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."
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.