Wednesday, March 30, 2011

3-line Pitch Update

Ok, I haven't been in my house for the last two days, but yesterday I sat at the dentist office for an hour. While I was there, I wrote three 3-line pitches. None of them are great...yet, but I think having something to work with is a great start.

Here they are in the order that I wrote them. Which one do you like better? Are there lines you like in one but not the others?

1. Talia Shannon wants to live through the invasion prophesied in her nightmares. If she can find a way to do that, she may just save her whole planet. Unfortunately, the dreams are her only clues and her scientific peers would never believe her claim to magical powers.

2. Talia Shannon doesn't want to die, but her prophetic nightmares don't give her much hope. she has spent her life searching the stars for a way to prepare for and survive a coming invasion. Her scientific peers don't understand her drive, but they don't believe in magic either.

3. Scientist Talia Shannon wants to survive the invasion prophesied by her dream and keep her magical nature secret. Unfortunately, a commander in the Royalist army is wasting her time with his accusations of treason. Little do they know that the survival of their world will depend on their working together.

Revised options from comments:
4. Talia Shannon doesn't want to die, but her prophetic nightmares don't give her much hope. She's spent her life searching the stars to warn her planet of a coming invasion. Unfortunately, the dreams are her only proof and her scientific peers would never believe her claim to magical powers.

5. Talia Shannon doesn't want to die, but her prophetic nightmares don't give her much hope. When a commander in the Royalist army accuses her of treason, she must defend herself and prevent him from discovering her biggest secret. Little do they know that the survival of their world depends on their combined magical powers.

6. Scientist Talia Shannon hopes to survive the invasion prophesied by her dream while keeping her magical nature secret. When a commander in the Royalist army accuses her of treason, she must defend herself and prevent him from discovering her biggest secret. Little do they know that the survival of their world depends on their combined magical powers.

...and a new thought:

7. Talia Shannon doesn't want to die, but her prophetic nightmares don't give her much hope. She doesn't think things can get any worse than moving to the city from her dreams (inciting incident), but a commander in the Royalist army accuses her of treason. In order to survive the coming invasion she must first convince him of her innocence while keeping her magical nature secret.



How are your pitches coming along? Remember, if you want any advice from other readers, feel free to post them in the comments of this post, or the original post.

18 comments:

  1. Of the three, I like number three the best. It mentions who she is (scientist), what she wants (to survive/keep her magic silent), the conflicts of it with the treason charge and possible invasion. I do think the pitches could be tightened. Right now, they're a little wordy. Also, I would think that being accused of treason would be a little more than a waste of her time. She'd probably be afraid, angry. If it is important in the novel, it needs to be stronger than "wasting her time." I do think you're on the right path, though. A little tweaking will make it go from good to wow.

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  2. I agree with Cherie on all points. I'd like to add that, between all three options, most of your conjugated verbs are either "is/are" or "don't".

    Taking #3, here are some of my thoughts. Brackets are my equivalent of a strike-thru, followed by the replacement in **. Additional comments at the end of each sentence.

    Scientist Talia Shannon [wants] *needs/yearns* to survive the invasion prophesied by her dream and keep her magical nature secret. (**These two thoughts, without already knowing what's going on (basically) in your novel, are unconnected.)

    [Unfortunately,] *When* a commander in the Royalist army [is wasting her time with his accusations] *accuses her* of treason. (**Add at the end of this sentence how it splits her attention, or takes away from her quest to save the world.)

    Little do they know that the survival of their world [will] depend*s* on their working together. (**Why?)

    I think you have some good work here, Charity. I'm glad you are trying them using just Talia as well as... er, I forgot his name, the commander. Keep it up, and I hope we can see some later drafts, too :)

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  3. I also like #3 best and can't think of anything to add to Cherie's comments. You're definitely on the right track since I get a sense of the MC, the goal, the stakes and the conflict. Maybe add the inciting event (or is that the dream?).

    My WIP isn't ready for a pitch, but thanks for the offer!

    -Vicki

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  4. Number 3 for the win. It says everything you need it to say.

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  5. I don't really like any of these. They all feel like you're trying to cram too much into three sentences. The second sentence in #2 would need to be capitalized. In #3 it doesn't matter that she's a scientist. Probably some well-meaning person told you to include the person's occupation, right?

    Anyway, I always say start with the basics. From these I gather she has magic powers, she knows the end of the world is coming, she can't do much because of charges of treason.

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  6. I like the first two sentences of pitch 2 and the last sentence of pitch 1.
    And now I see that no one else here agrees with me. I just thought they were clear and not too constricting of my imaginings of where this might go. Therefore I created all sorts of intriguing possibilities in my own head.
    Not being a writer myself, just an avid (addicted, really) reader, perhaps my viewpoint isn't well informed.

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  7. Cherie, I know the others didn't see our email exchange, but you're awesome!

    Hey, Rosie, do you know how much I <3 you? (I hope that looks more like a heart when I post) LOL. You always take the time to really think about your comments. Thank you.

    Vickie thank you for coming by regularly. I'm checking to see if I follow back.

    Anne, Thank you so much!

    Rogue, I'm always trying to cram too much into a small space. I'm the type of person that would hand you her journal and say "read all about me and then we can talk". Thanks for the suggestions, I'm working on it.

    Edith, your opinion is the one that ultimately matters the most. :) I always love seeing comments from you. Hey, want to give the whole book a read? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Can you email me at charity.bradford@gmail.com? I think I lost your email when I switched accounts.

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  8. I like the first sentence of number two. But the last two sentences of number three. In number three you give more info which I think is better...more of the plot is revealed in three.

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  9. These are all really strong, but I like the beginning of 2 and the ending of 3.
    Best of luck!

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  10. I think #2 and #3 give the most info about the conflict and have more voice. Or maybe it's the second line in the first one that fell flat cuz it's a little cliche/bland--saving the world. Good luck meshing these and finding the best version! :)

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  11. Ooo, I already have a problem with the last sentence of #7. Must fix that after commenting here...

    Dawn and Faith, thank you for your comment. There's a new version up there with your suggestion.

    Carol, I agree with "saving the world" being a bit cliche. Funny thing is that I never use it in the story itself, and it's kind of a secondary "icing on the cake" part of the story. LOL. More cliche. She saves herself, and the world just sort of lucks out in the process.

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  12. I liked your pitches, #3 most of all I think.
    All the comments you received were helpful as I can see, sort of making me upset that I never get to visit you earlier in the day :)

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  13. My absolute favorite line is the end of #2. It kind of makes me want to laugh which is what I enjoy most in a book. I also feel that the beginning of the others shows more of your plot instead of just one piece of your character's life. 'Distracting' might be better than 'wasting her time' as it shows slightly more concern about it and is less wordy.

    In the above comment, you mention how saving the world is pretty much just 'icing on the cake'. I would suggest you leave it out of your pitch then since you have a very limited number of words to share your story in.

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  14. I like #4 the best. Enough info to give us an idea of the story, but not so much that we are getting a little lost in it all.

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  15. Okay, this is kinda crappy but...

    To save her world, Talia must face her prophetic nightmares and join with the army’s commander. Revealing her magical powers is the key but that won’t save their planet if her prophesied death finds her first.

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  16. Charity, where is a 3-line pitch used? Consider me an infant in the publishing lingo. I try to read as many blogs as I can to figure this stuff out. Is this a conference thing where an agent says you got three sentences and then you're done?

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  17. Thanks Brooke! I like to laugh too, but I'm afraid my sense of humor is often different than the masses. Glad that line made you smile.

    Thank you stickynotestories!

    Huntress you sparked some new thoughts in my hectic brain. Thanks!

    Michael, Last week there was an agent judged contest online and the agent asked for 3 lines. I had never heard of it before either and had no idea where to even start. That's why I thought I'd pass the challenge along. It seems an agent can pick any random number of words or sentences to ask you to fit your pitch into. It's a bit frustrating, but what ya gonna do?

    When you pitch at conferences you usually keep it to a paragraph. After you tell the agent what your book is about, they often ask questions about the story and characters. I've only done this at an online conference through chat rooms. Even that had me a nervous wreck.

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  18. Hey Charity,
    I like #5 the best. I think it's the strongest. I also kind of like #7, but the two events in the second sentence aren't related enough to be connected with a "but".

    Nice job in the revisions.

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