Storyline: A single sentence pitch

I read something recently that I thought perhaps would make for a good topic for writers and bloggers alike.

Today I want to talk about the all-important storyline pitch. This is a type of pitch that is short, is pitched in a single sentence, and is used mostly at writer’s conferences.

I’ll bet you’re wondering; how could you possibly pitch your storyline in only one sentence? I wondered the same thing.

I trust that you’ve heard the phrase less is more for me that was a phrase I’ve never fully been able to take in without questioning it; because I’ve never been quite that good at trimming down my writing when it was necessary, but I digress.

At writers conferences agents are looking for authors who are confident and can explain their work neatly and quickly. One of the reasons why the single sentence storyline pitch is not only an important but a useful tool to an author is because it’s something that you can easily memorize and not stumble over when asked by an agent “What’s your story about?” Stumbling over your storyline is something that we all do when we’re asked what our story is about. It’s a nervous energy but if you can figure out how to pitch your storyline correctly that nervous energy will disappear and become a distant memory.

There are a few different tactics which can be used in creating a solid storyline pitch.

1 Think about your main character

Think about what your main character goes through in your story. What kind of disasters does your main character face?

2 Character motivation

Think about what motivates your main character in your story. What keeps your character going through times of great peril?

3 The biggest disaster; or most interesting disaster

What’s the biggest disaster that your main character goes through? What happens in that disaster?

Sometimes going for your biggest disaster doesn’t work. Why? Because it might not hook your reader or listener; often you’ll go for the most interesting and therefor most entertaining disaster because it has what you want your pitch to possess a hook.

4 Story goal

What is your main character’s story goal after going through disaster?

Think about what your main character must do to reach that story goal. What kind of trials and tribulations does your character have to go through to survive, or possibly become the hero their destined to be?

5 Always leave them wanting more

Above all remember to leave the reader or listener guessing.

What happens next? How does the character get out of the predicament he or she is in? Etc…

Also one of the best ways to figure out how to go about creating a decent storyline pitch is to checkout other authors pitches. By doing so this will give you your own ideas about how you want to go about writing your own pitch. Remember writing pitches is an art form that will take a lot of  practice and revising before you’ll come up with that one that you are proud of.

Keep this in mind when working on your pitch; don’t give out characters names unless necessary, make sure that there is emotive present, so that the person listening or reading cares for the character/the character’s situation, and stick to 25 words or less.

Storyline pitches are difficult but in the end you’ll be glad that you took the time to write it and memorize it; because it can eventually lead to a meeting with an agent.

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2 thoughts on “Storyline: A single sentence pitch

  1. This needs a bit of working on but for an idea how about…

    Angry man with camp ferret sidekick in toe must save the world from untrustworthy newspapers that are bringing about global warming by printing their lies.

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