Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pitch this Novel!

A blog I follow called The Gilded Page wrote this week about crafting a one sentence pitch. Like her (and her co-writer partner), I am nowhere near ready to query for publication, but I've found it helpful to practice writing a short pitch for my work-in-progress.

This older post from ├╝ber-blogger Nathan Bransford (a former lit agent and author of a middle grade adventure book - if you aren't following his blog already you should!) shows how to craft a one sentence pitch.

I love the framework he suggests:
When OPENING CONFLICT happens to CHARACTER(s), they have OVERCOME CONFLICT to COMPLETE QUEST.
It doesn't have to be exactly like this, but the basic elements of the conflict and the quest to overcome it should be there. I played around with my pitch for a bit and found that instead of focusing on the theme of the story, which ends up sounding really generic when it's pared down to one sentence, getting into the core conflict shows what drives the story.

So, here's a go at a pitch for my WIP, a YA supernatural mystery:
When a girl's unexpected resurrection prevents her soul from crossing over to the afterlife, a long-dead teenage investigator must travel to the living world to bring her back.
This sort of works, not sure yet. There's obviously more that happens, and a reason why she has to get "back" to the afterlife, but more explanation weighs down a pitch. It's really hard to edit down because you have to say enough without overloading with detail.

Have any of you had success with a short pitch? Did it help as you continued to write or edit your unfinished work? If you are brave enough to share your own, please do!

5 comments:

  1. I sometimes try to write pitch lines for things I'm working on. I'm not great at it but I live in hope! I would read your wip based on that line btw.

    Thanks for the heads up about the blog your follow, I had a quick look and it seems interesting.

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  2. A one pitch sentence can be so tough!!! I've worked really hard to have my framework ready for my novel!!!

    I've compiled a query letter, a synopsis, a 2-3 sentece pitch, a 1 sentence pitch, and a 140 character pitch. One can never be to prepared!

    I think your pitch is great!

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  3. Yeah, it's hard. I think yours works!

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  4. I love Nathan's query mad lib, but for a one sentence pitch I usually stick with screenplay log lines. The one in Save the Cat (which I think is great for novelists and screenwriters) is my favorite. I don't have it in front of me, but it includes the basics: protag, antag, goal, conflict, time, place. So hard, but so rewarding.

    Yours looks interesting. I'm looking forward to reading posts on your writing progress.

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  5. I love Nathan Bransford's blog too. He's so helpful! His struture for a one sentence pitch is a great starting point for writers.

    Also, you’ve been given the Liebster Blog Award on my blog post today http://bit.ly/nnawbA Congrats!

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