Friday, January 9, 2009

From the Pitching Mound: Writing a Successful Pitch

This week I had to do something I had yet to do in my writing career. I had to write a pitch for my current book, Lost and Found. How was I supposed to summarize 80,000 words in a few short sentences? I’ve always wondered how some authors could pitch their stories with easy and confidence, the words sounding like they came straight from the jacket flap. It's like having to climb up on a pitching mound in front of thousands of people and throw that first pitch. Hard? Of course! Doable? For sure!

Luckily, I had the help of Author X, a friend of YAedge. “Conflict,” she told me. “The conflict of your story is the key.”

Conflict. Couldn’t be too hard, right? Actually, I sat there, even though I know my plot so well, and couldn’t even tell her exactly what my conflict was at first. Then I thought of my main characters, Madison and Pence, and what their purpose is in the story. I realized I needed to explain not only the conflict, but also their purpose.

Quickly, I jotted down a few sentences. I came up with the conflict and plot in a nutshell, but it was missing the WOW factor. It was drab, boring. It needed a hook, something to grab an agent’s attention.

Author X took what I wrote and used her magic. She pulled in aspects of my story that didn’t even occur to me. The traits and personality of my characters shone through in four short sentences. With a few tweaks from myself and Tracy, I now have something that WOWs (or at least I think so).

The next time I have to write a pitch and/or query, I don’t think I’ll be able to do it with ease and grace, but at least I’ll know where to start. It’s all about the conflict.

Batter up!


Tracy Belsher said...

The pitch. The query. The synopsis. Yeah. Who would have thought that there's so much work to do after the damn book is finally

Tami Klockau said...

Seriously! I was thinking the same thing this weekend. The book part seems the easiest sometimes! LOL