#PitchOn Workshop – GAME ON

Today we have our second pitch workshop! As always, feel free to leave your comments/suggestions below!

Name: Dee White
Country of residence: Australia
Title: GAME ON
Genre: YA Adventure/survival
Word-count: 55,000

Pitch:  After a family holiday turns to disaster, 16-year-old Jack is stranded with his sister in the Australian wilderness where nobody can hear their cries for help. He discovers that the reality of survival is nothing like his favourite video game, Crocodile Run. But what he learned playing Crocodile Run might just help them survive against adversaries like crocodiles, wild pigs, snakes and starvation.


Jamie’s Comments:

Really interesting concept here! I think this is a solid description of the plot of the story – I love that it’s set in the Australian wilderness and that it’s Jack and his sister who must survive. However, I feel like the actual pitch is missing a few things that could make it really stand out.

First of all, it seems like this story is about Jack. So who is he? I get from this he likes video games, so why not use your first sentence to set up his personality and back story a bit more – give us a sense of who this character is and why we should root for him. I want more voice here – more of a feeling that Jack is someone I want to read about.

Secondly, it seems like the villain/protagonist in this is nature herself? Why not play that up? I imagine you could paint a really devastating picture of the harshness of where they’re stranded and the challenges he’s going to face if they hope to survive.

Finally, I think a little better statement of the stakes would really amp this up and bring it to a hooky conclusion. The more specific you can be about what Jake is fighting, what actually happens to bring this all to a head, and what the risks are if he fails, the better.


Jamie’s Suggestion:

Obviously I haven’t read the book, but I’ve played with the pitch a little below to see if there’s a way to make it more about Jake and the challenges he faces. Feel free to ignore if it doesn’t get at the stakes of your book, Dee!

16-year-old Jack would rather be home playing video games than camping in the Australian wilderness. But when <<what is the disaster?>> happens, he and his sister are lost in the desolate wastes of the Outback, where death waits around every boulder. Now, the only skills that can help them survive are the ones Jack’s learned from his games. But will it be enough to save his sister from ?<<not sure if this is accurate, but just an example of something you can use to raise the stakes>>.


Okay, #PitchOn peoples, what are YOUR thoughts? Remember, for each critique you leave in the comments, you get an entry in the draw for one of eight 10-page critique from S.M. Johnston and workshop hosts Larissa HardestyStephanie DiazCatherine ScullyJodie AndrefskiPaula SangareTalynn Lynn and Kaitlin Adams. Please use the same names for all of your critiques. Also Sarah Nicolas will be giving away three query critiques. The opportunity ends October 14.  

Don’t forget – this is all just gearing up for a great, great contest on October 15th!

Commissioning and Managing Editor of Hardie Grant Egmont, Marisa Pintado, will be poised and ready to take your pitches both on Down Under Wonderings and on YAtopia on October 15th.



  1. This story sounds exciting and I’m thrilled about the Australlian Outback setting. Like Jamie mentioned, you’ve done an excellent job summarizing the plot, Dee.

    I feel Jamie’s suggestions were very good. One thing that stuck out to me (Jamie hit on this as well) is that I really want to know more details about how the wilderness correlates to his games. I think that would be the cherry on top of this excellent pitch.

    Good luck to you Dee 🙂

  2. wow I read the pitch and loved it. I felt though that it was missing a few things as Jaimie mentioned and wanted it to end on a stronger note, and her suggestions are marvelous. I would definately pick it up and read.
    all the best hey.

  3. I agree that the story sounds interesting, but I’m not hooked yet. I’d love to see more details. I know it’s tough to cram everything into a short pitch, but it always helps me when revising to know what questions are troubling my readers, so here are the questions I have when I read your pitch (hope this helps!):
    * What is the disaster that leaves them stranded (& where did mom & dad disappear to?)
    * Why are they so far away from civilization that no one can hear them cry for help? How did they get there? (Are all the others on the trip killed?)
    * How in the world do video game skills help him survive the actual Australian Outback? (Was this game like Oregon Trail – with a heavy educational thread running through it?)

  4. Thanks everyone for your very helpful feedback. I really appreciate you taking the time to read my pitch and make these suggestions.