So the other day I had this brilliant idea: instead of writing a book and then trying to come up with a good pitch for it – why not write excellent pitches first and then write books based on the pitches. That way, when you’re done writing and are all up in the craw of the story, unable to sort the essentials from the superfluous anymore, you’ll already have a great pitch written. I was thinking of nominating myself for some kind of writing genius award until my writer friend told me that that’s actually how most screen writers work. Pitch first, write later. Damn. So no awards to me and my late to the party ideas. Whatever. So I spent my weekend writing pitches for books I haven’t written yet. And then I wrote a pitch for the book I haven’t finished. And then I wrote the pitch for the book I already wrote. The one that’s killing me slowly.
I was going to put all of them here. Now I’m wondering if I need to be paranoid and not share in case my ideas get stolen? That’s not really my way, however. I was thinking I wanted to know which story to develop later. And also show that my pitch for Cricket and Grey doesn’t suck as much as it used to. I keep having to go and read chapters from the book to convince myself it’s not complete shit. It’s not. Really, it’s a good book. I have to keep reminding myself that not everyone is going to love it, or even like it. That’s how it is. Fact.
So here, then, are some pitches. I’ll tell you what, these are some fairly distinctive ideas and if you write a book based on them, I’m going to know. Others who read this post will also know. So don’t be bastards. Okay? These are my pitches:
BABY GIRL SIX Pitch:
Baby Girl Six’s whole life has been like a twisted reenactment of Little House on the Prairie. Born to a family of fourteen kids in the woods outside of town with no modern conveniences, endless hard work, and assiduous devotion to scriptures, she has seen the rest of the world from the window of her father’s truck and monthly visits to the downtown stores. On her twentieth birthday she has only one wish: to leave her family compound and never come back.
She leaves with everything she owns wrapped in an old sheet and comes to town to forge a new life with running water, free thought, and possibilities. The only problem is she has no social security number, no birth certificate, no identification of any kind. She doesn’t, in fact, even know her real name. Without her parents’ help she can’t prove her citizenship but they won’t help her become part of a system they believe is evil.
Her upbringing made her resourceful and scrappy but nothing has prepared her for life on the streets.
THE QUIET LIBRARIAN Pitch:
Lydia, a shy librarian, is settling into the Victorian duplex she just bought, realizing a lifelong dream. One night she comes home to find a man living in her house that she’s never met before who claims he has a deed to the duplex and won’t leave claiming that her deed is fake and she is the one who has to move out. Before she can get a lawyer to untangle the legal mess, someone tries to strangle her in her sleep and her attacker is scared off by her hostile roommate. Now she’ll have to trust him if she wants to live long enough to kick him out.
THE WINTER ROOM pitch:
After being raped and beaten by her mother’s boyfriend when she was thirteen Jane Bauer left home to live with her best friend Tim and his family, determined to rebuild her life and move on from her terrifying experience. Aside from Jane’s inability to sustain a relationship due to a crippling inability to have sex without becoming violently sick, she has built a quietly fulfilling life for herself in which she feels safe.
But when her mother Pat resurfaces thirteen years later with the news that she’s dying of cancer Jane finds out she’s still living with the boyfriend who almost destroyed her life. Jane refuses to see Pat who begins harassing her with pleading phone calls to let her back into Jane’s life. In desperation to make her mother and the past go away Jane threatens to report her rapist to the police, something she’s come to realize she should have done years ago.
Now her childhood rapist is circling around for a second act and this time he wants to take more than her body, he wants to take her voice.
Lastly, and with great sweat and tears… here’s the latest CRICKET AND GREY pitch:
Cricket thinks the worst thing her day will bring is the burial of her father, leaving her alone in the world. She’s a scrappy fiercely independent apothecary just getting by at the end of the twenty first century in a poor isolated town. And she’s wrong. The day brings much worse than a burial. It brings a complete change in life as she knows it with the discovery that her parents led a double life as smugglers of medical supplies and her father left behind years of unpaid property taxes the feds are now demanding in full. If she can’t raise the money by the deadline she’ll lose her property and her livelihood with it.
In desperation she takes a job with the local Mormon crime boss as an armed guard. She thinks all she has to do is earn enough money to pay off her property taxes and she can move on with her mourning and the rest of her life. She doesn’t think she needs anyone’s help solving her problems. She’s wrong.
Her father’s death has uncovered more than unpaid taxes, it has uncovered the shocking truth about her mother’s murder three years ago making Cricket the next target of her mother’s murderer. If she wants to live long enough to pay off her taxes she’ll have to learn to trust those who want to help her and make peace with her parents’ duplicity.
The last one is a completely finished novel whose pitch I’ve been working at for months now. The Winter Room is an incomplete novel. The other two are just bald pitches. If you could choose which book I work on next, which one are you most interested in reading? Please leave a comment and tell me. I really want to know.