Sunday, March 27, 2011

My pitch is pants

Last week I talked about an event next Friday that will explore the heart of the story, and I was intending to talk about pitching a story on Wednesday, but I didn't because I hadn't. I still haven't, what I have are four and a half wafflely sentences/paragraphs that are to put it politely 'bleurgh' and a serious crisis in confidence. I can't write a pitch. I even asked the organiser of Friday's event to write my pitch and she replied 'Mwahahaha'. OK, she didn't exactly reply like that, but she did say that she found it difficult herself and that's why Friday's event was good practice.

While staring aimlessly out the window of the bus this week, I did think that there were certain similarities between writing a pitch and planning a teaching unit. You have to identify the key concepts and link them together into a statement that makes the student ask questions. The difference is that teaching unit statements are usually written in passive voice, have no value statements and must be true, but vague, so as not to kill all questions.

Then I started examining the differences (as you can see I wrote a lot of pitches). Well, for a start in the pitch you need to say exactly what is going to happen. And on top of that you need to say it in a wow, zing, whoopy doop kind of way, while still leaving your reader wanting to read more. It was at about this point that I started stamping my feet and screwing my fists into balls and saying: I CAN'T DO IT!

So having identified loss and friendship last week, I need to marry those together with all the above ingredients, right?

Nathan Bransford, over here, suggests that a good pitch includes these three elements:

  •  The opening conflict
  • The obstacle
  • The quest

And I'm beginning to think that I need to seriously revise my novel...

So... basically the opening conflict is that Ella's best friend Morgane goes missing.
The obstacle is that Ella is twelve and big people don't think that little kids are good at finding people, right? And the quest is to find Morgane. There's a bit of a twist in that Ella's mum is also missing and Morgane is not exactly twelve... or human.

Do you want to read it? Do you want to write my pitch? Have you got any fabulous tips, because I'm floundering here? I asked the frog to pretend to be an agent and then to pretend to be an agent being a ten year old girl. He did all that willingly and then went 'Bof'. For those of you needing further explanation, this is not great.

And with that I will try and write a pitch that is not pants.

4 comments:

Austin James said...

Good luck... I think a good pitch is short, simple, and leaves me wanting more, which is probably easier said, than done.

Michele Helene (Verilion) said...

Yes ;) I will try that.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Good luck with your pitch. I too will be writing mine this week. Its suppose to be short and simple and basically cover what Nathan Bransford mentioned.

Michele Helene (Verilion) said...

I'm using this purely as a practise and a learning experience.

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