Monday, June 16, 2014

FIRST CHAPTER/PITCH CONTEST/WORKSHOP/Join Us With Your Pitch!



WOOHOO PITCH MONDAY…

Yup, it’s that time of year again when writers are working on their pitches and proposals for the conference season. CONFERENCES GALORE!
Post your 25-30 word pitches right here, and at the end of the day I'll pick my top five to crit more for you!

With conferences just on the horizon, thought you might like a chance to bounce ideas off this noggin. So today and tomorrow, send me your email addy with a short pitch, and
I'll connect with five of you whose pitches hooked me
to have a look at first 5 pages to help get you ready to pitch at conference. Anything to help you get your foot in that editor's/agent's door this summer or fall.

So? Any takers?
I'll also pick one person to receive a free book: Kate Breslin’s, For Such a Time.

SO IT'S A TWOFER!
GOTTA LOVE A TWOFER!

What does a good pitch look like? A PITCH IS A STRONG HOOK, a teaser, enough to make the reader drool a bit and want to read more. Look over the SIX below and see if you think the pitches are strong, weak, or could be a lot better with a few tweaks and twists:

1)      A spiritually scarred FBI agent pursues a serial killer who's using the Old Testament as his instruction manual.

2)      The hunted Feravolk are counting on a seventeen-year-old, dagger-wielding, storm-detecting orphan to save their race. Maybe they should have thought of that before they killed her family.

3)      Will a girl find love in time or will she forever fight God’s grace?

4)      Alienated by her Catholic-Protestant heritage, Gina Gallucci despairs of finding a place to belong, even at her hometown's canteen for World War Two servicemen in Dennison, Ohio.

5)      An innocent woman convicted of murder meets a reformed ex-con who’s out on parole. Either they work together to expose the truth, or die trying.

6)      With one day left before Jason is put to death, can she trust God with her plans and her pain?

SO TAKE A SHOT! LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDY AND YOUR PITCH IN THE COMMENTS BELOW. BE BRAVE…FOLKS WILL BE KIND BUT HELP EACH OTHER BY OFFERING SUGGESTIONS.
BE HONEST, BUT REMEMBER TO BE KIND EVEN WITH CRITICISM, ANYONE CAN YELL, “THAT’S HORRIBLE, YOU IDIOT!” J

114 comments:

  1. Here is my pitch for my YA Historical, HIDDEN PLACES:

    "When Hanna begins her diary, life changes forever. Hiding Jews, to her boyfriend’s mysterious disappearance, to the Nazi’s destruction of her beloved Poland- her diary bears witness to it all."

    My email address is: veronicaleighbooks@gmail.com

    From the pitches above, 1, 4 and 5 appealed to me the most. There was just enough information to get me hooked, but not too much to give anything away. Obviously, any stories involving WWII (pitch 4) grabs me immediately. As for #1, I love the Old Testament and feel its often forgotten. Can't have the New without the Old. #5 piques my interest because I like stories where people who make mistakes or find themselves in difficult situations redeem themselves. #3 and #6 didn't have enough details, and #2 sounds like fantasy, which isn't my cup of tea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Veronica! Great start but I'm just a little confused about the diary. You've given it priority in your pitch, but I'm not clear on why. Is the diary key to the story, or merely the way Hanna records the events around her?

      Delete
    2. Good question, maybe that's what it needs explaining. Couldn't put my finger on it.

      Delete
    3. Veronica,

      I'm intrigued but like Tom said, I'm a little confused.

      Does Hannah start her diary before the Nazi invasion or after? Is Hannah Jewish? Is her boyfriend?



      Delete
    4. The diary is Hanna's way of telling the events that occur around her. She begins it three years into the occupation of Poland (1942) and Hanna is not Jewish. Neither is her boyfriend.

      Guess I got to find a way to smooth it out. Its so hard to find the right balance of information and not bombard the reader with too much.

      Delete
    5. It is hard, but you can do it. I think what you're missing is your definite Goal, motivation and conflict. Don't over think this. Just simply state what Hanna's goal is, why, and what keeps her from keeping that goal.

      As you have it written in your pitch, your story (subject) is the diary, but it doesn't have a goal or motivation. Hanna being your heroine should be the subject.
      Since I don't know your story the following is only an example.
      Ex: After making a promise to never forget her neighbors, a young polish woman begins keeping a diary of all the atrocities committed by the SS occupying her beloved Poland as well as where her friends have gone. When soldiers break down her door in search of her boyfriend, she must keep the diary safe or risk the lives of those she's helped to hide.

      You have your goal-keeping a diary
      You have motivation- to never forget
      You have conflict-armed soldiers

      Delete
    6. Just wanted to thank everyone for all their comments, suggestions and critiques. I saved them all. God Bless!!!

      Delete
  2. Spot on, Veronica. 3 and 6 told the reader almost nothing. And I liked the pitch. I want to tighten it a bit, but I'm not sure what it needs. So I guess I'd leave it alone, but I'll mull it over today, anyway. Anyone else have any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
  3. A lonely, practical woman inherits her deceased fiancĂ©’s house, complete with acreage, furniture, and his bachelor cousin.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Karin, I love this one. Totally want to read on. You've got me right away!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As soon as you added the bachelor cousin, I had to laugh. Boy, what a hook!

      Delete
    2. I was all over bachelor cousin as well. Love it!

      Delete
    3. Wasn't that a great pitch?! Love it.

      Delete
    4. Oh, yeah! Simple, eye-catching and to the point.

      Delete
    5. I feel tension coming. I wonder if you could strengthen even more with something like "playboy bachelor cousin" or "womanizng bachelor cousin." But the ladies say it's good as is, so don't put too much weight on my advice.

      Delete
    6. I like Karin's pitch too, very much, but I have a question. If I'm reading her pitch correctly, it doesn't show a goal or motivation as Christina mentions. Is that important to have and could Karin strengthen her pitch even more by including the Lead's goal and motivation. I'm guessing the inheritance is an interruption to her life? So I think a current goal or motivation could be included in the description of the woman very easily.

      Delete
  5. Thank you, Linda, for this pitch opportunity. It's my first time ever...

    Wade prefers working alone, but finally accepts Arlene's offer of help with analyzing the list of suspects and clues. It's not just another murder Wade wants to prevent; he doesn't want to break Arlene's heart.

    I liked #5 and Karin's pitch the best.

    Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Wendy. Nice start, but can you tell us something more about Wade and Arlene? Is Wade an annalist tech? Does he work for the FBI or is he out on his own? Is Arlene a reporter or a housekeeper? And why would her heart break? Is it because he has a way with the ladies and doesn't want her to fall for him? Or does he believe the murderer is someone close to her?

      Just dig a little deeper. Give us the important details. I often use James Scott Bell's L.O.C.K. to create my pitches.

      Lead- Who is your lead?
      Objective- What does he want?
      Conflict- What keeps him from getting it?
      Knockout- (you don't really need for pitches)

      So who is/are your leads?

      Wade and Arlene (but who are they? A hardened detective and a fashionista blogger?)

      What do they want?

      To solve a murder

      What is their conflict?

      Hope this helps.



      Delete
    2. I like Christina's questions. Really great ones. Answer those and we'll see where we go from there. Great start, Wendy.

      Delete
    3. Thank you Christina and Linda for the helpful feedback. Pitching is hard to do with just 30ish words. The questions have helped me rethink my pitch. I hope it's okay that I'm posting a revised one? Here it goes...

      A widowed, police officer leads his first homicide investigation hoping for a career breakthrough without breaking the heart of a flirtacious co-worker who wants his heart. He just wants to prevent another murder.

      Blessings ~ Wendy ❀

      Delete
    4. Yes!!! Wendy, you just got a fist pump from me. It could use a tad bit tightening, but you're on the right track. Maybe, ....who wants his heart when all he wants is to prevent another murder.

      Delete
    5. Christina, I agree with your tightening suggestion and have written it down--thank you. I'll include it in my query letter that I've been working on.

      Linda, I just realized that I should leave an e-mail address (just in case) and not assume my link is enough.

      Blessings ~ Wendy Macdonald ❀

      purselanestudio@gmail.com

      Delete
  6. Hi Linda,
    Thanks for this opportunity to practice my pitch.

    Matt Jackson enters Rachel Taylor’s life the day she inherits her grandmother’s inn. He helps restore the place, and she falls for him until she discovers his devastating secret.

    Of your examples, I like #1 the best. I love FBI stories, and the OT clues are an intriguing twist.

    Bachelor cousin? What a great hook.

    joyfuljelatgmaildotcom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jackie, I'm thinking on yours. One thing you could do is use stronger descriptive words like chaos, disrepair. When you write your manuscripts, even the smallest words like the and his count and need to be strategic. Same goes with your pitch. Make every word count and use the most effective words possible.

      Can you tell us in a word (mountain, seaside, ghost town) where this inn is? What does it mean to her? Has she ever seen it? Did she spend her summers there or is this a grandma she never knew? Is the house somehow a picture of Matt Jackson (broken down, in need of restoration)?

      I know these are a lot of questions and you only have 25-30 words, but I'm trying to get you to think outside the box a little. ;)

      Delete
  7. Jackie, I'm not even sure I'd mention Matt's name, though you can, but a new man entering her life leaves us a bit more up in the air. And can you tell us a tad more about the secret without giving anything away?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Shoot me a short blurb and let's see what we can come up with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Linda, here's a short blurb:

      Rachel Taylor inherits The Bye Way Inn the same day she meets Matt Jackson from Inn Possible. Together they battle an enraged cousin and ghosts from the past as they work to improve the inn. As Rachel and Matt work together they begin to care for each other until she discovers her estranged father hired him. Will she be able to forgive both men? Her father for abandoning her as a child, and Matt for keeping the truth a secret.

      Thanks for looking at it.

      Delete
    2. The blurb is much stronger than the pitch. :)

      Delete
  9. Thanks for all of your kind words. I learned from Mary Connealy - she had a post on Seekerville about writing a pitch and it really clicked for me. You can find it here: http://seekerville.blogspot.com/2011/09/lookin-for-strike-zone.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Connealy is awesome! All Seekers are. I've learned a lot from them.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for sharing the link Karin!

      Delete
  10. I think my first post got eaten, Linda. Let's try again:

    When a Wall Street executive is framed during America's final collapse and hunted by the U.S. Government, he runs toward a West that's gone wild again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eric, I like! the wording in the last phrase is a little awkward, but that's just me. ... a West that's once again gone wild.

      Try to leave your sentences on a strong word. Wild has more impact than again, and since it's the last word read you want your reader/listener to mull over the stronger word.

      Delete
    2. I like that, Christina with the last word being the strongest.

      Delete
    3. When a Wall Street executive is framed and hunted by the government (I think US is understood here) during America's final collapse, he runs toward a West that's once again gone wild.

      Delete
    4. Good catch Christina. Funny I can remember that during Powerpoint presentations, but not in my pitch. I'll even forgive the "Eric." Had a pastor who called me that for six years. The reason I left the Methodist church.

      Delete
    5. LOL!!!! I don't even know where Eric came from. LOL! I am so sorry. I was more of a Larry Wilcox fan. ;)

      You know, I can look at other pitches all day and usually see the problem areas, but when it comes to writing my own it can take me weeks to perfect it.

      Delete
    6. No problem, Christina. I usually tell people I'm Eric's better looking brother. Thaks for the tweak, Linda. That kinda rocks!

      Delete
    7. That one sounded awesome. It grabbed me.

      Delete
  11. Here's mine :)
    An old rival and impending tornado threaten to destroy a disabled bride’s dream wedding.

    email...jenlhall63 (at) gmail (dot) com

    I like number one the best from your examples...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice, Jennifer. But I'd get into the specifics of the "disabled." Wheelchair bound or deaf, whatever the case may be. And drop the "impending" off the tornado. Bring that sucker on with the pitch!

      Delete
    2. I agree you should give us her disability. Let us know exactly what is happening. Super start, Jennifer.

      Delete
    3. Thanks! How about "An old rival and a tornado warning threaten to destroy a wheelchair-bound bride's dream wedding." :)

      Delete
    4. Jennifer, I think I like the original pitch better, just add wheelchair-bound instead of disabled.

      Delete
    5. I agree, the warning doesn't sound as menacing for some reason.

      Delete
  12. Greetings:

    For my romantic thriller, TAKEN FOR GOOD:

    While awaiting trial for a murder she didn’t commit, Airyanna falls in love with a man who has taken her baby into the hands of a suspected cult.

    Agreed, pitch #1 had the sharpest edge. Karin's 'bachelor cousin' says, 'Read me."

    email: lou.morningside at outlook dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The only thing I'd change is a man to 'the' man. This is good and certainly grabs the reader's attention right away. You might even say, for a murder she swears she didn't commit, that leaves a bit more mystery as well. They the reader will have to dig more to find out whether she did or didn't.
      While awaiting trial for a murder she swears she didn't commit, Airyanna falls in love with the man who has taken her baby into the hand of a suspected cult. How about that?

      Delete
    2. Thank you Linda so much, Linda. I'm new and learning so much. I appreciate this wonderful opportunity to grow.

      Delete
    3. Nice! I think with Linda's suggestions it'll be spot on.

      Delete
  13. Colonial preacher's daughter upsets the life of domineering British officer, and his children help her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tammy, how does she upset it? Give us a tad more detail. Great start!!!

      Delete
  14. Oops forgot email. Tjtrail7506@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. I've enjoyed reading everyone's pitch and comments! This is a great learning experience. Here is mine...

    Michelle immerses herself in her career to escape the tragedy of her family's murders, but when she becomes the hunted, her only hope may be to entrust her life into the care of a former terrorist.

    Of the pitches above, 1, 4, and 5 appealed to me the most. The subject matter (suspense, spirituality, history) of those 3 pulled me in as did the tantalizing information provided--just enough!

    Thanks for this opportunity for this "newbie" to interact with those of you that are more experienced!

    katherinepasouratgmaildotcom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great start, Katherine, but you can tighten that up. I'd lose the "immerses herself in her career." That won't hook anyone. What will (and did) is the rest of it: After her family is brutally murdered, Michelle's only hope for survival is found in the hands of a former terrorist.

      Great premise! I hope a romance ensues. You know, after stuff gets blown up.

      Delete
    2. To escape her family's murders, Michelle immerses herself in her career, but when she becomes the hunted, she must entrust her life to a former terrorist.
      I cut a couple words that you really didn't need. Tragedy is understood unless the reader is heartless. This is really good.

      Delete
    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    4. Katherine, I like Ron's suggestions.

      Delete
  16. Oooh, I like Ron's even better. Well said!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Although, I do like the 'hunted' in there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Linda, Ron and Christina! Your feedback is very helpful. This has been such a fun experience--I really appreciate your guidance. Wishing you all a great day and happy writing!

      Delete
  18. Here's my updated pitch after reading your comments:

    A young woman inherits the rundown seaside inn where she was raised. She begins caring for the businessman helping restore it until she discovers he harbors a secret about her father.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Does she openly know that he knows??? If so, you might"|:A young woman inherits the rundown inn where she was raised. She begins caring for the businessman helping restore it until she discovers his secret about her father.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Ok, Linda. Let's try this one

    Amateur spy Elaine Henderson ,a colonial preacher's daughter upsets the life of domineering officer John Tennant, and his children help her.

    Is that better?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amateur spy and colonial preacher's daughter upsets domineering officer John Tennant's life, and his children help her. I think works all right. Any extra little tidbit about his his life is upset?

      Delete
    2. Ok, how does this work?

      Amateur spy and colonial preacher's daughter upset domineering officer John Tennant's life, and his children help her when they fall in love with Elaine.

      Delete
    3. I don't know. I still feel like something's missing. But I think the first one is better than my suggestion. Maybe beef up the word help from the children. how about:
      ...his children conspire with her. Just fix the commas, whether you're going to use them around the names or not.

      Delete
    4. Oh, I like, like the word conspire! Let me see what I can do with it. Thank you!

      Delete
    5. Ok, I thought of this.

      British officer, John Tennant's life is turned upside down when a colonial preacher's free spirited daughter upsets his well ordered life. To make matters worse, his children conspire make the situation permanent.

      How is that?

      Delete
  21. Thanks, Linda. No. The hero is the only one who knows the secret. When she discovers the secret, she tells him to leave.

    I appreciate your help!

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a fun opportunity, Linda! You've established a great environment for us to perfect this challenging skill!

    Here's a pitch for my current WIP. Feel free to tear it up as you see fit. :)

    Through the Pony Express, Josiah English meets the love of his life and sees their dream almost within reach - to raise Arabian horses. But when the Express ends suddenly and disaster strikes, will their love survive?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Indians attack her family’s home and burn it to the ground, while the family hides in a dry well. They’re all safe but have lost everything. (This is a true historical event. Yikes!)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Through the Pony Express, Josiah English meets his love (love of his life is a tad chiche) and with their dream of raising Arabian horses almost within reach, the Express ends and her family's home is attacked. Can their love survive?

    Anyone else with any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With the end of his Pony Express days in sight, Josiah English directs his attention to his love a woman and horses. After a devastating Indian attack they will need strength, faith, and courage to survive.

      I don't know. It's just my humble attempt.

      Delete
    2. :) I'm kind of partial to the first, but Misty, what will help me better is to know if this is an historical romance or straight historical?

      Delete
  25. Thank you for hosting this opportunity, Ms. Glaz. I always appreciate a chance to strengthen pitches. Here's mine for A Virtuous Ruby:

    In 1915 Georgia, fiery Ruby Bledsoe is a mixed-race midwife who despises passing-for-white Dr. Adam Morson, but they must work together to defeat his father and stop a lynching epidemic.

    Thank you for any help you can give!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This one sounds great. I want to read it!

      Delete
    2. Hiya, Piper!!! OKay, here I'm going to ask you to go a little farther. It's a great pitch and eye-catching but I kind of wonder if we need to read what they're defeating his father at. Is his father trying to expose Morson?

      Delete
    3. No, Adam, who has not been raised with his father, finds out his father is behind the lynchings--which Ruby knows all along. She and the dad are enemies. Thanks for pointing that out Christina! Thank you for the kind words Veronica!

      Delete
    4. I was a little confused. What she passing as a male white doctor??? But then it says they must work together? Or is she having to pass for white and work with Dr. Morson? Maybe a punctuation issue? Sorry, I confuse easily. Can you reread and then resend?

      Delete
  26. Oops, e-mail addy: huguleyriggins@hotmail.com Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  27. I think I have worked the kinks out a bit. Let's try this one.

    Amateur patriot spy throws a domineering British officer's life into chaos. H plays along with her game, until keeping her safe becomes more important than winning the war.

    Thanks for letting me try again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Miss Tammy,

      I like what you have here at the beginning and I do like the playing along with her game but I'm missing the children. But I love, love, love the until keeping her safe becomes more important than winning the war. Soooo....what if you did something like this......?

      With the help of his children, amateur patriot spy throws a domineering British officer's life into chaos. He play along with her game, until ......

      Maybe....?

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Miss Christina Rich. Will this do?

      Amateur patriot spy, and his own children throw a domineering British officer's life into chaos. He plays her game, until keeping her safe is more important than winning the war.

      How is that?

      Delete
    3. :) Don't throw rotten apples at me, but 'and his own children' make it sound as if the children belong to the amateur patriot spy. ;)

      Delete
    4. OH, I didn't think of that! LOL

      Delete
  28. Thank you for the opportunity, Linda. Here's the pitch for my historical romance set in 1889 called THE RESCUE.

    A Boston woman is betrothed to an abusive man when her childhood sweetheart returns as a cowboy. Will saying "I do" and escaping to Texas be enough to protect her?

    tanyaeavenson@gmail.com

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tanya, I'm going to shoot this beginning out there to see if you can come up with something. Your pitch isn't bad, but I feel as if 'childhood sweetheart returns as a cowboy' is clunky.

      Betrothed to an abusive man, a Bostonian socialite seeks refuge....

      Also, you might consider writing it from his point of view to see if it's stronger.Ex: After setting up his ranch in Texas, Will returns for his childhood sweetheart only to find her betrothed to an abusive man. The only way to save her from certain tragedy is to kidnap her, but will Texas be far enough to protect her? (needs tightening but you get the picture)

      Delete
    2. Christina you are def the pitch queen. I love it from his POV

      Delete
    3. Either would do, Tanya, but I do like Christina's suggestion better if she is in fact a socialite, if not, just stick with Boston or Bostonian woman. But it certainly pulls the reader in quicker.

      Delete
  29. It's pretty late in the day so this might be too late, but here's mine for Midnight's Miracle:

    Surviving the war had been enough ... until she reminded him about living. If only the secrets of his past didn't tear at the threads of his future.

    E-mail is akaymclarenf2@yahoo.ca

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Angela, I really like this one. It gives it enough intrigue to make me want to read more about the story.

      Delete
    2. I guess I should mention this is historical romance.

      Thanks Christina! I'm glad you like it. :)

      Delete
    3. Then you might add something like War Between the States, or Napoleon just a small descriptive to clarify that it is historical and not a contemporary.

      Delete
    4. But obviously not enough. ;) So the question is, what else does it need to really get you? (Or is it just because, comparatively, you have less information about what the story is about?)

      Delete
  30. Veronica,

    Hanna sounds more Jewish than Polish. Use Anna instead, a very popular Polish first name. Your pitch is generic, not specific enough.

    Anna Labno

    ReplyDelete
  31. Or if you want to use Hanna, use Hania instead. That's how Polish people would write it and pronounce it.

    Anna Labno

    ReplyDelete
  32. Playing catch up today. Google locked me out last night. It doesn't play nice with AOL.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Soccernut is me, Linda Glaz, guys. Now it's throwing me to an old account. Sorry for all the mix up. Will be trying today to fix this.

      Delete
  33. Test run to see if the name change worked.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! Soccernut, huh? We coached, or I should say hubs coached, for years. Loved being a soccer mom.

      Delete
  34. Veronica. How about:
    Hanna begins a diary as her life changes. From hiding Jews, to her boyfriend’s mysterious disappearance, to the Nazi destruction of her beloved Poland- her diary bears witness to it all. Just little subtle changes, but I think you had it fairly well in the beginning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Okay, that sounds really good. Thank you for looking it over. :~)

      Delete
  35. If I missed anyone, holler! Hopefully you all got some wonderful suggestions to head to the keyboard again and play with it. If any of you have any questions, feel free to contact me at lglazagain@aol.com and hopefully I'll have an answer.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Okay, closed for business, HOWEVER, Veronica, Karin, Tammy, Misty, and Piper, if you'd like to send me the synopsis, pitch, jacket blurb (if you have it) and first 5 pages I'd be happy to have a look at them.
    ANYONE ELSE, feel free to send the same, only the first page instead of five. I'd be happy to have a look so that you'll be ready for your appts at conferences!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Blogger has me locked out...again... this happens every couple months, so I can't post on the blog. Will contact all individually.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Thanks so much, Linda! I'll be in touch via email. :)

    ReplyDelete

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