My Word(s)! (Updated)

Oh, the endless contests. I entered a pitch-to-query contest/mentored workshop on Adventures in Children’s Publishing (judged by Sarah LaPolla). Now I’m working on the Market My Words: Pitch contest (judged by Mary Kole). The deadline is Sunday and I’m waiting to post because you only get one.

So the thing about these 140 character pitches is – I hate when all they do is tell me the story. I mean, that’s a great thing in itself because it’s an accomplishment. I got really great feedback on Betsy Lerner’s blog once from August (if you follow her blog, you’ll recognize all the regulars) about trying to tell too much of the real story. Like who precisely this person is and what exactly the book is about. Which, on the one hand, seems like the point. But honestly. Just being a participant and reading through a couple of those and you get seriously bored and start skimming. “When…, then….” might make sense for the back cover, but honestly, it doesn’t stand out, no matter how cool your novel’s concept.

So, while my first attempt for the Mary Kole contest managed the 140 characters without trying to describe the world and all, it didn’t thrill me.

When Avrilis saves the life of a boy who should have died, her unscripted behavior makes them the target of both the hunters and the rebels.

That’s just a serious yawn. Yeah, it tells the inciting event and hints at the fact that there’s a script and generally (for someone who knows the story) supports the genre description. But it’s not creative! I want the sentence structure itself and punctuation and every word to tell something!

Live. Repeat. Live. Repeat. Save a boy meant to die. Run from the hunters and suspect the rebels. Find the boy she (you?) loved before. Repeat?

Feel guilty and fraudulent because that totally doesn’t match the voice of the novel itself. But does it need to? I’m leaning towards the arguments I’ve heard that differentiate between the pitch, the query, and the book. The first two are meant to entice and seduce someone enough to want the third. Are they bound to the third in their attempt to do so? I think not. What about you?

Anyway. That’s the direction, I want…but it’s not the one. Back to work.

UPDATE: Live, repeat, live, repeat. Lonely Avrilis can do it again – or she can save a boy meant to die and run from the hunters til time runs out.

(That’s the one I entered. To read all the entries, click the link I gave at the beginning of the post!)

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9 thoughts on “My Word(s)! (Updated)

  1. I’m very tired after a long day of stupid meetings so if this makes no sense, forgive.

    I think the name of the protagonist is not important in a pitch since it tells nothing. Instead of “avrilis” you could say for example: “a sentient living a scripted life”. use the subject of the sentence to deliver some discription of the avrilis.

    example 131 characters including spaces— just for support and encouragement:

    A sentient living a scripted life jeopardizes her perfect destiny and becomes a target for extermination after she saves a boy meant to die.

    keep the brain juices flowing. Keep your pitch simple yet vibrant and you’ll succeed.

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    • Okay, yours is really cool! I’ll let you guys know what I end up submitting – I wrote about seven in thirty minutes after writing this post and then ran out of the house for the rest of the day. 🙂

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  2. I think you’re moving in the right direction. I’m not sure the pitch has to match the voice. Not that I really know anything. I’m a total pike in the publishing world. Not a clue.

    And good words from August? Nice work! That is not an easy feat.

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  3. Oh, God. I struggle with the couple of paragraphs in a query, I can’t imagine fitting it into a tweet.

    We should have a tweet-off for a pitch of a popular book (say 1984, Pride&Prejudice, or something else everyone is likely to have read)just for practice.

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  4. Pingback: Short and Disconcerting « Expatriate Games

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