Thanks so much to Brendan Deneen, who has been hard at work judging the 300 entries we received for our one-sentence pitch contest. Mr. Deneen has narrowed the entries down to fifty. If you see your pitch here, congratulations on making it to the semi-finals! Here they are in random order:
1. High school senior and reluctant empath, Vayda Silver can sense a looming catastrophe and has three in the making: the destructive blasts of energy coming from her hands, the unwitting display of her abilities in front of her first real boyfriend, as well as a long-held grudge against her family that threatens to destroy her life and everyone she loves.
2. Gabriela Calí thought summer on the Transsiberian Railway would make her rebellious, not ground zero in the epic battle between man and myth—which begs the question, can your immortal guardian be your prom date?
3. THE UNICORN TAMER, a Greek mythology meets Pokémon young adult fantasy that will appeal to fans of Carl Hiaasen's HOOT and Brandon Mull’s FABLEHAVEN, is about 13-year-old Emma Brown who, after the mysterious disappearance of her mom, enters a steampunk version of our dimension where endangered creatures such as blue whales, centaurs, and pegasi are protected from ruthless Hunters by teenagers.
4. In the magical land of Drakos Dnal, a young sorcerer learns he is half-dragon and must battle the evil king to save his family and reclaim their past.
5. David is an unwitting young apprentice wizard who must follow his rouge wizard master to accompany the Prince of the Realm to the frozen kingdom of Asgard in an attempt to retrieve the greatest prize of all, a new seer’s magic.
6. In a LORD OF THE RINGS meets THE WEST WING fantasy, Sarah Tressarian must sacrifice her hopes of a semi-normal teenage life--and much of her family's political capital--to fight powers risen from the murk of legend to trouble her country.
7. As the victims of a local serial killer begin to haunt 17 year old Rachel Bronson, she must overcome her fears of the supernatural in order to help them, deal with her involvement in a love triangle between two bitter enemies, and also try to escape the grasp of the murderer in this SIXTH SENSE meets GHOST paranormal thriller.
8. Gangs, blood oaths and loyalty test three teenagers searching for a kidnapped sister in post-apocalyptic London, unaware that as they unravel the mystery of her whereabouts, they are uncovering London's darkest secret.
9. Ostracized by society and hunted as a monster, an unusual young man and a girl from the streets help their teacher overcome her own terrifying past to outwit a killer as a blizzard isolates a rural campus.
10. Retrieving a priceless sword buried in a mysterious sculpture garden is 14 year old Emma Walker's answer to her family's financial problems, but when she pulls it from the earth where it lay buried for decades, the sword sends her back in time where Emma must battle the man who created the magic sword to stay alive and save the future.
11. When Dan Stevens, and ordinary man, is caught up in an extraordinary circumstance, he must untangle a web of deception at the risk of his own life, to answer the question: is Michelle Sardou the love of his life, his worst enemy -- or someone infinitely more dangerous?
12. Being a teenager is hard; being a teenager who spontaneously combusts is enough to make a girl's skin break out.
13. Now that Emerson has sent her "happy" pills the way of the porcelain pipeline, her visions are back - and so are the dead.
14. After an attempt on his life, Ben Grange and his friends are thrown headlong into a conflict that they don’t entirely understand, leaving them alone to deal with issues of loyalty, friendship and responsibility in this A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE meets THE HILLS young adult epic fantasy.
15. Born a bastard daughter to the King, Princess Amrie Emrys grows into the powers of magic she inherited from her forebears, and begins her quest against the dark pagan goddess that would destroy Arthur’s kingdom and the legacy beyond his rule in this first part of the saga of Amrie’s life, called Seeds of Legend.
16. Emma gets involved in a dangerous game of unexpected consequences where nobody is who they seem, after receiving mysterious messages hidden in the books of an apparently quiet library.
17. A stranger's early morning phone call plunges young and brilliant math professor, Jennifer Jensen, into a world of deception, terror, chaos, and ultimately a profound change in the very fabric of reality.
18. Hearing the thoughts of others can be a useful skill for a fifteen-year-old boy, until his inside information gets him accused of murder, mortally wounded and spikes the interest of a few secret societies that would like to control his every move.
19. Senior Darcy Penbrook is ready to ditch her hometown and head to college until she gets struck by lightning, lives to tell about it, and becomes a walking power switch.
20. The day the world ends, a young man's battle against a mythological evil begins.
21. If you are a fourteen-year-old kid, living with your weird aunts in a massive Victorian mansion which, you discover, just happens to be the Epicenter of Time, how do you lead a group that consists of seven other teens, with stories uncannily similar to yours, a Korean gardener and a hundred-and-five-year old housekeeper on a quest to thwart an immortal villain and your reprobate dad and restore your Universe which is now, literally, in very, very, very small pieces?
22. A widowed farmer's efforts to build a new life and safely raise his daughter are irrevocably destroyed when his daughter is killed and he pleads guilty to a crime he didn’t commit in order to reach the man in prison who murdered her.
23. At age eleven her father is teaching Kyame Piddington to read minds; but at sixteen, Kyame learns to kill in order to avenge her father’s brutal murder.
24. With their parents dead and no one else to trust, siblings Alex and Rebecca need to come to terms with their psychic gifts and put an end to a ruthless agency determined to turn them into brainwashed psychic soldiers.
25. When Grace’s ranger father disappears, she uses her wilderness survival skills to uncover a conspiracy that threatens the nature of her beloved mountains and her chance at first love.
26. As a freshman, Alex MacLaren has never had a sword tear open her flesh, seen razor-sharp ice daggers shatter against a magical shield nor stared into the smiling face of pure evil, and she’s certainly never been coronated LordHeir before millions, abducted by her closest friend nor sexually craved another woman, yet all that would change the day she sat next to Kara on a plane bound for Chicago.
27. Ex-boxer, Jake McCormack, is down for the count when he’s forced to defend eleven year old Herby and himself against a murderer in a fight for their lives.
28. Fifteen-year-old Lucy Waters and her best friend Evan feel freakish enough, growing up with their oddball families in the smallest, darkest town in central Maine--but now Lucy's having psychic visions, visions that lead Lucy and Evan deep into a mysterious community of mediums and psychics and on a pilgrimage into both of their pasts!
29. In a world now filled with flesh-eating mutants, seventeen-year-old Melody must fight for her life to rescue her sister while battling against the feelings she has for the man she can't have.
30. College freshman Adora Adams is pretty sure the Devil she knows isn't better than the Devil she doesn't, but when her brother, Lucifer himself, comes asking for help in bringing down a rogue demon intent on taking over Hell, she can't say no, even it means losing her boyfriend, best friend, and perhaps herself along the way.
31. To stop the renegade alien, sent to Earth to kill her, eighteen-year-old Olivia Ryan must join forces with the infuriating boy responsible for her mother’s death.
32. She spent six years undercover, in the murky world of black market weapons, to find her husband’s killer and avenge his death – only to come face to face with him on the wrong side of an arms deal.
33. An amateur Victorian magician had the key to returning Grace to her home in the 24th century - if only they can find where it got to.
34. Lusa, a sixteen-year-old mage struggling against the blood lust of her powers, must be bad instead of good for her world to survive.
35. A geek girl discovers she's a deadly weapon created to protect the group that destroyed her family.
36. In "Apocalypse School," mousey, tomboyish Reena and football captain Zack tumble into a time-space warp inside their junior high where they discover a long-missing classmate, and the three must stop the bizarre,lost world from expanding before they can find their way home.
37. When a child in peril captures his guarded heart, Harry Jones, killer at large, is impelled to risk everything in a quest to find and save her.
38. Young, handsome portfolio manager with Harvard MBA and narcolepsy blows whistle on secret society of top 50 hedge funds controlling $1.2 trillion who meet at Harvard Club to invest money for the Bildergberg Group by rigging stock markets in Wall Street meets The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
39. Eighteen-year-old Devaki, heir to the Namyan throne, has always run from his problems, but must confront his mistakes when he meets an exact copy of himself, sent by his father to kill him.
40. Seventeen-year-old Tyford Hayes is the resourceful Sixth Sense kid operating in the high-tech grunge of Minority Report—the only one of his kind who can help the dead find peace; the catch is the dead aren't dead, not yet, that is—they are simply marked for it, providing Ty a narrow window of opportunity to intervene on their behalf.
41. THE SIBLINGS SCARINGTON is the heart-warming tale of floaty creatures, frankencats, mad scientists, warlocks, and an adorable set of nine-year old twins whose sole purpose in life is to destroy the universe.
42. What would happen when you cross Holden Caulfield with James Bond?
43. When seventeen year old Mark Wilkerson’s family is killed in a fiery automobile accident, he wants revenge, but as he struggles to return to a normal life, he realizes someone else wants revenge too -- against him.
44. To prolong his life, Ulrich O’Connor, alchemist, has been jumping into younger versions of himself for so long that each of his alter egos has taken on a life of its own, but now that his fountain of youth is running dry, the only thing that can save him is the soul crystal of fifteen-year-old Jane Weston, the Druid girl they all love--a girl they've never met.
45. Jim Colburn has sold the company that he and his darling wife Allie founded twenty years ago, and he is set to live out his life, in the perfect way, with the two thing he loves, his airplane and Allie, until the engine explodes over the forest in Mississippi,when the airplane goes down the night mare begins.
46. Seeing the future is cool, but changing the future is cooler; who wouldn't become a sixteen-year-old super villain?
47. Arthur is thrown into Aranea (a flat, half jungle, half barren planet) to face towering spiders, dragon snakes and immense adversities while bonding with his father for the first time as the Library that sent him there scribes his adventures in a volume to be held on its shelves for all time.
48. In a world where an apocalyptic war dominates and an incurable disease ravages the scattered remnants of the human race, one girl, Fisher, must discover her destiny, a destiny so huge it could change the world forever.
49. What do you do when you can see your future but you don't like what you see?
50. American tourist Ryan Friedricks lets pretty insurance investigator Laurie Carson talk him into impersonating a rich, unscrupulous art collector to take down an art scam – but once Ryan finds himself in the middle of a Russian gang war, targeted by a police death squad, followed, beaten, bugged, and hijacked, he discovers Laurie lied about everything after she said “Hello.”
We wish you all the best of luck! Watch for the winners to be posted on Monday, May 18th.