Ok, so last week I had so much fun doing first line critiques that I thought I’d take a crack at critiquing elevator pitches. Doesn’t that sound like a lark?! So, for those of you who don’t know what an Elevator Pitch is… Google it. For crying out loud, you’re a writer and you say you want to be published some day? You should know what an elevator pitch is!
Here are the rules:
- Pitch me your manuscript or book proposal in 100 words or less in the comments section of this blog.
- Make it interesting.
- One entry per person. That means one (1).
- If you have more than one manuscript or book proposal pick the best one. That means one (1).
- If you send me over 100 words it goes directly in the trash (see first bullet point).
- Submissions are open Wednesday, December 7, from noon to 8pm EST. Submissions coming in before or after those times will be deleted, unread.
- The pitches and their critiques will be posted Friday, December 9th.
I’m not sure how many entries I’ll get. I’m getting so pop-u-lar these days! If there aren’t too many subs I’ll critique them all. But if I’m totally inundated I’ll only critique a handful. I’ve got real work to do, you know! You’ll know if you’re getting critiqued by coming back here on Friday to check it out. Yes, that is an evil smile I’m smiling.
I recently critiqued a friend’s unpublished work in progress. I’d been begging her to read it for about a year. She would tell me about it in bits and pieces, just enough to tantalize, to keep me wanting and asking for it. Oooh, what a tease! Reading it was unbelievably satisfying, on a number of levels.
First of all, I got present to how much my friend must trust me. It’s a scary proposition to share one’s writing, knowing your reader is going to be intentionally reading critically, looking for things that don’t work, places where things could be improved. I was reminded that perhaps I should take the same care reading the unsolicited submissions I read for the agency. Oh yeah. There are people on the other end of those. I tried to be kind when I critiqued my friend’s work, not only because I want her to still like me, but because I want to express my opinions of her work so she can hear them and use them, not react to them as personal to her rather than her words. I did advise her to kill some of her darlings, which is never an easy thing for a writer.
It was also satisfying because not only was the writing good, but the plot was interesting, amusing and original. I cannot stress how many of the manuscripts I read are merely variations on the same theme, done with varying degrees of skill and not much originality. Writers, when you write, ask yourself, “What about my story is unique? Has this been done before? Why should anyone read this?” And then come up with some very good answers. And then write your story. I have never read a story like my friend wrote. Of course the theme of it wasn’t totally new. It was all about self expression and not being limited by your environment. I’m not certain there are any new themes, anyway, just new ways of discussing the old ones. She did a great job.
It was finally satisfying because I remembered that I’m quite good at this. I’m pretty darn good at nurturing, whether it’s my children, my dogs, my friends or people’s manuscripts. I adore contributing to my friend’s work. I delight in knowing that my insight might make a difference for the work. I’m crazy about reading in general and I truly believe I will be able to say, “I knew her when…” about my writer friend.