For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been slaving feverishly over a hot manuscript. Pros is currently on the ninth draft. I think it finally looks good. Especially after reviewing draft 8 and suddenly deciding to cut 9 fucking chapters right out of it.
Nine beautiful, character-driven, back-story chapters… that take the story from chapter one- the introduction of Our Hero with a gaping wound in his side to…. eight months in the past.
Yes, back-story can be awesome. And yes, the detail with which I lovingly crafted these characters is considerable. And yes, I think that each and every single thing I wrote is absolutely essential in getting to know them, and understanding their characters. However… the book’s about the STORY. And the back-story? it didn’t serve the plot. It was a painting of the characters. Did it help? yes. Was it necessary?
So, it’s out.
But, draft 9 is done. I think it’s polished. I think it’s pretty. I’ve read it out loud, word by word, ten times from start to finish (said activity has taken me three days, by the way.) If you don’t read your work out loud, I highly recommend it. Beautiful prose is one thing. But nothing shouts awkward faster than trying to pronounce a bit of lovely, but awkward, vocabulary. Remember: it’s gotta flow.
Just like the Spice, man.
Today has been about the pitch. See, I’m getting it ready (slaving feverishly, remember) for the Amazon Breakout Novel contest (last year’s approach to the final 500 from 10,000 gave me a lot of hope, and more than a few panic attacks) and I really feel like Pros is a much stronger entry this year. But I need a good pitch.
Actually, i need an amazing pitch. Because even though a pitch is necessary, and the book is stronger than last year’s entry…. the first 5000 pages aren’t as grabby as last year’s pages. I really lucked out with last year’s pages, which started out with a good old fashioned murder at the end of the first chapter. This one? Not so much. Although there is a good bit of gore, there’s no murder. So, i need a good pitch. I need an awesome pitch. I need an amazing pitch.
I hate writing a pitch.
I hate it because I suck at writing a pitch.
As such, I’ve been slaving away at it today. I found a shit-ton of really good help online, not the least of which has been Nathan Bransford’s awesome blog, http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2010/05/how-to-write-one-sentence-pitch.html (Leave me alone, i haven’t figured out how to embed a link.)
He recommends a one sentence, one paragraph, two paragraph approach.
I’ve written twice as many drafts of the damned pitch as I have the book!
That’s to be expected. And i need the practice. *le sigh*
So, there’s that.