Friday, October 21, 2011

30 Pitches, 30 Days: Cooking ideas

Sophia's post today for the 30 pitches in 30 days blogfest is fantastic. 

She laments that she is dismissing ideas without giving them a chance. 

I'm afraid I err on the other side of the spectrum of ideas: I'll write anything down in my mystical spreadsheet.

Sometimes, I read ideas later and find them lame, embarrassing, maybe even stupid. 

That being said, while I write all my ideas down, I don't choose to pursue them all. 

Something happens with time, when the idea cooks a little, that can take it to a place worth pursuing. 

That's what I love about the spreadsheet, holding my ideas in place until they're ready, or I'm ready, but hopefully both. 

Sometimes moving from idea to pitch is the hard part for me. 

Margo writes this week about how the third character in the pitch can say a lot about a pivotal change in plot. 

She and Sophia both are great about turning out true pitches, whereas I've come up with lots of great ideas, but I haven't pushed them beyond the one-line stage.  

So, I thought I'd share a real pitch today. It's not a new idea. I hope it will be the follow-up to my first bug-girl book. A post I found long ago that has helped me envisioning pitches, and even queries, can be found on the edittorrent blog here

So, here goes, but be warned, it's pretty rough:

Bea and Mila are hunting a ghost at the Mulberry Bed and Breakfast. When they find a packet of letters in the attic about an abandoned silkworm plantation, they think they've found her identity. But can they understand what she lost, and what she wants now, before it's too late?

What tools do you use to write pitches?

How do you take ideas from "ideas" to a true development stage? 


  1. I very much support your position of writing it all down; I'm a definite convert. And ghost hunting and creepy abandoned plantations? What's not to like!

  2. I usually think about a certain idea like ALL the time until I feel like it's seasoned enough for me to try out. Does that make any sense?

    I'm not one for writing pitches down, actually. I'd rather do that after, when I know the story. Of course, I'm probably doing the wrong thing...

    And the follow-up book idea sounds really cool :)

  3. I link your post into my post too - sorry I forgot to check in with you this morning! I love your mystical spreadsheet as a holding place for ideas.

    Your pitch is great! It immediately makes me wonder - before what is too late? Is the ghost in danger of dissipating? Or, the opposite, is she getting too violent? Is the B&B in danger?

  4. I need to be better about writing things down... even bits that seem inconsequential in the moment. I often find myself trying to recall them and can't!

    I'm definitely intrigued by your pitch... you know I love a good ghost story! :)

  5. I would totally read that book -- I'd read anything with Bea in it.

    I jot down things as they come to me -- often I know I'm not ready to write a book yet, but in time I will be. I want to remember my idea (hopefully without cryptic scribblings) when the time comes.

  6. Thanks Sophia! Converts welcome.

    Rida- yes, that makes sense!

    Margo- I wondered if that was too vague (and/or a cliche). There is a reason... but it's complicated. :0)

    Thanks Katy- I am a constant note-writer. I can't remember anything anymore unless it's on my list.

    Aw, Amy you're so sweet! Bea's come a long way since you last read her! I do the same Amy- lots of receipts at the bottom of my purse with weird cryptic things written on them.

  7. I don't think it's rough - I was pretty intrigued!

    My ideas have a folder. And the one that pounds the mind the most is the one I go to next. I tend to write first chapters, then put it away for a while, let the subconscious work, then do a little plotting. But I like the idea of writing the pitch before I plot. Maybe it will help with focusing.

    Great post!


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