Pitch Slapped – Part 2

Official Pitchfest BloggerHave you heard about the WriteOnCon 2013 Pitch Fest? It’s a great way to get feedback on your pitch, and you might get lucky enough to have agents and editors read it. Click here for all the details.

To help people prepare, I’m sharing lessons about writing a perfect pitch that I learned from watching the movie Pitch Perfect. Go here to read part one about how to get Pitch Slapped.

Shalom. ~Deaf Jewish Student
That’s not a real word but keep trying. You. Will. Get. There. ~Fat Amy
With so few words available in a pitch, the key is making every word count. Choose words that create vivid pictures in the reader’s mind. Use strong action verbs. Cut fluffy words that don’t make a precise point about plot or characters. Adjectives should be few and far between, but if they are pressed into service, they should be vibrant instead of generic like ‘beautiful’ or ‘mysterious.’
 
Keep in mind it is sometimes worth using additional words of the precious word count to make an impact. Instead of saying your protagonist is smart, mention she hacked her principal’s Facebook account to change his profile picture to Grumpy Cat. It uses more words but creates a memorable image and shows she has computer skills, a sense of humor, and a need to thumb her nose at authority.
 
Hey. You must be Kimmy Jin. I’m Beca. [Silence] No English? [Silence] Yes English? [Silence] Just tell me where you’re at with English. ~Beca
I admit I’m a terrible speller. Just awful. I don’t make anything public without running it through spell-check first, including tweets. I also have a strange addition to commas. If I type more than five words without a comma, I start itching to add one… just because. So I have several comma experts read my super important writing with their comma goggles firmly in place. Know your weaknesses and pay special attention to them in your pitch.
 
Taking names, taking numbers, join our righteous frat! If you ain’t pledging Sigma Beta, you ain’t worth no crap! ~Sigma Beta Frat Guys
That’s a double negative! ~Benji
That’s a lot of negatives. ~Jesse
This is basically the same as the one above, but it’s so important it bears repeating. A pitch is a sales tool, so it is absolutely vital that the grammar and spelling be correct. It’s such a small snippet that any mistake sticks out like a sore thumb and leaves a negative impression. An agent or editor might think if such an important writing sample has errors, then the manuscript is likely riddled with errors, too. Even if you are an expert at all things grammar, make sure to have several others read your pitch, since our brains often see what we think is there and not what is actually there. 
 
Pitch PerfectClosing it strong. Like always, absolutely tight. It’s going to be hard to beat that tonight. ~John
Make sure to leave readers wanting more. Several kind critiquers on the forums helped me identify a weak closing in my pitch. In my desperation to quickly sum things up, my last few sentences were generic clichés, losing all the momentum I’d built in the previous paragraphs. So don’t rush the end – keep it as tight and interesting as the rest of the pitch and readers will have no choice but to beg to read more.  
 
Best of luck with your pitch! 
 
Let’s just smash this! ~Fat Amy
 
Have you seen Pitch Perfect? Are the songs permanently stuck in your head? Do you have any tips to share about writing a pitch? Are you planning to participate in the Pitch Fest?
 

Comments

Lexa Cain's picture

How did I not know about this? It sounds wonderful. Thanks for the heads up. :-)

Jocelyn Rish's picture

You're welcome, Lexa!  WriteOnCon does several events that are extremely helpful for writers, so definitely keep an eye on them.

Natalie Aguirre's picture

Thanks for the great advice. You're right that every word has to count. And thanks for the tip to delete the word mysterious from mine. Thanks for being a part of this and sharing your advice.

Jocelyn Rish's picture

You're welcome, Natalie! I had so much fun finding Pitch Perfect quotes that would work.  If you haven't read it yet, part one has tips on standing out (but not in a bad way!).

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