A Revised Pitch and Blog Hop

by RS on November 5, 2012

My intention wasn’t to be quiet for so long, but I am back for the remaining two months of 2102.

I have joined a blog hop that Heather Webb is hosting and that’s part of a contest on how to pitch. For the next two days, participants will post a three sentence pitch on their respective blogs, and from there we’ll hop-a-long from blog to blog and offer feedback to tighten the pitch. On November 7th, we’ll send Heather our much improved pitches, and she’ll determine who wins a critique from her, but also who gets to have the first ten pages read by Michelle Brower, an agent at Folio Literary Management.

Without more ado, here is my pitch:

Marxist Corinne Sand’s colleagues at Julius don’t respect her. Her lover Jake, the magazine’s editor, dismisses all her story pitches; and she is haunted by the spirit of Alvah Bessie, one of the Hollywood Ten blacklisted screenwriters, who offers unsolicited advice and a shoulder to cry on. It doesn’t get any easier for Corinne when she becomes the target of a vicious conservative blogger who gets Homeland Security and the FBI involved after she publishes the short story “Marxist Intifada” penned by the ghostly Alvah under a pseudonym. The situation becomes graver for Corinne when she recognizes the paranoia of the Red Scare era is alive in the 21st century, and she’s forced to make a choice: fight for her first amendment rights or go into exile.

 

8 comments
TeralynPilgrim
TeralynPilgrim

I really like Jennifer Lynking's rewrite. Before, the pitch felt like a list of facts instead of a story and I had trouble understanding what the plot was about. Her rewrite gives me a feel for the character's goals and conflict. I'm just guessing, but it seems like the last sentence in your pitch is the most important, so those facts should come first. I also like that Jennifer included the ghost without making it feel like too much.

jenniferlynking1
jenniferlynking1

Corinne Sand’s Marxist views have always caused trouble at her conservative magazine job, but when the ghost of ____ haunts her and she publishes ___, her problems multiply. She becomes the target of a vicious conservative blogger who gets Homeland Security and the FBI involved after she pseudonymously publishes the short story “Marxist Intifada” originally penned by Alvah. ... last sentence.

 

My take on your story pitch. I think you're really close! I do think the ghost is important, and you can include it in the pitch, but you need to pare down on the other elements. Great job!

cindydwyer70
cindydwyer70

Hi Rebeca! I didn't know about the contest until I saw your post. What a fun idea!

 

Although your pitch definitely provides a great summary of your story, I think you have so much information that it might be hard for an agent to take it all in. Heather's re-write is better than anything I could do, but I also wonder if the section "The situation becomes graver for Corinne when she recognizes the paranoia of the Red Scare era is alive in the 21st century" is needed? I think that's already implied in the pitch.

 

Just something for you to consider as you try to tighten it up.

GB_Skye
GB_Skye

Wow, this one is tough because I love the ghost idea--it's really unique!  But I also think Heather's rewrite is great and that your original pitch is too long.

 

I think overall, though, that I agree with Heather: trim things down for the three sentence pitch, and add the ghost back in for the query, where you have a bit more room.  :-)

 

Love the premise!

msheatherwebb
msheatherwebb

Your novel sounds fascinating, Rebecca. A couple of quick things on your pitch. Start by condensing the story elements and trim it down to three sentences. I've snipped yours a bit, though it's still bulky. I also eliminated the ghost element. If it's absolutely central to the plot, bring it back in, otherwise let that be one of the fun tidbits that pops up in either the query or a back cover copy where you have more space to explain what's going on.

 

Corinne Sand’s colleagues at Julius don’t respect her Marxist views and neither does her lover Jake, who dismisses all her story pitches at the magazine. To worsen matters, Corinne becomes the target of a hostile blogger—a conservative who manages to involve Homeland Security and the FBI after she publishes the short story “Marxist Intifada” under a pseudonym. As Corinne discovers the paranoia of the Red Scare era is alive in the 21st century, she is forced to make a choice: fight for her first amendment rights or go into exile.

 

Good luck with this. :) Thanks for participating!

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