posted by Aunty Cindy aka Loucinda McGary
BIG THANX to Mary Margret for her instructive post on Saturday sharing her process of coming up with alternate 50 word (or less) pitches.
Another good source for pitches (especially if you have more than 50 words or 30 seconds in an elevator) is your query letter. In my case, I have usually revised and polished my query letters to within an inch of my life, so I like to use them (in whatever form) at every available opportunity. Below is the query letter I used most often for the book that eventually sold and became The Wild Sight:
Cursed with the Irish clairvoyance known as “The Sight,” Donovan O’Shea fled to America to escape his “gift.” After fifteen years, his father’s illness has forced him to return to the family homestead. Decades earlier, Donovan’s mother disappeared into the encroaching fens and was never seen again. Now the same fens are offering up secrets, both ancient and recent, and restoring a terrible legacy that just may drive him mad. And if this is not trouble enough, a beautiful woman walks into his life, claiming to be his half-sister.
Rylie Powell never knew her real father. Her mother would only say he was a charming Irishman who seduced her, married her, and then abandoned her and his baby daughter. But after her mother’s death, Rylie finds tantalizing clues about her father that send her off to Northern Ireland and an archeological site on Dermot O’Shea’s property, the man listed on her birth certificate as her father.
-Did Dermot O’Shea father both Donovan and Rylie?
-What is Donovan’s connection to the Celtic High King Niall of the Nine Hostages?
-And what secret do the fens hold that invites murder?
I have been writing full-time since 2004. In 2005, I was a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier contest for unpublished writers, and in 2006, I was a Golden Heart finalist in romantic suspense. I have traveled extensively and have relatives in Northern Ireland who helped inspire this story. I would be happy to send you the first three chapters and a synopsis.
If some of this looks vaguely familiar, portions of it have been used on Amazon, in various interviews I've done, and even on my back cover blurb. Oh yes, and I've used it more than once when someone asks, "So what is your book about?"
Hope this has been helpful for all you writers out there who are gearing up for our contest on Thursday! On of the critiques given as a runner-up prize will be from Yours Truly.