The Illumination Query #PitchSlam


The Illumination Query

By Sarah Baethge


Because Ronald Carpenter is pulled into conflict he won’t dare explaining to authorities, Dr. Hunter (the mad scientist) writes the second half of this story where he and some werewolves seem to be the protagonists.

First 250:

Nigel seems a little amused to have me gathering this story of his adventure, but he doesn’t seem to object. In all truth I think that the idea makes him somewhat proud, though he’d never admit it.

As I don’t even really enter the story myself for quite awhile I’ve been trying to pull together everyone else’s recollection of how we got to where we are.

I’ve almost jokingly been calling these files ‘The Speed of Darkness’; read enough and I surely won’t need to tell you why.

Let me warn you, I never trained to be a writer. My most advanced English class was a joke of public high-school coursework that I think my teacher might have slept through.

These first two parts of what I think you’d need to know are basically how I received them. I tried to correct obvious errors, yet I don’t claim to have caught everything.

The Story of Ronald Carpenter is what I have copied to paper while listening to the recording I made of Ronald giving his excuse for what has happened.

Ronald wanted the recording made so that I (Joel Shine), Hillary Brenner, Eric Omlup (and possibly even Nigel Hunter himself) would have something to hold up next to Nigel’s little notebook recount of the horrors perpetrated around him.

I’m not sure Dr. Hunter forgives him, but the doctor seems to at least believe that Carpenter is telling the truth here.

Chapter 1

Why I Joined The Hunt


12 thoughts on “The Illumination Query #PitchSlam

  1. Pitch: This made me laugh, which is always a plus. However I do know these judges are looking for MC and stakes/central conflict. This doesn’t come across in the pitch. Why is it important that the second half of the story is being written by a different character? I understand that this is your “hook” to pique interest, I just don’t want a lack of stakes to keep you out of the loop.
    250: I love your voice, and this story seems off-beat in a pleasantly amusing way. I do have a few concerns. First, starting with a prologue is usually frowned upon. Not hard and fast, but since prologues tend to do more telling than showing, it’s often a no-no. I would be curious to see how chapter one starts. Also, there are a lot of names and talk of conflict, but little clarity as to what specifically the conflict centers around.
    For me, personally, I must state yet again that I love the voice and want to keep reading, especially on a cool Saturday afternoon such as this. From participating in #pitchslam last spring, I know they are seeking the MC, the central conflict, and the stakes from the pitch and don’t particularly take to prologues (made those mistakes myself). Hope this helps and best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading it over, I’m glad it left you interested. Truth is that the prologue wasn’t originally there, but my beta-readers insisted. They complained that the story change was unexpected and confusing without it.
      I probably did drop a few too many names all at once, I’ll try to work on that part. Thanks for bring my attention to that.


      1. Perhaps you could instead put the “prologue” in the story before it changes? I haven’t read it so that’s just off the top of my head. Or you can simply insert clear stakes into the prologue, or pitch chapter one but when you talk to agents let them know about your prologue and discuss with them. I just know how they feel about prologues and wouldn’t want this to keep you out. But hey they may love the prologue! Subjectivity is king:)


      1. If it were a targeted audience it might be a little easier to give useful feedback, but as it is all I can say is that the pitch and the 1st 250 left me really disoriented.

        I think I see where you’re going with this, but with both the pitch and the 1st 250 I feel like there’s information I should have that I don’t in a way that makes me more confused than interested. At the end of both, I don’t know more about who any of the people actually are which, from what I’ve been gathering from other such contests is what agents are really looking for a sense of time, place and character that feels comfortable and interesting.

        I really do hope that helps even a little.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I also have a mad scientist story. LOL. I was wondering what genre it is too although it seems more YA or adult. I agree that prologues are a big no-no unless they are short and this one isn’t too long. I’m intrigued but agree that you need to stick to character—conflict—stakes in your pitch and in your query (although you didn’t post it). Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your first 250 does break most of the rules, which is something any writer is free to do. I really like the first two paragraphs and I think you could open Chapter 1 with those and possibly the third one as well. But then I would like to see the main character (Nigel?) in action because I’m more interested in where the story is going than how it’s structured. I’m sure you can find other opportunities at other stages in the MS to give the reader information about the structure.
    Again the pitch seems to be more about the structure than the story.
    I agree with Kathrine that you are better off without a prologue. I do like the way you write and I think your story sounds very original. Best of luck with it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really like your voice! I agree that most agents want some sense of GM in a pitch. Mine kind of breaks the rules too. : )

    I think this would make a great opening line.

    Let me warn you, I never trained to be a writer. My most advanced English class was a joke of public high-school coursework that I think my teacher might have slept through.

    The voice is very strong. A punchy opening line can really draw the reader in. Good luck sounds like a really fun story!


    Liked by 1 person

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