Happy Monday!

I hope you have heard by now about the upcoming New Adult Pitch Contest hosted by YAtopia. If not, I'll wait until you follow the link and read the announcement. Go there, I'll wait. 
In a hurry and want to know what's all about right now? Okay, okay, I'll tell you.
The amazing YAtopia will host a NEW ADULT only pitch at their blog on July 10th, having agent Sara Megibow and editor Heather Howland (from Entangled Publishing) as judges! 
We've joined forces, and tomorrow we'll host here a pitch critique session, where the NA Sisters, the YAtopia contributors and the super talented New Adult author Lynn Rush will participate and critique the 35-words pitches you'll enter on the main event. 

In favor of tomorrow’s post, I’ll talk about pitches today.

Disclaimer: I’m no expert in the subject. Really. I’ll just point out what the experts say and link back to blog posts from other writers who have more experience than me.

So, pitches …
There are different kinds of pitches. Elevator pitches, three-line pitches, two paragraph pitches, two sentences pitches, 35 words pitches and whatever other kind you can come up with. Even a query is like an extended pitch.
Some writers and authors like to come up with the one line pitch or hook before they start writing, and some agents and editors say that “if you can’t sum up your book in a sentence, it’s unlikely you’ll make a sale.”
Let me show you a simple way to try and come up with a pitch: 

I just read a craft book called Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon.
Dixon explains those three elements can have many names.
Goal – desire, want, need, ambition, purpose
Motivation – drive backstory, impetus, incentive
Conflict – trouble, tension, friction, villain, roadblock

She goes further and states that Who, What, Why and Why Not are important questions for any story and that our job as a writer is to answer them quickly and clearly.
Who = character
What = goal
Why = motivation
Why Not = conflict

Summarizing, your GMC information should work like this: A character wants a goal because he is motivated, but he faces conflict.
Example from Wizard of Oz: An unhappy teenager wants to get home to Kansas because her aunt is sick, but first she must fight a witch to win the aid of the wizard who has the power to send her home.
Turning that into a shorter, more concise version: A tornado blows Dorothy to a magic land where she must fight a witch and seek the wizard who has the power to send her home.
And that works as a pitch.

On a blog post about one sentence pitches, Nathan Bransford states there are three basic elements in shorter pitches: the inciting incident, the obstacle, and the quest.
He shows us an example from his own book, Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow: Three kids trade a corndog (FLAVOR) for a spaceship, blast off into space (OPENING CONFLICT), accidentally break the universe (OBSTACLE), and have to find their way back home (QUEST).

On her blog, the awesome Brenda Drake shows us the pitch of her upcoming book, Library Jumpers:
Yanked into a gateway linking the great libraries, Gia finds that she’s a long lost knight & must now fight to stop an apocalypse.
By the way, you guys should check out the whole pitch workshop Brenda and her friends held in March. There are lots of comments and they show ways of fixing the pitches---which is what we’ll try to do here tomorrow. My entry was this one ;)

Here are more examples of pitches from NA Sisters:
Jaycee’s The Truths About Dating and Mating: Life-long best friends Ian and Ivy have become campus-wide sensations with their call-in sex-edutainment radio program, but are finding it hard to practice what they preach when they start falling for each other.
Carrie’s Strength: When Rena falls for the campus outcast, she provokes supernatural warfare that puts a whole lot more than her heart at risk. 
My own Destiny Gift: In a world of chaos, Nadine has visions she doesn’t understand—she believes she might be hallucinating. Until she meets the guy who haunts her visions and everything starts to change … even the world.

Sounds easy, right? But it’s not (though a few lucky writers can do this with no effort at all, but let’s forget about killing them for a moment *winks*). And that’s the reason we’ll be hosting a pitch crit here tomorrow with Lynn Rush and YAtopia, so we can help you make those pitches SHINE!

More links about pitches:

Post a Comment

  1. Excellent tips, thanks for sharing.

    I'm still working on my pitch, ready to share it with you for the critique session.

  2. Nice tips and links. The thing that helped me write my pitch is making sure you know what the inciting incident is. What happened that changed the characters life? What starts that character on the journey they take (emotional or physical) in the book. The pitch should be about that.

  3. I love Debra's GMC book! these are awesome tips. I'll definitely check out those links.

  4. These will definitely help, thank you. Still working on my own pitches and looking forward to tomorrow's critiques. ^_^

  5. The writer Holly Bodger gave this formula:

    "When [MAIN CHARACTER] [INCITING INCIDENT], he [CONFLICT]. And if he doesn't [GOAL] he will [CONSEQUENCES]."

    But then she reminded us not to use it as a formula, but to see as components that a pitch needs.

  6. I have my pitch ready...sort of. Am torn between two versions.

  7. Great tips, Juliana. The nuances of the different types of pitches often gets overlooked, and all are great practice, even when drafting a story. Just trying to get your entire story wrapped up in a sentence can really help you refine your writing and direction. As a matter of fact, I'd highly recommend working on your pitches if you ever get stuck in a story--at whatever juncture.


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