Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Perfect Pitch

Today's weather forecast for St. Peters, MO: Foggy, cloudy, high 65 degrees.

(Cari and Michael)
Michael's baseball game was a rainout last night, but there's no worry about the weather this evening for Cari and Michael's spring musical because it's going to be held inside their school auditorium. Cari's eighth grade class is doing "Grease" (we ran out last night to buy stuff so she could make a special tee-shirt), and Michael's fourth-grade class is doing "Dreamgirls," (easy one, just a new pair of dress pants and a dress shirt for him). Our second-grade carpooler's class is doing "Oklahoma"; the seventh grade carpooler is doing "Hairspray," and our first-grade carpooler is doing "The Sound of Music," so I've been hearing show tunes in the van for a several weeks now. It's been fun, and tonight should be a blast!

The kids' concert got me to thinking about "perfect pitch"--not in music, but for writers--in having a good ear for dialogue, a unique voice in stories, and a strategy for pitching to an editor or agent. Spring is not only the time for school concerts; for writers, it's a busy time for conferences, where opportunities to pitch your novel abound.

As writers with hopes of one day publishing a novel, pitching is something most of us dread. I've pitched ideas at several conferences, and my anxiety level always increases just thinking about what I'm going to say.

As luck would have it, yesterday literary agent Nathan Bransford posted on his blog about "How to Maximize Pitch Sessions." He recently attended Pike's Peak Writer's Conference, where he participated in pitch sessions. He talked about his experiences on his blog, where he also gave some suggestions for pitching.

The following list his five suggestions. For complete explanations of each, visit Nathan's blog.

1. Spend as little time as possible talking about your project.
2. Go in with questions.
3. Focus on making a personal connection.
4. Listen to feedback.
5. It's okay to be nervous.

So, even if you are not musically inclined and have a tin ear, as a writer you can give the perfect pitch--just remember: don't be nervous because it's all about the writing.


  1. Love musicals, and I'll bet I can sing the lyrics you've been hearing, too!

  2. Thanks, Pat.
    Tonight should be so much fun. I can't wait to see the kids and hear the songs.


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