Monday, March 28, 2011

The Three line Pitch

Ok, so utter fail on my part on Friday. In case you didn't see the tweet about it, here's the story.

Mid-day I saw a tweet about a contest on Savvy Authors for a 3-line pitch to agent Denise Little. She's on my list. Sci fi was included in the list of acceptable submissions. I had that freaky wig out moment where my heart started racing and I thought, "This could be it!"

I opened the browser, I opened my document of 1-line pitches. Ok, see where this is going? I didn't have a 3-line pitch, had never heard of it as a possibility, had NO IDEA what to add to the one liners I had.

I was paralyzed.

I thought I was seriously going to have a heart attack watching my chance tick away--it was a one day opportunity.

I read a few that were already submitted and that didn't help. They were all amazing!

This was my entry.
Genre: Science Fantasy with Romance elements
Word Count: 87,000

They’re coming, and I’ll die when they find me.

Talia Shannon’s prophetic nightmares are about to become reality, but she can’t warn her planet without revealing her magical abilities. When science fails to save her, magic becomes the only hope.
Head smack to desk.

It doesn't tell anything about the book really. This might work as a back cover, but it's not a pitch.

So, here is what I learned Saturday--yeah, a day too late. A good formula for a 3-line pitch is GMC. Here's the helpful email that shared this idea with me.
G=What's the main characters goal at the start of the story. What is he/she doing in chapter one which sets up the rest of the book.
M=What's motivating that goal?
Obviously they aren't going to get it immediately in ch 1, so who or what stops them = conflict.
So, I've set a goal to write a REAL 3-line pitch this week.
Want to join me?
Write a 3-line pitch and then post it here and we can all respond to each other and voice our opinions.


  1. I wouldn't worry. It's all random anyway.

  2. Even from your original pitch I can tell you have an interesting concept. I love the mixing of science and magic!

    Good luck!

  3. I didn't think it was that bad. I love the opening line.

  4. Writing pitches is SO hard, especially when they're so short. Ugh! Have you come up with something else yet?

    Here's an off-the-cuff attempt for mine (for which I've already changed the title AGAIN since my Sat post). I'll do my best to follow the formula to start. What do you think?

    Genre: New Adult Urban Fantasy/Romance
    Word Count: XX,000 (which is the main reason I can't pitch yet for real...)

    When a dare causes Anabelle Lindsky to sneak into the restricted areas of the Mansion in search of Prince Marcus, she doesn't realize she'll attract both his attention and the Queen's. Anabelle only wants to say she met the Prince, but Marcus decides to pursue this daredevil commoner. However, the Queen's knowledge of the future forces her hand to keep them apart, as the stability of their lives and the nation depend on it.

  5. I'd have to give that one some thought. I've never heard of a three-line pitch, either, but this was very helpful!

  6. Well it was a good attention getter! At least you have that for you? Sorry it didn't work out. I haven't heard of a 3 line pitch either. Yikes! Good luck writing it!

  7. Sounds like a great story, failed pitch or no... I would love to pitch my book, but I can't summarize it into one paragraph, let alone a few lines.

    It hurts to even think about it.


    Aaaaanyway. You won an award on my blog, so if you accept awards, you can go check it out.

  8. I liked your pitch. Very. Much.
    Now, come help me up from the floor. I fell clean off my chair laughing after seeing your pics.
    *oh, my ribs*

  9. You guys are awesome! Thank you so much for coming here every week and being a part of my crazy life. Thank you for your encouragement and friendship.

    Rogue, I'll keep spinning the wheel and eventually random will be on my side. HOPE!

    VB and Anne, thank you!

    Rosie, I think your pitch is awesome! I only have one suggestion for your long first sentence.
    "On a dare Anabelle Lindsky sneaks into the restricted areas of the Mansion in search of Prince Marcus and attracts both his attention and the Queen's."

    Susan and Colene, you made me feel better that I wasn't the only one whose never heard of a 3-line pitch.

    Misha, thank you! I'm heading over to check it out. Good luck on fitting your novel into a paragraph. It's so hard, but we all have to suffer through it.

    Huntress, do you know you are one of my favorite people? Thanks!

    Oh, and cookies for everyone!

  10. Number one gets me the most. It's most clear. Suggested edit:
    If Talia Shannon can find a way to survive the invasion prophesied in her nightmares, 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.

  11. Wonderful advice. It's funny how things seem to happen before we know how respond and then once we learn, it's too late. Good luck to you though!

    Title: To Love An Irishman
    Genre: Historical Romance (1800s)
    Word Count: 46,000

    After the death of her father, Aveline Peyton is left with two choices: make profits on a farm in Ireland or succumb to life as a married woman. Unable to resist an urge to discover her mother's heritage, Aveline takes the journey overseas. Upon her arrival, Ciarán O'Devlin does not trust the Englishwoman, but yet he cannot resist the fire-haired beauty.

    Anyways, any input would be great. I have no idea if this is too little or too much info. This is my first 3-line pitch for this novel.

  12. Charity, I think it was a good attempt considering the short notice.

    I'm going to attempt my 3 line pitch and post back shortly.

    *bites fingernails* lol


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