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Writing the Perfect Pitch

I’ve been practicing my pitches for years in a variety of ways. From the twitter contests where pitches need to be condensed into 280 characters. To crafting elevator pitches or Loglines (the one line introduction that sums up the whole story). And of course the dazzling pitch that introduces the main character, conflict and stakes. All in a bid to hook that illusive agent or publisher’s attention, making them want to read more of your novel.

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I can tell you, it doesn’t get any easier. I still dread the question ‘what’s your book about?’ As writers we flounder and babble. We practice loglines in the mirror, and recite them while driving the car or doing laundry. Yet we always forget when the time comes to explain our work. Thankfully, written pitches can be drafted, edited and polished until they shine.

I think in times of crisis it’s the artists responsibility to dig a little deeper.

~ Bruce Pavitt.

One of the blessings that come from years of experience, is that I’m always learning new tips and tricks. And the latest come from working with the talented, enthusiastic and genuinely lovely editor Jeni Chappelle. I’d reached the point in my writing where I needed professional feedback to help me grow. And I can honestly say, Jeni has helped raise my game.

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And because I love my fellow creatives, I’m more than happy to share all I’ve gleaned with you. So, here is the format for creating the perfect pitch.

Paragraph 1: Introduce your Main Character. Set the story by revealing what they want (goal) before they embark on their journey, connecting to their deepest emotional wound. Remember to show what is standing in their way, both internally and externally?

Paragraph 2: Introduce the main conflict. Reveal how it affects them, and what drives them to get involved.

Paragraph 3: Show how the stakes are raised as the story progresses. Reveal 2-3 specific obstacles they will have to overcome to resolve the main conflict. End with an impossible dilemma, often phrased something like… They must choose to: (internal or external conflict) before: (raise the stakes and/or show consequences).

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Each paragraphs should be 100ish words each. If you’re showing both POVs in a query, (for example, in romance genre) then usually a dual POV query would include a full paragraph about each character (about 100 words each, give or take) and then a third paragraph showing how their individual stories tie together. Note: writing the pitch from the POV of the character first introduced in your MS, otherwise agents and editors will be confused and put off.

And there you have it, the perfect combination of character, conflict and stakes. Easy… right? Don’t worry if your struggling to perfect your pitch, you’re not alone. Besides, practice makes perfect. Do you have any tips to share? Or are you currently struggling with your pitch?

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Don’t forget to leave a comment and share your thoughts. You know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2020.


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A Writer’s Journey to Publishing

Sometimes it’s good to look back and establish how far we’ve come. To self evaluate our journey and see what we’ve learnt along the way. While some of you may be published, I am still working my way towards that goal. As are many of my Critique Partners. It’s important to know, that no matter where you are on the path, it is not the end goal that counts, its the lessons along the way.

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I heard a great mantra today: “Look how far you’ve come and not how far you have to go.” It put my writing journey into perspective. I’ve been writing seriously for the last five years. And in that time, I’ve made some wonderful writing friends through the blogging community. Working with them, I’ve watched their writing strengthen and flourish. And of course, they’ve helped me grow too.

Most of us have family and work commitments that need to be juggled alongside our writing. It’s no easy task, working on a dream that has yet to materialize. And yet we do it because it is our passion. Writing is in our blood. We see the world through a different filter. It’s in our essence to keep creating and to devour books in a bid to learn more, feel more, escape… just that little bit more.

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This year I drafted my fourth novel, rewrote my second novel ready for querying, and I’m about to start the next round of edits on my third. No project is ever complete, and no manuscript is ever really wasted. So don’t give up. Keep pursuing that goal, keeping dreaming the big dream and follow your heart.

Many of you may know K. M. Allan who released her debut novel Blackbirch: the beginning, and recently release the second in the series, Blackbirch: the Dark Half. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Kate and seeing her journey flourish. She works with dedication to bring her dream to life. She’s an inspiration, keeping me anchored to my own aspirations.

Whatever stage you’re at; drafting, editing, querying or publishing, the journey never stops. We keep climbing steps, overcoming hurdles and plowing ahead. Sometimes its good to stop. To appreciate how far you’ve come.

So take a look at your own journey, and remember to congratulate yourself on your hard work. You deserve it. You’ve created wonderful things with nothing more than hope and dedication.

Where are you on your journey? And what are you most proud of accomplishing. Please share your accomplishments with me… you know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2020.

Querying Agents: Should you Hire an Editor First?

So you’ve completed the first draft of your novel, edited it the to best of your abilities and now you’re ready to query. Maybe you’re further along than that – perhaps the rejections have started rolling in and you’re wondering if you should hire a professional. And here is the important question: Would hiring an editor help you get representation from an agent or perhaps even lead to becoming published?

After my recent one-to-one with an editor I’ve battled with this question. Some of the advice I received resonated with my gut instinct. Great. Whilst other parts I’ve debated with my betas, toyed with changes and generally procrastinated over. Who’s opinion should I trust more, someone in the industry for 20yrs or just little, blundering novice, me.

On Friday I attended a writing conference with a fellow blogger from Uninspired Writers and we had two agents from Greene & Heaton give us their opinion on the matter. Working with any professional can be a costly matter, which may well be outside of many writers grasp.

But a far more interesting point was; agents are used to working with writers who have a rough draft, it’s their job to know how to edit a manuscript to make it shine. Provided your MS is polished to it’s best and has no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. By implementing an editor’s changes you’re effectively adding a third persons subjectivity to the mix. You may end up editing out parts that the agent would have loved and add elements they hate.

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These points aligns with previous advice I’ve heard, which is, by working with an editor before submitting your manuscript, it is no longer authentically yours. Because it has been enhanced by someone else. The agents may well assume your work is up to scratch only to discover that it is not.

I think these pose an interesting conundrum. Who amongst us wouldn’t want to jump the queue and get ahead? But is that really benefiting us in the long haul. On the other hand, having areas in our manuscript highlighted as weak by an editor, critique partner or beta, especially if we had a niggling feeling it was, can only benefit us.

Remember advice is subjective, an agents preferences is subjective, heck this blog post is subjective.

Listen to that inner voice and have faith in your journey. If you want to work with an editor, do it and learn from it. If you’re struggling with someone’s feedback, because you believe those elements are integral to your story, listen to your gut instinct and leave them in your story.

You are the master creator of your world – in fiction and reality.

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Have you heard similar advice from professionals? Or have you worked with an editor and known in your heart their changes would help or hinder your story? If so, share them with me, you know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2019.
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