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Results of Pitch Exercise #1 – Which Pitches Did 12 Responders Accept?


“Results of Pitch Exercise #1 – Which Pitches Did 12 Responders Accept?” by Joan Y. Edwards

If you haven’t done Pitch Exercise #1, yet please do it now: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/73SLT8B. Then come back and compare how you did with others who answered the survey questions.

A special thanks to the twelve people who pretended they were editors or agents and completed the online survey for Pitch Exercise #1. It is open for others to respond.  This was the first of the learning materials for Pitch Corner USA. The pitches from published works were from the descriptions on Amazon. The two unpublished ones were from me.

Here are the survey questions, the responses from the people who responded to the survey, the comments, and the title of the book or movie and the author’s name. Decide for yourself if the pitches were effective or not. Which pitches did they accept?
Which pitches did they reject? Do you agree or disagree? How would you change them to make them better? How would you change your own pitch to make sure it doesn’t have the same pitfalls as the ones they rejected?

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Pitch #1. When sweet Northern college boy and his buddy are picked up and thrown into the slammer in a hick Alabama town. At first it looks like no big deal. Then they are informed that they are accused of murder. (39 words) Response Count
1. Reject it. 7
2. This pitch is missing main character. 1
3. This pitch doesn’t tell what main character wants or needs. 2
4. This pitch doesn’t tell why main character can’t get what he wants or needs. 2
5. This pitch is missing emotional hook. 4
6. This pitch is missing conflict. 1
7. This pitch is missing change in character. 2
8. This pitch is missing universal theme. 0
9. Ask for first 3 chapters and a summary. Why? (Put answer in box below) 2
10. This is a pitch from an already published book or movie. (Put title in box below) 3
a. My Cousin Vinny
b. My Cousin Vinny
c.Has potential but ungrammatical pitch leaves editor guessing at content–sounds like a movie? Too much guesswork involved to be interested. Bit like was it Sundance Kid?
d. My Cousin Vinny
e. Bad grammar in first sentence — missing the main clause. No, no, no. If they can’t even proofread, or their grammar is that bad, it’s out.
Pitch #1 was My Cousin Vinny movie script by Dale Launer.

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Pitch #2. A college grad lands a job as a financial journalist in New York City to support her shopping addiction and falls for a wealthy entrepreneur. (25
words)
Response Count
1. Reject it. 6
2. This pitch is missing main character. 0
3. This pitch doesn’t tell what main character wants or needs. 2
4. This pitch doesn’t tell why main character can’t get what he wants or needs. 2
5. This pitch is missing emotional hook. 3
6. This pitch is missing conflict. 7
7. This pitch is missing change in character. 3
8. This pitch is missing universal theme. 0
9. Ask for first 3 chapters and a summary. Why? (Put answer in box below) 2
10. This is a pitch from an already published book or movie. (Put title in box below) 2
a. One of the shopaholic series?
b. In spite of the missing information (and my niggling feeling this is a book/movie), I’d ask for the first three chapters and summary. It has, IMO, potential to be a lighthearted romp.
Pitch #2 is Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsela. It was both a book and a movie.

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Pitch #3. A Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver for thieves finds that a price has been put on his head after a failed robbery. (25 words) Response Count
1. Reject it. 3
2. This pitch is missing main character. 0
3. This pitch doesn’t tell what main character wants or needs. 3
4. This pitch doesn’t tell why main character can’t get what he wants or needs. 3
5. This pitch is missing emotional hook. 2
6. This pitch is missing conflict. 0
7. This pitch is missing change in character. 3
8. This pitch is missing universal theme. 1
9. Ask for first 3 chapters and a summary. Why? (Put answer in box below) 6
10. This is a pitch from an already published book or movie. (Put title in box below) 3
a. I think this is a movie but I can’t remember the name of it.
b. Initial reaction–so what? Too much missing from pitch but has potential.
c. Pretty sure this one’s been written. Of course, I have no idea of the title.
Pitch #3 is Drive by James Sallis.

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******************
 

Pitch #4 Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius—and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn’t know what he’s taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren’t the fairies of bedtime stories; these fairies are armed and dangerous. Artemis thinks he has them right where he wants them…but then they stop playing by the rules. (65 words) Response Count
1. Reject it. 2
2. This pitch is missing main character. 0
3. This pitch doesn’t tell what main character wants or needs. 0
4. This pitch doesn’t tell why main character can’t get what he wants or needs. 0
5. This pitch is missing emotional hook. 2
6. This pitch is missing conflict. 0
7. This pitch is missing change in character. 2
8. This pitch is missing universal theme. 1
9. Ask for first 3 chapters and a summary. Why? (Put answer in box below) 4
10. This is a pitch from an already published book or movie. (Put title in box below) 8
a. Artemis Fowl
b. Artemis Fowlseries
c. Artemis Fowl–haven’t read it but will now. Great pitch –has everything.
d. Artemis Fowl, I believe. MG novel series.
e. Not sure– but Artemis is well known to my grandchildren.
f. Artemis Fowl series
Pitch #4 is for Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer.

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******************

Pitch #5. Porky hated racing, but entered a race to help save Farmer Dan’s farm. He didn’t realize that all contestants had to take a bath. Can a bubble bath entice him to follow through to save the farm or will all the animals be sold? (44 words) Response Count
1. Reject it. 2
2. This pitch is missing main character. 0
3. This pitch doesn’t tell what main character wants or needs. 1
4. This pitch doesn’t tell why main character can’t get what he wants or needs. 0
5. This pitch is missing emotional hook. 1
6. This pitch is missing conflict. 1
7. This pitch is missing change in character. 1
8. This pitch is missing universal theme. 1
9. Ask for first 3 chapters and a summary. Why? (Put answer in box below) 6
10. This is a pitch from an already published book or movie. (Put title in box below) 4
a. Could be better worded–disconnected second sentence– but appeal is there.
b. Don’t know exact book but it sounds a little bit like Charlotte’s Web.
c. See above. The pitch is decently written and the plot sounds interesting.
d. An unattractive theme.
e. Porky Pig
Pitch #5 is from The Pig That Won the Race by Joan Y. Edwards. The manuscript is incomplete.

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Pitch #6. Meet Nancy, who believes that more is ALWAYS better when it comes to being fancy. From the top of her tiara down to her sparkly studded shoes, Nancy is determined to teach her family a thing or two about being fancy. How Nancy transforms her parents and little sister for one enchanted evening makes for a story that is funny and warm — with or without the frills. (67 words) Response Count
1. Reject it. 4
2. This pitch is missing main character. 0
3. This pitch doesn’t tell what main character wants or needs. 0
4. This pitch doesn’t tell why main character can’t get what he wants or needs. 1
5. This pitch is missing emotional hook. 2
6. This pitch is missing conflict. 2
7. This pitch is missing change in character. 1
8. This pitch is missing universal theme. 2
9. Ask for first 3 chapters and a summary. Why? (Put answer in box below) 3
10. This is a pitch from an already published book or movie. (Put title in box below) 2
a. Fancy Nancy
b. cute–
c. Nope. Badly written — author uses ‘fancy’ twice in two sentences. No, no, no. If the author can’t even be bothered to find another word for ‘fancy’ here, I don’t want to read the book.
Pitch #6 is from Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor

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******************
 

Pitch #7. Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, home to wiseguys, average Joes, and Stephanie Plum, who sports a big attitude and even bigger money problems (since losing her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store). Stephanie needs cash—fast—but times are tough, and soon she’s forced to turn to the last resort of the truly desperate: family. (58 words) Response Count
1. Reject it. 1
2. This pitch is missing main character. 0
3. This pitch doesn’t tell what main character wants or needs. 0
4. This pitch doesn’t tell why main character can’t get what he wants or needs. 0
5. This pitch is missing emotional hook. 3
6. This pitch is missing conflict. 0
7. This pitch is missing change in character. 0
8. This pitch is missing universal theme. 0
9. Ask for first 3 chapters and a summary. Why? (Put answer in box below) 7
10. This is a pitch from an already published book or movie. (Put title in box below) 5
a. Stephanie Plum is the delightful hero of a mystery series written by Janet Evanovich.
b. Expect this is one of the Stephanie Plum series–gives taste of fast talking humorous style–enticing. I’m buying.
c. It’s the first Janet Evanovitch Stephanie Plum mystery, I believe. One for the Money
Pitch #7 is from One for the Money by Janet Evanovich.

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******************

Pitch #8. In 1902, a young Italian girl’s dreams of high fashions and acceptance by her father are shattered when she arrives at Ellis Island and authorities mark an “L” for lame on her grandfather that might send them both back to Italy and discovers her father may have been killed in a train wreck. (53 words) Response Count
1. Reject it. 6
2. This pitch is missing main character. 0
3. This pitch doesn’t tell what main character wants or needs. 0
4. This pitch doesn’t tell why main character can’t get what he wants or needs. 1
5. This pitch is missing emotional hook. 0
6. This pitch is missing conflict. 1
7. This pitch is missing change in character. 1
8. This pitch is missing universal theme. 1
9. Ask for first 3 chapters and a summary. Why? (Put answer in box below) 5
10. This is a pitch from an already published book or movie. (Put title in box below) 2
a. The language of the pitch is convoluted, which means the writing in the novel will most likely be confusing.
b. poor grammatical construction of pitch leads me to worry about the writing. Better as two or even three sentences. Again has potential as a story line so asking for first three chapters and synopsis but tempted to reject.
c. Badly written pitch — the sentence reads awkwardly and it’s much too long. No, no, no. I don’t want to read the book, if they can’t even edit the pitch.
d. Not sure about this one… might as well take a look.
Pitch #8 is from Follow Your Immigrant Heart by Joan Y. Edwards. A full manuscript is available.

******************
******************
 

Pitch #9. Unhappily married and uncomfortable with life among the British upper crust, Julia Sturges takes her two children and boards the Titanic for America. Her husband Richard also arranges passage on the doomed luxury liner in order to let him have custody of their two children. Their problems soon seem minor when the ship hits an iceberg. (56 words) Response Count
1. Reject it. 5
2. This pitch is missing main character. 0
3. This pitch doesn’t tell what main character wants or needs. 0
4. This pitch doesn’t tell why main character can’t get what he wants or needs. 1
5. This pitch is missing emotional hook. 0
6. This pitch is missing conflict. 0
7. This pitch is missing change in character. 2
8. This pitch is missing universal theme. 0
9. Ask for first 3 chapters and a summary. Why? (Put answer in box below) 5
10. This is a pitch from an already published book or movie. (Put title in box below) 5
a. Possibly The Titanic.
b. Has potential for conflict and big theme. Titanic itself has appeal–Titanic the movie? Were they in that?
c. All Titanic movies
d. “Titanic,” the movie, but nonetheless, I’d reject it. Badly written. Should be “Her husband, Richard,” and that sentence reads awkwardly to boot.
e. Even though I’m tired of ‘Titanic’ stories….
f. Titanic
Pitch #9 is from the Titanic movie from 1954 written by Charles Brackett, Richard L. Breen, and Walter Reisch.

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******************

Pitch #10. The daughter of a murdered high-powered lawyer seeks sanctuary in a quaint little town, only to learn she can’t escape her past-or FBI Special Agent Dillon Savich. (27 words) Response Count
1. Reject it. 2
2. This pitch is missing main character. 0
3. This pitch doesn’t tell what main character wants or needs. 0
4. This pitch doesn’t tell why main character can’t get what he wants or needs. 1
5. This pitch is missing emotional hook. 1
6. This pitch is missing conflict. 1
7. This pitch is missing change in character. 2
8. This pitch is missing universal theme. 0
9. Ask for first 3 chapters and a summary. Why? (Put answer in box below) 8
10. This is a pitch from an already published book or movie. (Put title in box below) 4
a. I can’t remember the title, but I think it’s from a series featuring Detective Savich.
b. Very like a Nora Roberts style novel…I’d research the story–if I can’t find it, I’m buying
c. Name the book/movie? I’m title-impaired.
d. Again, not sure about the title, but Det. Savich is a well-published guy.
Pitch #10 is from The Cove by Catherine Coulter.

******************
******************

Please answer the following questions in the comments area or send me an email to my email address from the left-hand column.
1. How could I improve the exercise?
2. What did you learn from doing this exercise?
3. Did Pitch Exercise #1 help you decide a better way to write your pitch?
4. If you’d like to do a one hour chat session to study 3 pitches, what day of the week and time would be good for you?
5. Were the shorter ones better? Why?
6. Please let me know the titles and authors of your favorite romance novels.

Thank you very much for reading my blog. You light up my life.

November 12, 2012! Wow! We have 99 subscribers. Be the 100th subscriber.

Subscribe by email now from near the top of the left hand column.

One lucky subscriber will win a free pitch and 5000 word manuscript critique from me. Ten other lucky subscribers will win a free pitch and 1000 word manuscript critique from me. Each free critique is worth at least $50.00.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Pitch Corner USA
Copyright © 2012 Joan Y. Edwards

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24 Responses

  1. 1. How could I improve the exercise?
    I thought it was a fun exercise as is.

    2. What did you learn from doing this exercise?
    That I don’t know as many movies or books as I’d thought, lol. Why the elements of a good pitch are so important.

    3. Did Pitch Exercise #1 help you decide a better way to write your pitch?
    Yes, thank you.

    4. If you’d like to do a one hour chat session to study 3 pitches, what day of the week and time would be good for you?
    Pretty much any day and any time during the afternoon.

    5. Please let me know the titles and authors of your favorite romance novels.
    Christine Feehan, Katie Salidas, and J.R.Ward.

    Like

  2. Dear Kitty,
    Thanks for writing. I’m glad you thought it was a fun exercise as it is. I’ve taken note that any day and afternoon would be good for a chat session for you. It’s good to have your favorite romance novel authors as a handy reference for finding pitches for my other pitch exercises.

    Celebrate you today!
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards, Pitch Corner USA

    Like

  3. Joan,
    This exercise shows that even most famous authors’ pitches could use some polishing. Without their fame, we’d better make sure ours shines.

    Congratulations on almost reaching 100! You’ll get it soon!

    Like

    • Dear Linda,
      Thanks for writing. I appreciate your faithfulness. You are correct. Even the most famous authors’ pitches could use some polishing. You are doubly correct in saying that since we don’t have their fame, we’d better make sure ours shines. I hope that studying these pitches has helped you catch on to something you need to put in the pitch for a story you’re revising now or one you’re beginning.

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards, Pitch Corner USA

      Like

  4. Wow! Another fun and informative post from you, Joan. I was under the impression that a pitch should be somewhere around twenty-five words, but your examples proved that wrong. Thanks again!!!!

    Like

    • Dear Brenda,
      Thanks for writing. Thanks for the compliment you gave me saying my posts are fun and informative. There are pitches of different lengths. It depends upon its purpose. At the beginning of it, in the first 17-25 words, it should have the emotional hook and how this story is different from others. I know it sounds incredibly difficult. And it is difficult, but not impossible. Study the TV Guide pitches or the movie pitches for television cable guides. You have 15 seconds to catch the heart and the interest of the reader/agent/editor. You want it at the beginning. If you have the emotional hook at the beginning, people will read on to see what other problems the character has to deal with. It’s amazing how much you can convey in 25 words or less. I say write your plot summary or outlines of the scenes in your book. Summarize it dividing the word count in half 500 words – 250 words – 125 words – 60 words – 30 words. I added a word count for the pitches in this blog post. Do you think the shorter ones were better? Why or why not?

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards, Pitch Corner USA

      Like

  5. 1. How could I improve the exercise?
    I’m ambivalent about the Amazon thing — because I twigged to it pretty soon. Nonetheless, as you doubtless could see from my answers to the original post, I tried to judge the pitch on the basis of the pitch.

    2. What did you learn from doing this exercise?
    You’ll never get past the submissions editor of your pitch is badly written.

    3. Did Pitch Exercise #1 help you decide a better way to write your pitch?
    LOL. When I submit next, you can be sure I’m going to run it past my writing partner, critique group, etc.

    4. If you’d like to do a one hour chat session to study 3 pitches, what day of the week and time would be good for you?
    Monday Wednesday or Thursday evenings, 8PM or later.

    5. Please let me know the titles and authors of your favorite romance novels.
    Joan, I have beefs with almost all of them ATM:
    (1) Tired to DEATH of blonde heroines.
    (2) Many tired and/or predictable plots, even from well-known authors.
    (3) Sex as filler. I’m reading an otherwise really nice romance from a well-known author but the sex —
    too much, not sexy, and it interrupts the story.

    I was raised Jewish, don’t practice any organized religion, but do consider myself spiritual. But the points I’ve raised above are why I’ve been known to read Christian romances: interesting conflicts and no gratuitous sex.

    Like

    • Dear Margaret,
      Thanks for writing. That’s good that you based it on the pitch. That’s what I wanted you to do. You are right, you’ll never get past the submissions editor if your pitch is poorly written. Good idea to have our critique partners/groups check over our pitches. Thanks for letting me know you’d be available for chat sessions, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings at 8 p.m. or later. If you were writing a romance novel,using the things you’re tired of would help you write one that you and probably thousands of others would enjoy. Christian romances are light and fun…they have conflicts, but they don’t take you out of the story with too much. Good analogies.

      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards, Pitch Corner USA

      Like

  6. Hey Joan, I’ve been working on the senses exercises you gave us at Muse Con and wondered if I could send them to you via email for some feed back?

    Like

    • lol, wrong class. Yours was the pitches. Still working on those. Disregard above message. Been a long month. Doing Nano and brain tired. Thanks.

      Like

      • Dear Kitty,
        Even though it wasn’t my class, you may always send me emails to joanyedwards@earthlink.net. I am honored that you’d like my opinion.

        Good luck with your revisions! You are fine.
        Proud of you for doing Nano and also revising your work. Go, Kitty, go.

        Celebrate you!
        Never Give Up
        Joan Y. Edwards

        Like

  7. Today, I went to the beach front with my kids.
    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed.
    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back!
    LoL I know this is completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

    Like

    • Dear Billy,
      Thanks for sharing the story with me. It had a surprise ending. I love the beach. I might retell your story a time or two.

      Celebrate you.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

  8. Hey! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several weeks of
    hard work due to no data backup. Do you have any methods to protect against
    hackers?

    Like

    • Dear Terence,
      I’m sorry you’ve had trouble with people hacking your WordPress blog. Choose a strong password. http://www.random.org/passwords/ This site creates awesome passwords that are strong. They have programs to save your files. You could copy and paste each blog post after you publish it and save it as a Word document in your Dropbox or other place on your harddrive or backup disk. Good luck! Thanks for reminding all of us that we should have a backup of all our writing.

      Celebrate you and your gift of asking questions
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

  9. Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having a tough time locating it but, I’d like to send you an e-mail.
    I’ve got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great blog and I look forward to seeing it improve over time.

    Like

    • Dear Luis,
      My contact information is in the left hand column. Thanks for taking time to write. Celebrate you and your willingness to help others.

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

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    Like

    • Dear Joie,
      Thanks for writing. I am so excited that finding my site thrilled you. Please come back and visit soon. I’d love to read which posts are your favorites and why.

      Celebrate you and your good research skills,
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

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    Like

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      Thanks for writing. I’m glad this article helped you. You’re welcome for my posting it. Enjoy your reading and posting comments on blogs. You might decide you want to write your own blog.

      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

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      Celebrate you.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

  13. […] Results of Pitch Exercise #1 – Which Pitches Did 12 Responders Accept? […]

    Like

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