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.

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