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!


  1. I feel like the first sentence of the pitch is long. Could be broken into 2 shorter sentences maybe? Is there any detail about a murdering girls at school, in their city, county, etc? I think a touch of detail would help. :)

    I'm not sure I'm understanding the first 250 well enough about the numbers&location, and what it means. I hope my newbie suggestions are taken with a grain of salt! Thank you! :)

  2. Same comment as above about the wordiness of the pitch. I think the first sentence could be broken up and made a bit shorter, so that the reader can digest the whole thing, but the stakes are there, which is awesome.

    As for the 250, I found myself generally "not getting it." I don't know what the number is about, or why she's walking around all ashamed of herself. There are some great sensory details, but overall, I feel a bit lost in the scene. Too much is being withheld in order for me to feel fully invested. It comes across a bit as a "YA character stands around thinking without purpose" opening, and yet it seems like, with just a few tweaks, there COULD be a purpose. The author is just playing coy with it.

    Thanks so much for the chance to read your work! This was a lot of fun. :)

  3. Pitch: Nit-pick, because I think this is strong. Consider changing "information to" to "information about." Or just use clues, if that's applicable.

    250: I assume the number is the town population sign? But if it's causing confusion, a few words of detail would clear that right up. I've never heard the expression "foe-dirty" before, but it doesn't bug me, just makes me think there's a dialect here I'm not familiar with (and that I'd get familiar with over the course of the manuscript). And I'm intrigued by the main character taking a long, secret walk every morning.