When writing a pitch, is it okay to give away a twist?


#1

Okay, so I’m trying to write a pitch for my story. The main characters spend more than 75% of the story thinking the antagonist is a demon. That’s what they thought before actually meeting her and what she continues to let them think after. Should the pitch then refer to her as such, or since it’s supposed to grab the attention of publishers, mention what she really is?


#2

Hey there,

I think you’ll have better luck in Industry Insiders, so I’ve moved your thread there. Thanks for understanding, and good luck with your pitch!

Mo - Community Ambassador


#3

Maybe imply that she’s something different, but don’t actually say it… imply her real identity at the very end too…


#4

Is this a pitch for a query (for an agent or publisher) or is this a blurb for the book on Wattpad?

Oh, duh, you mention publishers. Sorry.

Yes, you can mention the twist. But I’m not sure that’s necessary. Set up, goals, stakes. If the twist is critical to any of those, then you might need to mention it. Otherwise not.

You would need to include the twist in a synopsis, of course.


#5

When pitching a novel to a publisher or an agent, here are some DO’s and DON’Ts –

First off and foremost, a short sentence that looks like THIS ought to instantly fall from your lips anytime ANYONE asks you to describe what it is you have written:

My novel is a [genre] called [title], about a [description of the protagonist] who [conflict].

My novel is a Science Fiction story called C.A.R.O.L.I.N. about a computer that thinks it’s a woman.

There should be no 'umm’s or 'ah’s about this! Practice saying it and writing it enough so that it comes out of you in a heartbeat. Then think of another way to say it, and another and another, so you can toss out other pitch lines if the first one doesn’t get a nibble.

My novel is a SciFi Adventure called C.A.R.O.L.I.N. about weapon system that becomes sentient.

My novel is a Romantic SciFi called C.A.R.O.L.I.N. about a computer program that falls in love with its creator.

Then these are the points you should pitch. Use an active voice!

What does your character want?
C.A.R.O.L.I.N. wants to become a real live human being.
C.A.R.O.L.I.N. wants the right to decide her own fate.

Why does you character want it?
C.A.R.O.L.I.N. believes in her heart that she’s human.
C.A.R.O.L.I.N. thinks she deserves human rights.

What keeps your character from getting it?
C.A.R.O.L.I.N. is a computer. She will never be human.
The military believes C.A.R.O.L.I.N. will make an excellent fighting machine.

Important tips to consider:

Never start a pitch by telling backstory! If you can’t describe your plot and conflict without delving into the past, you haven’t written your novel correctly.

If you can’t describe your story without including more than THREE characters, you have too many plot lines in your head. FOCUS on just ONE or TWO!

Match the voice in your pitch to the voice in your story.

Don’t pitch your novel as a series of books. Pitch it as a story that stands on its own.

Be brief! Don’t drone on and on. Write succinct sentences, not those with a bevy of BUTs and ANDs and THENs.

And finally – don’t be discouraged. Ask for feedback and critique. Find out WHY the agent or publisher does not want to sell your novel.

And good luck! :slight_smile:


#6

If it´s a pitch then yes.Publishers are looking to be wowed. Due to the huge level of applicants most agent/publishers only read the query-letter. If you haven´t managed to pique their interests chances are they won´t read the 2-3 chapters you have submitted. So you need to grab their attention. A clever twist is a major selling-point, so hit them with it. It also helps to know your target audience, and to supply a reason why your book might sell to them. Also, to compare it to two books in a similar vein, i.e. say it was a vampire tale, pitch it as a cross between Interview with the vampire and Twilight. If you search on-line there are plenty of agents who offer free advice on writing the perfect query letter.
And best of luck!!