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Carving The Light https://www.createspace.com/3439520 Also available at Amazon.com. Merchandise can be found at: http://www.cafepress.ca/CarvingTheLight

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Writing The Perfect Pitch

I have no idea how to write a pitch for a novel.  I've never had to write one before, but now am struggling (and determined) to create one for Carving The Light.  One which will hopefully get me through the first round of the Amazon  Breakthrough Novel Award this year.

I have no illusions of winning, nor even of making it past the second round.  But if I can get TO that coveted second round, I will be one very happy first-time author!

The hurdle I must face, really, is the Pitch.  The first round is all about the Pitch.  If the judges feel they want to read more, based on what the Pitch reveals about the novel, then on to Round Two I will go.  If it fails to grab them, however, I'll sit back with the other 4000-odd entries that won't make it through.

And I do not care for that.  lol

So I have to grab them.  I have to find a way to lure perfect strangers into the world of the Collins sisters enough that they will want to read more about them.  And they are good girls.  They deserve to be read about!

I've been getting some fantastic advice from other perfect strangers on the Pitch Thread, and as such, my first pitch has seen several revisions thus far.  I just posted the latest revision, and am about to make some changes to it, as well, based on the responses I've gotten.  I'm getting closer, I can feel it.  But I am not there yet.  And I have until January 24th to have my inaugural Pitch buffed and polished to a shine.

Here's roughly where I started out:

The Collins sisters have secrets.

When a tragic accident claimed the lives of their parents while the girls were still young, they had to battle to remain together with what was left of their family. Now, well into adulthood, all three women harbour individual secrets from one another which could threaten to tear them apart all over again.

Youngest sister, Samantha, bounces from college to college, and program to program, in an effort to find something she is passionate about, without disappointing her older sisters, who'd given up everything to look after her when they were younger. Finally finding an falling in love with Sarah brings Sam a happiness she'd never known - and yet another area of life in which she felt her sisters would also be disappointed. If they didn't disown her all together, of course. So long as no one ever discovered that she, herself, was the reason why her parents were killed.

Middle sister, Julie, grew up being the peacekeeper of the family and, as such, never wanted to burden her sisters with her own problems, including the real reason she'd finally left her abusive ex-husband. Now that her cancer is out of remission, however, Julie finds it more and more impossible to keep her secrets from anyone, least of all the women who know her the best - the ones she will need on her side in this battle above all else.

Oldest sister, Emily, gave up a promising post-secondary education to help raise her youngest sister and keep the 3 girls together after their parents were killed. She got used to being the one in charge, the one who had to make everything work, and the one who was responsible for everything. Through it all, she kept a wall around herself, and played her cards as close to the vest as possible. Including the fact that she, along with the man who'd actually committed the crime, were the only two living souls left who knew exactly what had transpired on that terrible night so long ago, which had irrevocably changed all of their lives forever.

Carving The Light is a story about love, loss, and the redemptive power of forgiveness. Complete at roughly 65000 words, what sets this women's fiction novel apart is the strength and realism of the characters, from the Collins family themselves, through to the other people (and the dog) that inhabit their lives.
And here is where I am currently sitting, prior to the revisions I am about to make to it now:
The Collins sisters have secrets.

Haunted by the loss of their parents in a tragic car crash one Halloween when they were young, all three women now harbour dark secrets from one another - secrets which threaten to tear their family apart.

Emily, a gifted student who dropped out of college to raise her younger sisters after their parents were killed, struggles to conceal her knowledge of what actually transpired on that terrible night. Julie, attempting to cover up her renewed battle with cancer, also fears revealing the true reason she'd finally left her ex-husband. Samantha, worried that sharing her new relationship with her older sisters would mean to risk losing them all together, long ago buried her certainty that she was responsible for the death of their parents.

As the sisters gather together for Thanksgiving weekend, and the anniversary of their Halloween tragedy looms, long-hidden secrets threaten to spill out into the open. Each woman must now face her demons while tragedy lurks nearby, waiting to strike a second time.

Carving The Light is a story about love, loss, and the redemptive power of forgiveness. What sets this women's fiction novel apart is the strength, humour, and realism of its characters, from the Collins family themselves, to the people (and the dog) that inhabit their lives.


  1. I learned so much entering the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. For one thing, it forced me to do just what you're doing now. Getting that pitch written and perfected. And then those first two or three chapters, that will take you to round two. Good luck. After a quick read of your pitch, my suggestion is to cut out every word you don't absolutely need. Cut, cut, cut. Just a suggestion here. Can you cut "on Halloween" and "when they were young," and "from one another." You only have 300 words, I believe, to catch the reader's attention, so make each word count.

  2. Thanks so much, Magaret! This is my first everything...novel, pitch, ABNA entry, etc. I'm learning a lot as we get closer to submission day, and imagine I will learn more as the contest progresses, regardless of whether I make it through the pitch round, or not! lol

    I've been working on my pitch a lot even in the time since I posted it here, and I think it's almost ready.

    Working on the excerpt more carefully now, too...just in case I do make it to Round Two... :)