Freewriting has always been my method of choice when putting first words to paper. When inspiration hits, the ideas flow faster in my head than I can spit out. After I have committed all thoughts to paper, the story feels complete and satisfying, the way my stomach feels after a good meal. But, the feeling is brief and then the revision process begins. Rewrite, submit for critiques, rewrite, submit again, etc, until the story feels ready. Ready for what?
Ready to be stashed away to be revisited and revised at a later date?...good idea. Ready to be submitted to publishing houses or agents?...maybe. This year, my story was ready to be submitted to #PBPitch in hopes of acquiring an agent.
#PBPitch is a Twitter party event where writers can pitch a story to participating agents and editors. Writers are allowed to pitch three ideas twice a day from 8am to 8pm. So I did! I submitted the morning round before leaving for work and checked my phone regularly for notifications. Not one editor or agent liked a pitch. Dreadful silence on my phone was not what I had expected. I scrolled through the coveted pitches that received likes and studied how the authors crafted a two line pitch of a story, extracting the spice from an entree. I proceeded to revise my pitches for the PM with my newly acquired knowledge.
At the end of my workday, I re-submitted the three revised pitches. The clock read 6PM. 6PM Pacific Time. Pacific Time? I reread the #PBPitch guidelines. The Twitter party closed at 8PM. 8PM Eastern Time! I was an hour late! I am a timely, organized person. How could I be an hour late? A flush of dejection moved through my body. Click...I posted anyway. Since I had missed the deadline, I did not check my phone for notifications as I did in the morning. Twitter was new to me and I chalked it up as a learning experience..
How does the story end?
A notification appeared on my Twitter app a short time after my post. I eyed it, as I would eye Creme Brulee on a dessert menu. Slow to react, I stared at the 1 notification, pondering the what if? And, it was! An agent liked my pitch! Excitement fluttered throughout, but, in two seconds flat, all excitement dissipated. The agent responded to my weakest story, the story I had put away to be revisited and revised at a later date. Why had I pitched this story? Why? I reread the pitch and reread my story. The pitch was spot on. The story needed work.
The pitch did not lead to signing with this agent, but it did change the way I approach my story writing. I added a new step. After my initial wordy spatterings, I write a two line pitch for the story. Before any revisions take place at all, my character’s wants and struggles must be clearly present. This point seems obvious, but the obvious can be overlooked when running with a inspiring story idea. The obvious can be overlooked when the voice is entertaining and the story is personal and the feedback is positive. The obvious can be overlooked.
Through this process I have discovered that if I cannot write a pitch in two lines, my plot and/or main character needs to be developed BEFORE revisions can be made to shape my story.
The next time I submit to #PBPitch, the pitch will be spot on, and my story will be ready...perfectly, sunny side up!