Friday, August 20, 2010

Pitching an idea to an agent...

I must confess that I've never actually been to a writing conference.  I've participated in the writeoncon online conference, but I've never had a face to face experience with other writers or agents...yet.  I hope to some day!

I have to apologize for using movie quotes, but when I was learning about pitching a book to an agent face to face, there was one movie quote that came to my mind for a "what NOT to do!"

It's from the movie Bolt.  There are a few different comic relief moments from pigeons all around the country, but the one's I'll be quoting are from the set of pigeons that actually recognize Bolt and want to pitch an idea to him for his television show.

Here's how it goes.

Blake:  No way!  Wow!  Bolt, I'm a really big fan of yours, brother.  I'm Blake, this is my writing partner, Tom.  Say what's up.
Tom:  What's up.
Billy:  Wow! 
Blake:  Oh, and this is our personal assistant Billy, who was supposed to wait up on the wire.
Billy:  Bolt I've admired you for such a long time and there's something I've always wanted to tell you if I ever got a chance to meet you.
Blake:  Uh, oh okay.  Billy, that was terrifying.  What you just did...

After the first two pigeons send the third, Billy, away, it goes like this.
Bolt:  Okay, guys.  But I've really gotta get going.
Blake:  I know you're a busy dog, but if you've got a second, we'd love to pitch you an idea for your show.

Tip number one:  Don't attack the agent like Billy did.  Chat with them and if the opportunity opens up, then pitch them the idea.  But don't smother them with it just after meeting you.

Tip number two:  If the agent says that they need to go, it's a good idea to let them go.  Don't be like Blake and jump right into it after that announcement.  They'll probably be a little annoyed that they have to respect common courtesy just to sit there and listen to you politely before they nod their head, give a short thanks, and leave.  

If you want to know the proper ways to pitch an idea to an agent at a writing conference then learn about it.  You can google it or just check out one of these websites (that I just googled).

Good luck and happy pitching!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I learned A TON about voice and the importance of it during the writeoncon conference.  So here is my attempt to teaching what I learned.

Voice is one of the most important aspects of a story, and it's something that has to be established early on.

I'm going to give you my Little Mermaid analogy.  

The first time Ariel is supposed to be shown in the movie is at the concert in the beginning.  Sadly, she didn't make it, but the important thing is that it shows her strength right from the beginning.  It's her voice (I know, a little cheesy but it worked for me).  She is the best singer of all the sisters...and also a little bit of a slacker in the merworld.  

Think about the one thing that Eric remembers Ariel by.  The one thing that connects him to her and defines who she is in his eyes.  It's her voice.  He heard her sing and that's how he recognizes her.  

So, a character's voice is what drives them in the story.  It's what makes them do what they do.  When Ariel is signing a contract with Ursula, Ursula wants to take what's most precious to Ariel.  Ariel uses her voice to get what she wants most!

Sadly, without it, Eric doesn't know her.  He thinks she's familiar, but he's not positive.  

If your character is lacking voice...they WON'T be recognizable.  It defines who they are and is the reason they act and react in a story.  

So, if an agent ever tells you, "All I want is...YOUR VOICE," you can first think of Ursula, but really go back and look at your character.  Make sure their voice is strong and consistent.  Show the agent how awesome and unique your voice is so they want it as bad as Ursula wanted Ariel's!


For the past three days I've spent every waking moment, and a lot of sleepy moments, attending the writeoncon online writer's conference.  And I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT!!!!!!  I learned so much and can't wait to apply it to my writing...that is, after I catch up on a bit of sleep :)  It was SO worth it though!  Seriously, if you weren't there, you'd better plan on it next year!

I hope that through applying the lessons to my writing that I can learn to "Perfect the craft" a little more each day.  I don't think I'll ever be a perfect writer, if that's even possible, but I can work on it and do my best.  Maybe one day you'll even see a book published by me.  Either way, if I get published or not, I'll still be spending my time perfecting the craft :)