Writing a Pitch is a Bi***

I recently wrote about the upcoming Left Coast Crime conference in Sacramento. I’m participating in a workshop on story structure. The workshop leader, author Alexandra Sokoloff, asked us to send the premise of our mystery before Thursday.

Easy enough.

Write a one-sentence summary of a 300-page novel that hooks the reader. We’ve all seen them on book jackets, New York Times best-seller lists and movie blurbs.

I sought out some fresh examples and set out to write it. The form has many names: hook, logline, premise or pitch.  Some are no more than 15 words. Some don’t use character names. My writing group said they liked it better with the name of my protagonist.

It was hard.

Four days later, I finally had it down to two sentences and more than 45 words. Here’s the result of my effort.

Focused on Murder
A Spirit Lake Mystery

Britt Johansson is a star newspaper photographer whose reckless behavior nearly ended her career. She gets a chance to redeem herself when she’s working in Northern Minnesota and stumbles across an international crime ring that ultimately pits her and her brother against a deranged killer determined to destroy them.

If you like it, please hit the Like button. If you have suggestions, I’d love to hear them.


10 thoughts on “Writing a Pitch is a Bi***

  1. I like this one a lot! It’s truly amazing how hard it is to do this kind of clear and succinct summary. This one hooks me and makes me want to read more.

  2. I thought your pitch was very clear and I liked it. We’ve been doing pitch slams every Thursday at my blog and I’ve learned so much from seeing other’s pitches. Mine will be this week and I’d love you to drop in and give me your opinion! Whittling down 300 pages is so very difficult!

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