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Reblog “Improve Your Novel by Writing a Screenplay (Plus Contest Opportunity)” by Jocelyn Rish


While most authors who make it to the movie-making stage do not get to adapt their novel into the official script, you should still experiment with screenwriting. It’s a great writing exercise and can improve your skills in many ways.

I first tried screenwriting about ten years ago due to a fun online contest. I ended up loving the format. I also noticed improvements in my “regular” writing, so I kept dabbling in it. Amazingly, two of my short scripts won grants to make them into movies: Saying Goodbye and High Heels & Hoodoo. While they weren’t grand Hollywood productions, I did get to dress up for red carpet photo shoots and watch my story on the big screen. Not gonna lie, there were tears.

But as incredible as those experiences were, the true benefit to writing screenplays has been the improvements to my writing. So what kind of improvements am I talking about?

To read more please go to Jocelyn Rish’s blog on Adventures in YA Publishing:

http://www.adventuresinyapublishing.com/2017/12/improve-your-novel-by-writing.html

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Lynn Harris, Intriguing Young Adult and Adult Fiction Writer


Lynn Harris 2015

Lynn Harris 2015

“Lynn Harris, Intriguing Young Adult and Adult Fiction Writer” by Joan Y. Edwards

Thank you for being a guest on my blog, Lynn. My readers will benefit greatly from your Writing Tips.

I am excited to be here. Let’s get started.

Okay. Here we go with my questions:

  1. Where were you born? Greensboro, NC where I now live. I took a timeout from Greensboro for almost nine years while I worked for the Department of Defense in Washington, DC.
  2. Where was your favorite place to live as a child? Why? I lived in the same house from the time I was three until I left for college, so I guess that house was my favorite place to live.
  3. Did you have a favorite place to read a book as a child? Where and why? I loved to read so much I would do it anywhere. My mother used to punish me by sending me to my room. Please don’t throw me in that briar patch—that’s where my books were.
  4. How do you keep yourself physically fit? Writing is a sedentary process—butt in chair, fingers on keyboard. I have to make an effort to get exercise. I work out six days a week first thing in the morning. I walk on three and do yoga on three. I’ve reached an age where if I don’t keep moving, stuff starts to hurt, so I keep moving.
  5. What do you do when you think about giving up? If you’re referring to writing, I’ve only had that happen once. I had a hard drive crash (the dreaded “blue screen of death”) and, of course, did not have my most recent work backed up. Writing the first draft of my first novel was so hard that losing any of it, much less a lot of it, was devastating. I cried for a week. But at the risk of sounding crazy, my two main characters would not leave me alone. Talked at me the whole week. Begged me to tell their story. I finally gave in just to get some peace.
  6. Do you set goals for yourself as a writer? I absolutely have goals. I have a Monday morning writing class where we can read up to ten pages of our work for critique. My goal is ten new pages every week. Sometimes, if I bomb a week (my pages don’t fare so well in critique), I’ll revise them and take them back. But mostly it’s ten new pages.
  7. Do you reward yourself when you reach them? I go to class and hopefully people like them. That’s my reward—and the best feeling ever.
  8. Do you set new goals when you reach the first goals? I’m writing a trilogy—to finish it will take goal after goal after goal.
  9. Do you consider yourself a risk taker? Why? An interesting question. Yes and no. Do I bungee jump, jump out of airplanes, or drive 200 miles an hour? No. Do I take ten pages of my heart and soul and read it aloud every Monday? Yes. My life falls somewhere in the “ordinary level of risk” category.
  10. If you go to an amusement park, what is your favorite ride? Roller coaster, as long as it doesn’t have curlicue twists in it. Then I pass. Motion sick is never a good look.
  11. What is your favorite genre? Why? I read across genres—YA and adult; contemporary and historical; fantasy, sci fi, romance, adventure, paranormal, dystopian (although those last two I’ve had enough of for now). I like to mix it up.
  12. What’s your favorite book? Why? Hands down and forever: Gone with the Wind. I read it when I was twelve and fell in love. I don’t question “why” when it comes to love.
  13. Where is your favorite place to visit? Why? I’ve traveled many places in my life. I love it. But my favorite places tend to have water near them. If I had to choose one, it would be Inverness, Scotland (near Loch Ness). Magically beautiful. I watched the Outlander series on TV recently, and it reminded me of just how beautiful. I hope to return in two years.
  14. How did you do in English in high school? I did well in English and hated every minute. I was truly insulted that someone would tell me what to read (which is my favorite pastime, don’t mess it up), and then add insult to injury by telling me what it meant. Sorry, all you English grads out there, but that ruins a book for me.
  15. When did you decide to become an author? About six years ago, I had a lull in my life. A timeout, if you will. It gave me a chance to listen to what my inspiration was—to tell a story. I decided I’d give it a try. I had no idea how difficult it would be. Learning to write is hard. Learning to write well is taking me a long time, but I’m pretty determined and focused.
  16. Who or what has been the most help and inspiration to you as a writer? I have to separate those two things – help and inspiration. Inspiration for me is a spiritual experience. To me, to be inspired is a gift from the Universe, so I meditate and do yoga. Help, that’s another story and one easy to answer. On Monday mornings I attend a writing class with Nancy Peacock. Nancy has been a godsend. She, along with the women in the class who critique my work, has done more to enhance my writing than I ever imagined possible. They have my eternal thanks.
  17. Where do you get your ideas for your stories? I am a cross-pollinator. I watch TV, read books (fiction and non-fiction), see movies, watch the world around me. I have notepads everywhere to write down the ideas when they comes. Sadly, I don’t get anything from dreams (like Stephenie Meyer did with Twilight). I dream about stupid things, like cleaning my garage.
  18. What are you writing now? My first novel is a YA fantasy (the old fashioned, sword-and-sorcery kind). It has all of the things I love most about the genre—castles, witches, and pixies.
  19. What has been the most exhilarating moment as a writer, so far? It may sound silly, but it was in writing class. We read our pages aloud, and I was getting to a particular tense moment one Monday, only lines away from revealing who was arrested by the castle guard, and I heard my writing teacher gasp. I smiled because I knew she was reading ahead (a sign of interest), and her gasp let me know I surprised her. What a great moment! Another time in class, I had been given lots of “constructive criticism” on a scene I had read, so I revised and brought it back. Um, several times. The exhilarating moment was when, after the third or fourth re-write, at the end of my read, I got a small cheer. I’d finally nailed it. Hard won, that one.
  20. Do you outline and plan your plot first or do you just write and let the characters develop their own plot as you write? I plot. I outline. I plot some more. My outlines come in the form of long discourses of dialog (because I think in dialog) or a single sentence like “He ruminates by the lake.” I go scene by scene and put down what I have. Sometimes a whole chapter might be “They cross the desert.” Other times, it’s down to each intake of a character’s breath.
  21. Does research help you write? How? Absolutely. If I’m researching details, say castle defenses, then I probably already have the plot and scene in my head. But I’m plotting the second of my trilogy, and it takes place in the desert. When I’m reading about the desert, I start to see scenes in my mind—what the buildings look like, how the characters dress, but mostly, what happens to them. I already know the major plots points of the story (I took Rebecca Petruck’s plotting class and recommend it), but the research helps me figure out how to move from one scene to the next.
  22. What is your website? Blog? I don’t have either. A website is on my to-do list, but at the lower end. A published author at last year’s Charlotte conference said that, realistically, I have two years after I sell my story before it’s released, so there’s time to create an internet presence. For me, social media is just not natural. I’m a private person and don’t share my life on Facebook. And, frankly, I don’t have time to blog. I have too much to learn about craft and so much writing to do. If I don’t focus on that, all the social media in the world won’t sell a crappy book.
  23. What are writing tips you’ve found helpful for writing? All rules can be broken and are on a regular basis, so nothing I say is sacrosanct. But I’ll start with all of the things I did wrong in the beginning:

Ten Tips from Lynn Harris

1) Don’t start with a dream (ditto)

2) Don’t start with a prologue (been there, done that)

3) Don’t start with getting out of bed and dressing (heavens, did that too)

4) Write every day. I don’t but come close. I write five days a week and have class a sixth day. On the seventh I feed my spirit.

5) Read your genre. I do that a lot. I love YA and I love fantasy, so it’s not difficult.

6) Read a lot. I do that too. I read outside my genre (historicals, romance, sci fi, contemporary) for the fun of it. I also find that they bleed into my work in ways I don’t expect.

7) Read like a writer. That’s tough for me because I get caught up in a good book. Sometimes I’ll read a particularly good one twice so I can focus on craft the second time through.

8) Build a writing community. Writing is an introverted experience – we do it alone. And that can lead to an insular experience that hurts the writing in the end. Join a critique group, a writing class, a writing organization like SCBWI. It was through SCBWI-C that I found my writing class (thank you, Monica!). Go to conferences if you can afford to if for no other reason than to have an excuse to talk about writing. People who aren’t writers will never understand what it’s like. Those who are get your feelings in a flash.

9)Don’t be afraid to cut things from your manuscript, even if the passages are your favorites, but NEVER delete them permanently. In this digital age, it’s easy to save something in a file. You may never put them back, but they’re there for another story one day.

10)And this last one is the most difficult. Stay in the present moment and pay attention to everything. You never know when something in everyday life will inspire exactly what you need to complete a scene, create a new character, or launch a completely new story. The only place of power is right now.

  1. What are 5 things a writer should check in revising a manuscript? I’m in that process now. I won’t mention the obvious ones, like grammar and format. That goes without saying. These are the ones I look at the hardest:

1) POV – I write in first person, so it’s a narrow POV. I have to make sure that everything I write about, my character can actually experience firsthand.

2) Physical world – by this I mean grounding the reader in my world. Am I giving enough detail so that the reader knows where I’m taking them without so much that it bogs the writing down? But I also make sure I don’t lose characters (which I often do). Is every character that’s present in the scene actually seen by the reader?

3) That I don’t let my POV character become a camera. What I mean by that is they observe stuff happening but don’t interact with anything or have an emotional reaction to what they’re seeing . I’m bad about that in a first draft. It usually gets rooted out by my writing class, but I try to be mindful in my revision process as well.

4) Using all of the senses – I’m a visual person, so my first instinct is to describe how things look. But life is much richer than that and my writing needs to be as well.

5) Tracking the details – as my story unfolds in books 2 and 3, I’m finding that certain details, like items that are symbolic or important later, need to be focused on more intensely earlier in the story so the reader will remember them. One of my symbols is a necklace a main character wears. It’s placed around his neck in the first scene, mentioned once later, then I drop it till an important moment in the last scene. Oops. I’ve got to go back and weave in subtle reminders about this necklace so the reader doesn’t forget it in the 300 and some pages in between.

  1. How will you know your manuscript is ready for submission to an editor or agent? It’s not yet, but how will I know when it is? By putting it out with beta readers, critique groups, my writing class, agents/editors at writing conferences. Feedback is key. I don’t know what “yes, it’s ready” looks like yet, but I have lots of experience with “no, it’s not.” I no longer take that personally (that’s another Writing Tip 11—take nothing personally when it comes to feedback on your writing. Get ego out of the way—your are not your writing. When ego gets involved, one gets defensive. When defensive, one can no longer hear.)
  1. How do you plan to find a publisher or agent for your manuscript? Copious amounts of research and hopefully some synchronicity. I see querying as similar to going on tons of first dates. The chemistry has to be there or you/the agent moves on. On my part, I need to query agents who are open to repping YA fantasy. Not everyone is. I need to be prepared with a great hook, compelling query, and know my story inside and out. I can’t be stopped by a rejection (or ten, or twenty, or…).

Bio:

Lynn Harris grew up in Jamestown, NC, barely a breath from Greensboro where she now resides. After a Bachelor’s in Economics from UNC-CH and a Masters in International Business from the University of South Carolina, she left her beloved southland for Washington, DC. There, Harris was an Intelligence Analyst with the Department of Defense for eight years where she wrote non-fiction. She married an Air Force officer (who has since retired), and convinced him that North Carolina was a great place to raise a family. Returning home was like putting on her most comfortable pair of bedroom shoes after a long day in heels.

Today, Harris is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, animal lover, vegetarian, world traveler, spiritual seeker, and writer, not necessarily in that order. Priority depends on the day.

Thank you, Lynn Harris, for giving us these great tips for writing and sharing your life and writing experience with us. It was fun. You have a great sense of humor. Good luck with the publication of your young adult and adult fiction manuscripts.

Readers, thank you for reading my blog. Please leave a question or comment for Lynn or for me. We’d love to hear from you.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2015 Joan Y. Edwards

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What Is Pitch Corner USA?


What Is Pitch Corner USA? by Joan Y. Edwards

History behind Pitch Corner USA

Sherry Antonetti took my Pitch workshop at the Catholic Writers Conference Online in March 2012. In her evaluation of my workshop, she suggested I put an exercise with blind pitches and have the writers pretend they were editors or agents and tell if they would buy or reject the pitches. I already had pitches in my workshop. All I had to do was remove the author’s names and titles to make an exercise work as she suggested.

During the chat session about “How to Write a Pitch That Sells” on Saturday, October 13, 2012, I used Sherry’s idea and showed them pitches without the author’s names or the titles of the works. It was a great success. Therefore, I formed “Pitch Corner USA.” The Pitch Corner Yahoo Group is a panel (team) of people to help me design the surveys and other activities to help you learn more about writing pitches that sell.  Pitch Corner USA will help you learn how to write a good pitch for your manuscript. There will be surveys with pitches from writers and pitches from best-selling books and successful movies for you to compare. There may be workshops, chats, and webinars. All kinds of possibilities. You are invited to join in the fun. Editors and agents are allowed to join, too.  It will be a fun game, yet a great way to learn. Pitch Corner USA will use this blog as a springboard. If it gets really big, I’ll give it a blog of its own.

Once a month I will upload a Pitch Corner USA Monkey Survey with 10 pitches.  Some pitches will be from best-selling novels or hit movies. Others will be from writers like you who send pitches giving me permission to use them on my blog and in the Monkey Surveys. I am not offering publication. No one doing the survey is offering publication. It’s a birds-eye view of what your peers think of your pitch.

Here’s a draft of the questions the survey will have for each pitch. If you were an editor or agent who read this pitch, what would you do?
There will be circles for people to check to the left of each choice.

1. Reject it.
2. This pitch is missing main character.
3. This pitch doesn’t tell what main character wants or needs.
4. This pitch doesn’t tell why main character can’t get what he wants or needs.
5. This pitch is missing emotional hook.
6. This pitch is missing conflict.
7. This pitch is missing change in character.
8. This pitch is missing universal theme.
9. Ask for first 3 chapters and a summary. Why? (Put answer in box below)
10. This is a pitch from an already published book or movie. (Put title in box below)

GUIDELINES FOR PITCH SUBMISSION for the Pitch Corner Exercises in survey format

For Pitch Corner USA until November 30, 2012 I am open for 150-200 word pitches for adult fiction.
Adult Fiction: Romance (No Erotic), Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery

Send your pitch to me at pitchcornerusa@gmail.com. If you submit a pitch to me, you must copy and paste the following paragraph into your letter.  If it doesn’t contain this permission paragraph, it will be deleted.

“My name is (fill in your name)______________________________. I hereby give Joan Y. Edwards, founder of Pitch Corner USA, permission to use my pitch as it is written below on her blog (www.joanyedwards.wordpress.com) or in a Pitch Corner USA Monkey Survey forms she creates. I give permission for my name and copyright information to appear on the website and the answer page of the survey. I understand that this in no way constitutes an offer for publication of the book my pitch represents.”

Pitch Corner USA does not accept anonymous submissions. It does not accept submissions without the permission phrase signed by the author. It helps verify the authenticity of authorship when you send the pitch from an email address that has the author’s real name in it to further verify that the email is legitimate.

I suggest that a pitch for adult fiction give the following information. Put your name, title of your book, and genre in the subject line. You can submit it in four paragraphs or four sentences. It may not be longer than 200 words.

1. Your name. Title of book is a (genre) with (number of) words.

2.Memorable main character experiences traumatic events that cause great distress and disruption,  inner and outer dilemmas, and failures on the way to a goal.(Emotional hook)

3. Main Character changes to solve his problem and get what he wants or needs or fails miserably.

4. Main character learns a valuable lesson that is universally understood. The story can also teach a different lesson that is universally understood.

In Romance novels, although you may say there are two main characters, I suggest that you the author should choose one to focus the story on. One character will usually be the driving force behind the real story. This may be your main character.

If you are interested in helping me create fun activities to help us learn more about writing a pitch that sells, please join our Pitch Corner USA Yahoo group by sending an email to pitchcornerusa-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or write me at pitchcornerusa@gmail.com.

Pitch Corner USA Yahoo Group Description: A panel of authors working to improve their pitches and the pitches of others so the pitches sell to an editor or agent. Right now I am limiting our membership to 25 people. I am open to editors and agents being on the panel. We’ll see if any want to join us.

Ingredients of a selling pitch:
Memorable main character experiences traumatic events that causes great distress and disruption,  inner and outer dilemmas and failures on the way to a goal (emotional hook). He changes to solve his problem and get what he wants or needs or fails miserably. The main character learns a valuable lesson that is universally understood. The story can also teach a different lesson that is universally understood.

Pitch Corner USA will focus on three lengths of pitches:

  1. Tweet length of 140 characters.
  2. One or two sentence pitches (80 words)
  3. 100-200 summary pitch

Genres:
November 2012 Adult Fiction: Romance (No Erotic), Science Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery
December 2012 Children’s Fiction: Picture Book, Easy Reader, Chapter Book, Middle Grade Novel, Young Adult Novel
January 2013  Non-Fiction Adults: Social Studies, Nature, Science, Biography, Memoir, Autobiography, etc.
February 2013 Non-Fiction: Children: Social Studies, Nature, Science, Biography, Autobiography, etc.

We will add other categories and activities as we see fit.

Thank you very much for reading my blog.  Please let me know what you think about Pitch Corner USA.

I am a guest on Jen Veldhuyzen’s PetrePan Blog: http://www.petrepan.blogspot.com/2012/10/author-interview-with-joan-y-edwards.html She asked intriguing questions, such as: “What sound would describe your writing style?” I hope you will read it and leave her a little note. Thank you, Jen.

We have 94 subscribers now. Thanks. Only 6 subscribers away from our big celebration. We are very close. When we reach 100 subscribers, ten lucky subscribers will win a free pitch and 1000 word manuscript critiques. I’ll choose one winner from first ten subscribers, second ten, etc. One lucky person will win a free pitch and 5000 word manuscript critique. Would you like to win? Get your name in the hat, now.  Subscribe now by email from the left hand column.

Joan Y. Edwards
Pitch Corner USA

Copyright © 2012 Joan Y. Edwards

What Are Young Adult Novels?


“What Are Young Adult Novels?” by Joan Y. Edwards

Young Adult Novels are books that may touch on childen’s issues or adult issues but written for and from the viewpoint and experiences of children who are 12-18 years old. They are sometimes called Problem Novels, Coming of Age, or Edgy Novels.

Criteria for Young Adult Novels

  • Ages 12-18; Ages 12-20; Ages 12 and up – Grades 6 and Up)
  • 40,000  – 90,000 words  (160 – 360 pages) (may vary)
  • 20-36 chapters (may vary)
  • Number of pages per chapter (10-20 pages) may vary
  • Words of Unlimited Number of Syllables
  • Sentences of Unlimited Complex Structure
  • Sentences may contain 40 words.
  • Memorable, Strong Main Character
  • Subject Matter and story lines are typically consistent with the age and experience of the main character.

Plots are related to, but not limited to the following topics:

  • Challenges of Youth
    Internal change brought on by external events and fits into a bigger picture of the character’s world.
  • Seventeen common topics for Young Adult novels. In a paper written by April Dawn Wells, she discovered seventeen common traits of young adult novels. They were “friendship, getting into trouble, interest in the opposite sex, money, divorce, single parents, remarriage, problems with parents, grandparents, younger siblings, concern over grades/school, popularity, puberty, race, death, neighborhood, and job/working.
  • Edgy Topics for Young Adult Novels have more complicated plots than Middle Grade Novels. They may include edgy, sensitive subjects such as: pregnancy, abortion, rape, incest, gays, drugs, murder, suicide, and others that used to be taboo for young adult books.
  • Situational Archetypes in Young Adult Novels: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young-adult_fiction#Usage_in_Education An excellent article that shows some of the classic situational archetypes in many young adult novels.  I think you’ll enjoy this. It also lists books that use the archetypes. You can see if the plot for your manuscript of a Young Adult Novel fits into one of the archetypes. (See my blogpost about Eight Character Archetypes to Emphasize the Conflict in Your Story)

Main Character

  • The Main Character steps outside his own backyard and encounters adult problems for the first time. He has to figure out who he is and where he fits in with the family and the community. By the end of the book he loses his innocence and his eyes open to the ethical shortcomings of his family and the neighbors he has known all his life. He questions the values and beliefs of his parents and community.
  • The Main Character takes note of how he influences and is influenced inside and outside his home – school, neighborhood, city (his larger world). He sees the actions and consequences of different behaviors of adults and other teenagers.
  • The Main Character searches to find out who he is and decide his own beliefs and values. He may believe he can make a difference, or he may believe it’s useless. He may have to make changes himself and face his internal fears before he can change the world he lives in.

Examples of Young Adult Novels

  1. New York Best Selling Young Adult Books http://www.nypl.org/blog/2011/01/20/2010-nytimes-bestselling-ya-books-free-downloads
  2. Best Sellers Teen Books http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Books-Teen/zgbs/books/28

Resources:

1. “Best Sellers Teen Books.” http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Books-Teen/zgbs/books/28

2. Laura Backes, Children’s Book Insider. “The Difference Between Middle Grade & Young Adult: “http://www.write4kids.com/feature6.html

3. Marie C. Hansen, Jefferson Market Library “New York Best Selling Young Adult Books” http://www.nypl.org/blog/2011/01/20/2010-nytimes-bestselling-ya-books-free-downloads

4. Wells, April Dawn. “Themes Found in Young Adult Literature: A Comparison Study between 1980 and 2000.” University of North Carolina, Apr 2003. http://www.ils.unc.edu/MSpapers/2861.pdf Web. 28 Sept. 2010

5. Wikipedia.org. “Edgy Content”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young-adult_fiction#Edgy_content

6. Wikipedia.org. “Notable Authors” (Young Adult). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young-adult_fiction#Notable_authors

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope it helped shed the light on ideas to answer the question, “What are Young Adult Novels?”

This is one in a series: I plan to add “What are Picture Books?” soon.

What are Easy Readers?

What are Chapter Books?

What are Middle Grade Novels?

What are Young Adult Novels?

Please ask a question, tell me your favorite Young Adult Novel and why, or leave a your opinion. It makes me smile to hear from you.

I would be honored if you would subscribe to my blog by email from the Sign Me Up link in the left hand column or click on Follow at the top of the page, if that option is visible to you.

Believe in Yourself
Write the book that’s in your heart.

Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2011 Joan Y. Edwards

Become a Pub Subber (PubSub3rdFri October)


PubSub3rdFri Participant

“Become a Pub Subber (PubSub3rdFri October)” by Joan Y. Edwards

Today I’d like to invite you to become a Pub Subber. I’d like to see if you would join me and other writers and illustrators in PubSub3rdFri (Publisher Submission on the Third Friday of the Month).

In 2009, I’d heard of Chris Baty’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and Tara Lazar’s PiBoIdMo(Picture Book Idea Month) in November each year. I thought why not have something for submitting work. Dun da Dunn! PubSub3rFri was born.

To become a Pub Subber, focus at least one year on submitting one or more of your quality creative works to a critique group or professional editor, book or magazine publisher, editor, agent, or contest on the third Friday of each month.

If there are twelve of your works out there in the submission world, you’ll have a better chance of getting work published. Each time you submit your work, you increase your chances for getting published. If you submit one month out of the year, you have an 8% chance of being published. If you submit 6 months, you have increased your chances 50% for that year. If you submit all 12 months, you improve your chances 100%.

You want it to be as natural for you to submit to a publisher as it is to submit your work to a critique group. A friend reminded me that I shouldn’t submit something if it’s not ready. That’s true. You don’t want to send work that has not been proofed, revised, and proofed again. However, you may have stories that have been revised and critiqued more than twenty times. Yet, you haven’t submitted them anywhere. With PubSub3rdFri, I hope to encourage you to submit your manuscripts.

Each time you submit, print out a PubSub certificate. If you don’t have one ready to send off on the Third Friday, give yourself a rain check and submit it soon. You can download certificates and rain checks from my website: http://www.joanyedwards.com/pubsub3rdfri.htm.

The Old Way: Send quality manuscript out, wait for the answer, receive the answer, submit again.

Pub Sub Way: Send one (or more) manuscripts out on the third Friday of each month to one (or more) publishers, editors, or agents.

  • Submit your quality work (article, poem, puzzle, devotion, illustration, short story, picture book, chapter book, middle grade novel, young adult novel, adult novel, play, song, or movie)to publisher, editor, agent, or contest on the third Friday of the month. You can submit on any day of the month and as many times as you like.
  • Submit your manuscript today. It automatically increases your chance of getting it published from 0-100% from not submitting it.
  • Get your work critiqued by a critique group or professional writer or editor of your genre before you submit it to an editor or agent. Getting your work in quality condition is part of the Pub Sub 3rd Fri philosophy. Quality does not mean perfect. When you submit it, you’re saying:  “This is the best I can do with the knowledge and skills that I have at the present time. This truly is my best effort.” When editors and agents see quality work, they are willing to work with you to get it ready for publication.
  • To be published, you must take action. Accept yourself as you are. Accept the editors and agents as they are. Go for it. Send a query or manuscript now! This is the only way that an agent or editor will be able to discover how great your story is.
  • Once you get started, you’ll be submitting as a habit. Your belief in yourself will grow. It says to your inner self that you believe in your story. That you have faith in it. Faith in your story takes it to publication. 
  • Celebrate each time you submit. Celebrate each time you revise. Celebrate each time you write, draw, sing, create. Celebrate yourself every day!

Besides the certificates and the rainchecks, I also have a Pub Subbers Page to advertise your belief in Pub Subbing, your creative works, and you.

Here is a copy of what is on the Pub Subbers Page on my blog (in alphabetical order according to first names).

Names and personal blogs/websites of people who believe in the Pub Sub 3rd Fri philosophy and as a result, they submit their quality work more frequently to critique groups, editors, agents, or contests.

As a result of their more frequent submissions, many members of PubSub3rdFri have been published in newspaper articles, magazine articles, won contests, and/or received a book contract(s). When members let me know their successes, I list them beside their names.

Pub Subbers During 2010

Joan Y. Edwards http://www.joanyedwards.com
Joel Shulkin
Laura Boffa
Linda Andersen
MaryAm Tabibzadeh

Pub Subbers Who Submitted During 2011

Ann Eisenstein http://www.anneisenstein.com, screenplay/movie contract
Cher Green www.chergreen.com
Dianna Gunn http://diannaswritingden.wordpress.com
Joan Y. Edwards http://www.joanyedwards.com magazine articles, book contract
Joel Shulkin won writing contest prize
Kavitha Thomas
Linda Andersen 2 magazine articles, contract for year of teacher’s guides, contract for teacher’s guides for books
Margaret Fieland http://www.margaretfieland.com/, 2 book contracts
Maryam Tabibzadeh
Mary Jo Nickum http://www.marynickum.com
Megan Vance
Sarah Maury Swan
Steve Mathison

May I count you as a Pub Subber?  If so, let me know.

If you believe in the Pub Sub 3rd Fri philosophy above and have submitted your work to a critique group, editor, agent, or contest during 2011, and would like to have your name listed on the Pub Subbers Page, leave a comment on the Pub Subbers Page: https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/pub-subbers/. Say “Count me in for Pub Sub 3rd Fri.” Tell me the name of the manuscript, where you sent it and when, along with your name and website/blog. Be sure and write me if you got published as a result of being a Pub Subber.

PubSub3rdFri Posts
List of all PubSub3rdFri blog posts: https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/category/writing/pub-sub-3rd-fri/.

The following links tell you what to do the first three weeks of the month to get ready to submit your manuscript on the third Friday.

Week One
Week Two
Week Three

After you submit, Week Four

Even with complications and obstacles, the vision of success in your mind, the excitement of getting it, your thankfulness, and your action toward it will create the reality for you.

***I’d be honored if you would sign up for an email subscription from the left hand column. Thank you for reading my blog.

Celebrate You Right Now
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
http://www.joanyedwards.com

Copyright © 2011 Joan Y. Edwards

How to Deliver a Short Gutsy Pitch to Entice Editors, Agents, and Readers


“How to Deliver a Short Gutsy Pitch to Entice Editors, Agents, and Readers” by Joan Y. Edwards

Your Gutsy Pitch will entice editors, agents, and readers

Is your ball (pitch) attached to a paddle? 

If you don’t ever pitch your story to a publisher or agent, how can you get it published?

Does your ball (pitch) have holes in it?

Have you told all the essential information to entice an editor or agent?

Does it matter if what you ball (pitch) is colorful and flashy?

Using colorful fonts, gifts, and flashing text won’t entice the editor or agent.

Use vivid and descriptive words – they’ll be enough to entice anyone.

Does it matter what size the ball (pitch) is? 

The logline, elevator pitch, and the Gutsy Pitch is short enough to get an editor, agent, or reader’s interest in 30 seconds or less.

If an editor or agent asks you for a plot summary, query pitch, summary pitch or a 100-150 word pitch, you give additional engaging and intriguing information about your characters and plot.

Today I’m focusing on what I call the Short Gutsy Pitch.

Like a ball attached to a paddle, it could be that you don’t know how to pitch. You don’t know if you’ve got something ready to pitch. You feel you can’t do it. It has you muddled. You are frozen on the pitcher’s mound of your writing career.

If you were a pitcher for the Colorado Rockies, you’d know what to pitch and how to pitch. Here is a video of Colorado Rockies baseball pitcher, Ulbado Jimenez: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5gSHz9_n0s

You’re a professional writer. You need to know what a pitch is, when to write a pitch and how to write a pitch to get on a major league team with publishers, agents, and thousands of readers.

In this article, I explain what a pitch is, why you need a pitch, how to write a pitch, and where to find pitches to study. WIIFY(What’s In It For You) By the end of this article, you’ll know how to write your pitch to wow editors, agents, and thousands of readers.

Amy Burkhart, agent, says the pitch has to tell, “Who, What, When, Where, and Why should I care?”

Kathleen Antrim, award-winning author, says a pitch must tell, “What if… and so what?”

A pitch must tell who the character is, what their situation is, and tell us why we should care. That helps readers connect emotionally with a story.

What is a pitch? A group of words chosen to compel editors, agents, and thousands of readers to have an obsessive need to read your book to find out the rest of the story…to find out what happens. Screenplay pitches are called log lines. A pitch is used in person, online, chats, query letters, cover letters, proposals, and on the covers of books.

A pitch tells about the situation your main character is in, describes what he wants so badly that when his world falls apart and his way to the goal is blocked, he’s willing to do ridiculous, difficult, risky, death-defying, and life changing things to achieve it. He won’t let anyone or anything keep him from reaching his goal.

Write your pitch before you write your story. It will help you write a better story. If you’ve already written your story, write your pitch now.

A pitch is a teaser – a hook that grabs the listener’s attention through his head, heart, and soul. When a bookseller reads a catalog with a listing of 400 books, you have only 15-20 seconds to capture his interest. When talking to another person, you have 30 seconds before their attention wanders elsewhere.

Choose 17-25 words of the most crucial information for your pitch that summarize the main character, flaw, situation, conflict, and aha moments to entice editors, agents, and thousands of readers to read your story.

If you were an editor, would you buy your book after hearing your pitch? If not, rewrite your pitch.

Write your pitch on a card (business card, index card, or poster). Put it in your wallet or put it on your mirror in the bathroom. Be creative. Be able to tell it with ease to anyone who asks what you write. If an editor or agent asks you for a plot summary or a 100-150 word pitch, you give additional engaging and intriguing information about your characters and plot.

Short Gutsy Pitch Parts

Part 1 Introduction to You and Your Book: Your Name, Title of Book, Genre, and Word Count

Part 2: Short Gutsy Pitch (Synonym logline, elevator pitch): Main Character, What He Wants, What Stops Him, What is his worst case situation?(Tells who, what, when, and where) (Tells the what if)

Part 3: How Does the Main Character Change to Overcome Obstacles? (Tells editors/agents/readers Why Should I Care?)

Part 4: What Does the Main Character Learn (Universal Theme) (Emotional Premise) (Tells the editor/agent/reader Why Should I Care?)

                                                                                  

Short Gutsy Pitch Parts in Detail

Part 1 Introduction to You and Your Book

My Name, Title of book, Genre, and Word Count

My name is ______. Title is a magazine article, picture book, chapter book, middle grade novel, young adult novel, adult, non-fiction with  ____ words. If it’s a series, you can mention this here.

Part 2: Short Gutsy Pitch: Main Character, What He Wants, What Stops Him, What is his worst case situation?

Short Gutsy Pitch (Logline, Elevator Pitch) Choose 17-25 words, one or two sentences, For screenplays, it’s called a logline. In his “I Wrote a 120 Page Script, But Can’t Write a Logline,http://www.twoadverbs.com/loglinearticle.htm, Christopher Lockhart says a logline (elevator pitch, short gutsy pitch) has to have:

who the story is about (protagonist)
what he strives for (goal)
what stands in his way (antagonistic force).

You find these gutsy pitches in newspapers, movies, on book covers, query letters, etc. I don’t recommend comparing your work to other titles in your pitch. I think it distracts from your story and doesn’t explain enough about the main character’s problem and situation. However, if you feel compelled to put Star Wars meets Gone with the Wind, add it to the front of your short gutsy pitch (logline).

James Sallis wrote the book, Drive:  A Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver for thieves finds that a price has been put on his head after a failed robbery. Read more of pitch: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/drive_2011/

Sophie Kinsela wrote the book, Confessions of a Shopaholic: A college grad lands a job as a financial journalist in New York City to support her shopping addiction and falls for a wealthy entrepreneur. Read more of pitch: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/confessions_of_a_shopaholic/

Dale Launer write the script for My Cousin Vinny: When sweet Northern college boy and his buddy Stan are picked up and thrown into the slammer in a hick Alabama town, at first it looks like no big deal. Then they are informed that they are accused of murder. Read more of pitch: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/my_cousin_vinny/

It is a story about a the main character

(tell age and sex, use character name if you like, but it’s not essential)

(if historical fiction, tell the year and the place)

who is (describe character’s flaw and bottom of the pit, life-changing situation that forces him to act)

Who wants _____________________ more than anything else in the world? What is the crisis?

What is the problem? But Opponent, Unexpected Bad Happenings, Terrible Consequences _______________ stop him (Why Can’t He Get It?)

Apparent Defeat – Disaster – Describe the bottom of the pit situation that seems hopeless and where the character appears doomed to failure. Make the pitch a cliffhanger.

Part 3: What Does He Do and How Does the Main Character Change to Solve the Problem? (Icing on the Cake)

At a workshop and in her iPhone application, “Pitch Your Book,” Linda Rohrbough suggests that when writing a pitch, writers include how the main character changes while striving to reach his goal. The short gutsy pitch hooks your audience. The change your character goes through thoroughly is the icing on the cake that convinces them that they need to read your manuscript. Change is essential to a story. Chances are if no one changes, there is no story. That’s why the editors and agents want to know the change.

In “Our Idiot Brother,” the main character did not change, however other people’s opinions of him changed. It reminds me of how a boy at 18 might think his father is dumb. However, when this same boy reaches 25, he realizes how wise his father was. Did the father change? No. But the boy changed in his attitude about his father. The boy had experiences that made him see his father differently.

Part 4: What Does the Main Character Learn about Himself and/or about Life? What does the experience of the main character in this story teach him about life? What does your story prove? What is the universal theme? What is the emotional premise for your story?

State what the main character learn about himself and about life in general from striving to reach this goal? State a belief that is proved in your story. After you explain it in terms of the story experience, then put it in terms of universal theme, like…love plus deception leads to death. Or use a saying, proverb, or cliché.

Joan’s Emotional Premises for Movies

Blind Side (2009) Premise: trust plus compassion leads to family. Saying, proverb, cliche: One person can make a difference.  For more pitch information: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1212694-blind_side/

Love Story (1970) Premise: courage versus illness leads to unselfish love. Saying: Perfect love means unselfishness. For more pitch information: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/love_story/

Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009) Premise: addiction plus respect leads to love. Saying: Practice What You Preach. For more pitch information: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/confessions_of_a_shopaholic/

Notes:  If you find conflicting opinions about this topic, go with your gut instinct.

Places to Find Pitches to Study

TV Guide
Newspaper listing of movies
Theaters listing of movies
Amazon Book listings
Back cover of your favorite books
Library book listings online
http://www.Rotten Tomatoes.com (for movies)

Other questions, people might ask you after your Short Gutsy Pitch.

How does your story end?
Why does this story belong with this publishing company or agent?
Why did you write this story?
Is it educational, inspirational, or entertaining?
What makes you the expert or the right person to write this story?
Are there other books in the market similar to this?
How will you help market this book?
Have you had any other works published?

Below is a pitch from one of my personal manuscripts. I hope they give you an idea of things to put in your pitch.  I left the parts named in it.

Short Gutsy Pitch  

Part 1 My Name, Genre, and Word Count

Hi, my name is ___________. Caesar and Cleopatra is Adult Romance and Intrigue, with 60,000 words.

Part 2: Plot, Character, Flaw, Situation, Internal/External Goal, Opponent, Ally, Apparent Defeat:

A young woman wants to marry. However, her intended’s son, job, and past keep getting in the way. She goes back in time and gets stuck in Cleopatra’s tomb. She strives to get out in time to stop the changes that will kill those she loves in the present time.

Part 3: How does the main character change to Overcome Obstacles?

She gains faith in herself and accepts others as they are.

Part 4: What does the main character learn (Universal Theme):  

She learns that she likes the present circumstances better than any that could be changed in the past. Love plus acceptance leads to wisdom.

Realize that your pitch must sound smooth when you tell it or when you place it in your pitch query. Call a friend and read your Gutsy Pitch. Send them an email with the pitch in it. Let them read it to you. Smooth out any rough edges in your delivery. I separated the parts so you would know what belongs where. However, you can deliver it in two paragraphs. The first paragraph entices with a “Wow.” The second paragraph holds them hostage. They’ve got to know what happens now. They’ll ask for your manuscript or buy a copy of your book.

Hi, my name is ___________. Caesar and Cleopatra is Adult Romance and Intrigue, with 60,000 words. A young woman wants to marry. However, her intended’s son, job, and past keep getting in the way. She goes back in time and gets stuck in Cleopatra’s tomb.

She strives to get out in time to stop the changes that will kill those she loves in the present time. She stops being selfish, gains faith in herself, and accepts others as they are. She learns that she likes the present circumstances better than any that could be changed in the past. Love plus acceptance leads to wisdom.

In this article, I explained what a pitch is, why you need a pitch, how to write a pitch, and where to find pitches to study.

How did I do? Do you know and understand about what to put in your pitch to wow editors, agents, and thousands of readers and hold them hostage until they read your book? Why?

Please leave a comment and let me know. Tell me where I confused or muddled you with foggy explanations. Tell me where I explained it clearly. I enjoy hearing from you.

I would be honored if you would sign up for an email subscription from the left hand column.

Please leave a comment below. I value your opinions.

Do something fun to celebrate you and your life. Check out the 26 Resources I used to write this article below.

Joan Y. Edwards
http://www.joanyedwards.com

26 Resources I used for this article: 

  1. Amy Burkhardt, agent, Kimberley Cameron & Associates, http://www.kimberleycameron.com/amy-burkhardt.php, “Who, What, When, Where, and Why Should I Care?” CD, http://www.vwtapes.com/whowhatwhenwherewhyshouldicarecd.aspx.
  2. Bill Lundy  “Create a Killer Log Line” http://writermag.com/The%20Magazine/Online%20Extras/2011/02/Create%20a%20killer%20log%20line.aspx
  3. Brian Godawar “How to Write a Pitch Letter for a Freelance Article” http://www.helium.com/items/2159225-how-to-write-a-pitch-letter-for-a-freelance-article.
  4. Cammy Tang, has a critique service, http://storysensei.blogspot.com/2005/08/50-word-elevator-pitch.html.
  5. Christopher Lockhart, “Logline,” http://twoadverbs.site.aplus.net/loglinearticle.htm.
  6. Cynthia Gallagher “How to Pitch Your Book at a Conference” http://www.writing-world.com/publish/pitch2.shtml
  7. David Macinnis Gill, “How to Write a Log Line,” http://davidmacinnisgill.com/2009/08/01/how-to-write-a-log-line/.
  8. Donna Ippolito, “Secrets of the Short Story,” http://www.expert-editor.com/id7.html.
  9. Dwight V. Swain, Techniques of the Selling Writer, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0806111917/camysloft-20/.
  10. Guide to Writing a Book Pitch  http://bubblecow.co.uk/blog/2010/08/22/a-guide-to-writing-a-book-pitch-for-penguin-books/
  11. John Robert Marlow, “Building the Perfect Logline for Your Book, Screenplay, or Other Story,” http://makeyourbookamovie.com/building-the-perfect-logline-for-your-book-screenplay-or-other-story/441/.
  12. Kathy Kennedy and Dennis G. Jerz “Get Started: Emergency Tips,” http://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/creative1/shortstory/
  13. Kimberly Howe. “Pitch Tips,” http://www.thrillerfest.com/agentfest/pitch-tips/.
    1. Kathleen Antrim http://www.thrillerfest.com/agentfest/pitch-tips/.
    2. Jon Land http://www.thrillerfest.com/agentfest/pitch-tips/.
  14. Kristi Helvig. “Two Minute Elevator Pitch,” http://www.sistersinscribe.com/2010/04/two-minute-elevator-pitch.html.
  15. Lee Nordling. “What It Takes to Sell Your Pitch Part 1” (The secret to the pitch-Tell the good part)http://www.comicsbulletin.com/wolfman/106478386819087.htm
  16. Lee Nordling. “What It Takes to Sell Your Pitch Part 2” http://www.comicsbulletin.com/wolfman/106538301215335.htm
  17. Lee Nordling. “What It Takes to Sell Your Pitch Part 3” (Publishers play in a certain sandbox) http://www.comicsbulletin.com/wolfman/10659851965461.htm
  18. Linda Rohrbough. Pitch Your Book, iPhone application http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pitch-your-book/id432755697?mt=8&ls=1.
  19. Maeve Maddox. “Writing a Pitch,” http://www.dailywritingtips.com/writing-a-pitch/.
  20. Moira Allen. “Selling Your Nonfiction Book, Part II: Making Your Pitch,” http://www.writing-world.com/publish/bookprop2.shtml.
  21. Rachelle Gardner, agent. “Questions for Crafting Pitch,” http://www.rachellegardner.com/2011/07/secrets-of-a-great-pitch-2/ and http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/2010/09/11-questions-for-crafting-pitch.html.
  22. Randy Ingermanson. http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/art/snowflake.php.
  23. Scriptologist.com. “Logline: What It Is, Why You Need It, How to Write It,” http://www.scriptologist.com/Magazine/Tips/Logline/logline.html.
  24. Squidoo.com. “The Logline. The Dreaded Logline:” http://www.squidoo.com/screenwriting-a-quick-guide-to-writing-a-killer-logline
  25. 2008 SCBWI-Carolinas Fall Conference – “Pitch Session” with Alan Gratz and Pam Zollman, et al.
  26. 2010 Pikes Peak Conference “How to Pitch Your Book” and “How to Talk with Editors and Agents” with Linda Rohrbough.

 

Copyright © 2011 Joan Y. Edwards and Her Licensors.

 

Week One: Choose Publisher/Agent. Get Work Critiqued (PubSub3rdFri)


Participant Badge of Pub Sub 3rd Fri
Week One: Choose Publisher/Agent. Get Work critiqued.” by Joan Y. Edwards

Here are the steps for Week One to submit your work to a publisher on the third Friday of the month.  It can be an article, poem, puzzle, devotion, illustration, short story, chapter book, middle grade novel, young adult novel, adult novel, play, song, or movie.

Like the little duck in Flip Flap Floodle say, “I won’t give up.” Get your creative work ready to send off. Go For It.

Automotive and assembly line industrialist Henry Ford said “Whether You Think You Can or think you can’t, You are Right.” Start today to say you can. Let me hear you shout, “Yes, yes. I CAN DO IT. I CAN REALLY DO IT.”

Week One

1. Study and find three matching three publishers and agents for your manuscripts:

a. Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, and Literary Agents 2011: Who They Are! What They Want! How to Win Them Over! by Jeff Herman http://www.amazon.com/Hermans-Publishers-Editors-Literary-Agents/dp/1402243375/

b. Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers’ Market Guide http://stuartmarket.com/default.aspx

c. Children’s Writer’s And Illustrator’s Market, Writer’s Digest Books.http://www.amazon.com/2012-Childrens-Writers-Illustrators-Market/dp/1599632314

d. Writer’s Market by Writer’s Digest Books http://www.amazon.com/2012-Writers-Market-Robert-Brewer/dp/1599632268

c. Visit the Preditors & Editors website to check out the editors and agents you’ve chosen. It’ll tell you if they are legitimate or warn you about them. http://pred-ed.com/

f. Check the submission guidelines of the websites of the publishers and agents of three of your favorite books.

2. Make a list of three possible publishers for this particular creative work of yours.
a. Read all three publishers’ guidelines.
b. Select the publisher you will use this month.
c. Print out a copy and save a copy of the publisher’s guidelines.

3. Fine tune your manuscript
a. Use spell and grammar check with your manuscript.
b. Ask your writing group  or a professional writer/editor to critique your work.

Become a Pub Subber.

You’re a Pub Subber when you submit one or more of your quality works on the third Friday of the month (or any other day of the month) to critique groups, editors, agents, or contests.  You believe that submitting work often leads to publication.

If you’d like your name listed on the Pub Subbers page, leave a comment or send an email to my address from the left-hand column with your name, the title of your manuscript and where you sent it. Include your webpage or blog, if you like.

Surround yourself with other Pub Subbers.  Great minds wander in the same plane.

I invite you to join the Pub Subbers Yahoo group to post successes, receive encouragement when you receive a no, ask for advice or help, etc. The group has automated reminders for the weekly steps to get your work ready for submission. Join by sending an email to pubsubbers-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or to my address from the left-hand column to let me know.

See my other Pub Sub 3rd Fri posts for more reasons to submit your work often: https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/?s=pubsub3rdfri.

Thank you for reading my blog.  Leave a comment, please. I love reading your stories and opinions.

Celebrate Yourself
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2011-2012 Joan Y. Edwards

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