So, I was goofing around this morning and stumbled upon something that I didn’t know was a thing: the Twitter pitch contest. I have never participated, and I haven’t done enough research to recommend specific contests, but it sure caught my imagination!
The idea is to write a 140-character pitch (well, probably 130 after you include the contest hashtag and genre hashtag), put it out in the great wide Twitter-world, and then wait for agents and editors and fellow-writers to notice you during the span of the contest.
Wow. One hundred and thirty letters. Talk about your challenge! A good pitch would include your protagonist, your antagonist, your major plot complication and motivations. Could you do it? Why would you even try?
Well, I can think of a lot of reasons for trying. Distilling your novel into a few words is a good way to figure out what is REALLY important to you – the not-so-important things must get left out. So, if you pitch about your heroine’s job search, but you find yourself writing about her sister’s marital problems, you know you have a disconnect. Either you have to find a way to subordinate the sister’s problems, or maybe you really have to find a way to be writing about the sister, not the heroine. This would work at many stages of your novel – I think you have to take it less seriously when you are in the earlier drafts, and more seriously as you really come to know what your novel is about.
It has a limit – you can write 130 characters in a half hour, and move on. Writing out a longer synopsis is also useful, but it can take a lot more time. (Depending, of course – everything in writing has qualifiers.)
Because it takes less time, you can keep your “tweet pitches” in a file as a kind of diary of your progress.
More shallowly, by crafting a tweet about your book, you have a pat answer ready when people ask you what you are writing these days. If you have no answer ready, you mumble something about the main character, and the other person is left holding the conversational ball in many cases. But with a concise, interesting pitch, you may get some reaction from the other end – which, of course, may or may not be helpful. (-: You never know if it will be helpful or not until you try.
Most importantly, it’s fun to play with words. It’s fun to have boundaries, and work creatively within them, or to smash them to bits for Really Good Reasons.
So, let me try something crazy: if you have time, write a haiku about your work to be pitched or your work in progress. Yes, a HAIKU. Post it here. To make things “safer”, add a response tag at the end – (please critique) or (adoration only) or (please ignore the fact I posted). Whatever makes you feel comfortable about exposing your baby in public.
Haikus are even more nuts than 130 character tweets – they conform to a 5-syllable, 7-syllable, 5-syllable rhythm, and should have a seasonal word in them. (-: Mission Impossible. I have a feeling nobody is going to try this . . . but as always, I look forward to your comments today – especially about tweet contests, but I won’t mind (too much) ones about my sanity. (And let’s not be so afraid of failure – failure means we’re trying, after all.)
Bunny Blavatsky, Spirit Photographer
Blizzard. My camera is odd . . . .
We rescue ghost slaves.
(Twitter says that’s 102 characters.) (Please critique.) (Oh, god.) (No, I really want the truth, no matter how much it hurts.)