We have posted the WINNERS at the bottom. Before you scroll down, here’s how it was worked out. Each judge chose their top 3, and we assigned 3 points for a 1st, 2 for 2nd, 1 for 3rd and then tallied across the 3 judges. This is how we arrived at our winners and why there are more than 3.

We will also publish a separate post with all the shortlisted pitches on it, at 12.30pm today, as we know you’ll be dying to read them! And another little surprise at the bottom of that post.

Here’s our judges individual choices.


Jo Gatford

1. The Curiosity Locker
Great title. I’m a sucker for time travel historical romps. Bonus points for a shady government agency. And breaking the rules of time? Sold. This pitch was well put together, too – focusing on an intriguing character beset by conflict on all sides. It immediately made me want to find out if she manages to pull it off. 
2. Those That Are Lost
This sounds like a multi-layered story that deals with challenging themes and complex characters. The pitch sets up a clear goal, plenty of conflict, and a backdrop ripe with potential detail. However, it sells itself a little short with the broad strokes of the last line – it’s always better to pick out a few specifics than be vague or rely on cliches like ‘ghosts of the past’. Focus on the elements that make your story unique and original. 
3. Billy and Chester: Partners in Grime

My 8-year-old would love this. You can hear the tone of the narrative in the pitch itself, which is an achievement in a mere 35 words. There’s both emotional and physical conflict to overcome here, and the gross yet fascinating setting in the maze of sewers. The pitch also cleverly leaves us hanging with the question of why the sewage monster wants revenge…

Sarah Lewis

I’m always going to be generous to interesting characters with scope for development in an original direction. That doesn’t mean the whole premise needs to be unique, since we all know that most new stories are just retellings of old stories. But in a world currently awash with dystopia (both fictional and real) I was looking for something that moves us on from the trope of ‘character with quirk in a world bound by arbitrary control saves the world from itself’. The pitches I picked seemed as though there was a broad world around them that could be explored, and characters that I wanted to get behind.

1. Those That Are Lost

2. Billy and Chester: Partners in Grime

3. Flame Tree Summer

Catherine Johnson

OK I put them in the order of the books I would like to read – so this isn’t as an agent who is looking at what may or may not sell….
1. Winter’s Shadow
I liked this cause it’s a whodunnit. With ghosts. Because if there’s one thing I liked from my childhood, it’s Randall and Hopkirk (deceased), the original not the Reeves and Mortimer reboot. And while the pitch is intriguing,  the novel would have to be a really fresh take. But I’d definitely pick it up in the shop. One little question – why isn’t she avenging her own death?
2. Those That Are Lost
I like the idea of two kids on the run in London trying to find their families and whatever counts as home. Also it’s topical and now and political as well as tipping a nod to mental health concerns which are massive for the age group. I think there is a place for more books like this. My note to the writer is to make sure the story sings and not get bogged down by the issues.
3. The Curiousity Locker
I like time travel and there seems like there might be room for lots of different adventures in lots of different times. That’s what would make me pick this up. This could be a zippy secret agent-y  story and I like the sound of it.

OVERALL WINNERS

1st Place – Those That Are Lost by Chris Roche (7 points)

2nd Place –  The Curiosity Locker by Melissa Welliver (4 points)

3rd JOINT – Billy and Chester: Partners in Grime by Mark Eccleston and Winter’s Shadow by Emma Finlayson-Palmer (3 points)

5th Place – Flame Tree Summer by Emma Styles (1 point)

 

Well done to the WINNERS but also well done to all those short listed, long listed and those took part in the Twitter pitch section, too. Hopefully with the feedback offered, every single participant has gained something from #PeerPitch, whether it’s a more polished pitch, several new writing friends or overcoming the scary step of putting your story out there.

Once again, we want to thank you and wish you luck with your writing, whatever you do next. Speaking of which, remember two of our judges run the Writers HQ courses and have several discount offers going on, so follow them on Twitter for more details. You already all have a 10% one to use.

Remember to check back at 12.30pm for the post of shortlisted pitches.