I’ve moved to heathercashman.com . . . as of today!

I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but it was going to happen someday. I hope you’ll follow me!

Here’s a link to my new website, which is all the same stuff that’s here, just prettier.

http://heathercashman.com

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#PitMad Twitter Pitch Party Today . . . After the Madness!

twitter-pitmad

See the official #PitMad page here.

There’s a twitter pitch party on the Twitter hashtag #PitMad today, March 23rd, from 8AM to 8PM EST.

Get your twitter pitches ready and make sure to include all the appropriate hashtags, especially #PitMad, in your 140 character tweet-pitch. If you need help creating the perfect pitch, there’s a post about it on my website here: PITCHING ON TWITTER . . . 140 CHARACTER LOGLINES!

Or on Brenda Drake’s site here: The 35-word Twitter Pitch . . . Simplified

THE RULES . . .

Be polite and don’t say anything mean about a writer’s pitch. Please, don’t “like” any pitches. That’s only for agents. If you want to show support, reply with a comment or re-tweet the pitch. You can quote the tweet with your support or praise, or just re-tweet without quoting.

Any genre can be pitched. Pitch up to three times per day, per manuscript. It helps to pitch when you see an agent on the hashtag (throughout the day for a better response). Add #YA, #MG, #NA, #A, or #PB in your pitch to help the agents find the ones they represent. For more detail with your hashtags, see all of the hashtags here!

If your tweet is “liked” (or hearted) by an agent, please confirm they are a legitimate agent, search the agent’s feed, and see what the agent would like #PitMad participants to send them. Then send the requested materials.

QUESTIONS? Tweet or DM me at @HeatherCashman

For added fun, get some popcorn and scroll through the #fakepitmad pitches.

ALL INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS ARE WELCOME TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS EVENT.

For those of you who follow me on Twitter and don’t want to hear all my #PitMad hosting mumbo-jumbo, feel free to Mute #PitMad from your feed and you won’t hear almost anything from me all day.

From the Twitter Help Site

How to mute words and hashtags

From the Twitter for iOS app:

  1. Go to your Notifications tab 
  2. Tap the gear icon 
  3. Tap Muted words.
  4. Tap + Add muted word or phrase.
  5. Type in the words or hashtags you’d like to mute.
  6. Tap Save.
  7. Tap Done.
  8. You will see the mute icon  next to each entered word or hashtag.

From the Twitter for Android app:

  1. Go to your Notifications tab 
  2. Tap the gear icon 
  3. Tap Muted words.
  4. Tap the plus icon 
  5. Type in the word or hashtag you’d like to mute.
    Note: Entries can only be added one a time.
  6. Select whether to enable this in Home timeline or Notifications, or both.
  7. Select whether this is Anyone or From people you don’t follow (for enabled Notifications only, tap Notifications to adjust).
  8. Tap For how long? and choose between Forever, 24 hours from now, 7 days from now, or 30 days from now.)
  9. Tap Save.
  10. You will see the muted icon  and the mute time period next to each entered word or hashtag.

Via twitter.com:

  1. Click Settings and privacy from your profile image drop-down.
  2. Click Muted words.
  3. Click Add.
  4. Enter the word or hashtag you’d like to mute.
    Note: Entries can only be added one a time.
  5. Select Home timeline if you wish to mute the word or phrase from your Home timeline.
  6. Select Notifications if you wish to mute the word or phrase from your Notifications.
    1. Specify From anyone or From only people I don’t follow.
  7. Under For how long? choose between Forever, 24 hours from now, 7 days from now, or 30 days from now.)
  8. Click Add.
  9. You will see the mute time period indicated next to each entered word or hashtag.


Via mobile.twitter.com:

  1. Go to your Notifications tab 
  2. Tap the gear icon 
  3. Tap Muted words.
  4. Click +Add muted or phrase.
  5. Type in the word or hashtag you’d like to mute.
    Note: Entries can only be added one a time.
  6. If you wish to mute that word or phrase on your Home timeline, check the box.
  7. If you wish to mute that word or phrase from your Notifications, check the box.
    1. Select whether this is From anyone or From only people I follow (for Notifications only).
  8. Under For how long? choose between Forever, 24 hours from now, 7 days from now, or 30 days from now.)
  9. Click Save.
  10. You will see a muted button  and the mute time period next to each entered word or hashtag.

Pitching on Twitter . . . 140 character loglines!

I apologize in advance for the length of this post. But . . .

Loglines are important in every step of the publishing process. Writers use them to get agents. Agents use them to snag editors’ interest. Editors use them to sell the book to their marketing/acquisitions teams. Publishers use them in publicity to the reader.

A good logline is essential to garnering attention for your novel. Pitching is the delivery of your logline to someone else. It takes practice, good form, and fortitude just like . . .

pitching

Answer all of the following questions, then narrow things down to your 140-character pitch. As you’re going through, don’t worry so much about length as ideas. You can cut and reword later.

 

Components of a logline . . .

Main Character

What do they want, their goal or intention?

This can be internal or external, or both if you’re extremely clever.

If you use a name, you’ve wasted a description. What is the primary description of your character? Make sure it pertains to the main plot/theme of the story. And with pitching on Twitter, using ages is also a waste (in my opinion) because you’re tagging with an age category already.

Girl wanting to be seen as herself . . .

A queen desiring world peace . . .

A scientist hoping to cure all disease . . .

(P.S. The first is one of my book, but the others I’m making up as I go.)

Description

More adjectives add to setting, character, genre, and plot.

Be as specific as possible without using words that apply to only your story (like horcrux), because people won’t understand.

Daughter of a wealthy scientist wanting to be seen as herself . . .

A crippled princess desiring world peace . . .

A dying scientist hoping to cure all disease . . .

hmm

Main Conflict (Antagonist/Antagonistic Situation)

And how are they in the way of the protagonist getting what they want?

Daughter of a wealthy scientist wanting to be seen as herself, dies, and her spirit is engineered by a techno-cult to use a living host . . .

A crippled princess desiring world peace must face the prince of an invading country in one-on-one combat . . .

A dying scientist hoping to cure all disease is sabotaged by a pharmaceutical company . . .

Plot Synopsis

What makes the story unique?

Especially for science fiction or fantasy, set up the world and what makes it different.

Daughter of a wealthy scientist wanting to be seen as herself, dies, and her spirit is engineered by a techno-cult to use a living host. When she meets her polar opposite, the key to immortality is revealed.

A crippled princess of the underground colony of Sector 3, desiring world peace, must face the prince of an invading country in one-on-one combat . . .

A dying scientist working at a children’s hospital, hoping to cure all disease, is sabotaged by the pharmaceutical company who provides his meds . . .

good

Emotional hook

The emotional hook might already be included by this point. If not, make mention of it somehow.

Daughter of a wealthy scientist, wanting to be seen as herself, accidentally dies trying to get her father’s attention. Her spirit is engineered by a techno-cult to use a living host. When she meets her polar opposite, the key to immortality is revealed.

A crippled princess of the underground colony of Sector 3, desiring world peace, must face her childhood love, the prince of an invading country in one-on-one combat . . .

A dying scientist working at a children’s hospital, hoping to cure all disease, is sabotaged by the pharmaceutical company who provides his meds . . .

In the last one, I think the children’s hospital is the emotional hook. We know he’s a good guy trying to save children.

Stakes

If they don’t overcome conflict and get what they need, what is going to happen to them, their community, and/or the world?

Daughter of a wealthy scientist, wanting to be seen as herself, accidentally dies trying to get her father’s attention. Her spirit is engineered by a techno-cult to use a living host. When she meets her polar opposite, the key to immortality is revealed, and if they’re captured, the cult will use them to create an army of shifters capable of taking over anyone they choose.

A crippled princess of the underground colony of Sector 3, desiring world peace, must face her childhood love, the prince of an invading country, in one-on-one combat to the death. If she doesn’t win, her subjects will have their legs torn off and be left to rot in the sun.

A dying scientist working at a children’s hospital, hoping to cure all disease, is sabotaged by the pharmaceutical company who provides his meds. Unless he stops them and finishes his work within the week, his funding will run out and the living producers of his cures will die, only weeks before himself.

Try Adding Comps

Think of a character or story that fits one of the phrases you have in your pitch. As many similarities as possible. The main idea is to have the compared work explain the primary idea. If you’re an editor, the comp needs to show a good sales record and potential market. So if you can give this to the agent, they’ll be very happy.

Book comps are always better than movie comps. Published within the last two to three years is best.

Daughter of a wealthy scientist, wanting to be seen as herself, accidentally dies trying to get her father’s attention. Her spirit is engineered by a modern Dr. Frankenstein to use a living host. When she meets her X-men-like polar opposite, the key to immortality is revealed, and if they’re captured, the cult will use them to create an army of shifters capable of taking over anyone they choose.

A crippled princess of the underground colony of Sector 3, desiring world peace, must face her childhood love, the prince of an invading country, in one-on-one combat to the death. If she doesn’t win, her subjects will have their legs torn off and be left to rot in the sun. A BUG’S LIFE meets MAD MAX

A dying scientist working at a children’s hospital, hoping to cure all disease, is sabotaged by the pharmaceutical company who provides his meds. Unless he stops them and finishes his work within the week, his funding will run out and the living producers of his cures will die, only weeks before himself.

For the last one, I got nothing. You can add some in the comments if you like. For any of these actually.

nothing

Other Things to Keep in Mind

The more irony in the logline (and your story), the better.

Use action words.

Add descriptive imagery if there’s room.

Don’t use cliches.

Reflect the genre in the words and voice.

Add a countdown to ticking time-bomb if you can.

MOVE AND REARRANGE AND CUT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

If this is a twitter pitch, you’re going to have to choose your most important components. Not everything will fit in 140 characters. 😦

SAMPLE 1

Daughter of a wealthy scientist, wanting to be seen as herself, accidentally dies trying to get her father’s attention. Her spirit is engineered by a modern Dr. Frankenstein to use a living host. When she meets her X-men-like polar opposite, the key to immortality is revealed, and if they’re captured, the cult will use them to create an army of shifters capable of taking over anyone they choose.

For a query . . .

Accidentally dying to get noticed, a girl is engineered by a modern Dr. Frankenstein to use a living host. She must find her X-men-like opposite and reveal the key to immortality, or a techno-cult will use them to take over the world and she’ll lose herself forever.

For a pitch contest . . .

Accidentally dying to get noticed, an invisible girl uses a living host. She must find her opposite or lose herself forever. #PitMad #YA #SF

SAMPLE 2

A crippled princess of the underground colony of Sector 3, desiring world peace, must face her childhood love, the prince of an invading country, in one-on-one combat to the death. If she doesn’t win, her subjects will have their legs torn off and be left to rot in the sun. A BUG’S LIFE meets MAD MAX

For a query . . .

A crippled princess of Sector 3 colony must face her childhood love, the prince of an invading country, in one-on-one combat to the death. If she doesn’t win and gain the world peace she’s always wanted, her subjects will have their legs torn off and be left to rot in the sun. A BUG’S LIFE meets MAD MAX

For a pitch contest . . .

Crippled ant-princess must face invading, childhood-love in combat to the death or her colony will perish. BUG’S LIFE x MAD MAX #PitMad #A

SAMPLE 3

A dying scientist working at a children’s hospital, hoping to cure all disease, is sabotaged by the pharmaceutical company who provides his meds. Unless he stops them and finishes his work within the week, his funding will run out unless he finds some money. Otherwise, the living producers of his cures will die, only weeks before himself.

For a query . . .

A dying scientist hopes to cure disease and save his patients at the children’s hospital. When he’s sabotaged by a pharmaceutical company and his funding runs out, the living producers of his cures will die alongside his patients and himself.

For a pitch contest . . .

Dying, children’s-hospital scientist is sabotaged by a pharma co. Cures will die with his patients unless he steals quick cash. #PitMad #A

Notice that I had to add what the scientist did, his actions that propelled the story. Otherwise, he’d just seem sad. The hero was missing in action!

formula

Using A Formula

If you use a common form, it will work. But allowing yourself to cut and trim and work with your words, more of your voice will come out in the pitch. The most common form is:

When [INCITING INCIDENT OCCURS], a [SPECIFIC PROTAGONIST] must [OBJECTIVE], or else [STAKES].

For science fiction, fantasy, or unique world-building, sometimes it’s better to use that unique quality to propel the pitch forward.

In a world where people are grown in test tubes . . .

For more ideas about how to make a pitch, see Pitch Wars: The 35-word and Twitter Pitch … simplified

 

 

GOOD LUCK PITCHING EVERYONE!

 

 

Pitch Madness 2017 Candyland Edition… game on!

Welcome to Team Gumdrop Mountain!

It’s been a long week of reading through all the amazing pitches. Our wonderful readers have narrowed the slush, and your team hosts have chosen seventy pitches for the agent round. To meet the slush readers and hosts go to this post here. And you can find out more about the participating agents on this post here.

For those of you not familiar with Pitch Madness, it’s a contest where agents compete in a game against their peers for pitches and you can find the rules and instructions of the game here.

Our team winners worked so hard on revisions this week, and their pitches, queries, and first chapters are better than ever. I’m co-hosting with the amazing Nikki Roberti! Check out her site and follow her, you’ll be happy you did.

Nikki Roberti
Nikki Roberti
Website | Twitter

YA Contemp author rep’d by of , ‘s assistant, Mentor, Query Editor, Awarded Playwright

Scroll down to view all 10 picks for my team and click on the links to each entry …

Middle Grade

H1: Paranormal Adventure with Southern Roots: BOOGERMEN, HOODOO, AND HAINTS

Three Charleston seventh graders with abilities inspired by the proverb “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” must trust their powers and each other to save their favorite teacher from a mythical creature. READ MORE . . .

H2: Mystery: FOOD TRUCKS AND FIREWORKS

When fourteen-year-old aspiring chef Natalie helps family compete on a cooking reality show, she must uncover a nasty saboteur before Boston’s food truck community is ruined—even if that means risking her chance to win. READ MORE . . .

Young Adult

H3: Contemporary: BOOK OF MINIATURES

Art prodigy, Kenan, trades his paintbrush for a tattoo needle and falls for an anxiety-ridden girl. But overcoming the needle and repainting her fears doesn’t mean she’ll ever love him back.  READ MORE . . .

H4: Science Fiction: THE LAST RELIC

When a vengeful warlord invades her planet with his cyborg army, Princess Lusi must work with exiled rebels to stop a galactic war and unravel a conspiracy to end her race. FROZEN meets STAR WARS.  READ MORE . . .

H5: Dark Fantasy (Own Voices): VITIUM

To resurrect her brother, seventeen-year-old Daniela becomes one of Death’s Aspects: avatars of the Seven Deadly Sins tasked with killing immortals.  But failing will transform her from hit-woman to target. KILL BILL meets FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST.  READ MORE . . .

H6: Contemporary: ALL THE STARS IN THE OCEAN

Surviving high school trapped on Kauai? Manageable. Avoiding a dangerous stalker? A little harder. Trusting a football star who shattered your heart to be your bodyguard? Downright impossible. PRIDE & PREJUDICE meets GILMORE GIRLS.  READ MORE . . .

H7: Contemporary LGBT: A PLAGUE ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES

ROMEO AND JULIET with HOUSE OF CARDS twist. Paris seems like the perfect son for an aspiring Republican Presidential candidate, except Paris has a secret: it’s not Julia he wants, but her forbidden boyfriend.  READ MORE . . .

H8: Fairy Tale Retelling: EVERY CINDERELLA HAS HER MIDNIGHT

Seventeen-year-old Hazel is the youngest godmother L.A. has seen in eons, but that’s no excuse to fall for her client’s ‘Charming’. After all, she knows fairy godmothers don’t make their own dreams come true.  READ MORE . . .

Adult

H9: Contemporary Womens’ Fiction: DESIGNER YOU

Pam checked every box: marriage, kid, career? Check. When her husband dies suddenly and their DIY empire goes on life support, Pam must fix the relationship with her troubled daughter and save the family business.  READ MORE . . .

H10: Speculative Thriller: THE NURSERY

When Kenleigh Maize learns a mysterious DNA sequence is the cause of her infertility, she’s invited to participate in a misleading clinical trial. It won’t treat her infertility but may explain the origins of life.  READ MORE . . .

 

Comments are set to moderation so that agents won’t see the other agents’ requests. Please no comments other than those from the agents. After the agent round, we’ll release the moderation and let you all comment on the entries.

We’ll reveal the agent requests on March 17 starting at 4:30 pm Eastern time. All the twitter fun will happen on the hashtag #PitchMadness, where we’ll tweet the results of the agent round.

 

Join us for the Twitter Pitch Party on March 23 from 8AM to 8PM Eastern time on the hashtag #PitMad. It’s open to everyone!

How do you twitter pitch? You can find all the details here.

 

A huge HUGE thank you to my team and to the wonderful agents!

 

Go to all the other hosts’ blogs to read more winning pitches …

Team Ice Cream Sea – http://www.brenda-drake.com/

Team Peanut Brittle House – https://pintipdunn.wordpress.com/

Team Lollipop Woods – https://rebeccacoffindaffer.com/category/blog/

Team Licorice Castle – http://sharonmjohnston.com/

Team Peppermint Forest – http://wadealbertwhite.ca/blog/

Team Candy Castle – http://samanthajoyce.com/

H1: MG Paranormal Adventure with Southern Roots: BOOGERMEN, HOODOO, AND HAINTS

TITLE: BOOGERMEN, HOODOO, AND HAINTS

AUTHOR: Jocelyn Rish

AGE CATEGORY: Middle Grade

GENRE: Paranormal Adventure with Southern Roots

WORD COUNT: 46,000 words

PITCH:

Three Charleston seventh graders with abilities inspired by the proverb “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” must trust their powers and each other to save their favorite teacher from a mythical creature.

FIRST 250 WORDS:

Tingling on the left side of my neck froze my pencil on the last question of the bio test. Someone was doing something they didn’t want anyone else to see. Those prickles meant I should look. They demanded I look. But I so didn’t want to.

The only thing to my left was the window, which meant the person who didn’t want to be seen was outside. Probably the janitor digging a wad of wax out of his ear. I’d had to watch him do that several times in the past.

Yesterday the prickles insisted I watch while my geometry teacher pried an enormous chunk of spinach from her teeth. Last week I’d been alerted to a classmate digging out a particularly stubborn wedgie. So gross.

It was like the harder a person thought, “Don’t look at me, don’t look at me,” the stronger my compulsion became.

I shoved my long, brown hair to the left side of my neck in an attempt to smother those stupid prickles. Of course, it didn’t work.

The compulsion became overwhelming. Whoever was outside really didn’t want anyone to see them. I chanted to myself, Don’t look, don’t look, don’t – My shoulders drooped. I braced myself for whatever disgusting thing I was about to see and turned to the window.

The schoolyard was empty. Weird. Was it a prickle false alarm? My eyes were drawn to the woods behind the school.

A pair of glowing red eyes stared back at me.

H2: MG Mystery: FOOD TRUCKS AND FIREWORKS

TITLE: FOOD TRUCKS AND FIREWORKS

AUTHOR: Julia Maranan

AGE CATEGORY: Middle Grade

GENRE: Mystery

WORD COUNT: 49,400 words

PITCH:

When fourteen-year-old aspiring chef Natalie helps family compete on a cooking reality show, she must uncover a nasty saboteur before Boston’s food truck community is ruined—even if that means risking her chance to win.

FIRST 250 WORDS:

Perched on the edge of a kitchen stool, I kept a smile plastered on my face, but my fingers itched to grab the knife resting on the cutting board.

“You’re awfully quiet tonight, Natalie,” Aunt Donna said from the fridge, loading her arms with vegetables.

Uncle Rick stirred the potatoes and onions sizzling madly on the stove. “She’s probably tired from her trip, love. Let her settle in a bit.” He winked at me.

I sat on my hands and smiled wider. “Thanks for making me dinner. It smells amazing.”

And it did—especially his famous coffee-rubbed brisket—but it felt weird to be in a kitchen while cooking was happening without me. At home, I ran our kitchen.

“Are you sure I can’t help with anything? I could make the salad dressing.”

Or fry up some bacon to go with those potatoes, which would take them over the top.

But there would be no bacon this trip, even though my aunt and uncle had to realize they’d sell more on their food truck if they used pork and shellfish. Especially here in Boston, home to the best seafood I’d ever tasted. But even though they didn’t keep full kosher, those restrictions mattered to them, so I could survive with bacon-less potatoes for a few weeks.

“Don’t worry, there’ll be plenty for you to do tomorrow during lunch service.” Aunt Donna plunked the vegetables down next to the sink and came over to hug me for the zillionth time since they’d picked me up from the airport.

H3: YA Contemporary: BOOK OF MINIATURES

TITLE: BOOK OF MINIATURES

AUTHOR: Laura Taylor Namey

AGE CATEGORY: Young Adult

GENRE: Contemporary

WORD COUNT: 82,000 words

PITCH:

Art prodigy, Kenan, trades his paintbrush for a tattoo needle and falls for an anxiety-ridden girl. But overcoming the needle and repainting her fears doesn’t mean she’ll ever love him back.

FIRST 250 WORDS:

Here, the needles mean forever, engraving ink into both flesh and time. The gray-black tint will last decades after I lift the tattoo machine from the practice skin, eyeing my design. I’m the only one inking. The other tattoo artists are gone, leaving only faded scents of the vinegar solution we douse over counters and tattoo beds and equipment trays.

My dad dangles my car keys in front of my face. “An hour, Kenan. It’s a––”

“School night. Yeah, I know.”

His prized Micky Sharpz liner sits in my hand, the custom script engraving of his nickname visible on the curved steel frame. Doc. Fitting, because everyone calls my father that. Even me, for as long as I can remember.

Tonight, my hand still shakes, like it has ever since he finally let me try the tattoo machine four years ago. Doc’s liner shouldn’t have been such a big deal back then. I’d swept and polished every inch of our tattoo shop for years. I’d cleaned every screw and coil and spring a thousand times. I knew the width and weight of the steel tube grip like other boys knew their first Rawlings glove. But at thirteen years old, I’d held the grip for the first time as an artist. A heavier weight had pressed into my palm, of what it really was––a tool with the power to draw both artwork and blood.

Doc shrugs into a black jacket. “Lock up the back, too. Sixty minutes.”