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The Wind Up and The Pitch

Recently, I entered a “Polish Your Pitch” contest sponsored by a wonderfully engaging blog titled Slush busters (www.slushbusters.blogspot.com) . Before signing up, I thought this should be a cinch.  Writing a few sentences about a topic I’ve been immersed in for more than a year, should take no time at all. I quickly learned that I was suffering from delusions of grandeur. When I sat down to sum up my story, I drew a blank. My novel’s plot is complex, it spans five centuries, includes multiple characters ranging from ancient Mayans, angels and demons to “normal present day people.” How do you  combine something like this into one hundred words?

First, I conducted a bit of research, but most of the sites I visited said the same thing. Essentially, the pitch serves a dual purpose. It describes the genre and basic premise of your book and secondly and most importantly, it describes what sets your work apart from the rest of the competition. This is the author’s big chance to dangle the bait in front of the agent, publisher or editor in question, and hook that big contract we all dream about.   According to Slush-busters the pitch should do three things:

• Communicate the conflict in your story.
• Communicate the stakes (what happens if something goes awry).
• Entice a person to read further.

Four grueling hours and multiple re-writes later, the following pitch is what I wound up submitting to the contest. If any of you have the time, I would welcome your comments. Please consider if my pitch meets the above criteria and in general, let me know what you think about the premise of my story.

I believe it was Truman Capote who once said, “Good writing is about writing, re-writing, then, writing again.” This said,  I look forward to reading your thoughts so I can get back to re-writing(: Here goes nothing: 

Deep in the Yucatán, in 1562, a Mayan High Priest is instructed by the gods to entrust a sacred prophecy to Spanish Conquistador, Domingo Mendoza. With the assistance of an angel, the Mendoza family protects the prophecy for the next four- hundred and fifty years.

In 2012, Soledad Mendoza inherits the prophecy following her father’s murder. In a race against time, the angel must help Soledad decipher the prophecy before diabolical forces achieve their goal to take over the White House, then the world.

On a side note, feel free to post your pitch as well, I'd be interested to read it and give you my two cents.      Until next time…Happy writing.

Comments

  1. Andrea - creating that pitch is hard, isn't it! Like you - many hours, multiple versions and re-writes ... but its worth it I think.

    I like your pitch. The only thing that catches me off guard is the last part - about the white house and the world. Before hand you focus primarily on the prophecy, the angel and the family. I wonder if it's possible to tone down the back story a bit? Just a thought!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your feedback Steena. I will take your suggestions into consideration during the re-writing process. However, I wonder if toning down the back story will take away from my pitch. After all, the prophecy is an essential component of my plot. What my characters discover about the prophecy is what leads to taking over the White House, then the world. I will have to give this some thought.

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  3. Andrea, we're so glad you participated! We're talking about doing another type of critique on the blog on a regular basis.

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  4. Sign me up Michelle (: I'll take all the help I can get.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You know I've never written a pitch letter, unless one counts a query letter as such. I just assumed one pitched to an agent in person or if one has an idea for a nonfiction manuscripts so thanks for sharing this with me.
    Warmest regards,
    Simone

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes, I recently learned that it is best to have a verbal and written pitch prepared. If nothing else, it helps an author narrow his or her focus. Thanks for stopping by Simone.

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  7. hello! :) i think it checked all three points, but i do agree with the first commenter about the white house being a bit of a surprise. but it did make me want to read your book! i really like books about old mysteries and prophecies:)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for taking the time to read my pitch Alexandra. I appreciate your feedback. You've given me something to think about(:

    ReplyDelete

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