Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pitch Imperfect

I've signed up for some chats with a few friends here at Champagne. We all write stories set in worlds other than ours so we'll take questions on how to make those worlds believable along with offering some giveaways etc. I've never done one so I'm crossing my fingers and taking direction from those who have, namely Rita Bay.

Rita was kind enough to provide a checklist of To Do's and one is to create a snappy tagline.

(Screech!) Did you hear that hideous noise go off in my head? Hers is fantastic, by the way: 'Better dead than dark.'

Mine is long and clumsy by comparison. I think I already revealed it last time I blogged her, but here it is again:

Vaun, a Kerf warrior, frees a slave he thinks is another Kerf, but Athadia is Alvian, one of the mysterious race of healers his people fear--and she senses he is one too.

It's not terrible, it's just loooonnnggg. So I've been going over my notes from about a hundred workshops on developing pitches and am trying to rework mine into six words or less. (That dischordant sound you just heard was my head hitting the keyboard.)

There's something to be said about capturing one element, though. She's got the mood nailed in hers. Hmm. Vaun has a tough choice. How about...

Kill one or let many die?

This has been a real struggle for me all the way along. What's the book about? I don't know... Healing? Survival? Renewal? Claiming territory? Learning about your past?

As the Alvian First Clan Primary, Athadia has a purpose:

Heal, teach, breed, lead.

It doesn't really give the essence of the book, though, does it? Someone recently called Vaun a cross between Vikings and Celts. It does have that feel, but how to translate that into a good line?

If Braveheart had a kindler, gentler sister...

Help! What are your tips for crafting a sharp tagline?

Here are the details for our online chats in the next few weeks. I need input, stat:
Friends from Champagne you'll also find there:
Check our webpage for further information and giveaways.



Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Brainstorming with whoever crosses my path helps to make succinct those pesky lines. In journalism they are called cut lines because they went under the picture, which made up for the 1000 words they replaced.

In brief,once you synopsize your story keep cutting.

Dani Collins said...

Thanks Julie,

I did whittle down the theme (personal responsibility), but seriously, this is really tough.


Allison Knight said...

One thing that helped me a bit was:

Who = Hero/heroine
What = what they have to do or want
Why = motivation.

You might start there.

Liz Fountain said...

Most definitely not a strength of mine, either. I'm going to try the "who, what, why" method, though - thanks Allison!