Saturday, May 22, 2010

Elevator Speech - Hook Line Blogfest

Having just attended a conference, I have first hand experience with the dreaded, "Tell me about your book." line that editors and agents use when you meet with them. Its nerve wracking as it is to meet with someone to pitch your book...not knowing what to say leaves them blinking silently with a sympathetic smile on their frozen faces.

I heard an agent call the one-sentence pitch an 'elevator speech'. Its from the idea of having just the amount of time it takes to reach the next floor to sell your book idea to the hapless editor who got on the elevator with you.

As a writer, I usually take 400+ words to get my idea across so the query...and the hook line send a shuddering quiver through my guts. Brian, who hosts the Time Guardian Blog announced a Hookline Blogfest and I had to take the challenge. Boil your book down to a one-sentence pitch. (*sigh*)

Here goes...

Bayou Blue - An ambitious journalist follows a career-making cold case to the bayou of Louisiana where she gets trapped in a hurricane with a mysterious sheriff bent on hiding the truth behind the crime.

Whew! Can't wait to read all the other great entries. I'm sure I'll learn a lot about phrasing and semicolons. Until Next Time...Go Write!

Photograph by ellyjonez, Uploaded on April 22, 2009.

18 comments:

Iapetus999 said...

Hmm...I need more.
The first half is interesting. So what is the issue? What's her major choice? Why is the sheriff mysterious? Why is him hiding the truth a problem? What are the stakes?

Yup these loglines are super hard!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

You've got an exciting start here. I'm impressed with how much you've told me in one sentence. But I think Andrew is right that we need more of what the stakes are. Is her life in danger or does she think it is?
This is really good work. I'm very intrigued.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yeah, it needs a little more punch and detail. I missed this one, but I know it's difficult!

Bryan Sabol said...

Good start, but as others before me said, take a look at your pitch and see if you can fold in more of the "big tension" moments in your logline.

Not that every book and logline must be a cliffhanger mind you, but that's the idea -- leave the reader with the NEED to read more.

Nice job -- thanks for joining the blogfest!

Tessa Conte said...

I like it, but a little more info would be good.

(I found this entire exercise exeedingly painful - one line? seriously?)

Sangu said...

I actually think that worked pretty well! It sets up a nice conflict between the sheriff and her. But I'd avoid the phrase "mysterious sheriff" if I were you, it sounds a tad gimmicky.

prashant said...

I think Andrew is right that we need more of what the stakes are. Is her life in danger or does she think it is?
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Dawn Embers said...

I think you did a good job here. I'd actually say you don't need more really for the "elevator pitch" but a slightly longer version might appease the crowds and work when there is a couple minutes to pitch instead of one. The only thing I'd consider changing is the "mysterious". It's okay but think there is something less cliche that could be used.

Well done.

Watery Tart said...

I would agree that you've done a great job introducing the heroine, but I'd like either WHY he is so bent on hiding it, or else a more active way in which he keeps blocking her. Sounds promising though!

Myne Whitman said...

What is the crime? the cold case? Not really hooked yet.

http://www.mynewhitmanwrites.com/2010/05/hook-line-for-heart-to-mend-blogfest.html

RaShelle said...

Great beginning and the story sounds intersting. Keep it up. =D

Raquel Byrnes said...

Ah, criminey...I knew I hated hook lines for a reason...any 'more' and I'll be doling out semi colons like suckers at a rave.

I'll keep trying...thanks for all of your encouragement.

Elaine AM Smith said...

I'm keen to learn a little more - can you add a few more specifics to the logline/Hook?

elizabeth mueller said...

I can tell you've been working on this, it's nice and polished, but I want to know what is at stake with the journalist, why should I care about her? A bit o' juice for me to savor!

Thank you for your comments on mine! :)

Harley D. Palmer said...

You have a great start here! Much better than my starters. It just needs some more specifics. While I was drawn into it, and I would probably read the story if you pitched it to me like this, I still have the thought "And how is yours different from any other crime novel?" So put something in there that really makes it stand out from the others! Fantastic start!

Lovy Boheme said...

I actually like how short and sweet this is. I agree that you can probably highlight the conflict a little better, but still...resist the semicolon!

Eric W. Trant said...

Well, I must have missed the crappy excerpt, because the one I read looked GREAT!

- Eric

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