Hunted across the galaxy by a powerful religious cult, an amnesiac searches for clues to his past and the forgotten knowledge of a prototype weapon that has the power to enslave billions.
This is despite knowing there were a few problems with the pitch as it stands.
Try as I might, I can't imagine you letting loose with this in response to the question, "So what are you writing?" Why not start with something more conversational like, "I'm writing a sci-fi about an amnesiac who is being hunted across the galaxy by a powerful religious cult, because he..." Make this into a verbal pitch, a dialogue. First, put it in context by saying what it is. (A sci-fi or whatever.) Then fill it in with some of the story. Why do we care about this amnesiac? What will he do with the weapon? And why does the cult want him? Then put a finish on it. You could have a concluding statement like, "The novel is finished and I have sample chapters available" or you could ask a question such as, "Are you interested in sci-fi?"
Can you see a trend here? Boris thought along similar lines and he too wanted to know about the weapon.
So what will my hero do with this weapon?
Well, as I've mentioned previously, he will need to destroy it, although this wasn't part of the original outline, in fact it wasn't much of a weapon at all. What has become apparent is that this weapon needs to take a bigger role in the story.
Previously, the story was more of a personal struggle for the protagonist, but I've become aware even before writing the pitch that I needed to up the stakes a lot more.
The pitch has guided my focus to such an extent that I now have a much better idea of the bigger issues that my hero will face. What I had originally envisioned as the main story arc has now become rather minor, but nonetheless driving aspect of the story against a much bigger backdrop.