So lemme 'splain.
The emphasis of the Algonkian Write to Market Conference is the pitch. Conference director or leader or headmaster or whatever he is, Michael Neff, says that the pitch tail wags the novel dog. You can read it in his own words by clicking that link. But the idea is that if you can't verbalize a decent pitch for your story, then chances are your story needs work. This idea was illuminating to me, since I showed up to this conference with a story that included little external antagonism and tiny buds of dramatic turns.
|How fast would John Keating|
tear this from the pages of his text book?
So I worked on my pitch. And by creating the pitch that would (maybe, hopefully) sell my novel, I had to come to terms with a severe amount of rewriting. This is the novel I originally wrote as my Master's thesis, the novel I've reworked and revised and added to and subtracted from for years, the novel I made a goal to sell this year, in 2011. I liked where it was. I thought it was in pretty good shape. But it needs work.
That's what I've been doing for the past few weeks. Revising the story to fit what is implied in the pitch. Because on the last say of the conference, I had the opportunity to pitch several different agents who are looking specifically for Young Adult fiction sans the paranormal. And three agents asked me to send them partial manuscripts.
Did you read that correctly? I said three agents asked for partial manuscripts. I was dreadfully excited about it at the time. That excitement has pretty much turned to anxiety at this point, though, because of the reality of sending my work to real, actual agents. But that's where I am today. I've rewritten enough to be able to send these agents the pages they requested. I'm still not done with the rewrites; in fact, it's the ending that requires the most extensive changes and I still need to tackle that. Still, it's coming along. (You can read the first little bit yourself at my author website www.brentwescott.com. Or click here.)
The agents now have what they requested. And I play the waiting game. (After the first email was sent, before I could get another one off, a reply popped into my inbox. I freaked out thinking I got the world's fastest rejection. It was just an automated response to my query telling me the agent received my submission. Phew.)
Here's the pitch that got me this far. Feel free to tell me you'd buy it if you could. Or pass this along to the nearest agent you know. Either way, it's cool.
My name is Brent Wescott.
The title of my book is Trendy Poseurs Go Home.
The genre is Young Adult fiction.
You might compare it with the sarcastic narrator of Frank Portman’s King Dork and the indie characters of Rachel Cohn and David Levithan’s Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist.
When 18-year-old Drew Tanner’s father ceremoniously hands over the used luggage of his dead brother so he can pack up for college and then announces that Drew will be majoring in business just like his brother did, Drew’s individuality is threatened and he feels his own life squelched.
In a week, he is scheduled to leave Denver for college in California, just like his deceased brother, parents, and grandparents before him. However, Drew is not his brother, no matter how hard his family insists on reinventing him in his brother’s image. Struggling to find his own voice, he has lived his life filled with punk friends, indie music, and the unconventional sport of soccer.