Saturday, January 30, 2010

How Not To Write A Pitch

The verdict's in - my pitch sucked big-time. (Of course, Donna Alward never insinuated this.) Didn't make Top 11 let alone Top 5. So what did I do wrong - boy, where do I start?

Lesson 1. Do not make your pitch too long.
This is me we're talking about - difficulty writing short and succinctly. Whether it's writing fiction or writing progress notes at work. Same problem, different context.

Lesson 2. If you have a hook such as a Marriage of Convenience, make sure you make the need for said MoC personal.
For instance, my hero needs a MoC to convince the board members he should be elected next CEO of the family business. They're old-fashioned and don't like his playboy reputation so have doubts about him being focused enough, dependable and responsible to take over the helm.
This is not enough - why should his personal relationships have anything to do with his professional capabilities? No, what my hero needs is a more personal reason for the MoC.

Lesson 3. Ensure you include why the heroine would fall in love with the hero - and make sure the reasons tie into the story. Being caring, passionate and believing in the heroine is not enough.

Fortunately, the lovely and generous Donna Alward had some extremely helpful suggestions on how to tighten the hook and the story. She was very encouraging.

But I must admit, bombing out with my pitch brought me back down to earth with a thud of the meteoric kind. After all the rumenating and planning and brainstorming, it was discouraging to realise how weak the motivation for the MoC still is.

I feel like I'm trying to make my characters fit into boxes by manufacturing reasons why they need this MoC. And by doing so, I've lost sight of my characters, what they want, and why I even wanted to write this story in the first place.

I'm mulling over the possibility of going back and starting from scratch. At the begining, there was no MoC in sight. Fake fiancee for a month did not have high enough stakes, according to my writing teacher. Let's up the stakes - how about a MoC for six months?

And after struggling with this story for months and months and months, getting lost in the reams of notes on my characters, their conflict, and the story, I'm considering doing something I never said I would do....give up completing the ms.

The process has been so messy, the writing has stalled on a number of occasions as aspects of the story feel 'off'. I long for the freedom of writing a shitty and fast first draft. Not trying to strive for perfection in the first three chapters before I continue with the story.

Unfortunately, I need to continue with the story the way I have been for the purpose of my writing course. I need to submit a third chapter, a love scene, a synopsis and a query letter. Which seems like such a waste, considering I won't be submitting this as a partial but plan to start all over again.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pitches and writing doubt demons

Wow, time flies! I didn't realise I had been away from here so long. So much for my goal of blogging at least once a week.

After a full and tiring week at the day job, I managed to get a pitch done for Donna Alward's Perfect Pitch Contest on eharlequin. Boy, did I sweat blood on that one! One thing I learned is that pitches are damn hard! I wasn't 100% happy with it, but it was the best I could do with the time I had. So I pressed 'send' last night. It will be invaluable to get feedback on my pitch from an experienced author like Donna.

In other news, I received feedback from my teacher about my second chapter. The verdict is that I still have a lot of work to do - I need to 'deepen and layer my story in a realistic and sympathetic way'. Hmmm....For my next assignment I've looked at my first draft of my third chapter and I'm considering cutting it out completely and making the fourth chapter into my third (if that makes sense!)

Regardless, the doubt demons have firmly taken residence at Chez Peters. Why, oh, why did I think I could write a MOC as my first ms targeted towards Modern Heat? I'm starting to doubt whether I have the skill to pull it off at this stage. But I'm stubborn, and I want to finish this ms. I need to finish it so I can have that boost of confidence that I can finish something - not just a first draft but a polished, shiny ms. Even if it is imperfect. But I'm limping along, struggling with the writing, struggling to silence the 'shoulds' that swirl through my head.

Anyway, that's enough rumenating for a Saturday morning. Off to work on Chapter 3...

How are you coming along with your WIP? And did you enter the Perfect Pitch Contest?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Goals for 2010

I wasn't going to post my writing goals for 2010, but then realised it was a cop out. After all, if there's no public accountability for reaching my goals then it doesn't matter if I don't achieve them, right?

I had written these up in November 2009.

1. Write daily - this can be as little as 100 words a day on weekdays when I'm buggered from the day job.
2. Complete Category Romance Writing course by June 2010 (this is broken down into smaller goals and deadlines for assignments to be completed and submitted).
3. Enter writing contests - Great Beginnings (April), High Five (August/September), Emerald (November), Selling Synopsis.
4. Find a critique partner (most likely through RWA Critique Partners Register) and/or join a romance writing group (Melbourne Romance Writers' Guild).
5. Have partial completed to send to Richmond by June 2010.
6. Have full ms completed and polished by September.
7. Post once a week on my blog.
8. Network with other romance writers (comment on writers' blogs, be more active on eharl community forum, etc).
9. Read every day.
10. Organise my writing office (this needs to be broken down into smaller goals otherwise it will never happen!)

I've got my brand spanking new 2010 diary and I'm going to write my goals in there, then I'll jot down dates to review them during the year.

Happy new year to you all, and hope you achieve your own goals this year.

©2009 Angie Peters | by TNB