We’re almost halfway! Here’s the original post, Perfecting Your Pitch, and you should be able to link back to all previous critiques if necessary
61. bob duggan
Charlie Justice was a twisted little adolescent. Some of that twistedness could be traced to the chemicals that course through the veins of every fifteen year-old male. If chemicals were responsible for the formation of Charlie’s personality, they must have come from that Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India. Fortunately, he had an unusual head for numbers, which enabled some of the adults around him to excuse his perverse behavior.
R. Clifford Harbaugh was a twelve-year veteran of the FBI. A former Marine 0311, he had slogged through two thirteen-month tours of duty in Southeast Asia. A gruff, no-nonsense professional, Agent Harbaugh, despite his current affiliation with the FBI, was still at heart committed to God, country, and the Corps.
In 1986, Charlie Justice and Agent Harbaugh would meet as part of a special government program that Agent Harbaugh would later describe as “a complete and thorough cluster-fuck”. Together, they would thwart one of the most horrendous financial attacks ever leveled at the United States.
Bob! This is not a query contest, just the pitch. Your pitch is almost as long as your entire query letter should be. We don’t need backstory. In other words, the first two paragraphs aren’t necessary. Let’s just get to it. What is your book really about? Is it about the history of Charlie and Agent Hargaugh, or is it the thwarted attacks, or is it the cluster-fuck? I suspect the book is about the lead-up to the attacks—what happens. That’s your pitch. Be careful that in any pitch you eliminate backstory. It’s usually not necessary.
62. v.j. Davis
FBI Special Agent Carly Benson is lost in Hell’s Gate Wilderness and she’s not alone. While playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an unknown stalker Carly solves the riddle surrounding the mysterious disappearance of Steven Younger, one of the FBI’s ten most wanted. Will Carly survive Hell’s Gate to apprehend Younger or will the secret of his location die with her in Hell’s Gate?
Cool. Although a tad confusing. Did she really get lost or was she there searching for clues? I’m concerned that this reads like she is running through the woods from a stalker and thinking about work at the same time. Suddenly she figures out what happened to Steven Younger and now she really has to get out. I imagine that’s not the story you’re trying to convey. I like the idea (but I like FBI books), but I’m not convinced your pitch works. I think you need a revamp that makes it easier to understand.
Reluctant Heroes: Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets BattleStar Galactica
An instance where it’s dangerous to use comparison. I’ve never read Hitchhiker and I haven’t seen BattleStar since I was a kid. Refer to an earlier critique, but if you’re going to use comparisons you need to then show how the comparison works with your book. What is it about your book that warrants that comparison?
64. anon 5:13
Evil, in the form of a psychotic terrorist known as Dante now resides in the remote mountain community of Pine Ridge, Arizona. Sheriff Gabe Navarro thought he knew his town, yet nothing could have prepared him for the journey he and Department of Justice Agents Shelby Ryan and Carson Billings of the domestic terrorism unit are about to make. Can the trio save Pine Ridge? Can they save themselves?
The opening sentence is fabulous! The rest is bland. What is the journey they are going to take and what does the psychotic terrorist have planned? Don’t end your pitch with questions. You should be answering mine, not asking them of me. I don’t know. I assume they can save Pine Ridge, but from what and why?
Dominion Day 106,000 word SF novel
There’s got to be more to life than being a high paid assassin.
I mean, I am taking peoples lives. That can’t be the best thing.
Even if the pay is good, it doesn’t make up for living around Commander Jensen.
I could resign…
If I resigned, Jensen would still be a thorn in my side.
However, if he thought I was dead….
Antony Danic, the Corps most renowned sniper, and munitions expert has the perfect job. Or does he? Destiny has other plans for him. He fakes his death to get out from under his commander’s thumb. Changing his name and his looks to keep his former identity dead. As Noble Standing, he begins to make decisions that change him from the coarse devil may care bad boy, to the honorable good guy that the prophecies foretell about him.
One man begins to find and fulfill his destiny.
Another case of a pitch turned query letter. Much too long. I would skip the opening lines altogether. They don’t endear me to your work. The paragraph beginning with Antony Danic is good. Much better, anyway, and that’s really your pitch. Of course you also need to rewrite that last sentence. Now that he’s changed his name and looks, what is his conflict? It seems to me that’s already solved by the beginning of the book. He hated his job so he quit. What happens next? Oh, and skip your final line. Too vague.
Great work, everyone. And now to the readers and your feedback. . . .