Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Thanks to Kim for making this awesome graphic!

Last year we fought the Death Eaters and thought we'd beat the darkness.

But we were wrong!

The dark side has awakened and it is now up to four Jedi Masters to take our teams and defeat the disturbance in the Force!

But wait! One of the Jedi Master's Jedi has been stolen by the Sith! The dark side has called out to them, tempting them to turn against the light. (I'm also hearing they had cookies and that was a big part of their choice to turn.)

This could only happen in one place.

That place is Pitch Slam: The Write Side!

And here is Team Jedi Princess!!

YA Contemporary End of Days

Adult Fantasy Earthsong

YA Contemporary LGBT Things We Weren't Supposed to Know

Adult Women's Fiction Girl (Dot) Com

YA LGBTQ Contemporary Romance Happiness and Other Myths

MG Magical RealismOnline

YA Contemporary That Year

YA Sci-Fi Queen_of_H34rts

Adult Women's Fiction Improbable Girl

YA Sci-Fi Rigged Identity

The other Jedi Master's teams.

Jedi Council (Agents) are free to comment from now until 11:59 PM Eastern on 9/27/16.

NOTE: Only agents may comment during the times listed above. Comments are on moderation so nobody may see what's going on behind the curtains. We want our Jedi Council to have a little privacy while choosing which Jedi deserve a certain Force phrase. ;)

If you didn't make it on a team, please don't take it personally! We could only have 10 per a team and that left many more we wished we could have included, but couldn't. That doesn't mean you're horrible or should feel bad, because you shouldn't! It just means we had to make tough choices and pick those we felt were truly ready for the Jedi Council and fight with the Sith.

As someone who loves doing contest, I've seen all sides. I've entered and didn't get in. I've entered and made a team, but no love was given. Then there were times I got requests. It's a process that doesn't always lead you to your agent. I'm still querying, which is EXACTLY what you should and need to be doing if you're 100% positive your MS is polished and ready to show the world. Just because you didn't make it, this doesn't make it the end. Contests aren't for everybody and they're not the only path. Keep your head up and keep going! Never give up!

And know, we believe in you!

YA Contemporary: END OF DAYS

Genre: YA Contemporary


Word Count: 56,000

Special Question: If your main character could be any Star Wars character, who would they choose and why? Gracie would love to be General Leia, because she would be jealous of the way Leia’s evolved into such a secure, powerful figure. I think she’s more like Finn, because they’ve both suddenly found themselves in a position different from what they’ve known their whole lives.

35 Word Pitch: 

Three ex-best friends have one last chance to reconnect on a 1,400-mile road trip, but they’ll have to confront the breakup between two of them that divided them in the first place.

First 250 Words:

When my mom is sad, she’s sad in Spanish.

Our relationship has always relied on her spotty English and my spottier Spanish somehow converging into a conversation, but sometimes, when she’s emotional, she forgets about that. I pick out love, call, and, miss you while she wipes away tears, and my heart clenches with each of them.

“I’ll come home for Thanksgiving break,” I tell her, even though we still haven’t decided that.

She nods anyway, hugging me one more time. She says a few more words into my shoulder, but I only hear Ada. I tense automatically.

“Be careful.”

I can’t tell if she’s referring to the trip or the girl.

“Don’t let her hurt you.”

I don’t know why I wondered. I squeeze her shoulders and don’t say anything, because I’d rather not lie to my mom right before I leave her for months. She looks tiny, standing in our doorway in her work clothes. She’s filling our small apartment with her big sadness, and there’s nothing I can do about it because Prudence won’t stop texting me from downstairs.

“I’ll call you along the way,” I promise.

“Have fun,” she says, like she’s just remembered.

My phone buzzes in my hand again like Prudence is agreeing with her. A part of me wants to have fun, wants to jump up and down and thrill at the idea of this trip. A bigger part of me, though, can only imagine my mom puttering around our apartment with me gone.

Adult Fantasy: EARTHSONG

Genre: Adult Fantasy


Word Count: 98,000

Special Question: If your main character could be any Star Wars character, who would they choose and why? Rhia would choose to be Leia: a princess general who saves the world and gets a tempestuous romance subplot. All in a day’s work!

35 Word Pitch: 

Magic is fading, leaving the realm blighted. When herbalist Rhia attends a council meeting to find a solution, she defies the abhorred king who abandoned her. Forget the kingdom—Rhia needs magic to repair their relationship.

First 250 Words:

Each step up the stone wall scraped a reminder into Rhia’s palms and knees. You shouldn’t be here. Shouldn’t be doing this.

Airy flutesong and cheery drums echoed laughter from the city streets below, tempting Rhia away from the eerie silence of the black castle looming overhead. Every shadow twisted in the corners of her eyes—taunting her, daring her to approach.

The forbidding edifice frightened Rhia, but her heart pounded with a wild, vicious excitement. This was her only chance to live, beyond survival.

Perched casually atop the wall, her street brother Bronwyn reached down, offering a hand. She refused his help, pulling herself up and onto the ledge.

With a “suit-yourself” shrug, he swung himself down into the courtyard, landing with the silent grace of a cat. He paraded into the sunlight, unaware—or uncaring—of danger.

Rhia frowned. Confidence enough to deceive everyone, including himself. She carefully lowered herself to the ground and ran up to him.

“We’re clear. Five minutes before the new guards show up. Which way?” Bronwyn waited for her directions with his hands on his hips and a cocky grin.

Under the harsh stare of the bookseller, Rhia had studied the castle layout. “The garden has the best cover, and it’s close to windows.” She pointed toward a rose archway to their right. “That’s our entrance.” Rhia’s pulse quickened at the thought. Fading magic left the city streets tinged gray, but the grass beneath her boots dripped pure green. What wonders awaited her further in?


Genre: YA Contemporary LGBT


Word Count: 63,000

Special Question: Luke Skywalker because Elspeth Fairfax wants nothing more than to break free
from her powerful (possibly evil) family.


To fight their boarding school's book ban, rich-girl Elspeth and scholarship-girl Robin run an underground library. After the school's librarian is murdered, the girls try to discover if Holmes Academy is hiding more than novels.

First 250 words:

I thought I would feel prouder when my father told me I was a disappointment to the Fairfax name. After all, I've spent fourteen years trying not to end up like them. I just didn't think it would happen this way. Or that it would hurt.

At least I don't have to stay in that house. One advantage of boarding school is escaping from my parents and who they think I should be. My father doesn't look up from the blue light of his phone when he parks outside the dorm. Not even when I slam the car door. It's pouring rain and I'm still damp when I take a seat on the floor next to Robin for the house meeting.

"How was your weekend?" She whispers.

I shrug, avoiding her eyes.

Robin tries to ask another question but Miss Crumbury claps three times like she's trying to get the attention of a dog. A couple of fourth-years whisper through the preliminary announcement about ramen noodles clogging the kitchen sink.

About the time they usually tell us what to expect for the upcoming week, Mrs. Holcomb stands up. She's a thin, grey-haired woman who likes to sit in the corner of the room like a spider waiting to pounce.

"Now, I have something very serious to discuss with all of you. I would appreciate your undivided attention." Even the fourth-years stop talking.

"I received a call from Headmaster Griggs. The trustees and the school have deemed this list of books inappropriate for young ladies.

Adult Women's Fiction: GIRL (DOT) COM

Genre: Adult, Women’s Fiction

Title: Girl (Dot) Com

Word Count: 84,000

Special Question: If your main character could be any Star Wars character, who would they choose and why?

My main character Barrie would always, always choose to be Princess Leia. Leia is a feminist hero, thwarting Vader, destroying the Death Star, and basically running the joint. Her relationship struggles with Han are familiar to Barrie's, though both end up "getting the guy." Finally, Barrie would clamor to rock that metal bikini.

35 Word Pitch:

In the ‘90s, Barrie’s dot-com career, stock option millions, and burgeoning, nerdy co-worker romance may vaporize if she’s sacked by company-invading Hollywood bigwigs. Her wits and webcam may help save – and reboot -- all three.

First 250 Words:

What the hell was Josh doing in my meeting?

Yea, though I’d stumbled through the valley of the shadow of tech boys aiming Nerf guns at my head, this Nice Jewish Girl® (in too-tight Nine West pumps) stood unscathed, primed, and pumped for The Promotion Talk. I'd asked for a five o’clock one-on-one, banking on my boss Sammy having consumed at least one Long Island Iced Tea by then. (Par for his course in the land where the Internet never sleeps.).

My stomach growled its dissatisfaction that I hadn't eaten all day in order to fit into my favorite Jones New York suit. (I could eat later, right?) A confidence-boosting mantra, playing on internal loop, propelled me: I am worth it. I am worth it. This was my moment.

And there, perched on Sammy’s cartoonish red leather couch, sat my technology work counterpart – and guy of my dreams. For my meeting?

“Well, shut my mouth! I’m underdressed for this gig,” Josh said. He languidly pushed one of his long, blond surfer boy curls behind his ear and glanced down at his polo shirt and jeans. My jaw hinged open. Shut my mouth. Please.

Sammy’s black leather chair swiveled around, fern-green Calvin Klein Eternity wafting around with it. “Barrie, I know you and I had scheduled some time to talk about something, but we’ll have to postpone. We have bigger fish to fry right now.”


Genre: YA LGBTQ Contemporary Romance

Title: Happiness and Other Myths

Word Count: 73,000

Special Question: Elouise would probably end up being Pre-Obi Wan Luke but dressed in a Chewbacca costume… (All while wishing she was Princess Leia.)

35 Word Pitch:

Seventeen-year-old Elouise dons a hotdog suit and fake dates her bff to catch the eye of the park’s diving pirate. When fake feelings turn real, Elouise must choose between what she wants and really needs.

First 250:

Everybody says the summer after your senior year is the best, the one for the history books, the one you never forget. And for me, it starts right here in this tiny break room— with a stomach full of butterflies and a brain full of fireworks. This is going to be my summer; no doubt about it. I take a deep breath and slide my finger down the crisp page in front of me, searching for my name on the corkboard of destiny.

Seriously. That’s we call stuff like this at Magic Castles Playland. It’s not a bulletin board; it’s a “corkboard of destiny.” It’s not a list of job assignments; it’s a “character reveal chart.” I swear to god everything here is about as whimsical as it is rusty.

I look lower, past the names of the ride operators and the food service people, over housekeeping and maintenance, until I get to the costume crew. I pause at the listing for princess, it’s not my name. Okay, that’s fine, disappointing but fine. I knew it was a longshot when I put in for it. My finger dips lower, gliding past the prince, and the pirates, and all the other characters that I don’t have a prayer of being, until it hits my name: Elouise May Parker. I drop my head against the board. No, no, no. Not again. I can’t. This has to be a mistake.

Seeley nudges me out of the way. “What’s it say?”

“I’m the hot dog.”

MG Magical Realism: ONLINE

Genre: MG Magical Realism

Title: Online

Word Count: 30,000

Special Question: If your main character could be any Star Wars character, who would they choose and why?Stormtrooper number 79, ID HP404 for those who are confused. He is also known for daydreaming in the middle of missions, stealing from the Emperor’s fridge and talking his mates into playing Death Strike: Rogue Offensive.

35 Word Pitch:

Twelve-year-old Harper’s birthmark is meant to show her soulmate. But when it leads to the troll stalking her YouTube videos, it’s getting removed.

First 250 Words: 

Harper tapped CTRL on her Mac and said, “This team’s lousy! We need more kills here, guys!”

“Lousy like your soulmark,” a Counter Strike teammate answered on the chat, making Harper stab a counter-terrorist on her path way more times than necessary. She should never have told her team what her soulmark said.

Like it was with practically everyone else in the world, her mark was there since birth, and was supposed to be the first words her soulmate would say to her.

With her green sleeves rolled up, she could see the black words on her skin: I like your vids, but honestly you mised the point of this whole game. It was fun to watch this, but in a sorta embarrassing way.

Not only was her soulmate a hater, but this moron also couldn’t spell “missed” correctly. And because of that she had to live with a stupid grammar mistake written on her arm.

As she fixed her headset, her team’s voices on the chat overwhelmed her. Harper was a second from hitting CTRL again to tell them to shut up when a counter-terrorist from somewhere over the rainbow headshotted her.

“You died”, the game told her by replaying the scene. She was inside a shed with her knife in hands, and had just stabbed another enemy. Then she was shot and game over.

The counter-terrorists won, but soon the screen started loading to replay the same scenario. The crates spread around loaded first, and then Harper’s Mac slowly loaded the desert-like town.

YA Contemporary: THAT YEAR

Genre: Contemporary YA

Title: That Year

Word Count: 79,000

Special Question: If your main character could be any Star Wars character, who would they choose and why? Sophie would be Yoda, because everybody loves and admires Yoda, and when it comes right down to it, Sophie just wants to be loved.

35 Word Pitch:

Everything changes when Sophie’s BFF swallows a bottle of pills, ending her life. To heal and move on, Sophie must search for answers about Hayley's life and death.

First 250 Words:

I’m trying to figure out what strikes me as more strange. The fact that I’m sitting in a Christian church that has jack-o-lanterns lined up on the pulpit and ghosts hanging in the rafters, or the fact that my best friend is lying in a coffin in front of four hundred of our closest friends and family members. I mean, is it sacrilegious to display ghosts and goblins in a church? I wouldn’t know, since this is the first time I’ve set foot in one in almost ten years. We’re not really a church-going type of family. Not even on Christmas or Easter. The last time I visited a church was when my grandma died and it was a blur of wet family kisses and too tight hugs from my smelly aunts.

I’m staring at the front of the room where the big mahogany coffin sits on a raised platform but I’m having a hard time comprehending the fact that Haley lies inside. Her red and silver pom-pons are artfully arranged on the top and there are about a million baby pink teacup roses arranged all around. She loves all things pink. Being inside her bedroom is like slipping inside a Pepto-Bismol bottle, but it makes her really happy. Or made her really happy. 
Is it time to start talking about her in the past tense?

I suppose it’s only fitting that the lining of that coffin is pink satin and every flower in the room carries her favorite hue.


Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Title: Queen_of_H34rts

Word Count: 86, 000

Special Question: If your main character could be any Star Wars character, who would they choose and why? Chewbacca. Because he looks mean and scary, but really, he's just misunderstood.

35 Word Pitch:

Alice and /Queen_of_Hearts/ should be enemies. But when rival hackers steal the code they need, they ally to keep it from going to the highest bidder, taking with it the chance to save Alice’s sister.

First 250 Words:
Cherry plunged out of the limo and slammed the door behind her, plastering a smile on her face. She pulled herself up as she imagined a marionette would be pulled up from a heap on the floor. The heap would be a more accurate representation of her state of mind, but she couldn’t let the crowd of predatory press sense her weakness. She had no desire to be their next meal.

People shouted her name, lights flashed. The early October chill bit at her arms and legs, but she ignored it all.

The double doors and the bald bouncer lay directly ahead. Just a thumb on the ‘print pad and she’d be safe inside.

Almost there. Smile.

Keeping smiling.

The reflective silver of a faceless android plunged in front of her, a press pass dangling from it’s neck. Cherry braked like a crackerjack stunt driver, but she only narrowly avoided plowing into it.

Only inches from its chest, she could read the press pass. The Investigator. Dread poured over her like a winter-cold lake. The so-called investigative journal had dragged her name and her father’s company through the mud multiple times over the last year and its androids were programmed to be ruthless.

“Miss Hart!” the android yelled despite its proximity to her, its voice echoing metallically through her skull. “The Investigator would like to know if you plan on killing any more children in the near future. Perhaps you could get high this time and take out some pedestrians?”

Adult Women's Fiction: IMPROBABLE GIRL

Genre: Adult Women's Fiction

Title: Improbable Girl

Word Count: 82,000

Special Question: If your main character could be any Star Wars character, who would they choose and why? I have two main characters/narrators. Jane would say Obi-Wan Kenobi because his control of the force can manifest what's in his mind. Daniel has always loved R2-D2 with an affection that he's never felt for animals and most people. So, R2-D2.

35 Word Pitch:

Jane likes control and Daniel likes numbers. When they can’t get pregnant, Jane’s obsession and Daniel’s silence lead to cheating, separation. A tumor found on Jane’s ovary makes them see there’s something left to save.

First 250 Words:

I counted the stairs on the day we moved in. There are 60 steps to our apartment on the fifth floor, so every six steps is equal to 10% of the trip to the top. That is, if you ignore the 6 steps on the stoop. If I count those, then every 6.6 steps is 10%. I’d have to break the steps into fractions, and therefore divide the rise of my foot as it travels between one step and the next. After teaching three sections of sixth grade math, two of seventh, hall duty, and a faculty meeting, I can’t achieve that level of precision. So we’ll disregard those first 6 steps.

Tonight as I walk up, I count by ten percent as I always do. It’s a nice rhythm as my foot strikes each step and my shoe scratches across the surface. One, two, three, four, five, ten, one, two, three, four, five, twenty.

I like to know exactly where I’m going and how long it will take to get there. Beyond these stairs and their six-beat rhythm, I don’t know where Jane and I are going or how far away it is. That distance is undefined.

One, two, three, four, five, fifty. Fifty percent is nice, but my legs are burning a bit. By seventy-five, I’m getting close, and I normally start taking the steps two at a time. Not tonight. I just want to keep counting tonight.


Genre: YA Sci-Fi


Word Count: 85,000

Special Question: If your main character could be any Star Wars character, who would they choose and why?
My main character, Rigg, is adventurous, physically fit (she's a martial gymnast), and a hacker who can fix just about anything, so I will go with Rey.

35 Word Pitch:

After her mom's murder, 16-year-old Rigg follows clues to a super-AI who covets Rigg's technical expertise. She learns her intelligence is as artificial as the killer's, and to sabotage his plans she must sacrifice herself.

First 250 Words:

I'd strapped three caff patches to my arm to stay upright, and Trace was late. “If he doesn't show soon, I'm rewiring his knowledge-implant.”

The sun trudged up the distant Serran mountains, and everything was blue and alien and too slow. I clutched my best ever flying-sim, let me rephrase that, soaring-sim. Only Trace would get the fantasticness of this coding because, although I'd never admit it, he works even harder than me.

But if he waited much longer, the morning wind would die, and we'd lose that outside roar of air inside my virtual world. I stomped a circle in the grass.

Finally, familiar rubber-soled boots squeaked up the hill accompanied by huffing, and eventually, Trace's mass of brown curls emerged. He didn't rush and rip sim-needles from my hand. Nope. Overloaded with three mega-backpacks, he leaned forward to catch his breath.

“Why are you late?” My hands vibrated with caffeine. “Do you have an android packed in there?”

“Woah, Rigg.” Trace carefully lowered each backpack. “First, I had to bring all my projects to make the class bell. Second, I optimized my visual-plant to ensure I could critique every nuance of your little masterpiece.”

“My opus, but”—I lowered my voice— “you operated on your implants? You'll blind yourself someday.”

“Are we testing this sim or not?”

I should have taken him to get his implants checked, but he seemed fine, the wind was just right, and I had a packet of perfection on this needle.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

YA Psychological Thriller: MAD SEASON

You enjoyed critiquing us so much last year, (and so did we!) So we've decided to bring it back!! You get to critique the judges! Below you will find a correctly formatted pitch and first 250 not only for you to see how to format your final entry, but for you to also critique! My entry is for my wip which is currently in revision. The word count's fluctuating due to revisions and edits, but I'm going to be using the current word count for my example.

Nobody's perfect and we all know pitching is hard. None of us nail it the first time. Really, almost none of us get it the twenty-first time. It takes work and practice. So don't give up! We believe in you and we can't wait to see what you do! And as Kim said, "Please join us on the #PitchSlam twitter feed for more words of encouragement, revision tips, and (during the final round) some teasers about our final picks. <3"

Name: Jamie Corrigan

Genre: YA Psychological Thriller

Title: Mad Season

Word Count: 65,000

If your main character could be any Star Wars character, who would they choose and why? Addie would be Han Solo. She gets having to be on your own with only your wits and best friend to survive. (And she knows he shot first!) Eirwen would be Kylo Ren because she does what she believes is the right thing to do even if it really is the most horrible thing.

35 word pitch: Someone's murdering girls and if 17-year-old Addie Delgado doesn't suck up her fear and get close to her stalker ex-BFF to gain information to the killer's identity, she'll join the dead girls club next.

First 250 words:

Two-thousand two-hundred and forty-three. No matter how many times I’ve tried to will that last number to change, it refuses. I reach out and lightly trace the white paint making sure not to touch the ugly green surrounding it.

“Three. Bet it’s not counting us though.” I snort and quickly duck my head, hand falling to my side as the wave of shame washes over me. Goosies tickle the back of my neck. I know, Mom. It’s just stupid small town crap.

“But still…”

A mockingbird lands on a nearby tree branch and rings out it’s good morning song. And in a flash a tiny glow awakens in the sky. I check my watch. Six-thirty already. Even though I’ve done this every day since I got home from camp, I can’t shake the fake surprise when the world remains the same as yesterday.

I’m a mile away from home. Just a far enough walk away to clear my head, but not make me want to hurl from overdoing it. My moms will be getting up a little over an hour from now, something I’ve managed to use to my advantage. The humid stickiness of no air conditioning could rip anybody from a comfortable bed in the dead of summer. Luckily I’ll be in the shower by then, faux-dirty breakfast bowl in the sink, and we’ll dance around each other for the rest of the day.

More Judge the Judges can be found here!