There’s a notion universally acknowledged that the one thing a story must do is arouse the listener/reader’s curiosity.
This goes triply for a pitch. A pitch must wake up a part of the mind and have it scream, “TELL ME MORE!”
Which is precisely what my first ever effort at pitching did not do.
(Does this 👆 wake up your curious bone?)
My first effort writing a story for publication was a noble failure. I had no idea what I was doing on the publishing front. That’s the way it is when delving into a new field.
It did get some lovely personal responses from busy editors, so I know it was not a complete dud as stories go. But I mis-labeled it, (a six-thousand word manuscript is not a picture book) it was episodic, (by then, out of fashion in publishing) and the pitch was as bad as can be.
The story itself was about the time in a five-year-old’s life when his sister is born and his beloved grandparent dies. Things happened. Things that mattered.
But from my point of interest, the real story was an interior coming-of age journey. The boy was a contemplative, imaginative dreamer who wondered about the meaning of it all. To me the real happenings were interior.
And so I came up with a pitch that went something like this:
“In a year in which nothing much happened, Isaac grows inwardly.”
I mean, really. Would you ask to read the rest of it? I’m amazed at the few positive encouraging replies I did get.
Okay. This 👆 is what not to do. For goodness sake, there was a ghost in Isaac’s house, and the most beloved person in his life was dying, and the new baby was taking all his parents’ attention and...
So just remember that a pitch has one job to do. That job is to make the recipient shout even before the end, “I must know more!”