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.