Monday, March 18, 2013

Pitch THIS!

Nothing happens in a vacuum.

To grow and develop we need interaction. So, let's interact.

Recently I entered Pitch Madness and didn't make it out of round one. As I scratched my head wondering why, a possibility came up. I'd like to say the idea was mine, but it wasn't, there's that interaction cropping up already. Chapter One in Tearing the Shroud currently gives an introduction to Coleman. It's action filled, but only shows a battle he has...not who he is. Because of this, it is almost more of a prologue than a chapter. We first see Vincent, a main character in the next scene.

Why show Coleman first? Well...part of it I can't tell you without spoiling the story, but originally Vincent's scene started the book. In a desire to grab the reader more, I flipped the two and got nothing but positive feedback when I did. While Coleman's scene is entertaining/exciting, and we hope he makes it out alive, we don't find out who Coleman is, until later.

Now I'm wondering: Should I label it as a prologue and leave it as is...or...start with Vincent?  I'm putting it up both for a gander, so please let me know what you think.

Since the contest only allowed the first 250 words, I'll keep. First we have the current and second those with Vincent. Don't forget to post your thoughts.


The 35 Word Pitch:

Vincent expected to make friends in college, not have visions. The apparitions tell him to become possessed. If he doesn't allow it, evil creatures will enter our world. And he thought Calculus was hard.


The young warrior staggered as a severed hand clawed at his boot. His tall muscular frame ached with wounds and fatigue. Gore and blood dripped from his short blond hair.

The battle started hours before when the beasts came out of the mist, their talons clacking over the rocky soil. They were randomly assembled, a disjointed collection of nightmarish animals. Sharp teeth erupted at all angles from their gaping maws, some piercing their own faces. Serpentine drool oozed from their mouths, hanging in long strands before finally plopping to the ground. Where it struck, fires burst into life, as if they brought the flames of the Abyss with them. Strangely, the creatures smelled of mint, as if they had freshened up before setting out on wanton destruction.

Randolf, his Second, turned with a smile. "Coleman, my lad, this looks like a bit more than a small infestation."

Coleman gazed at the approaching horde. "That it does."

"If things go wrong at least we'll have a good smell about us."

Coleman's gray eyes sparkled. "Wrong? It looks like a party's comin' our way."

         As the first beast clambered at him, Coleman brought his longknife through a powerful downward strike. The blow severed its taloned claw and carried into the creature's head, splitting it to the chin. What served for its brains, and brackish blood, splattered him. Fortunately, the gore didn't start fires, like its spittle, which found gaps in his leather armor, scalding him. What should have felled the beast, merely made it stumble. 


Vincent Muldoon stared at the floor of his advisor's office. He was in his third year at Pacific Coast University.

"Vincent." Mr. Fisher took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "You do well in all your coursework." He flipped through the papers on his desk. "A solid four point O, but you can't major in everything. This is what?" He held up one of the sheets of paper and shook it lightly. "The sixth time you've switched? Or are we on number seven? Don't you think it's time you settled on a direction?" He cleaned his glasses and slipped the dark frames back on. "Unless, of course, you want to be a professional student?" He smiled.

"No, sir. I need to figure something out, I agree, it's just..."

"This is your fourth appointment this month. What's really the matter?"

"I know...I'm sure you're tired of seeing my name on the appointment sheet." He sighed. "My dad wants me to go into law; well, at least he does now. My mom is on this new health regime, and thought that sports therapy would be a good field."

"Yes, Vincent, it's good that your parents are involved but it is, after all, your life. Not theirs." He nodded. "Perhaps it's time to ask yourself what you want." Looking at his watch, he patted his hand on the desk. "Our time's up, I'm afraid. Take a look at your options, and let me know what you decide."

"Thank you, Mr. Fisher," Vincent said, as he stood.


  1. There could be a lot of reasons that you didn't make the second round... it'd be helpful to have your pitch along with the first 250 words. Maybe the readers didn't think your pitch matched with the first 250 or something? I'm just guessing, since I haven't read the pitch.

    I do think the battle scene is a good opening. It definitely got my attention. I'd be curious to see how this plays out, switching between these two worlds. That said, the Vincent opening is also interesting-- it shows more character and voice; the battle scene more action. I guess ultimately it's up to you what direction you want to take it.

    1. Sorry, you are right I should have included it in this post. **facepalm** Here it is:

      Vincent expected to make friends in college, not have visions. The apparitions tell him to become possessed. If he doesn't allow it, evil creatures will enter our world. And he thought Calculus was hard.

  2. Since Vincent is the MC, I'd prefer it start w/ his chapter but it needs a stronger beginning. The battle scene is fantastic but does lead you to believe the story will mainly be about that world. You could make Coleman's chapter a prologue, but truthfully I don't like them. So, what to do? Of course this is subjective but maybe start with Vincent's chapter, only with something like this:
    "Unaware of the bloody battle on the other side of the Shroud, Vincent stared at the floor of his advisor's office."
    What do you think?

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