are getting there!

    Not sure about the "Chase Finn is being hunted" sentence. It seems as if the rest of your pitch shows us that, rather than tells us in the first sentence. Perhaps a way to rephrase...

    Not sure about "They aren't the only ones, and unfortunately nobody has bothered to ask him what he wants." I like this because it shows some voice, but at the same time, it feels a bit forced- as if you are really trying hard to squeeze the voice in there.

    We still need to know how Chase is a threat- how he can be a catalyst. Obviously, he's a werewolf. But if this war involves humans and supernaturals, him being a werewolf isn't all that threatening- or at least doesn't give him any type of upper hand that we can see.
    Maybe something like this (these are just ideas, so take it or leave it!):

    "Chase Finn is a potential catalyst in the centuries-old war between humans and supernaturals. He's a werewolf, so he has the power to_________ (this should be what makes him a threat- what power, influence, etc from his "werewolfness" makes him a threat?). The government agents want him on their side- or dead. They aren't the only ones, and unfortunately, no one has bothered to ask Chase what he wants.

    Chase wants to be able to make his own choices- even if that means not choosing a side at all. But when the choice is his freedom or the ones he loves, he may end up sacrificing everything."

    Good luck, and keep playing around with it! I'll be happy to continue taking a look at them!

  10. Ok....really like that version of it. Hmmmm. So how about....

    Chase Finn is the catalyst in the centuries-old war between humans and supernaturals. He's the first bitten werewolf in a hundred years who can control the transformation, and that makes him more powerful than even he realises. The government agents tracking him want him on their side - or dead. They aren't the only ones, and no one has bothered to ask him what he wants.
    Chase wants to be able to make his own choices - even if that means not choosing a side at all. But when his loved ones are in danger he may choose to sacrifice everything.

    Let me know what you think!!

  11. Nice job! I think it's fun to see the evolution of revisions!

    I like what you've done here. For me, the only question that remains is HOW?

    I've got the who: Chase Finn--werewolf
    I've got the what: Is being tracked won by government agents
    I've got the why: Because he is the catalyst

    BUT I'm still missing the is he the catalyst? How does being able to control his transformation make him important? I want to know this. I think this part would make your pitch unique and stand out. Just my opinion, of course...and I'm not expert by any means.

    I like your premises, though. Good work on the revisions. I know they can be a pain!! =)

  12. Wow, sounds great. His name threw me at first...just the way it is introduced, it sounds like a verb rather than a noun.
    Neutralised... doesn't mean killed, just means made harmless, is this what you wanted for Chase? And is freedom the most valuable thing a person could give up for his family...
    That's it for what it's worth. I love the whole concept that Chase isn't being asked what he wants...
    Hope it goes well for you!

  13. If you need your ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend to come crawling back to you on their knees (even if they're dating somebody else now) you must watch this video
    right away...

    (VIDEO) Get your ex CRAWLING back to you...?