Friday, September 3, 2010

Fine Tuning Your One-Sentence Pitch

Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of blog contests that involve crafting a one-sentence pitch for your novel. We even had one here! Writing one of these is a challenging process, and you can find lots of how-to’s in the online writing community. But until yesterday, I’d never entered one of these contests.

After the mad scramble to get my entry in, I read through the other pitches. What I noticed:

1. If a one-line summary is too general, it doesn’t capture my interest. It needs some specific details about the conflict or story characters. But too much detail makes it hard to read. I try to avoid long explanatory phrases or multi-hyphenated descriptions.

2. It gives you an idea of the kinds of stories other people are writing. If you were writing in a popular genre, e.g. a YA paranormal, your own summary would really have to sizzle. Some summaries stand out just because they reflect a different type of story.

3. My own one-sentence summary could use some fine tuning. In the company of others, it was easier to see where it didn’t read quite right, or where it needed a bit of clarification or a little spark. This is the hardest part – trying to give it a little bit of sparkle when it’s so short!

-- Andrea


  1. The little bit of sparkle in such a short amount of space is what trips me up, too.

    Totally agree with you on the making paranormal sizzle. Seems like that's a hot genre lately.

  2. So totally true about these contests! I realized how my elevator pitch looked in the middle of everyone else's! Nice to see what others are writing, too.

  3. I learn so much from reading other people's pitch sentences. Plus it's a lot of fun. I'd make a terrible agent because I'd request about 50% of what got pitched to me.


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