Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Petrifying Pitches, Scary Shatner, & NaNoWriMo Nightmares

It's Halloween and I am faced with a trio of scary must-dos. I have to write a pitch, tell you about my scariest moment for the Scare Me Blogfest, and watch the final hours to NaNoWriMo creak their way downward until November 1st. I'm trying not to scream. Honest.

There is some good news, though. I've won a free first chapter critique after taking part in Writer Therapy's first blog hop. The petrifying part is when I send them the chapter, I also have to do this:

Please also include in the body of the email where you are in your manuscript (if this is complete, still a work in progress, etc), and also your short pitch of the book (query pitch or twitter pitch length, so no more than 2 paragraphs).

I've never written pitch, query or twitter length. On the positive side whilst the novel is not completed, I do have it fully plotted, which should help. I am going to spend the next few days researching how to write the perfect pitch. However, I would appreciate any tips, advice, or links to useful sites.

Now for the Scare Me Blogfest.

Budd Black over at Scifi Media wants us to 'write about the scariest book that you have read, movie you have watched, ghosts you have encountered, and/or to share your own scary story'.


I am going to cheat a little and tell you about the scariest TV programme I've ever seen - The Twilight Zone. As those who have followed me since the beginning will know, I am a huge fan of William Shatner. So when my family and I sat down to watch Nightmare at 20,000 Feet I was eagerly awaiting another of his 'unique' performances. What I didn't expect, given the amount of horror movies I've watched, was to literally scream the first time his character sees the monster through the aeroplane window. And when I say scream, I mean a proper make-everyone-else-jump scream. Of course my family found it hilarious. I spent the rest of the episode hiding behind a cushion. One day I may find the courage to watch it again. Maybe.

Now you will have to excuse me. I have to try to get some sleep before starting my first 1,667 daily word count. I'm just hoping the word-munching gremlins stay away tonight . . .

48 comments:

  1. That was a great episode! We used to watch that show all the time.
    Lynnette Labelle just posted part two today of how to write a synopsis. She's really great with her tips and been around a long time. Here's here blog address - http://lynnettelabelle.com/chatterbox-chit-chat-blog/

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  2. Congrats on the critique! I had to write short pitches and a Twitter one for some contests I took part in recently. They took a few hours to nail, but I found it wasn't as scary as expected, and even (gasp!) kind of fun. It makes you really consider the essence of the story, which is pretty useful. I did happen across this useful blog post from one of the participants in the contests: http://lscribeharris.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/the-35-word-pitch.html

    Best of luck with NaNo! Newbie here. :)

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    1. Thank you for the great link, Nick. NaNo here we come!

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  3. Good luck with the critique. You'll nail it.

    I'm looking forward to NaNo, even though I haven't registered. It's a month of inspiration!

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  4. Haha at least you were at home and not in a movie theatre! Good luck for NaNo! :)

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    1. That's true. Then again, I might not have been the only person to scream!

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  5. Just take a deep breath and you can do it all. So yeah, rest will definitely help lol!

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  6. Ah, gremlins... I've had a few run-ins with them myself.

    Good luck with Nano!

    mood
    Moody Writing

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    1. Pesky little blighters! Thanks for the good wishes, Mooderino.

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  7. Good luck with the critque and best of luck with NaNo.

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  8. Huge congrats with your chapter critique!! And of course you'll write a wonderful pitch and query!! Just channel the Shatner spirit of Khaaaaaaaan and you'll be ok!! Yay!!!

    Take care
    x

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    1. Thanks, Old Kitty. You always know the right things to say!

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  9. I couldn't agree more. This is a terrifying episode. I also enjoyed the remake w/ John Lithgow. The concept of a hideous creature causing a plane crash is absolutely terrifying.

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    1. They remade it? Noooo. The first was bad enough!

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  10. I believe they remade that episode in the eighties as well. where you a talse from the darkside fan?

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    1. I am, Budd. I love watching all the retro-horror series.

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  11. Oh, good luck on your pitch! Three resources: The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award site has discussion boards at the bottom and one of these is called 'The Pitch Thread' (or something like that. There, you can see hundreds of pitches and what people liked and didn't like about them. Perhaps easier to navigate, but only one person's feedback: The The Questionable Quintessential Query Experiment (or something like that)--Matthew Rush--about every Friday is his feedback, very specific and easy to see and he is usually spot on, plus readers fill in qhat he misses in the comments. And finally: hiveword.com has a searchable function and you can plug in 'query' and get tons of blogs on the topic. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS get feedback (maybe from Facebook friends--write a note and tag people who you think could help)

    AND... are we NaNo buddies already? I am hartjohnson if not. I've been jotting notes, but spending a lot MORE time trying to finish up something else.

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    1. Wow. Thank you for the superb advice and links. You are a star.

      I think we are nano buddies already :)

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  12. I love the Twilight Zone! Such an awesome show.

    You'll do awesome on your pitch. :) My secret for pitches is to boil it down to the 4 c's: character, conflict, choice, and consequence. If you get that into one sentence, there's your pitch!

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    1. Thank you for the brilliant advice. I hadn't thought of breaking down a pitch like that - I shall definitely try it.

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  13. Good luck with all your enterprises. I don't watch horror movies - I need my sleep;-)

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  14. That was on of the most frightening Twilight Zones ever!

    I was terrified, it still creeps me out!

    Good luck with all your projects. Sharon Bayliss did a great post on queries recently called the Query Formula at

    http://sharonbayliss.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-query-formula.html

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    1. Thanks for the awesome link, Yolanda.

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  15. That was a great episode to talk about. I hope those word munching Gremlins stay far away from you too.

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  16. Happy Halloween! :) And then, happy NaNo! :D

    Yes, it is disconcerting that NaNo is so close (about...nine and a half hours away where I am, from this post). I'm definitely ready for it, but at the same time, I'm not, so it's good to know that someone else is a bit scared of the prospect. Don't worry, though, you'll do great. (TIP, though: stock up on the chocolate; you can never have enough of it).

    Ah, the query. It's definitely interesting to write one. I would say (as my college professor did), that really, make your novel sound amazing. That may be a somewhat stupid response, but it's true -- it needs to sound amazing, and not just the plot, but the author's (you) thoughts on it. Your belief in your work will show through in our query, so make your novel shine with the light of your love for it. Also, don't try and make your novel sound like all of the popular novels out there. It's good to try and pull some elements from popular fiction, but be sure to point out what makes your novel special. And, be professional, but not boring -- your novel has life, so give your query some, too. Best of luck!

    Alexandra~

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    1. Thank you for the superb advice. It is much appreciated.

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  17. Happy Halloween!

    And congrats on winning the critique!! I'm a new follower, I found you through the Scare Me bloghop. I'm not an expert or anything, but I'm fairly good at critiquing pitches. If you want some help, swing by my blog and post your pitch in my comments. I'd be happy to help you out. :) It's nice to meet you by the way!!

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    1. Thank you, Tamara. I shall take you up on that offer. It's great to meet you, too.

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  18. That was a creepy Twilight Zone. Shiver.

    Turn over the backs of books in your genre. That's the pitch. 8-10 sentences telling about the inciting incident and what's unique about your tale.

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  19. Good Luck Ellie! You can do it~ I'm get you are nervous...but this is wonderful...breath! Congrats on the win :D

    That was creepy! I also love William Shatner! We can be groupies together ;D
    A cool costume...Captain Kirk groupies, lol

    Happy Halloween! enJOY~

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  20. come to think of it, I may have screamed too. That was such a gotcha' moment.

    I loved the old Twilight episodes.

    Good luck with your Nano Write.

    ......dhole

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  21. That episode showed the potential that the young William Shatner had. The first episode of Star Trek shown (but not the first filmed) involved the salt creature. When it grabbed Kirk's face, Shatner's scream outdid anything that Walter Koenig did as Chekov. Shatner has been called the female Fay Wray.

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    1. I remember that episode - there is nothing like The Shatman!

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  22. I saw that for the first time as a kid, and it has always stuck with me. It was a fantastic Twilight Zone! Did you know the full series is on Netflix? I've started at episode 1 and am working my way through. There is a favorite that I can't wait to hit. The first time I watched, it was great (again, as a kid). It's about a woman taken captive in her own home. I can't tell you what the twist is because that would ruin it, but it was so good!

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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    1. I have the series on DVD, so I know which one you mean. I won't say about the twist in case anyone else reads this but it was good.

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  23. I remember that episode but I had forgotten it was William Shatner. Thanks for the reminder, it was an episode that stood out in terms of scary. Flying Jugoslavian airlines was my scariest moment ever, but nothing supernatural, just an engine fire.

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    1. Sounds scary, Snafu. I once in a plane that skidded on the runway and everyone applauded when it came to a halt. Still nothing compared to an engine fire, though!

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