Thursday, September 9, 2010

10 Pitch Entry #5: Melissa Gill

Title: Zombie Rabbit
Genre: MG/Adventure

Watership Down meets Zombieland when a zombie rabbit leads a quest to liberate an animal testing lab, before he and his friends “fall apart” completely.


  1. My personal tastes react really strongly to the "____ meets _____" construction. It just really makes me want to put the blurb/pitch/book/whatever away and never look at it again. I have no idea if I'm the only one or not, so hopefully other commenters will weigh in!

    That said, I'm not sure you can compare anything to Zombieland and still call it mid-grade. If I recall correctly, that movie is pretty gory and violent--comedy gore, yes, but gore all the same. It just conjures a horrific image for a book meant for younger kids.

    Also, I could be wrong here, but I don't think you need quotations around "fall apart." They're zombies, no? So that's not a figurative falling apart. They actually ARE going to fall apart.

  2. I like this except I think the consequence of failure is too vague. I would suggest being more concrete. I agree with Megan. I'm not sure Watership Down is a children's book. It's one of my favorite but it is violent and could probably be compared more to Animal Farm. Both books studies behavior in society.

  3. I like this--lots of kids' books are violent these days, and the reference to Zombieland didn't really faze me. I agree that "fall apart" doesn't need quotations, and a better phrase might be "before he and his friends literally fall apart." Just a thought.

    To comment on what Shellie said, I think Watership Down is a children's book--perhaps a more literary one, but I remember reading it in 6th or 7th grade. Best of luck!

  4. If I were an agent, I'd want to read this one. : )

  5. I'm far from an expert, but in my opinion the best loglines do four things:

    1. Introduce the primary POV character (and sometimes, but less often, characters).
    2. Introduce the primary conflict.
    3. Include an emotional element, something the reader can react to emotionally, as it's the emotional response that often triggers interest.
    4. And, the most effective loglines accomplish 1-3 in an easy to comprehend (on the first read!) bite of information.

    It's usually easier to draft an effective logline for high-concept stories, as those high concept elements, by definition, often are easy to comprehend and cause an emotional reaction.

    Regardless, the exercise of drafting a logline for your story can be helpful in thinking about the conflicts, and if nothing else, it can give you a succinct and clear answer to the question, "What's your story about?"

    So, Melissa, looking at your logline:

    Overall the logline is clear and readable, with a nice hook factor and I think a good emotional response. My only quibble, really, is that I’m only familiar with Zombieland as a movie, and I tend to avoid comparing books to movies - mainly because they are entirely different mediums with different executions. But maybe this is less of an issue for others. Second, in my experience, Watership Down has mixed reviews in the US as to whether it’s actually a children’s book, which could also cause questions as to the fit for MG. ;)

    Having said that, I think the logline is clear and would be an effective logline for the right agent/editor/etc. – ie, one who sees zombie rabbit heroic adventure for middle grade and thinks, “Yes!” with a fist-pump ;)

    I might also play with the “falls apart” phrase –I like the idea of it, and it being in quotations doesn’t bother me, but I wonder if it could work better as “he and his friends literally fall apart.”

    Overall, well done. :)

  6. Hi Melissa - I think your pitch is very visual. I agree with some of the others, I don't think you need the quotation marks - zombies and falling apart go hand in hand.

    I remember reading Watership Down when I was 5 or 6 and going to the cinema to see it when it was released - yes, I am that old - and it didn't disturb me at all.

    Good luck!

  7. I love your use of x meets y - sometimes this formula falls completely flat, but here it seems pitch perfect, especially after reading your query! Nicely done.

  8. I LOVE this pitch! I don't have a problem with the Zombieland reference because the second part of the pitch makes it clear to me that there aren't going to be guys with chainsaws hacking up zombies, and I loved Watership Down, read it when I was 5 or 6 and had no trouble with it.

    The only thing I'd change is to take away the quotation marks from 'fall apart' because as Janice said, it's a totally reasonable outcome for zombie heroes to worry about. :)

    Well done and good luck! :D

  9. I agree with Jessica's line - "before he and his friends literally fall apart."

    Other than that - you know I love your premise! And every kid could use a good zombie book.

  10. All of the above are great points. I'd personally cut out the "Watership Down meets Zombieland" and just start right off with "A zombie rabbit."

    I love the premise and your voice really shines through at the end of the pitch. (Though I agree with adding "literally" and doing away with the quotes around "fall apart")
    My take:

    A zombie rabbit leads a quest to liberate an animal testing lab before he and his undead friends fall apart, literally.


Tell us what you think. We'd love to hear from you! :)