Pitch On Workshop - HATING

Genre: YA Verse
Word-count: 35,000

Pitch: Overwhelmed by grief and guilt after his brother Jason's death, 17 year-old Ric crashes his dead brother's car, injures gifted athlete Kate, and ends up in a juvenile justice centre where his music and Kate, the person who hates him most, are the only things that might save him from self destruction. But first, he must come to terms with the past and find a way to face the future.

I like the sound of this, though I am a bit concerned about the word count. 35,000 sounds short for YA. Maybe it can be shorter if it's a novel in verse? Not sure.

The pitch's first sentence runs long, so if there were a way to split it up, that would be nice. I wonder if you could also tighten the pitch by combining the last sentence with the part about how Kate and Ric's music might help save him, as those parts feel redundant. Maybe something like:

Overwhelmed by grief and guilt after his brother's death, 17-year-old Ric crashes his dead brother's car, injures gifted athlete Kate, and ends up in a juvenile justice centre. Now, music and Kate, the person who hates him the most, might be the only things that can help him come to terms with the past before he destroys himself.

Readers, feel free to pipe in below!

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  1. I am intrigued by the sound of a YA novel in verse and really wish you luck with this. Very interested to know if the word count is okay for verse. I think the reworked suggestion above is a good one, my only comment is that I'd like little more of a hook here - I understand it's a novel about coming to terms but I'm not feeling the tension of that at the moment, I'm just assuming yes he will. Does he have no access to music in the centre, is he not wanting to do it...perhaps we need more a hint that he was responsible for the brother's death if he feels guilt? A nitpick as I think the reworked suggestion above works and have little to add, but upping the tension a bit would help for me. Good luck!

  2. I don't know about the word count, my knowledge of verse novels is very limited. It does sound like you have a gritty manuscript. I agree with both Stephanie and VikLit, the pitch could be reworked so that it packs a stronger punch.

    Good luck!

  3. Sounds amazing! Yeah I agree with the above comments, the pitch needs to be so much stronger. The whole concept of death and destruction in a car is a very real topic that many teenagers of today will find interesting and relevant. I love the hint of self destruction, I think it's great. Well done, great concept!

  4. This is really close. I think you just need to move some things around to make it a little more clear and concise. Great start and a great premise!

  5. Thanks everyone,

    I love your suggestions. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my pitch and help me improve it.

    Good luck to everyone else with pitches.


  6. I agree that the first sentence runs a little long, but I like that it has everything. Really, the sencond sentence is a bit redundant, so maybe split sentence # 1 into two and delete your current 2nd sentence?
    Good luck! This sounds interesting!

  7. It sounds like you are tackling some great subject matter and the premise sounds interesting.

    The first thing that stood out to me has already been mentioned, but I am concerned the word count may be too low.
    Also, it seems like youv have done well fitting the important pitch info in, but it could maybe be a little cleaner. Maybe try to break that first sentence up.

    Wishibg you the best of luck :)

  8. 35,000 is plenty long for a verse novel. Your pitch give s clear picture of what this book is about but it lacks "voice". It feels formal 'Juvenile Justice Center" instead of "Juvie". 'Overwhelmed by grief' feels like a cliche.

    It needs a bit more

  9. Thanks everyone for your feedback. I'll definitely look at that first sentence and trying to inject more voice into the pitch.


  10. Hi, Sounds like a powerful story! I agree you could split up that first run on sentence and the pitch would be "pitchier" :D My other concern is that there are some cliches that might need reworking- the idea can stay the same but the voice could be fresher. To me the following two bits fall into that category "Overwhelmed by grief and guilt" and "he must come to terms with the past and find a way to face the future"
    Good luck!