On Saturday I went to an amazing writing workshop with multi-published, award winning author Shelley Bates called “The Dread-Free Synopsis.” My head is still spinning. The woman is a master at getting you to dig deep. My plot’s been spinning in my head like a crazed lp ready to launch into the air one moment like a deranged flying saucer and sputtering to a stop the next leaving a scratching needle-on-vinyl sound reverberating through my bones. I’ve hardly slept as questions keep floating up in my mind: What if I said this? What if I said that? How do I get the emotion across? …my love for the characters? …the heroine’s wicked sense of humor? Phew. This is hard work.
Anyway, one of the (many) big points I took away from the session is the idea of starting small. That is, instead of directly writing the dreaded synopsis I’m working on the pitch and back blurb.
Sounds like a great idea, but believe me it’s easier said than done. Pitch…back…blurb…three words that require an immense amount of work to get right.
Here are my first attempts at a pitch:
a) Using Nathan Bransford’s method:
When the severed finger of her fence is delivered to her door, covert CIA agent Sadie Stewart has to maintain her cover as a fashion model and hold off the amorous attention of the man she’s falling in love long enough to stop a power hungry arms dealer from stealing an ancient Egyptian artifact from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
b) Using Michael Hauge’s method:
When Sadie Stewart, international model by day and covert CIA operative by night, faces off against an arms dealer with an insatiable lust for power, she decides to risk everything. But when a severed finger is delivered to her door she knows she must get closer to the man in order to stop him from stealing an ancient Egyptian artifact from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Closer, despite the fact she’s falling in love with another man.
Where does that leave me?
1. I really really really wish the first twist point didn’t involve a severed finger because it sounds icky in a blurb. lol I’ll remember this experience the next time I outline a story.
2. I’ve read the pitches over so many times I don’t even know if they make sense anymore.
3. I have this sinking feeling that I’m leaving out too much of the beautiful guts of the story.
On another note:
My critique partner JC has suggested that I name my next story: Fifty Shades of Lay (because of my difficulty with the darned verb). lol
Any comments on my pitches? Any pitches of your own? Have you been sleeping lately?