Tag: pitch writing

Pick Your Favorite Pitch

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’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.


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.


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.

An Agony of Pitches: #2 (The Angry Parody Romance Pitch)

As promised, here is my novel pitched as a romance.  But it’s being pitched from a place of bitter anger and frustration and is not a real pitch.  This is not at all reflective of the tone of my book.  If it was, my book might actually be much better than it is.  I’m considering changing the whole thing into a parody wherein I hate my main characters because they’re all just stupid dip-shits and being stereotypical and ordinary.  it would be so easy to pitch that.  Have a look:

The Angry Parody Romance Pitch of Cricket and Grey:

Cricket Winters like all redheads in the entire world has a hot temper and like all heroines is independent to a fault.  She doesn’t need anyone.  So when her father (who she obviously worships because he’s also a fiery redheaded troublemaker) dies and she discovers that he’s been keeping secrets from her about her mother’s unsolved murder (her mother was also a redhead, but lacked an imprudently hot temper, which may actually explain how come she got killed, but not even the author can say for sure) Cricket becomes disillusioned and angry.  Grey Bonneville, a totally hot Scottish guy who doesn’t look anything like Justin Bieber and has a steady nature (because that’s the only kind you can pair up with fiery redheads – cause every redhead needs someone to “tame” them because their tempers are evidence of an inherently feral nature) shows up to look after her at her own father’s request.  This obviously enrages Cricket who can fight and shoot better than Grey can, so what the fuck makes him such a great protector?

Meanwhile, Cricket does a lot of angry gesticulating and pacing, as all important heroines do rather than lean on friends and family or, worst of all, allow themselves to lean on a MAN who might become an irritating beau, and realizes that her parents were both lying douche bags whose secrets have now put her in the unenviable position of being stalked by a person intent on annihilating her for what she’s discovered about her mother’s murder.  She’s scared, even though she’ll never admit it, because she’s pretty stupid that way.  Plus, her father hasn’t paid property taxes for over three years.  Between the burial expenses and the property taxes, her property is at risk of being seized which threatens her livelihood.  It just so happens that this is the end of the twenty first century and there’s no civilian access to oil so no one drives cars and Cricket’s town is devoid of money or work and she’s broke as shit because she’s compensated for her apothecary work more often than not with eggs, firewood, or braces of birds instead of cash.  She’s so fucked!

Even though her best friend Julie and Julie’s really pious brother Tommy who, though it’s a mystery why, Cricket used to be in love with, offer to help her pay off her taxes which any normal person would have been thankful for seeing as it would solve some of her problems.  But heroines in general, and redheaded ones in particular, are a very tetchy lot and like to make their lives as difficult as possible.  Just to complicate things she finds herself witlessly attracted to Grey who she’s convinced is a lying sack of shit like her parents, and the fact that the FBI think he’s a smuggler lends weight to her tendency to think him a pretty annoying person.  The fact that the FBI also think her father was a smuggler adds to her general sense that the entire world is just full of criminal douche bags.

She has lots of choices but decides to make some money working as an armed guard for the local crime boss Malakai Jeffers, escorting his underaged niece to be delivered to her prospective creepy old man fiancé in Portland.  This is a dangerous job since it must be done with horses on a road full of ruffians that hasn’t had maintenance work done on it for at least thirty years.  She’s livid when she discovers that Grey is working the same job!  He really is a liar!  Which vindicates her sense of righteous anger, dampened only slightly by Grey pointing out that she is now doing morally questionable work herself.  Lots of things happen but most importantly, while shooting each other up, they find love and then come face to face with the bastard who snuffed her mother.

Pretty catchy, right?

Except that if I was really going to write a romance I would never make my heroine an independent feisty wild redhead.  That cliche sailed generations ago.  I would have to constantly vomit it’s so stupid.  Though I did write a redhead with a temper who gets in fistfights.

So fuck you, Angelina.

But that was before I knew I was writing a romance.

I could change her into a mealy-mouthed mousy girl.  That would be a refreshing new take.

That’s right.  I want to abuse my characters because I’m upset with myself.

I’ve already decided that the only way to make this something non-romantic is to have Cricket kill him.  I think I’ll make Tommy turn out to be an abusive bastard to Rebecca too.  While I’m at it I may as well make Cricket’s dad turn out to be her mother’s real murderer.

My most brilliant realization through all this is that next time I can write the pitch first and then write the book, being very careful to stick to the pitch.  Then when I’m done with the book I won’t have to go through this brain-crushing process.  I’m going to go write a few pitches for books I haven’t written and just start over.

Important message: I’m spewing because I’m frustrated.  I’m being hateful and mean and vile.  Take me literally at your own risk.  I’m venting, not giving you the oracle of truth to Angelina’s life.  Take it all with a grain or two of salt.  Or crack, if you prefer.  I’m in a black and horrid mood an fighting off tears every second and contemplating vacuuming because that sounds like fun.  None of this should be so hard.  I think the fact that I think it’s like pulling intestines out of live cats is a real testament to my unstable nature and a reminder that I’m NOT A FUN PERSON.