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Perfecting Your Pitch

18 Feb

writers blockWe spend hours, days, months, and sometimes years writing our stories. One idea turns into many and we write them down to create worlds and adventures that allow people to escape and believe anything is possible. After all this work, we’re then asked to shorten our story into a few paragraphs, then one paragraph, and finally, into a single sentence. The one sentence pitch.

Some people find this easy, while for others, this takes a lot of time and thought. I’m one of those for whom it took some time. Instead of telling you how to write yours, I’m going to leave you a map of the sites I utilized to figure out the puzzle.

The first site I found is a blog by Nathan Bransford. He’s a published author and former literary agent. He’s got a great website, full of helpful information: http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/05/how-to-write-one-sentence-pitch.html 

The next is a website written by agent, Rachelle Gardner. Her post isn’t very long, but it does give a good overview: http://www.rachellegardner.com/2012/11/writing-a-one-sentence-summary/ 

Querytracker’s blog was another helpful resource: http://querytracker.blogspot.com/2009/02/writing-loglinethe-one-sentence-pitch.html

Here’s another from Writer’s Digest: http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/thrillerfest-2011-pitch

Elana Johnson is an author who wrote a post about this very subject and included several links to help people craft their pitch: http://elanajohnson.blogspot.com/2010/04/one-sentence-pitching.html 

I’ve given five different sites that I used and found helpful. The web is full of information, some of it more useful and true than others. I tend to stick to names I know and recognize when I’m looking for help. I wanted to use links, instead of putting it into my own words, because I can’t give you the magic formula for writing the perfect pitch for your story – only you know your story well enough to narrow it down to a few words.

If you’re feeling up to the challenge, post your one sentence pitch in the comments for critique. Please be sure and identify the genre and myself or one of the other writers will tell you what we think. Good luck and keep writing!

Join us on Wednesday when guest writer, Vaughn Roycroft, will be discussing the technique of using multiple points of view!

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8 Comments

Posted by on February 18, 2013 in Craft, Critique, Pitch, Uncategorized, Writing

 

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8 responses to “Perfecting Your Pitch

  1. Samantha Jean

    February 18, 2013 at 6:08 am

    I found Leah Petersen’s post (http://www.leahpetersen.com/2012/09/this-scares-the-crap-out-of-me-the-journey-to-my-logline-revealed) to be the most help for me when trying to write my logline. I love her madlib format. It’s a great starting point. And it was really helpful to see what a published author wrote for her logline/pitch versus what her publisher created.

    Okay, so here it goes…my logline. At 51 words, it’s a bit longer than what I understand a true logline should be (25-35 words), but it is what it is. Also, I haven’t looked at this in a few months and rereading it now, I see some things I might tweak as the wording doesn’t necessarily perform as intended, but I’m not going to mess with it right now.

    My genre is YA Paranormal.

    For the past fifteen years, the Lord of Chaos has hunted for Lily, the one he believes will guarantee his victory over Heaven; to save herself from eternal captivity, she’ll have to leave her mundane life—and the boy she loves—and join the ranks of a hidden society of immortals.

    Thanks!

     
  2. Tonia Marie Houston

    February 18, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Hello, Samantha. Thank you for the link; I love how she broke it down. You have a good start with your logline, but I agree with what you mentioned- it does need pared down. I think using her madlib format will help us out. Thank you for sharing your logline and the fun, informative link.

    Rebecca, great post and thank you for all the helpful links today. 🙂

     
    • Samantha Jean

      February 18, 2013 at 10:50 am

      Thanks Tonia! Here is one of my shorter versions. What do you think about this one?

      To save herself from Hell, fifteen-year-old Lily will have to leave her mundane life—and the boy she loves—and become an immortal demon-slayer. [24]

      My problem with writing a great logline/pitch is knowing how much is enough. That, and I naturally like being wordy. 🙂

       
      • Rebecca

        February 18, 2013 at 2:37 pm

        Hi Samantha! Thanks so much for sharing the link and posting your pitch. I definitely like the second one better. The first one, I wasn’t sure whose POV the story was from. It started off with the Lord of Chaos, but then switched to Lily. It’s difficult to show more than one POV when you can only have one sentence. Your second pitch is much more succinct and definitely catches the readers attention. Great job!!

         
  3. waitingforaname

    February 18, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Ack! I’d rather write a novel than a pitch any day of the week! That said, here’s mine:

    With war threatening to destroy the nation, a disgraced warrior seeks a position in a rising army, only to assume a mysterious role to be played on the stage of the village she swore to forget.

     
    • Rebecca

      February 18, 2013 at 10:21 pm

      Waitingforaname, thanks for posting your pitch! I know how hard they are. I’m still revising mine. In fact, I just read my latest one to my son and his reaction was “eh.” Not the response I was hoping for. I’d much prefer to write a novel also.

      As for your pitch. I think you’ve got an interesting premise and definitely have a great start! Would you be comfortable putting in the name of your warrior? It may help make the reader connect to the plight being offered.
      Perhaps you could reword just a little and leave off “to destroy the nation.” “With war threatening,” is a strong opening. and I don’t think you need to describe the nation as the one being threatened. There’s a lot you could add to amp up the tension of the plot, (mysterious role is enigmatic, but it doesn’t tell me anything.) but I think you’re going to find that as you play with it some more. You’re off to a really strong start and I’d love to see where you can take this. This is my opinion only, please don’t take it as the final word on pitches. Good luck and best wishes to you!!

       
  4. waitingforaname

    February 19, 2013 at 7:24 am

    Rebecca, thanks for the feedback! I love the suggestion to leave off “to destroy the nation” and to include the main character’s name. As for “mysterious,” I knew going in that it wasn’t the best word. The thing is, my character doesn’t actually know what her role is, but has to figure it out as she goes along. I could use “unscripted” to go with the stage idea, but then I may have taken the metaphor too far. Clearly, I have to work on my pitch a little more!

    Thank you again for the feedback. It’s wonderful of you to do this!

    I look forward to the post on multiple point of view. Writing from two points of view is a delicate act.

     

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