So I entered my first pitch contest this week. It’s called PitchSlam, and my favorite part about it so far is the fact that we’re given a chance to revise our initial submissions! You can learn more about it here or search #PitchSlam on Twitter if you’re interested to see what’s going on!
Here’s what I have so far:
Seventeen-year-old Amelia Dupree hasn’t seen the Woman in White since her brother died. Desperate for anything to connect her to Mark, Amelia spends sleepless nights watching the woods, but the ghost seems to have disappeared—at least, until Charlie Blue moves into the creepy old house next door.
When Amelia and Charlie make contact with a spirit claiming to be the Woman in White, they learn that she’s a prisoner, trapped between the worlds of the living and the dead. Amelia, devastated by the idea that Mark could be suffering a similar fate, turns to magic. Together, Amelia and Charlie start preparing a spell that will allow the ghost pass over to the other side.
But then Amelia’s classmates start to turn up dead in the Susquehanna River and rumors swirl as people start to connect the timing of Charlie’s arrival with the deaths. As they uncover the truth about Woman in White and her history in Asylum, Amelia and Charlie realize that their magic may have unleashed an unspeakable evil. One they have to stop before their whole town is destroyed. Again.
Original Pitch Slam Pitch:
When a cute boy named Charlie Blue moves into the creepy MacAllister House next door, seventeen-year-old Amelia learns that in a town as small as Asylum, Pennsylvania, some ghosts are better left dead and buried.
Pitch Slam Feedback:
We get a sense that there’s a really cool, creepy story to be told here, but your pitch isn’t conveying it properly. There’s some information included that doesn’t seem relevant, and some information lacking that’s rather crucial. When it comes to pitching, trying to be mysterious often backfires. Specific story details win the day, and we need more of them here. Ask yourself the standard pitch questions. What does your character want, what’s stopping her, and what are the consequences of failure? As to what to leave out, do we need to be told Charlie Blue is a cute boy or can you imply that by Amelia’s interest in him? Is he super important to the story or is more about the ghosts? Do we need to be told the name of the town? Instead, tell us what your character is up against, what she actually has to DO. Learning something is a very passive story conflict. We have a feeling there’s a lot more to this story than we see in this pitch. Show us!
Amelia wanted to help the ghost in the woods–she didn’t count on unleashing a curse. As the bodies pile up, she must find a way to stop the evil before she ends up dead.
Revised Revised Pitch:
Amelia wanted to help the ghost in the woods; she didn’t count on unleashing a curse. As her classmates’ bodies start piling up, she must exonerate the boy next door — or be the next victim.
What do you guys think?