If you’ve been following me for a while now, then you probably know than am looking for an agent for my debut novel, Guardian of the Cursed Crown.
One of the important elements I need to accomplish this is an intriguing pitch.
If you’re wondering what a pitch is, then just turn around any book or dvd case and you’ll get a good example.
A pitch is like a more fleshed out version of a blurb, describing a book in a couple sentences in a way the catches the attention of agents and readers.
Sometimes the words pitch and blurb are used interchangeably, but I’m not so sure they’re the same thing.
The Elements of a Good Pitch
A good pitch points out the key elements of a story without revealing too much. It can’t be too wordy.
Of course, you can’t reveal the ending, but you don’t want to mislead what the story is about either. Explain the main plot and the conflict.
Don’t include too many details else the reader will get confused. And a confused reader won’t even bother to read at all (not good).
I’ve heard some say that the only name mentioned should be the main character, while others recommend that it shouldn’t even name any characters at all. While I’m no expert, I’m not so sure about that.
But if you’re including the names of characters, make sure it’s on a need-to-know basis.
So how does my pitch hold up to these rules?
I posted it on a forum over at Goodreads to find out, and a couple members were gracious enough provide some feedback. If you haven’t read it yet, click here to check it out (I’ll leave it up until my next post).
You can see that it makes lots of mistakes, and that could contribute to the reason I haven’t found an agent yet (either that or my writing just simply sucks).
As pointed out by MC at Goodreads, it brings up more questions than necessary, causing confusion.
What happened to Gwen? Why did Larsen lose his kingdom? Was it because of Gwen? Was she buried alive? Is Larsen the Sun-God Warrior?
I also introduced 4 characters (Larsen, Gwen, Malik, and thug), a tribe of warriors, and a mysterious gift. The feedback I got was that it was too many characters and it’s hard to connect with any of them.
I honestly thought I aced my pitch, but it still needed a lot of work.
So I pulled out my tools (the thinking ones) and revised.
Here’s my new pitch:
King Larsen’s entire world shatters when his beloved queen Gwen becomes infected with an unknown illness and dies. Unable to let her go, he loses his will to rule and his kingdom is overthrown. A year passes, Larsen never recovers from his despair and lives as a vagabond close to Gwen’s grave.
When he learns that Gwen never actually died, that her illness only suspends life and a cure is possible by carrying her to the ruinous ends of Desanorbis, he becomes filled with hope again. But Desanorbis is not a welcoming place, and the journey is filled with many who block his way.
The king’s men have been searching for him ever since he was banished from his city. On seeing him, they don’t hesitate to carry out their orders: apprehend on sight, kill if necessary.
Mistaking Larsen for a legend, a tribe of savage creatures go on a rampage. They will kill everyone, they will devour everyone, and their ultimate prize is the flesh of the mighty warrior.
The Slain King, guardian of the ruins, was raised from the dead to ensure that no one passes. Not even an army of thousands has ever been able to defeat it.
Determined to confront them all, Larsen takes Gwen from her grave and rides to the end of Desanorbis driven with the desire to see her live again.
So what do you think of my new pitch? What do you think of the rules I outlined? And what pitch or blurb intrigued you? Let me know in the comments.
Ah, the pitch. My first attempts were so woeful I haven’t the heart to share. I’ve been practicing perfecting my own. I found a great tutorial that helps narrow my focus so I avoid introducing too many characters/plot lines.
The opening paragraphs do a great job setting up the main character, his conflict and his quest, though I am curious about who overthrew his kingdom (the antagonist? Long lost brother?) It seems to have an impact on his quest due to the new king’s men hunting for him. Also, was the character who overthrew the kingdom responsible for Gwen’s ‘death’? Did he/she do this to get Larsen out of the way?
The rest of the pitch introduces too many elements that appear to be loosely related, but present too many questions. You could probably omit the bits about the tribe and Slain King. They don’t add anything to the pitch. I assume the Slain King is at Desanorbis, so introducing him by name may be unnecessary. You could mention that Desanorbis is guarded by a cursed creature in the second paragraph.
That is my humble two cents.
Great points, Serena. It sounds like I should just focus on the main plot: getting Gwen to Desanorbis so she can be cured. Your two cents are worth a lot around here.
Glad I could help. 🙂
I think that you can stop at the second para. and end by saying ‘read all about King Larsen’s adventures in his attempts to save his beloved queen.’
You could be right. Thanks.