Thursday, January 08, 2009

Whip cracking

Working on: Chapter 7 of RBTR
Listening to: My Heart was Home Again - Josh Groban
Reading: The Last Champion, Deborah Hale

My CP is definitely cracking her whip, so this isn't a very long post. I am enjoying writing again which is a blessing. This book isn't what I'd call "easy", but it's not making me pull my hair out either so I still hold a lot of affection for it. It is going cautiously well, and I do think the break I took over the holidays was beneficial in refilling the well and also making me forget certain pains and regaining some confidence. As hard as the novella was, I did learn things. One being that even when it's really really hard, I can pull it out of the fire. I'm not sure I'd like to be such a student again for a while, but there are positives.

I've put on my Josh Groban, which instantly transports me into the spirit of the WIP so that is good as well.

And I did want to remind you that my newsletter contest is still ongoing as well as the PITCH CONTEST for aspiring authors. I have had several entries but I'm looking for several more. If you missed the initial post, it's HERE. The deadline is Jan 31 and I'm open to all forms of romance.

Wow. Got up to sun and mild temperatures, and just looked out the window to see a band of ominous grey hurrying across the sky. Better batten down the hatches, it looks like cooler air and snow on the way....

***in answer to Joanne's comment about what a pitch is, I decided to go to the master- that being Donald Maass in his book The Career Novelist.

Maass has summarized like this:

The key to a good summary is distilling the essence of your story. What would you tell me about your plot if you had only one minute in which to pitch? There is your focus. Build your pitch around that core. If you are still having trouble getting a handle on it, go back to the first three questions I listed above:

1. Where is your story set?

2. Who is your hero or heroine?

3. What is the main problem they must overcome?

That's all. Hook me in a few short paragraphs about who, where, and the big issue. What I want is to be hooked, intrigued. Answer Blake Snyder's "Save the Cat" question - What's it about?

If you want to practice, take a book you just read and summarize it in this way. Then see if you can do the same for your own story.

If you want examples of pitches both good and bad, go to the BookEnds Agency blog written by Jessica Faust. Her posts at the end of the year are very informative. Just before the holidays she had an online pitch day and afterwards she critiqued some of the pitches.

I hope that helps Joanne and any one else interested!


  1. Hi Donna,

    I was wondering what exactly a pitch is? Is it a couple of paragraphs that sum up the story? Kind of like an extended blurb or would it be just the blurb and maybe a para about the characters?

    I don' want to send too much ... or too little!


  2. Thanks for the your direction to examples on pitches. It was so helpful to see Jessica's comments on the pitches that were posted.

    Thanks again.