"Stick to the facts, but make those facts fascinating." --Blythe Camenson
Recapping highlights. First, on the one-sentence summary--the starting place for effective pitches:
"The resulting very basic pitch is: When OPENING CONFLICT happens to CHARACTER(s), they have OVERCOME CONFLICT to COMPLETE quest...The important thing to remember is that a good pitch is a description of what actually happens. It's a one sentence description of the plot, not the theme." --Nathan Bransford, Literary Agent
"The one-sentence summary, also known as a logline, a hook, or a one-sentence pitch (it is not a tagline, however)...is a one-sentence summary (that) takes your complex book with multiple characters and plotlines and boils it down into a simple statement that can be quickly conveyed and understood, and generates interest in the book." --Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent
"Knowing a story's pitch (a one-line description) is an effective way to keep the main concept in mind when writing and revising. To develop your one-sentence pitch, here's a formula: Title + Genre + Life Change = Pitch." --Adventures in Children's Publishing
On the verbal pitch itself (which I will have six minutes alloted to me to do):
"Be prepared...Conquer the nerves...Accept criticism."--Sue Lick, writing-world
"Keep it short. Focus on a character and the character's problem. Stop at a moment of tension and wait." --Jane Friedman, Writer's Digest There Are No Rules
"So if you do get an agent or editor in front of you, relax. Impossible, I know. But once you relax, you can actually talk to the other person. Tell them about your book. Ask a question. Talk as well as listen. There's nothing I appreciate more than a writer who is prepared yet flexible, professional yet casual. Someone who'll talk to me as another person who loves books, not as someone desperately trying to get my approval." --Mary Kole, Literary Agent
So here we are. Ready and raring to go. I expect the entire workshop to be fun, and the pitch to be a great experience.
As for the future, I think I will reverse the order. Instead of trying to come up with the one-sentence summary and short pitch paragraph after writing the book, I want to follow Blythe Camenson's advice in his book Give 'Em What They Want, The Right Way to Pitch Your Novel to Editors and Agents: "If you create your pitch line before you actually write the novel, it can guide your writing and keep your plot on track." And, may I add, cut lots of time off the work to the finished product? I think so.
I'll share some of what I learned when I get back. Until then, happy plotting, revising, dreaming, imagining, pitching--whatever part of writing occupies your time in the days ahead. May there be many bright spots along your way, too.