Pitch Writing Does Get Easier

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Writing pitches and summaries for your book does get easier the more you do it.

I just thought I should let you know that since nobody seems to be noticing.

I hate pitch writing. Every writer hates pitch writing. I’ve never heard anyone say “I LOVE IT”. There are probably one person out there. One crazy person out who gets excited when it’s time to write a pitch. If I knew them, I’d pay them to do mine.

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But I have to say, writing pitches does get easier. I’m going to be attending a writers conference in less than a month and I will be presenting my book to publishers. All through June, ever since I bought the tickets, I knew I had to write that dreaded pitch. I was nail biting over it. I thought of so many excuses why I couldn’t at the moment sit down and work on it. The chair was too uncomfortable. I was too sleepy and there wasn’t any coffee. I was hungry. I didn’t feel like it. The room wasn’t too dark. Blah, blah.

I put it off until finally a few days ago when I realized the conference was slowly creeping up on me. I forced myself to sit down and just do it. And… To my surprise I found it not that difficult. I’ve written and struggled through pitches and summaries for my book in the past. I also had a clearer understanding of my book than I did before. I’d been outlining the chapters and reviewing my chapters.

I don’t believe practice makes perfect. I believe practice makes permanent. Whoever was the first to say that should get a gold star. Keep that in mind when you write your pitches and book summary. It’s hard to get it right if you’re always doing it wrong. I’m going to give you a guideline here or tell you how to do it. That’s what Google is for. I just wanted to share my experience and tell you everything will be okay. It does get easier.

A few tips I would give are:
1) Step back. You know everything about your book inside and out. You know it’s veins. The arteries. Organs. Heart. And that’s a major problem. Because now you can’t see the bigger picture. You need to zoom out. Step waaayy back and take another look.
2) Outline. I can’t stress how important this is. If you haven’t already done it. DO IT NOW. It’s the only way you’ll be able to see the bigger picture of your book.
3) Visualize. Map out your book on paper or in your head as images. Watch it as a movie or TV. Try getting a different angle or perspective on it.
4) And Just do it. Nike is right. Write. It doesn’t have to be good. It can be terrible, terrible shit. So bad it stinks from miles away. Just start writing and don’t stop. You’ll eventually get there.
5) Take a break and exercise. I find being active helps get your creative juices flowing and unblocks all that pressure and stress inside your mind.
6) Take a moment and reflect. You don’t have to meditate but just sit back and allow your mind to unwind. You’ll find that ideas will come easier to you. Even some that you’d never think of.
7) Read material that you want to write like. If you want to right a summary or pitch like the ones on the back of novels, start reading the summaries on the back of novels. Monkey see. Monkey do.

Descriptions: Gritty, Deep, and Dirtified

Descriptions.
One of the most important parts to a good story.
Some do it well. Some can’t fathom the concept.
I’ve come across some really crappy books and I’m pretty sure we all have. You know the books I’m talking about. The ones where the guy is always described as “tall with dark hair and a charming smile” or the girl “short with lovely golden hair and red lips”. These aren’t terrible for descriptions. But I love it when a story takes it to a whole new level. Describes things with an air of originality and honesty.

I recently just read a book by Ken Bruens. I’d found a review for the book The Guard online and decided to try it. From first glance, I could tell it was the type of book I’d immediately put back on the shelf. It was written in the narrative and a lot of the sentences were like “I dunno if he saw but…” or in short phrases.

But I continued to read because somehow the book had caught my interest. And it continued to hold it. All the way to the very end.

After reading it, I was glad I picked it up. I loved it. But I’m not here to give a book review. I wanted to point out that Ken’s writing style and voice in the book was fresh and original. I realized the reason he incorrect grammar in some of the sentences was because that was how the character talked. The description given of the little town in Ireland and the people were realistic. I could visualize the scenes as if I were standing in the street myself. They’re damn near perfect with a twist of grit and humor.

I know, openly admit, that my descriptions aren’t always the best. It takes practice. It takes patience and most of all persistence. The more you pour over your manuscript the more irritating it becomes things don’t always jump out at you and then the words begin to blur all together.

Truth. Depth. Perception. Allow you to accurately describe things. I always love following the example of Sherlock Holmes. Look at things from a different angle. Holmes had a sharp eye that could perceive just about anything. I think to write a good story we need a bit of Holmes and Watson. Holmes could see the tiniest of details. Watson had the gift of imagination and creativity. Not that Holmes didn’t have some amount of imagination. He had to have at some amount to think up the solutions, yet he was very precise. Too precise and logical. Creative tastes some random boldness. An effort to step outside the boundaries of logic.

Descriptions are part of writing’s poetry, but don’t over think it. They’re descriptions. Color to the story and just that.

Adding Twists After Twist Like A Pretzel

“I bet you didn’t see this twist.” – Officer X

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I’ve been working on plot and character development for my book. It’s been a very rugged road so far with many bumps, unexpected hurdles, and hair pulling moments. I can honestly say I haven’t enjoyed, but the moment it’s published and people say they love it… That moment will make up for it all. I’m counting the days til that day.

Twists are a lovely thing in a story. They make you go.. “oh! I never saw that coming!” or “Oh my gosh! That’s crazy!” They make the story ten times better. They make you want to go and read everything else by the author. I love twists.

One of my favorite storytellers who uses twists like a pro is Christopher Nolan. He isn’t an author exactly but he’s a great storyteller. I love the twists he adds to every one of his movies. Inception has to be by far my favorite for its uniqueness. The idea of going into someone else’s dreams. The idea of living in a dream. It’s intriguing and original.

And here I am going through my book and trying to Christopher Nolan it up. Add spice. It’s got some spice. And I think it’s an amazing story with the right amount of suspense and action. But my dilemma is how much spice should I add before it becomes too spicy? In other words, how many twists can I add to my story before it becomes ridiculous.

Oh by the way, he’s really the bad guy. And that other guy works for SpaceX. And that other guy wants to become president. And the real bad guy isn’t really bad but good. And there’s some random character I forgot to tell you about. He kills the entire world. The end.

Twists obviously can’t come out of the blue like some random object. Hints need to be given discreetly. The asteroid doesn’t just randomly hit Earth one day. It comes hurtling through space into our orbit. NASA freaks out. The government freaks out. Newspapers freak out. People freak out. Tension is built. Soon the question, “Will it hit Earth?” becomes “When will it hit Earth and where?” And cities become evacuated and people start going to church. Twists are like asteroids. They need to be built up but of course hidden. Like no one expects an asteroid to come hurtling through space.

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In Interstellar, Christopher Nolan does a famously well job of hiding the fact that Cooper is the one behind the bookcase. That Cooper is the one trying to communicate with Murphy, not aliens. He hides some hints in plain sight that you don’t expect. Such as the interview with Murphy when she’s old. The spacecraft that Cooper randomly finds on the ground. The sand particles forming lines on the floor. And S.T.A.Y.

I’m trying to figure out whether or not I should add more to my book. That’s the big question for me. I’ve decided that I should finish the rewrite and then worry about this. Which is probably a good idea. I don’t want to jump the gun. Especially when I haven’t even finished yet.

The Best Places To Write Outside of Home

I hate writing at home. There are too many distractions. When I’m home, all I want to do is relax and turn on Netflix or my Xbox. I don’t want to do work and it’s really hard to get myself to work. I love going some place other than my house to write. I find that I have a lot more focus and I can’t accomplish a lot more in a little amount of time.

The places I try to go to are usually quiet with few people. I hate large crowds and noisy spots. I can’t focus or even hear myself think. Over the years, I’ve compiled the perfect list of places to write. Here are the qualifications for a perfect place to work. Mind you, it doesn’t have to be just writing. You can be working on school or a project for your business.

Qualifications… The place has to be:
– Quiet
– Few people
– Have A/C or heating
– Comfortable
– Bathroom facilities
– WIFI (the most important)

Here are my list of places that offer the best setting to write/work in…

1. University / School
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This is the top of my list because it’s the best. Universities or schools always have a library, a classroom that’s free, and many other spots that provide a comfortable place to sit down and plug in your laptop. Schools always have a bathroom that is accessible, A/C or heating, and vending machines for when you get the munchies or are thirsty, and free WIFI. The only downside is that there are usually large crowds of people to found here. The good thing is that mostly everyone is a student which means they’re usually quietly studying.

2. The Hospital
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I love going to hospitals to do work. You can generally find a quiet spot with few people to get some work done. It’s always air conditioned, have bathrooms and most hospitals now have free WIFI. Some also have a small cafe. Plus, unlike schools or libraries, hospitals are open everyday. The downside is that most of the people visiting the hospital are sick. Which means you’re at risk of getting ill.

3. Hotel
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The bigger the hotel the better. Hotels in big cities usually have conference rooms, small dining rooms, or lounges you can sneak into and work. Most hotel staff won’t bother you either unless you look oddly out of place or are somewhere you’re not allowed. It’s always air conditioned, have free WIFI, and bathrooms. Hotels can be crowded and noisy but it depends on the location and time of day. In smaller hotels, it’s harder to sneak into a conference or breakfast room and set up shop. But I find that if you just tell the front desk that you aren’t a guest but would like to use their wifi, they will generally be happy to accommodate you.

4. The library
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It might surprise you to find this as the last item on my list. I don’t tend to write or work on projects in public libraries. They’re always filled with noisy people and are limited in comfortable places to work.