Pitch | R01 (Part 4 of 4)

There are 13 Workshop Participants left who’ve each pledged to write a short story worthy of being entered into a competition or putting it up for public consumption when finished!

Every Monday and Wednesday there will be a Post going up with Participant Submissions based on whatever Round currently happening. Round One consists of The Pitch and below you will see a few of them. The Genre for the Pitch will be listed along with the Discord/Reddit name of the person who submitted it.

Please leave all CONSTRUCTIVE comments on their Pitch in the comments below!

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Mystery

A washed-up programmer, once one of the best in the world, has one last shot: finish programming a self-driving car for Takuro Motors, the largest car manufacturer in the world. But he finds out that someone has tampered with the code. He investigates further and learns that the car is programmed to be callously utilitarian, to sacrifice the driver’s life if someone more valuable is in danger. He learns that it’s Takuro itself that has inserted the new programming, and decides to blow the whistle, even if it costs him his career… or more.

ATC

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Mystery

    A recent college graduate returns home on the high noon train greeted by his brother–now the Sheriff–to a very different town than he had left four years ago. Golden Spurs was once a thriving town, drawing in hundreds from all over the state for its heavily gold saturated river, but a few years’ drought has left the river dry. Gold prospectors flee for richer soil and water becomes scarce driving much of the population to more flourishing towns.

    When a mysterious hermit enters town looking to trade a substantial amount of water for supplies, he attracts more attention than he intended and becomes the target for a band of outlaws. The Sheriff of Golden Spurs must now stand behind his badge and six shooter for his town, working closely with his brother, utilizing his intellect and craftiness to protect the hermit and save their hometown from becoming a desolate ghost town.

AuthurCole

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Mystery

Disgraced former detective and current Private Investigator John Ackroyd spends his days chasing lost pets and following cheating spouses. When asked to investigate the suicide of William Stone, a banking tycoon, he accepts, happy to take advantage of the grieving. Ackroyd is quickly drawn into a web of intrigue involving Stone’s wife, business partner, and mistress. Against the backdrop of New York in the Roaring Twenties, Blood From a Stone is a mystery packed with intrigue and suspense.

Dsowry

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Comedy

At a party, a teenage boy plays around with the idea of letting his girlfriend cheat on him. A girl, who is in love with him, tries to push the idea on him; the boy only wants to figure out how to make sure he is a good person, so he wanders around the party to vacillate, with the girl tagging along, and uncovers more rumors spreading about him sprouting.

NoviceofDiscord

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About E.L. Drayton

Writer of novels, short stories, scripts, and reviews.
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  • Grover C Rockwood

    1. Near dead on mystery. The idea that the car will save what society declares ‘more important’ is fantastic. For the last sentence, it could also be that he struggles over saying nothing and getting back into programming, or whistleblowing and losing everything, plus more. Just my thoughts.

    2. This doesn’t seem like mystery to me. This sounds like a old western as people are leaving from a moderate drought. All this is happening over no water? How in the world does this hermit have enough water to supply the whole town? This seems unrealistic. Just IMO.

    3. Mystery in the late 1920’s is niche but also the perfect era for the genre. This seems like it might be difficult to put together in a short story. I’m interested to see how it turns out.

    4. This sounded dark at first, but after reading it again, I’m reminded of one of the early 2000 party comedies that had Seth Green in it, or American Apple Pie. I might be way off but I’d still be interested in seeing how this turns out.

    • Arthur Cole

      Thank you for your input! I agree with @Kamary above that there is a little too much information concerning the town, but, concerning the mystery element, the man with abundant water coming into a town without water IS the mystery. He becomes the focus of both the protagonist brothers and the band of outlaws. And, no, all this is not caused solely by the lack of water. The river dries up which brought in gold from the mountains causing the prospectors to leave. The water repelled the rest of The town’s citizens. I appreciate you pointing out, however, that it apparently isn’t clear that that is the case. Do you have any suggestions to refine my pitch accordingly?

      • Grover C Rockwood

        Erica will do way better than I ever could. I mostly look at the pitches from a information perspective and what I know. I hope I didn’t offend you with the unrealistic. That just means I can’t figure out how it’d be possible, not that it isn’t possible. Looking forward to checking this short story out.

        • Arthur Cole

          No offense taken. We’re all here for the same thing… To make it stories better, utilizing other’s views of our pitch. I appreciate your input and I see where I have gone wrong.

    • Nacho

      I’m #3. In terms of the cliche I thought it’d be fun to go full on noir, never tried anything like that before. And I’m really worried about the length also lol

  • Kamary

    1. I might not have told who inserted the program if I were writing this pitch. It could make for a great reveal. Still, I like the idea. I do have to wonder how the cars would sacrifice someone of lesser value for someone of greater value.
    2. I’d say you gave too much description on the town. You could cut out at least one sentence. As for the rest of it, it’s a little blurry toward the end if the sheriff or the brother is the protagonist. Are they both? I still liked it, though.
    3. Oh, I really like this one. The opening line was fantastic! This seems very polished.
    4. I’ll be flat out honest, I do not like this pitch. It’s mostly for a moral stand point. I’m not sure if this is where you’re going, but the pitch sounds very much like he’ll end up cheating on his girlfriend with the girl that loves him using the pretense his girlfriend has cheated on him, and eventually leave her for the girl who loves him. This whole concept makes the characters all sound like bad people, though I wonder if that’s what you’re going for. Anyway, I’m sure it might make good material for some people, but I can’t get past the moral factor and definitely would not read it. Morality aside, the pitch would probably be stronger if you mentioned the protagonist’s name. The grammar in the last bit is also quite confusing.

    • Arthur Cole

      I completely agree! As soon as I saw my pitch posted, I noticed how much longer it was than the rest and realised my mistakes. Thank you! As far as the identity of the protagonists, it is both. I hope to create a kind of Hardy Boys vibe, but Western themed. Any ideas on how to refine my pitch to make the fact that BOTH are protagonists evident?

  • Arthur Cole

    1) ATC (Mystery):
    This one feels well refined! It’s smooth and contains all the information necessary to raise questions for the reader, leaving enough mystery to attract one to read further. You describe your protagonist; what he does. You describe the inciting incident and where it leads him. Now we have to find out how he found this information out and how he plans to undo it without raising Takuro’s awareness. Bravo!

    2) ArthurCole (Mystery):
    This one is mine.

    3) Dsowry (Mystery):
    This feels like the first novel of the Dresden Files (without the supernatural element)! Petty detective gets into the depths after accepting one case that is out of his norm! To me, that is a good thing. I love Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files so already I’m enthralled! I think it reads well, too. Much like the back of an already published novel. I’d definitely read this! Good job!

    4 NoviceofDiscord (Comedy):
    I see how it can be comedy, but it reads like a mosaic. Bits and pieces. I had a hard time putting it all together in my mind, but I’m the end I get it, I think. It’s okayish. I think, even though it is a comedy, a little tension in the pitch would really amplify the comedy element.

  • SplinterFM

    ATC
    Solid pitch. Programmers of self-driving cars are facing the real life trolley problem, it’s actually a deep philosophical question. Having this brought to a mystery is very interesting.

    Arthur Cole
    I agree with the others. The pitch is a little long and it really is kind of blurry who the protagonist is. Maybe cutting the whole first paragraph and working the details into the second one would help. Like, “when a mysterious hermit enters the once thriving town of Golden Spurs…” and “now the new sheriff and his brother who just returned to the town must…” or something like that.

    Dsowry
    Great pitch. All the right things are in the right places. I was just curious about who asked him to investigate the suicide, but maybe I’m supposed to find that out in the story. Also, when I was reading the pitch, it sounded like Stone’s wife was his business partner and mistress, all in one. Maybe that sentence could be reworked.

    NoviceofDiscord
    I feel old. I mean, the setting fits well for a comedy and I’m sure I would enjoy it if it’s well done. But it sounds like some teenagers doing teenagers stuff and I can’t find myself that interested. I think this would be great as teen material but I’m just not sure it is for me. Which makes me feel old.

    • Arthur Cole

      Thank you very much for your input! I really like your rendition. I think I will utilize its simplicity to further my pitch and plot. Thank you!

  • Nacho

    1 – Awesome premise, and the pitch describes everything I’d want to know.
    2 – A little long for a pitch, and not sure what the “mystery” is (the hermit?). However the story itself sounds super interesting.
    3 – mine
    4 – I’d prefer the pitch to be a bit more specific (pro-nouns and relationships), but it sounds light hearted and entertaining, like a cheesy high school party movie. I’m sold

    • Arthur Cole

      #2 here! Thank you for your comments. I totally agree that my pitch is too long, so thank you. I was intending to give as little information as possible to leave room for the mystery of the identity of the hermit and where he got his water from, but apparently it out too much info on him and input too much info on Golden Spurs. I will take this into consideration as I move along in the process.

  • Heracorn

    1. Nice concept. I think you did a nice job describing the mystery in your story.
    2. Definitely a bit long for a pitch. But I like the set up. It leaves the reader to wonder whats happening. Thoguh I feel like the main protagonist should be a bit more clear.
    3. Really good stuff. I felt like I got int John’s head while reading this pitch. I feel like I could really get into this.
    4. Sounds a little like a Mystery/Comedy. But I can see plenty of potential for good comedy here.

    • Arthur Cole

      #2 here. Yeah, that seems to be the consensus. Too long and unclear concerning the “mystery” and protagonist. Thank you for your input! I do intend to create a dual protagonist story much like that of The Hardy Boys so I hope I can make that more clear on the future. Thank you again!

  • BlueLikeATardis

    1.) I like this concept. It gives me everything I need to know and it also breeds the questions of how far is our technological advances going. Now, I am not entirely sure if I would have given the culprit away in the pitch. You could possibly cut that out to add more mystery.



    2.) I like the idea and it reads like one of those Old Westerns, which is something I don’t really know too much about. This pitch is quite long and it contains too much description of the town setting in the first paragraph. If anything, you could just take away the first paragraph and keep the second. I am also quite confused on who the main character is. Is it the college graduate, the mysterious hermit, or the Sheriff? Overall, it seems pretty interesting.

    3.) After reading this pitch, I feel like you have tons of experience writing one. Everything is in place, I know where we are, the main character, the conflict, and so on. It’s like one of those pitches where you could see it on the back cover of a book, and I would 100% buy it. Great job!

    4.) As a teen, I have found that after reading this, I felt like I aged 90 years. There has not been too many teen books I have read that actually appeals to me since I love angst and tragedy so much. The same thing applies to teen movies. I like the feel of this being a lighthearted comedy and it would be a nice change in pace for me. However, there is no tension, you know? There is no real conflict aside from the teen boy toying with the idea of his girlfriend cheating. While it may be a comedy, there should be something that centers this story or else it becomes too silly.

    • Arthur Cole

      #2 here. Thank you for your comments! You hit the nail on the head as far as the consensus goes. 1) too long. 2) too many details about the city. 3) uncertain WHO–or which–the protagonist is. And 4) cut the first paragraph. To answer at least one question, my protagonists are both the brothers. Sort of a Hardy Boys vibe, but with the rough Sheriff and intellectual brother. Thank you for your input!

  • artisticBard

    ATC:
    An interesting concept. Your information is well delivered. Though the first sentence kind of runs on. Maybe cut out the fact that the programmer used to be one of the best or that Takuro Motors is the largest car manufacturer in the world? While that information seems important, I don’t think it’s necessary to know that right up front, since those are things you’d learn within the first chapter. Other than that I find it’s well done!

    AuthurCole:
    While I very much enjoyed reading your pitch, and have been drawn in by your concept, it’s almost twice as long as it should be. My only advice would be to work on cutting out anything that’s unnecessary for the pitch, which shouldn’t be too hard since you already have so much to go on.

    Dsowry:
    This is probably one of the best pitches I’ve read so far. I’m having a hard time seeing where you can improve. You give just enough information away to draw us in and leave us wanting more, and you establish your main character quite well. Very excited to see where this goes.

    At a party, a teenage boy plays around with the idea of letting his girlfriend cheat on him. A girl, who is in love with him, tries to push the idea on him; the boy only wants to figure out how to make sure he is a good person, so he wanders around the party to vacillate, with the girl tagging along, and uncovers more rumors spreading about him sprouting.

    NoviceofDiscord:
    I have a lot to say about this one, so I’m going to start off light with the structure. The narrative is very incohesive. It jumps from point to point without anything to connect the ideas together. Almost like a rough draft that wasn’t edited. Secondly, you should mention your characters’ names. Without the names, it becomes very confusing as to who you’re talking about. Lastly, your concept. There’s nothing funny about people cheating on their significant others. Unless you’re going for the type of story where you’re trying to teach your readers what NOT to do in a relationship in a humorous way by making it blatantly obvious that the characters are bad people, then I can’t see this doing well.

  • Paul A Weaver

    ATC

    This sounds like a good and timely pitch for this short story given that self-driving cars are in the news for real at the moment. This makes you pause and think about the possibility of this happening for real. The only problem with this pitch it has a little too much detail in it and you are giving away too much of the plot of the story.

    AuthurCole

    This pitch is far too long in my opinion and puts me off reading itbecause of this. Do you really want to give away so much detail of the story at this point?

    But in saying all this I can see a good story here, just don’t give away too much.

    Dsowry

    I am slightly biased here when reading this as the is one of my favourite type of storylines. It will be very interesting to see if you can properly describe the Roaring Twenties.

    NoviceofDiscord

    Should this story pitch be a teen story rather than a comedy? I really wonder if this will work as a story but of course look forward to being proven wrong.

    • Arthur Cole

      #2 here. Thank you for your comment and honesty. It is well appreciated. You are right that it is far too long. The moment I saw my pitch posted and it was easily twice as long as everyone else’s, I realised my mistake. I will Trim the fat as I move forward in this process. Thank you!

  • Svarmani Wolfborn

    Mystery – I enjoyed the intrigue and mystery in this pitch, but would mention that most pitches tells us who the main character is as well. Otherwise, I am very interested in this story and see what the outcome is.

    Mystery 2 – Much like the first one, I could immediately feel the mystery in this pitch but felt the lack of connection with who our main characters are and will be. I can’t wait to see what happens in this story.

    Mystery 3 – I got a really good idea of who both Ackroyd and Stone are, which helped me immesere myself into this story. I think you could have left off the last sentence and it still would have been a worthy pitch.

    Comedy – I didn’t get any real sense of comedy. It felt more mystery to me, if I am honest. I also was not able to connect with any of the unnamed characters. Still it could be an amazing story.

    • Arthur Cole

      #2 here. Thank you for your comment! You’re totally right about the characters. They get lost amidst my over description of the town. I will take this into consider as I move forward. Thank you.