Simple...what if you get stuck in an elevator with a pizza editor and you only have under a minute in order to pitch your pie?
Ok, so the scenario doesn't really fly, but the deal is that we as writers are supposed to condense our whole story into one sentence just in case we are called upon to pique the interest of an influential in under a minute.
So, after you write your novel, spend countless MORE hours editing and polishing it, you have to do a few more things...
The synopsis...a 4 page write up of everything that happens in a novel in case...
someone likes your query letter, which is one single paragraph that explains your entire novel, which they'll only read after they get interested in your...
ten second pitch that will appear at the beginning of your query letter or, if you happen to be caught in an elevator with an agent/editor, you blurt it out, ever so eloquently, and they want to see more...
That, IMHO, is a lot of condensing!
I thought I was going to go in that order, write the synopsis, in hopes it would help me write the query letter, in hopes it would help me write that one little sentence that was supposed to entice readers to read my story. Of course I have to admit that before, I thought it was an editor or perhaps a marketing guru who did all this junk...why on Earth did I think writers weren't the ones who did this?
So, anyway, now that we've established that we have to write one, then how? I tried out many formulas, but I think I found one that really works. You have to work with it and give it your own flare to really make it sing, but the end result will be great.
I got the idea/formula from this blog post from WOW: Women on Writing.
Here's the formula:
My story is about ___(character)_________who wants more than anything to _____(goal)_________ but can’t because ____(conflict)_______.
Extremely simple, I know, but it gets out of your head what you need to include, so you're introducing your main character, their main goal and the conflict in their way. Of course there is more to your novel. But you can't explain it all in one sentence. Hell, you can't even explain it all in a query letter!
But this isn't about query letters - yes, I'm very nervous about writing mine! hence I keep mentioning it - this is about your one sentence, ten second schpeel. Phew!...
I took a stab at it, adding my own hint of Lia'ness, and this is what I came up with for my 10 second pitch for my novel Waiting for Paint to Dry:
Matty Bell longs to rediscover her self-confidence, empowering her to pursue and enjoy the passions of her life once more, yet is held captive by her painful past until the night of her thirtieth birthday.
Actually, I'm pretty excited - stoked - that in one sentence I was able to capture my main characters dilemma and conflict while hinting to much more. I might need to tweak it a bit now that I see it again - a lot of the word "her" in one sentence. Then again, sometimes you can't get a way from something like that.
You'll have to do it eventually, so why not try it now, and share yours too!
Now all I need to do is find some elevators and start pitching...