Friday, April 1, 2011

Shelley Watters' Twitter Pitch

For a contest on Shelley Watters' blog:

Title: For Nothing
Genre: Crime Thriller
Word count: 84,327

A bullet rips the night, a Buffalo detective’s life, in a flash. Dueling an assassin in a dance of death the winter threatens to swallow all

*Attempt  1

This is my 140 character twitter pitch about For Nothing, a mafia crime thriller.

*Attempt 2 Tomorrow.
Screw it.  All these great suggestions made me want to get working on a re-write now.

So attempt 2:

A murder sends Alex back undercover into the Buffalo mob. As his prey traverses the underworld game of deadly politics, Alex seeks revenge.

Attempt 3:

A murder sends Alex undercover into the Buffalo mafia. His prey leads him through an underworld fraught with civil war. Alex seeks revenge.

It is between attempt 2 and 3 at this point.  If you would like, I would love to hear your votes!


  1. I like the images you have here, but I'm afraid it might be to abstract as a pitch. Here are the questions I have from this pitch. Does the detective die? Is winter the assassin.

    :) Do you still like me? I have a habit of being brutally honest because that's how I want people to be with me.

    Having said all of that, I read your sample page and think you have a lot of promise. Nice to meet you!

  2. I'm not completely clear on this. How does a bullet rip the night, what is a Buffalo detective (is that a detective from Buffalo, or is it a detective that helps buffalos?). And how does the winter swallow? I don't want to be harsh, but those were my initial impressions. All the best!

  3. I have to echo the others about my confusion. The first line might be clearer if you just remove 'the night' and reword to something like 'In a flash, a bullet rips apart a Buffalo detective's life.' And then go on to say what the stakes are.

    That second sentence is too vague and doesn't deliver the punch it should. Also 'dance of death' is kind of a cliche. In a pitch this short, try to stay away from abstract phrasings and metaphors and just say it plainly (but with voice! which, okay, is hard).

  4. Good thing we put the 140 character pitch up for review :) I'm happy for the critiques, its my first twitter pitch so here we go back to the drawing board!

  5. Charity, of course I still like you. As the saying goes, if you can't stand the heat become an Eskimo...or something like that.

  6. A Buffalo detective duels with an assassin to the life of the mayor before his reelection???

    Tell us what is "all" and what is he trying to save? World Peace?

  7. I like the second version. It's tighter and you can feel the building tension.

  8. Oh yes, I definitely like #2. The rewrite is much better, I was echoing sentiments like the others on the 1st one. Great job and good luck Nicholas.

    Thank you for the crit on my blog. Like you, I went back and made a 2nd revision and hopefully its better.

    Thanks and again Good Luck.


  9. Ah! Second try so much better! Good job.

  10. Agree that you're headed in the right direction with attempt 2. Sounds exciting!

  11. so you've got murder, the underworld, and revenge.

    All good.

  12. Attempt #2 definitely had me wanting more. I love 'BACK undercover', implying he's been there before! I smell trouble...

    Best of luck! :)

  13. Attempt #2 is much better. It leaves me wanting more & that is great! Good job & good luck in the contest!! :)

  14. #2 tells you enough to suck you in. I like that.

  15. well i grew up in clarence, new york so i was hooked as soon as you said buffalo heh, but the revision is a strong step forward. the phrase "traverses the underworld game of" is a bit awkward. it might flow better if it is simplified a bit...or if you mention the buffalo sabres :)
    good luck and keep writing!
    douglas esper

  16. Wow! What a huge improvement. Sounds truly suspenseful.

  17. Attempt two was incredible! Great job and good luck with the contest!

  18. Oh I liked the 2nd one too. Much improved. Nice job ;o)

  19. Glad your not an Eskimo then. Recently I got ripped for being honest and now I feel like I should pull it back a bit.

    Your second pitch is MUCH better. It lets us know what the story is about and what the stakes are. You might be able to lose the word "back" in the first sentence.

    Great job with the rewrite!

  20. Your second try is much better... so third should be a winner, right? I would lose the word "As" and make it 2 sentences. I agree with dougfashiondisco that "traverses the underworld game of" is awkward. I LOVE the last sentence - don't change that. Best of luck. Thanks for stopping by my blog - I guess I better get my 140 characters up so you all can bash the hell out of them ;-)
    My Wonderfully Dysfunctional Blog

  21. Sounds like a cool story! I agree with other comments that the traverse sentence is awkward for a pitch. Can you say the same thing with less telling and more showing? Love the premise though!

  22. Oh yeah the second version is better, your first version was hard to understand but it had voice. Anyway you could get that great verb "rip" back in there?

    Oh, and are we talking Buffalo NY mob? He he I'm from Buffalo (well, I deserted many years ago, but it's still home)

  23. Oh, dude, the second one is so much better. It's very intriguing. Excellent! :D

  24. Thanks for all of the feedback guys. It really helps! Also for the couple that asked, yes Buffalo, NY. The MS takes from real places and events in Buffalo and the crime families that have operated there. Though it is completely fictitious where my characters are concerned.

  25. Nicholas, I like the second one. This sounds like a solid crim-thriller, one of my fav genres.
    Good work and good luck :)