Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Workshop Epiphany

STATUS: I’m blogging before 7 pm! It’s a good day then. And great suggestion to make my own evals. I’m hoping I can squeeze that in before I leave on Thursday.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? SHADOW OF THE DAY by Linkin Park

If you are a long time blog reader, y’all know what my workshop epiphany was because I blogged about it for weeks on end (or that’s how it felt like). Probably felt that way to you readers as well! Scroll down the right hand column of my blog until you see Agent Kristin’s blog pitch workshop links. That’s it.

Here’s what happened. I had just given the workshop at RWA (I think it was there) when I realized that I kept repeating to writers that they should make their pitch paragraphs read like the back cover copy of book you’d see in the bookstore or library.

And that got me thinking about how I write my pitches to editors. That got me to my realization that I almost ALWAYS use the catalyst that starts the story, which can be found within the first 30 pages of the novel.

I started analyzing various back cover copies of already published books in a variety of genres and yep, that proved to be true for the cover copy that publishing houses tend to use (with a few exceptions where details from later in the book were also added to the cover copy). The focus, however, was always on that main catalyst that starts the story forward.

By the way, the catalyst is always a plot element—not a character aspect—although back cover copy usually includes character elements as well.

So now I’m revamping my eQuery workshop PowerPoint slides to encompass this. I’ve also moved forward (in the presentation) the hands-on exercise on how to identify the plot catalyst from the opening 30 pages. Then how to craft the paragraph around that element with lots of good supporting details that will give the pitch the most bang for your buck.

Okay, is it geeky of me to be rather excited about trying out this new format for the workshop? Chicago Spring Fling participants, get ready because you are my next guinea pigs.