Friday, September 9, 2011

Writing A Pitch

Today my goal is to create a pitch for my next YA novel idea--something so intriguing that people will say, "I've got to read that. Write fast!"

I've been researching my idea for months, reading like crazy, thinking like crazy, watching YouTube videos, picking up random bits on NPR, steering dinner party conversations in unusual directions... My brain is STUFFED with information. But now I have to explain it to people. Um...

I'm a rambling mess!

Lucky for me, I discovered Save The Cat by Blake Snyder. It's a book about screenwriting, but who better to teach me how to pitch than a Hollywood movie guy?

According to Snyder, a pitch answers this basic question: what is it?

(And it's not Snakes On A Plane meets Three Men And A Baby--although who wouldn't want to see that?!?!?)

A good pitch gives a clear sense of what the story promises to deliver (action, love, mystery). You want your audience to immediately form a compelling mental picture of your story. Better yet--you want to elicit an emotional response. A good pitch also includes a good title. Hunger Games? Yeah, I want to know what that's about!

People also want to know who the story is about. Short and sweet, a good pitch characterizes both the main character and the antagonist. Is your character's goal enthralling? The best way to hook someone with your pitch is to make sure that your character's mission involves primal needs: survival, love, protection. Snyder asks: would a caveman understand your character's needs?

Reducing all my research into a pitch only a few sentences long will probably be the hardest part to write. But I know that figuring out these basic elements will make the next 250 pages flow.

I'm excited and I want to write this story fast!



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