Wendy's favorite quotes

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."— Dr. Seuss

Friday, May 6, 2011

My Successful Pitch

Hello awesome cyber-buddies! I'm thrilled to report that I got a request for a partial this weekend for COYOTE DREAMS! Yay! Would you like to hear my pitch? This is how it went...

After she smiled and shook my hand, she said, "so tell me about your story."
My pitch:

It's a coming of age story about sixteen-year-old Jenna who lives on the Sho-Ban reservation near Pocatello, Idaho. After her father has a near fatal accident, she has to run the family farm alone. But the dog that caused the accident is still harassing and killing her animals. This is no ordinary dog, but the fabled Coyote spirit.

Two neighbor boys, a farm boy and an Indian, offer to help, but their interest develops into something more than friendship. Jenna finds their attention both exciting and unsettling at the same time.

As the problems on the farm and the Coyote's attacks increase, she learns that accepting help is not weakness or failure. But when the Coyote goes after her little brother, she has to overcome her fears to save both their lives.

Coyote Dreams is 74,000 words and is similar to HATTIE BIG SKY, but with native mysticism and modern day characters.

Do you have any questions about my story?
The first thing she said was, "wow, that's a really good pitch. It sounded like the back of a book." Then she asked some questions and it ended with a partial request.
The reason why I'm posting this is because everywhere I turn people are saying shorter! Shorter! make it a one liner! Last year I did what they said and hacked at my poor query until it was something like this:
"After Jenna's father has a near-fatal accident, she must run the farm alone, but the dog which caused the accident is around and killing her animals. But this is not ordinary dog, it's the fabled Coyote."
The editor said, "so it's a horror then?" 
Um, no. Not even close.
I was so worried about getting it short, I'd lost the feel of what my story was about. This year I trusted my gut, listened to Elana Johnson on how to write an awesome query, and then followed the advice at Pitch University. And this time, I feel that regardless of what comes of this, I gave her a true look at what my story was really about.

***Update! I learned that your one liner/elevator pitch doesn't have to sum up the story, it can be a simple comparison to give the reader a feel for your story. For instance, my one liner for COYOTE DREAMS could be, "It's a contemporary coming of age story with Toni Hillerman aspects." Tada! Now you know it has some Native feel aspects but you also know it is a coming of age. I love learning new things!
Would you like to hear one more cool moment from this weekend? My boot camp instructor, Sheralyn Pratt said, "your writing is like the Mississippi; it's smooth and deep. It flows and takes you on this journey."
I'm going to write that one down in my journal. I'm still thankful that she said that about my story.


Vero said...

Wow, this is so cool! Congratulations, Wendy!!

Wendy Swore said...

Thanks, Vero!

Mike Keyton said...

Again, well done, Wendy. I dread to think what your camp boot - I mean boot camp instructor would have to say about my writing: Your writing is like a farmer's ditch, a thin muddy trickle that goes no where in particular and then disappears :)

Michelle Teacress said...

I saw you at storymakers and wish we had time to chat. I was thrilled for your 1st chapter win, too.
Thank you for sharing how your pitch went. I felt like a fly on the wall reading that. :)

Kimberly said...

I struggled in the exact same way, you've expressed it so well! Congrats on your partial and I hope it becomes a full very soon!

Donna K. Weaver said...

That's awesome, Wendy!

Lacie Myers said...

I met you at Storymakers this year. I ate lunch with you and two other young women, and you practiced this pitch on us. It was great! Like I told you at the conference--I hope your book gets published. I'd love to read it!

Susan said...

that sounds fabulous. I can see that posted verbatim in School Library Journal and everyone scrambling to buy it.