Monday, October 5, 2015


PitchWars is at its heart about the writing community. And even though at the end of the day Mindy McGinnis and I were only able to choose two mentees, we still wanted a way to give feedback to the many many many others who had been kind enough to share their work with us. Our decision to do this via our blogs, rather than a private email, is so that (hopefully!) everyone can learn a little bit from this feedback.

I'm happy to say that quite a few people have been generous enough to take us up on this offer! So, through November, Mindy and I will be posting these critiques on Mondays and Wednesdays. Make sure to look for them on both of our blogs as we'll be posting totally different critiques.

And for anyone out there looking for personalized feedback, I am now offering manuscript critique services which you can find out more about here.

You'll see my comments in red.

Dear Mentor,

Anastasia was ten when Marco  the grim reaper discovered her ability. Everyone knows who the grim reaper is. No one knows who Marco is. The sentence is way more powerful this way bc instead of wondering who Marco is we are wondering exactly what ability was discovered. 
Armed with the her rare power to see ghosts Anastasia Peters, now eighteen and lover of for books and Archaeology, uses her gift to guide the dead to Marco. He is the Grim Reaper, one of the many unlucky souls who are chosen to work for Death himself. And Death likes reading manga. Ha! Great last sentence. Very nice working in good details with also a bit of humor.
From Greece to Japan and to America, Anastasia gets to meet three ghosts, which decide to haunt her in order to get their final business settled. An ancient Greek soldier, a samurai and a Native American shaman fill Anastasia’s life with more trouble than the uni entrance exams, not counting in the occasional Peeping Tom. Again, I really like the humor here, but I want to know why Anastasia is going from Japan to Greece to America. Is she trying to evade the ghosts? To find them? 
But when an Angel Inspector I don't know what an angel inspector is, so a short explanation might be helpful. begins following Anastasia, throwing information about Marco’s past and her possible connection to him, Anastasia will use her power and the three ghosts in order to protect Marco. Even when he denies her feelings. Even if it will cost Anastasia’s life. Why will it cost her life? What specifically is at stake her? If she doesn't denounce Marco then the Angel Inspector will have her killed?
THREE GHOSTS FOR ANASTASIA is a YA Paranormal novel of 80.212 words that will appeal to readers of Jeri Smith-Ready’s SHADE series or Suzanne Young’s A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL series. I really like your title. Another good comp would be the CROAK series by Gina Damico.
I’m a university student on History and Archaeology and I have participated in on short story contests hosted by REUTS Publications. Two of my short stories will be published in the forthcoming anthology by the same Publishing House. I am also a blogger/reviewer since 2013 with wide reading range of almost all genres. I live in Greece and work on my novels featuring the genres of sci-fi, paranormal and fantasy. The full manuscript is available upon request.

Overall, I think this is a fairly strong query!


The little girl entered the bedroom, following her parents. Her face was red as she tried to hold back tears at the sight of her deceased grandma lying in the bed. The old woman’s color was gone from her face but she appeared serene, as if she had just fallen asleep.
“Grandma…” she whispered with broken voice. The phrasing in the blue words is a bit awkward. Her mother brought a chair over and made her sit near her grandmother’s side. While patting the young girl’s head, the mother asked her to remain quiet and wait there.
She obeyed. “Ok mommy, I will wait here,” she replied, and blew her nose.
“That’s my girl. We will be right back,” the mother said. She then kissed her daughter on the cheek and left the room. Why would parents leave their small child in the same room with her dead grandmother?
After her parents departed, the room turned quiet, really quiet, as if sound no longer existed. At her grandmother’s bedside, the girl reflected on memories they spent together. She remembered her always smiling each time she and her parents visited.The best cookies came from her oven, the best stories from her mouth. In that thought, new tears started to flow and the girl wiped them away.
Suddenly, the temperature plummeted and the girl felt a chill down to her spine. Looking around, everything had darkened. Her eyes scanned the room and fixed on the still figure standing on the other side of the bed. An expressionless, tall man dressed in black, with dark hair and onyx eyes towered over her grandmother’s body, holding a silver scythe. He lifted his long-bladed tool, right before the girl’s wide eyes, and cut the old woman’s body in two.
“No!” the girl screamed. She then saw, on the spot he cut, a faint glow and a shining silver light appear, creating a small ball which floated above the dead woman’s body. Wouldn't the parents come running in at this point?
The man took the ball in his hands, touching it gently, and his clothes changed color, transforming from black to white.
“No! Don’t take her with you!” the girl shouted. She jumped from the chair and grabbed a handful of the man’s clothes.
The man looked at the child, astonished that someone was able to see him. His surprised face calmed and he smiled to the child, touching her hair with his left hand.
“You are an interesting one, do you know that?” I like this last line - it definitely makes me interested to know what happens between these two next.

Overall, I think this is an intriguing scene and is a good set-up for what's to come next in the story. Good luck with the writing!

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