Okay, so yesterday I worked out yet another attempt at my elevator pitch for Symbiosis.
Kali meets her destiny in a convenience store parking lot. After that it’s all downhill until she figures out who she is and the role she plays. Will she become predator or remain prey? In a primordial realm setting, her choice means life or death for humanity. The line she walks, and cannot cross, is one that determines the nature of her heart.
I thought it was good. There I was, humming my happy writer tune in my head as I posted it to my blog. Yeah, you know the tune – the one you hum when you’ve done something you think is inordinately magnificent. No? Well, I have an internal narrator as well as an internal critic and this time the narrator had the floor.
Whack! A most abrasive, abrupt, comment posted to my blog. Well, okay, it wasn’t really all those things…just felt that way.
It’s too vague. The problem is after “Kali” and “Convenience store parking lot”, your blurb could mean anything and apply to any story. Hell, take out “primordial realm” and this could be about Harry Potter.
The pitch needs to center around, “What is this story about?” in the most concrete sense of the question. Reserve, at the most, once sentence to talk about themes.
So, what is this story about?
WTF? I didn’t know it yet, but I’d just been ‘pitch-slapped’.
It took me by such surprise. All I could do was lie there with my face in the sidewalk and consider my next move.
Got up and struck back with a new and improved, even more fantastic pitch.
It is ‘about’ her choice and the internal struggle she faces while making it. And it’s about her coming to terms with what she is and her journey to learn the ropes of that new life.
That’s not a story. That’s a theme. What’s the story about? What’s the plot? What happens?
Back on the ground again. Needless to say, the happy writer tune had come to an abrupt halt. Now the soundtrack was ‘Jaws’.
I had better get up and come back with something better than I’d delivered the first two times.
So I tried a different tack.
She is kidnapped first, by someone she thinks is the devil. This person becomes her mentor because he in reality is working against the dark side and needs her to help. She undergoes a quickening brought on by a sacrifice she participates in. After that she can’t go back to her ordinary world because she can’t ‘see’ ordinary anymore.
And this time it really was better.
Now it’s getting interesting. ^ Use that.
The happy writer tune is still not blaring again, though. I’m going to have to do more work still before I crank up the volume and start skipping down the sidewalk again. And when I post the next attempt, I’ll be prepared to duck!
I’m just kidding. Actually, being pitch-slapped helped me to understand what a pitch should contain.
It did take me by surprise, but after it was all done I thought the exchange very educational.
You might be inclined to let yourself try it. Nothing like getting slapped around a bit to shake loose the goods.
Thank you CanaryTheFirst! (Yeah, I was pitch-slapped and thrown down by a canary.)
Here is the article series in which we discuss what works and what doesn’t:http://thecanaryreview.com/editorials/pitch-slaps/
And this is a direct link to more information about our editing services:http://thecanaryreview.com/editing-services/
We tend to ballpark it at 5$ per pitch commission.