Some time again I outlined the overall necessity of whittling down your plot to one sentence, one paragraph, and two paragraph pitches so as to give your self a head begin on the actually 1000’s of instances you’re going to want to summarize your work over the course of a e book’s lifetime.
Today I need to zero in on the one sentence pitch for fiction and memoirs.
How to write a one sentence pitch
In earlier iterations of this submit, I’ve emphasised that a one sentence pitch will not be one thing that’s going to float or sink your e book.
That’s now altering considerably. In our present difficult market, I’m more and more seeing brokers ask for loglines and emphasizing that they’re trying for excessive idea plots.
I nonetheless stand by the essence of previous recommendation: Just as a result of your e book will not be simply distilled down to one sentence doesn’t imply you’re useless within the water. And you don’t essentially have to embrace a logline in a question letter. But the higher your one sentence pitch, the extra you’ll assist your odds.
The one sentence pitch is the core of all of the summarizing you’re going to do sooner or later. It’s the guts of your e book, whittled down to one sentence. It’s what you construct round when crafting longer pitches.
And there’s an artwork to it.
There are 4 primary parts in a good one sentence pitch:
The quest will be a bodily or inside journey, however it’s what occurs to the character(s) between the second when the plot begins and ends. The opening battle is step one in that quest. It’s how the journey begins. The impediment is what stands in the best way of that journey.
The ensuing very primary pitch is that this:
When INCITING INCIDENT occurs to CHARACTER(s), they’ve OVERCOME OBSTACLE to COMPLETE QUEST so as to/or else STAKES.
I do know Star Wars is a film and not a novel, however everybody’s conversant in the story so it makes for a simple instance. You can use the above framework thusly to arrive at a fairly stable one sentence pitch:
When younger moisture farmboy Luke Skywalker encounters a mysterious droid who shows a message from a princess in peril, he should study the mysterious methods of the Force and destroy a fearsome house station known as the Death Star so as to save the Galactic Rebellion.
There are a number of other ways of structuring these primary parts, and you don’t essentially want all 4 of them current if it makes the pitch unwieldy. But the extra the higher.
For occasion, within the above pitch I included the final word quest however not the stakes. If I wished, I may weave within the stakes as an alternative of the search like this:
When younger moisture farmboy Luke Skywalker encounters a mysterious droid who shows a message from a princess in peril, he should study the mysterious methods of the Force and destroy a fearsome house station known as the Death Star or else evil lord Darth Vader will rule the galaxy ceaselessly.
The key to a good pitch: specificity
The essential factor to bear in mind is that a good pitch is a particular description of what truly occurs in your novel.
It’s a one sentence description of the plot, not the theme.
So for occasion, in my pitch about Star Wars, I’m not emphasizing that it’s a “coming of age” story, although it’s one. “Coming of age” is a actually obscure theme that may apply to 1000’s of tales so it finally ends up telling us extraordinarily little about your novel. Those are fully wasted phrases in a one sentence pitch.
Instead, simply show that it’s a coming of age story by specializing in the specifics. When I say Luke Skywalker is a younger moisture farmboy who should study and do some difficult-sounding issues, it’s self-evident that it could possibly be thought of a coming of age story with out utilizing these literal phrases.
Push themes out of your thoughts. They’re simply not useful. They cease you from using your story specifics and the ensuing pitch inevitably finally ends up sounding generic.
pitch for the memoir Eat Pray Love will not be “A recently divorced woman searches for love and happiness.” That appears like, effectively, a million books revealed yearly. A greater pitch could be “A recently divorced woman travels to Italy for pleasure, India for spirituality, and Bali for balance, but she finds love instead.” That’s what truly occurs.
Vagueness will kill a one sentence pitch. Every single phrase counts. Tell us what truly occurs in your story, don’t zoom out to abstractions.
Once you’ve gotten the essence of your one sentence pitch down, strive to add a sprint of taste. Flesh out your pitch with key particulars that give a sense of the character of your novel (humorous, scary, intense, tragic, and many others.), which fits a good distance to giving a sense of your story’s distinctive character.
I attempted my greatest to stay by the philosophy I’ve detailed above for my Jacob Wonderbar one sentence pitch:
Three youngsters commerce a corndog for a spaceship, blast off into house, by accident break the universe, and have to discover their method again to their little avenue the place all the homes look the identical.
In addition to together with as many parts of the 4 parts as I may, I didn’t simply say “Three kids find a spaceship,” which is a true however flat/primary method of describing what occurs. Instead, I make the most of the (actually) flavorful plot level that they commerce a corndog for the spaceship to give a extra vivid sense that that is a wacky kids’s novel.
Again: Every phrase counts. Keep attempting to swap out what’s obscure for what’s particular. Then strive to swap out what’s particular for what’s flavorful.
Once you have got your one sentence pitch down pat, you’ll be able to construct off it and add extra element for your longer pitches, and the remainder of your descriptions will likely be gravy. On corndogs. Yum.
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Art: Paar im Gespräch by Simon Glücklich
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED May 20, 2010