Week of March 4, 2012: Batter Up!
Friday, March 9, 2012: Pitch Practice
A big-league pitcher throws more pitches in practice than in all his games combined. The practice is what makes the game possible. A successful pitcher’s body pitches instinctually from hours and hours of practice that leads to muscle memory. Could the same apply to picture book writers and their pitches? Could practice be a key to our big-league success? Here are some practice tips that might help.
1. DON’T SETTLE—Keep in mind that your pitch might actually be the only aspect of your writing an agent or editor reads. Don’t settle for the first pitch you draft. Put as much effort into the pitch that you put into your writing. Proof it, reread it, read it aloud, revise, revise, revise.
2. TRY AND TRY AGAIN—While your first attempt at a pitch may seem great, try it again. Use a different voice. Start in a different place. Find the surprise element. Give yourself a handful of pitches to choose from.
3. CRITIQUE IT—Take your pitches to your critique group along with your manuscript. Get some objective feedback. My critique group has always encouraged us to bring pitches, but now we’re thinking we might just want to make it our routine to send our pitch along with our manuscript for critique.
4. START WITH A PITCH—Do you have a great idea for a story? Why not pitch it first? The pitch is succinct and summarizes your entire story. Beginning with a pitch can help you stick to your story line when writing. Of course, no one says that the story and pitch can’t change as you write, but pitching first could help you make sure the story is focused as you originally planned.
Are you ready to pitch? Batter up! Now pitch away!