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  • August 2010
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The One Line Pitch

Being a new author, or rather completing my first book, I thought the hard work was complete after finishing the writing. I thought, Man, this feels good, now all I have to do is get it published. That is a whole animal in and of itself, but what I didn’t realize is that I needed to condense it, make it marketable.

One night my wife and I had a few friends over for dinner and drinks. She had told all her friends about me completing a novel and everyone was so astounded and excited to hear about it. Then, I got the dreaded question; “What’s it about?” I cringed; I clammed up, and said, “Uh, well, it’s rather difficult to explain.” Dull! Loser! I just failed miserably at selling to people of whom I was certain would buy.

Finishing the novel was not the hardest part. Now, I have to condense my story into one sentence, a paragraph, and a two paragraph paraphrase. Kill me! The actual writing took me about a month and a half to complete. I trudged and wrote until my fingers bled, and now, I have to write a ONE sentence pitch? I’d rather jump from an airplane, thank you.

Then, when I thought all hope was lost in the wind, I came across a very helpful article by a literary agent, Nathan Bransford, who explained how important it is to condense your story to make it interesting and marketable. If only I had read it prior to my get together, I wouldn’t have this nasty scar on my wrist.

Here’s my attempt for LETTERS TO A DANDELION:

One Line Sentence Pitch: Two children witness a murder and stumble upon a box of letters written by the murderer’s wife that alter their future by truth.

One Paragraph Pitch: Marie Eckers, the wife of a murderer, was diagnosed with lung cancer. In her final days, she writes letters to log and memoir her life, when it falls into the hands of two boys after they witnessed her husband’s act. As the truth unfolds, Dax Sheppard takes on a quest to rid himself of the past and create a new by following specific instructions from those letters. His childhood friend, Chris Lonestine, embarks on a fuller future as a US Marshal in hopes to bandage a lifetime of heartache for not stopping one crime as a child when he had the chance.

Two Paragraph Pitch: Struggling from a broken childhood, Dax Sheppard and Chris Lonestine witness an act so terrible, their impending lives can never veer from. To Chris’s most demanding opposition, Dax enters the home of the murderer to confront him to where he finds letters written by a loving hand, while involving Emily Strickland, the two’s school crush.

As the two grow apart, Chris pairs up with US Marshal Melissa Easton and Dax moves about in a psychological delusion, powered by the words from the murderer’s wife. After a bank robbery, the three are forced to confront their past as their normal, present lives come crashing to a halt when they realize they are chasing the one man of who is committing those insane acts, Dax Sheppard.

This took me a week to write, no kidding, and I still don’t like it. But, if there are authors out there now with a new book idea, might I suggest starting this first. Get the idea out in one sentence, then formulate from that into one paragraph, and then two. From there, work the idea into a synopsis, or a short story, and then it will morph into a whole book. Granted, this is only one way of writing a book – everyone has their own way – but this will certainly be a test of mine for my next one.

Again, writing a pitch (for me, anyway) was harder than the actual writing, but it is very important. Good luck and keep writing!

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