A Little Pitchy

Beginning by following up on the last entry: my editor friend is working on my project but swamped with family and other responsibilities right now, and since she’s working for free I’ve got no complaints.

The area coordinator for my former area (I did mention that I had moved) has proposed that our cohort make February our re-write month, beginning today with simply re-reading our manuscripts. Right on, full steam ahead…I’m chicken. I am all for diving into my revisions but I am more than a little apprehensive to go back and read what is probably a very sloppy, overly personal YA novel. Think Twilight with less self-regard.

I’ll do it, though. Most likely at 11:59, obeying the order of the day but only just.

The other February-based challenge that has been issued is Pitchapalooza,  and that’s what I really want to talk about. Pitchapalooza offers the assistance of some very well-connected book doctors to a couple of lucky aspiring authors, in order to get their novels good and published. Pitches are due by Feb. 29th, and I have challenged myself to enter this contest (though I have notoriously terrible luck, I’m more likely to be struck by lightning than chosen as one of the random 25). You can read more about Pitchapalooza here, because I am tired of explaining it.

When I started my novel, I knew who the main characters were going to be. I knew which events would drive the story, and I knew how the story would end. My setting was fully realized in my head, researched even. What I did not know, was how to sum up my novel without giving away the ending.

This became a problem at the first regional meeting, and it’s going to be a problem entering a contest BASED on summing up my novel in an interesting fashion.

The thing is, I don’t really like novels that can be summed up with a single tidy purpose. It’s not the kind of novel I wanted to write.  I don’t believe the “point” of  Harry Potter  was for Harry to defeat Voldemort. I don’t believe the point of The Hunger Games was for Katniss to become a symbol or win a war. I cite these examples not because I am arrogant enough to think that what I have written is in their league, but if we’re aspiring, let’s aim high.

The novels I love, and the kind I want to write, are about experiences and their transformative power. Even self-discovery, though not in a yoga-and-granola sort of way. All that with a heaping helping of lyricism and fantasy was what I was aiming at with my NaNo. Not a tidily packaged “issue” or event.

The problem with an experiential novel is that it’s a journey, and to fully understand it you have to take the whole trip. Not an elevator ride with the highlights. I wanted to write the kind of story where you read it over and over and notice a new facet every time, delve deeper into the content.

Now that I have wandered into “too long; did not read” territory I will sum up this entry by saying it is a bunch of self-pitying waffle. If I want my book commercially published, and I’m at least going to try, I have to play in the commercial arena by the commercial rules. That means an elevator pitch. That means a tidy, scintillating summation.

When I write it, I will share it here.

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