I’ll be the first to admit, writing Twitter pitches makes me more insane than I already am. So I do it a lot. Every pitch event, I try to write a new one or perfect an old one. Even my favorite, the one with the quote, has been changed recently.
With that in mind, let’s do some exercises to get the brain going.
First, who is your book about?
I have dual POV and each POV character (they’re both protagonists) have almost equal screen time. But Adelaide is the MAIN main character, the hero, the one with the most significant character arc.
She’s early twenties and was born after the apocalypse happened. The only world she knows is the post-apocalyptic one. She didn’t grow up in a city, so socializing is a whole new complication. And she’s never sure if she’s doing it right.
Second exercise: what is your main character’s goal? This is where we might have to skip ahead.
At the beginning of my book, and probably many, many books, my MC’s goal is to live a normal life. So let’s forget about that. What happens to change that goal? This is your inciting incident OR your first plot point. Or both.
For me, infected people are found within the safe space of her village and when her dad investigates, he’s wrongfully arrested. Inciting incident —> first plot point.
Now her goal is to free him. In one of my sample pitches, I’ve summed it up in this sentence:
“When she has to save her father from a murder plot it’s almost a welcome distraction.”
So it’s not just what happened, but also a taste of character motivation.
Other considerations: what are the stakes? What is stopping them from achieving their goal?
Try to brainstorm about this and think about what needs to be included. Maybe the goal we talked about in the last exercise implies the answer to both of these. Maybe what’s stopping them is interesting and unique. Think about a few punchy words you could use to describe their opposition.
This is where we tie it all together, and make it irresistible (we hope!).
We talk a lot about making sure our stories have conflict, and our pitches should too. The way I envision this is: I’ve told you who my MC is, what their goal is, and the stakes. Now I take those stakes and turn the screws. Really tell us how you’re trying to keep your protagonist from success. And if it’s personal (without being too spoilery), make the twist personal. The more you can destroy your protagonist’s world in this sentence, the better.
I leave a reader of the pitch with questions they need to have answered. What does Addy discover in the course of saving her father that leads her to believe the Cure might not be so great? I had a better one, but it was a little too spoilery for my taste.
So I’ll leave you with that.
Think about your character, what makes them unique, what they need to overcome, and how you’re keeping them from winning. You don’t have to sum up the whole plot, you’re just trying to hook a reader. Pick your punchiest lines and fit them together in 266 characters or less.
See this post for 2019 pitch events