Do, please read that post first, but I will recap or re-express here what we're looking for in a mini-pitch like this.
- WHO? Focus on the main character. Forget the name - we don't care about the name as much as what sort of character it is. Abandoned orphan, vengeful divorcée, insect-collecting stalker - all these are more interesting by a mile than Danny, Susan or John. I'd say only include the name if it's the best and most economical way to do it.
- WHAT? Focus on the conflict, the drama the goal, the pursuit. Big it up - struggles, battles, fights are all better than decides, wants, resolves.
- OR WHAT? The stakes - what does the character stand to lose if he fails?
- Start with an epithet for your MC: abandoned orphan etc
- Brainstorm for two minutes, writing down all the things about your book you can think of - themes, events, climaxes, all the words which describe it or what it's about; some must be about your MC and his/her struggle/personality/emotions.
- Circle the ten most important and compelling words or phrases, of which at least 3 must be about the MC.
- Circle the 4 most compelling of those ten.
Final tip: include wolves. (As we learnt in the previous post, when we realised that Joy hadn't told us about the wolves. Never forget the wolves!) Or, as we discovered in the workshop, hyenas. Wild animals are good. No, seriously: the point is that you need to identify and be aware of the emotional chord-tuggers and emphasise them. Wolves do something to us, as do war, death, magic, dragons, blood, wild moors, abandonment, snakes, the apocalypse and chocolate. Obviously.
Someone asked a very sensible question at the end of the workshop: where would you use this 25-word pitch? Bearing in mind that I've also said that this 25-word thing is an arbitrary (but very adequate and realistic) length, you would use it or a version of it:
- At the start of the paragraph in your covering letter in which you describe your book.
- At any point when you're asked to say what your book is about.
- To store in your heart as you write, so you know what it is that you're doing. It's the core of your book and should be kept at your writer's core: your heart.
- If you pitched it on the previous post and received helpful comments, please don't pitch it again -we will just be overwhelmed. Well, I will be.
- If yours was one of the ones I didn't have time to comment on before, DO please pitch it again. I apologise for not getting to you before.
- If you've never pitched one, please do so!
- Please comment on each other's - don't leave it all to me.
- If you use more than 25 words, I will IGNORE you and so should everyone else.
- Hurry up because tomorrow this blog will be taken over by a competition with prizes of chocolate.