One Line Pitch

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One Line Pitch

Postby Robin » 01 Feb 2011, 08:51

Nathan's first paragraph contest got me thinking... we've posted our first sentence, first paragraph, queries, but what about the all consuming One Sentence Pitch???

Post your best One Liner!

(btw, if you participated in NaNo, they are participating in Pitchapalooza http://blog.lettersandlight.org/post/2844752241/pitchapalooza-comes-to-nanowrimo )
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Re: One Line Pitch

Postby Sommer Leigh » 01 Feb 2011, 11:11

This is one skill I haven't figured out yet. Robin, do you have any tips for writing a one line pitch?
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Re: One Line Pitch

Postby Margo » 01 Feb 2011, 11:58

Oh, good topic, Robin. I have my query nailed, but I have yet to try the shorter pitches. I'm with Sommer - any good tips?
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Re: One Line Pitch

Postby polymath » 01 Feb 2011, 12:04

Two things I've found good for pitches, queries, excerpts, synopses, narratives: emotionally compelling and personal, intimately personal. The written word fulfills a need for close companionship better than any other public entertainment medium, might as well play to its singular strength.
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Re: One Line Pitch

Postby J. T. SHEA » 01 Feb 2011, 12:56

Great idea, Robin! Okay, one sentence, if not strictly one line:-

A teenage boy joins a great expedition on an ocean liner, crossing the monster-infested seas of a little-explored planet, and ascending an immense jungle river, in search of a fabulous lost city.
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Re: One Line Pitch

Postby sierramcconnell » 01 Feb 2011, 13:07

Not that they're going anywhere soon, but here they are:

Chasing Miracles:
Not wanting to lose his best friend, Carmine Caudatus must choose between the end of the world and a saving the one person who didn't want to be saved in the first place.

Eden Underground:
Recently deceased Bradley Liberati finds himself in a battle between the Angelic Undead and the ancient race of those decended from the angels.
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Re: One Line Pitch

Postby Watcher55 » 01 Feb 2011, 18:30

When I think pitch I think of what I SAY when someone asks me as opposed to a written sentence. That being written -

It's (THE NINTH ADDICT) about a boy who's yanked back in time to First Century Rome and he has nine days and five-thousand years to figure out who the hell made him a god and why.
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Re: One Line Pitch

Postby Robin » 01 Feb 2011, 18:54

Okay, you guys don't laugh too hard at me, but last weekend I read every single movie description on Netflix to get an idea of how to craft a one-liner. All of them, except for some of the indies, followed the same protocol:

Introduce MC and problem, state what happens to bring them to action (inciting incident or midpoint from reaction to action) followed by an unresolved climax (tension)

This is what I came up with so far:

Ata and her mother have a difficult relationship, but when her mother dies, the secrets she uncovers leads her to Greece where she will have to face a mythic truth and a deadly foe.
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Re: One Line Pitch

Postby polymath » 01 Feb 2011, 19:26

Not laughing. I've read TV Guide for the same reason. One thing I noticed is how serial or movie loglines tend to assume readers know somewhat of what they're about, especially ongoing serials. TV Guide's logline talent has gone downhill over the years though.

//Weezie catches George undressed in bed with Willis and finds Florence hiding in the bedroom closet.//

No mention that Weezie is George's wife Louise, Willis a neighbor, Florence the maid, or what's really going on.

A synopsis of the inciting crisis is generally what TV Guide's loglines reported for serials. For the movies generally the main dramatic complication. Rarely were they emotionally compelling or personal in any meaningful way.
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Re: One Line Pitch

Postby cheekychook » 01 Feb 2011, 21:02

I have two one-line pitches, of sorts, which I used as opening and closing lines in my 90-second pitch sessions at the Writer's Digest pitch slam.

The opening one-liner is:

Sometimes you're already committed to the wrong person when fate finally brings you the right one.

And the closing one-liner (which stands alone as a one-line pitch, too) is:

Daniel and Marienne's friendship helps them weather every hardship from his divorce to her unexpected widowhood, now they're both both secretly wondering if it can survive a first kiss.

In between those two one-liners I put a description of the MC's, their situations, and the basic plot line.

For both of these I had to think about my book in terms of what would be put on a poster to advertise it.
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Re: One Line Pitch

Postby ajcattapan » 02 Feb 2011, 18:27

I've worked up two versions of my pitch. If anyone wants to say which they think is better, I'd appreciate any feedback. I'm pitching at a conference this weekend. Here are my two options:

Option A:
When Cozy finds her recent blind date murdered, she’ll have to convince the cops she didn’t do it, even though the murder weapon is covered with her fingerprints.

Option B:
Cozy’s so sick of bad blind dates, she could kill—too bad someone else has already murdered her last date and framed her in the process.

The Query Shark has said pitches shouldn't be more than 25 words. Option A is 28 words. Option B is 26 words.
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Re: One Line Pitch

Postby J. T. SHEA » 02 Feb 2011, 19:03

Both of yours are good, Ajcattapan, but I slightly prefer the first. It could be shortened to:-

'Cosy finds her last blind date murdered. She has to convince the cops she didn't do it, though the murder weapon is covered with her fingerprints.'

Two sentences, I know, but it knocks out a few words.
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Re: One Line Pitch

Postby polymath » 02 Feb 2011, 19:09

Option C:
Bad blind dates make Cozy want to kill—tough luck someone murdered her date and framed her for it.
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Re: One Line Pitch

Postby Down the well » 02 Feb 2011, 19:14

ajcattapan wrote:I've worked up two versions of my pitch. If anyone wants to say which they think is better, I'd appreciate any feedback. I'm pitching at a conference this weekend. Here are my two options:


Testimony to the subjective nature of this stuff: I like option B. Good luck this weekend!
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Re: One Line Pitch

Postby ajcattapan » 03 Feb 2011, 09:39

Thanks to J.T. Shea, polymath, and Down the Well for their feedback. I guess I have several more options now. :)

It's a "pitch-a-palooza" event I'm attending on Saturday, so I should have the opportunity to pitch several times. Maybe I'll try out each option at least once, and see which gets the best results. :)
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