Thursday, August 5

Margie's pitchfest #2

Loyal followers (i.e. those who read last week) know I'll be attending the Willamette Writer's Conference this weekend. To noone's (who knows me, that is) suprise, I'm still prepping my pitch. Special thanks to all those who commented last week.

I hate pitches, queries, and synopsis'. But you know what I figured out this past week, you just have to sit down and write a sentence. One sentence. Hopefully it will have something to do with your book.

After putting down that one sentence, you can:
a) accept it as is and move on to sentence number two, or
b) rewrite it.

But you know what? You can't rewrite something you didn't put down in the first place. It's really, really hard--if not impossible--to edit, erase, or enhance a blank page. I am going to take you a tour of my pitch and how I got there. And to think it all started with one sentence.

This is my first version:
Because his mother's boyfriend is blown up assasinated in a bombing, a 16 year-old boy is moved to a small town witness protection is relocated by the witness protection program entered into the witness protection program tand relocated to Cypher, Indiana. A small, never-been-on-the-map town where his quick wit, intelligence, and inquistive nature will propel him to popularity heights he's only dreamt of.

Nope. Doesn't do my story justice and is kind of misleading. Plus, although the it's important that the character is in witness protection, the "why" isn't that big of deal. Not enough to be mentioned in the pitch. Plus, there's no hint of conflict. He's popular, deal with it. What's the problem?

Next try:

Witness protection sucks. Life in Cypher is proving to be the adventure 16 year-old Bixby Darwin has been waiting for. But when he uncovers the town's biggest secret will he destroy the home he's built?

Still not there and misleading. For me, it sounds like the entire town is on the "secret" and they most certianly aren't. So...

Try #3

Witness protection should suck. Too bad nobody told 16yo Bixby Darwin. Live in giant-infested Cypher is proving to be the adventure he's been waiting for his entire life. When his inquisitive nature leads to an unsettling discovery that could destroy the safety net of Cypher's citizens. Bix will discover that the true measure of a person has nothing to do with size.

While this version is closer to the "truth" of the story, it's very wordy and not cohesive.

Try #4:

Witness protection sucks. Too bad nobody told 16yo Bixby Darwin. Life in giant-infested Cypher is the adventure he was born for. So when his inquisitive nature leads him to an unsettling discovery, Bix will be forced to make a choice. Save or destroy Cypher.

In a nutshell version: A boy in witness protection makes an unsettling discovery that endangers the town and people he's come to love.

Okay, so that's what I have so far. I'm going with number four unless I think of something better or I get a chorus of "are you crazy?" 's from my loyal readership. Yeah, that'd be you guys reading. Let me know what you think and next week, I'll let you know how "we" did.


  1. #4 sounds good to me, Margie.
    But I really suck at these things. But to me, it sounded the closest to your book.

  2. #4 for me too.....doing a pitch is really really hard, no matter how many classes i've taken or read on the subject. it's just darn hard.

  3. I like #2 better (although it needs to be built upon). You CAN'T say it is giant-infested - with all the paranormals today, people will expect actual giants. Remember it is YA, so in addition to the awesome WITSEC story, the pitch should highlight the teen drama Bix encounters, namely, being trounced by bullies, unexpectedly becoming the hero of the paintball team while panting after the unattainable girl. Now go knock 'em dead!

  4. I think #4 captures more of the feel of the book...but then I agree with Christi that the giant line might make an editor/agent think it's paranormal.