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How to craft a pitch–Part 2
Tuesday, May 20th, 2008


Revised and shipped Jane’s Wild Weekend to The Cave!

Before I get to the rest of the lesson…
Interesting day. I had a work crew in the front yard all day sinking a very large hole for a pool. Granted it was warm, in the upper ’80s, but did every one of them have to go shirtless? A couple had handsome faces, but the rest I never noticed. Niiiiice chests and arms. I was a teeny weeny distracted, but still managed to write the rest of the quickie for Ellora’s Cave and started on a short story for a try at one of Black Lace’s upcoming anthologies. Maybe I was inspired.

2) PREMISE or HIGH CONCEPT
A premise is your “germ” of an idea fleshed out a bit. Think of it as the back cover to your story. This is the blurb. It’s also a very helpful thing to have when preparing your query letter and synopsis, because you can plunk it right into both documents as a starting point.

Here’s a nifty way for you to start in building this thing!! Try these steps:

Line 1: A sentence to describe where the main character (who’s book is this really?) is at the start of the story.
Line 2: A sentence to describe the main-main character’s goal. (You may have a hero and heroine in your story—but only one really owns the book)
Line 3: A sentence to describe where the second main character (if you have one) is at the start of the story and his/or her goal.
Line 4: A sentence to describe the essence of their adventure.

The point is to give a snapshot of the conflicts between the characters–external and internal–and identify the genre/setting in as few words as possible.

Examples:
INTO THE DARKNESS
Escaping from a tragic past, the virginal beauty arrives in New Orleans and falls victim to a series of strange, unearthly attacks. But soon she will be powerful and magnificent in ways she could never have imagined. A ruggedly handsome Cajun policeman, Detective Rene Broussard has come to rescue Natalie in her time of greatest need. And when he inexplicably wakes in bed beside her, he doesn’t care that a dark and vengeful enemy has brought them to this moment. All that matters is the irresistible curve of her body, the heat of her passion…and the forbidden pleasures of the night.

SEDUCED BY DARKNESS
For nearly 800 years, Revenant Nicolas Mountfaucon has dedicated his life to ensuring an immortal monster never walks free. When a terrible storm unleashes the beast, Nicolas’ past rises to haunt him and he turns to the only person who can provide him solace, Born vampire Chessa Tomas, sure she will join the hunt for the evil creature. Only Chessa wants nothing to do with hunting the “Big Bad”—he’s Nic’s and the Ardeal coven’s problem, not hers. She shed her responsibilities as a Born, refusing her seat on the council because she doesn’t trust their leader. However, Nic isn’t easily dismissed—he appeals to the secret side her nature that needs to be dominated.

DEMON EYE
Mercenary warrior, Magnus, has no memory of his past after being pulled from the rubble of a conquered Saxon keep. For gold and the use of her body, he agrees to aid a female warrior, Sybell Moyaux, in her quest for revenge against the man who destroyed her family and stole her home. Sybell’s special gift enables her to see otherkin—and she knows Magnus is more than he appears, but she will risk all—first for revenge, then to save her sibling. With Sybell, Magnus will face the wrath of demons over a stolen treasure, a dragon, and his true nature to discover his destiny.

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