Monday, August 16, 2010
and I will,
But when I started writing about one-sheets, I had to do a bit of research on pitches and it made sense to start with the pitch THIS week and then move on to the one-sheet for next week.
Have I just confused the audience? Likely.
Elevator pitches and one-sheets have been all the rage on ACFW’s first-timer’s loops, as first time conferencees prepare for the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Indianapolis in September.
Your pitch is not about the theme of your story, the purpose for writing it, or how you hope God will transform lives through this book.
It's about the actual story. The who, what, when, where, and why of it.
And remember – most of the time you have the opportunity to present your pitch in ‘real life’ conversations, so making it conversational is good. Not like a pre-recorded radio spot :-)
Why write a pitch?
Because writing it out helps you 'figure' it out before you have to say it out loud to someone, preferable a pair of interested ears ;-).
You never know when the perfect moment will arrive and you want to be prepared. The tricky part is skimming it down to the barebones of your story - but that's also a good test to how well you know the 'heart'/core of your story.
A few helpful hints.
Some say refer to genre in your pitch and some don’t.
Your goal is to be able to say it within 60 seconds (and not at NASCAR speeds either) In a conversational way.
At the barebones of the pitch, it seems to be the same as the barebones of the novel:
Who is the story about? You can answer this by name, "Scarlet O'Hara" or by description "A fiesty southern belle" either one works, from what I understand, but MOST of the examples I've seen have been by description instead of name.
What is his/her goal? What does she want to do? Destroy the 'ring of power', find the Holy Grail, save Lois Lane?
Motivation? the WHY - to save Middle EArth from the tyrannical rule of a faceless evil; to save Indiana's father's life; because he loves her.
What is something that makes your story unique? This is an important one. What makes your novel stand out from the 3000 other manuscripts or pitches?
So let’s use a few popular movies right now and see if I can write a 25-60 word blurb about them, using the above tips.
A feisty southern belle, determined to protect her family’s plantation during the Civil War, must pull upon all her resources to survive a hostile, war-torn world, but will her conniving leave her empty-handed and alone? (35)
An eleven year old orphan discovers he has magical powers and is sent to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to hone his skills. But the wizard who killed his parents tries to use all his power to end the boy’s life and secure his own immortality. With the help of his two best friends, he determines to battle his enemy and protect the school from the evil wizard's dark plans.
Here are two of my own:
An Appalachian single mom of three seeks to solve a family mystery in England. But a reclusive British actor, with his own secrets, provides an unwanted distraction for her wounded heart. What follows is a clash of cultures, battle of wits, and an unexpected romance built on everlasting faith, because nobody does second chances (and surprises) better than God. (59)
Sophia Quinn kills vampires. It's her God-given calling. But when she's sent to annihilate a cult of vampires hidden in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the only person who can help her find and fight against the extra-powerful undead is Ethan Taylor, a hybrid vampire with a thirst for the Truth. Can she trust someone who is heartless with her heart, or is he leading her into a trap from which she'll never return? (67) - I'm still condensing :-)
Check out these three sites for some GREAT information on writing elevator pitches.
A good idea of the process behind the pitch
FABULOUS tips here.
Everything on this site if great, but Rachelle does a 2-part series on pitches.
What's your pitch? Have any good ones? Bad ones? Pitch 'em too us and see if we can all work together to get them in the right direction. I could use help on mine too.