Ready for another tip?
When you write the pitch, remember that the editor you’re pitching to is not the audience. They need to know how the story ends.
There is a lot of confusion out there as to what a pitch is. Here’s what you need to know: a pitch is a document that sells the story. It sells, it doesn’t tell. Like everything else, this is a lot harder than it seems.
The pitch is not a two-sentence thing that’s designed to gain a reader’s interest. That’s a log line, and it’s only good for giving a high concept of a work. What you need to do is to take the log line and expand it, explain it, using language that sells the story.
Now, the pitch has to tell the story in broad strokes. While doing that, you also have to show how the character(s) change from the first page to the last page. There has to be a character arc. Your character cannot end up at the same place where they started.
Broad strokes means you can’t get bogged down in minutia. This will kill any interest your story may have garnered. Think of it as a fast book report. You don’t give the details in a book report. Just enough to cover the basics. Same thing here.
Don’t go into the backstory you created. I’m going to give you a secret about backstory that no one tells you: no one cares about your backstory. It’s only important as a source of conflict later, and it has to be built up. No one cares that Darth Vader is Luke’s father in the first Star Wars. That has to be built up. No one cares that Luke and Leia are siblings. That has to be built up. If you try to give the entire history of Anakin Skywalker and how he became Darth Vader in the pitch, then you’re not going to sell the story, defeating the entire purpose of the pitch.
Again, you have to give away the ending. All stories end. Give away the ending. And it has to be satisfying. Remember, the pitch is a document that sells the story. You have to sell it. Selling it means you tell the editor how it ends. They won’t be able to decide if they want to buy/publish the story if they don’t know how it ends.
You keep those simple things in mind, and you’ll be that much closer to getting a “yes” when you pitch a story.