As promised in the last one of these, I’ve been doing a few small projects in the buffer between finishing Part Two of my current novel last week and starting Part Three for NaNoWriMo. The main one I’ve found is submitting a few ideas for short comic stories.
In this case, they’re not looking for complete scripts, just short pitches describing your story. Now, some of you might be thinking this: “Great! Less work for you!” And although there was an element of that, it’s been harder than I expected too.
Because, to be honest, I’m pretty much used to sending in full scripts (or in prose submissions, full stories or substantial chunks of them) and knowing I’d be ultimately judged on my pacing, turn of phrase, etc – the brief description in the cover email is just there to get their attention.
Not that my story ideas suck, it’s just a different, more pressuring sensation trying to explain why your idea is brilliant in two paragraphs or less and knowing that’s all there is, rather than simply having to hook them enough to read the manuscript itself. After all, there’s not much time for immersion here – even two reasonably long paragraphs can be read in about a minute.
But it’s definitely a skill worth learning – after all, if I ever end up in the situation of trying to pitch my ideas to an editor one-to-one, I may not even get two long paragraphs worth of words to explain it in. Not to mention, I tend to be naturally over-wordy and it rarely hurts to cut down.
Mostly, I’ve ended up doing one paragraph in which I try and capture the mood of the story, then another where I explain how it unfolds. That seemed like the best use of space – we’ll see how it goes. If I can pull this off, it’s definitely going on the List Of Skills I’ve Totally Mastered.
All of which means that in the last week, I’ve spent almost a whole day on this project and produced… about seven paragraphs. By my usual standards, that isn’t much – hell, it’s probably less words than this blog post, which has taken about twenty minutes. But hopefully I’ll end up with individual paragraph-pitches that are so polished and shiny, you can see your face in them.
Should probably get back to them, really. If anyone has any time-honoured words of wisdom about the art of pitching in two paragraphs, definitely leave them in the comments.