Monday, May 28, 2012

The Pitch (Take Two)

The reviews are in on my rough draft pitch for Strange Arrangements.

Here are some words and phrases that came up: clunky, awful, disconnected, a mess, and "train wreck."

One guy in my writing group said it literally scared him.

'k, that's why we draft.

My writing group did give me some quality feedback about where to go next with it. After swinging the other way and writing a pitch so abstract it sounded like the opening narrative of a classic Twilight Zone, I came up with a better attempt.

I'm learning it's much harder to pitch a short story collection than a novel. This makes sense. A novel has a singular focus (hopefully). A short story collection needs to be united by some kind of a theme and the pitch has to thread them together. Also, rather than writing a one-sentence description of each story, I decided to highlight three of the best in the hopes of drawing would-be publishers in, rather than scaring them with a big, fourteen-sentence paragraph with fourteen seperate ideas.

Here's the improved attempt:


Life is full of odd people, in bizarre circumstances. A young man sees a connection between transformation and fire: his awakening demands a Molotov cocktail. Another young man earns court-appointed anger management therapy and confronts the unwritten rules of manhood. A war-weary C.I.A. operative plants the secret weapon in the war against fundamentalist Islam – a pheromone bomb that causes gay arousal. Then he turns it on its makers and broadcasts the results. These are a few of the stories of men in strange arrangements.

STRANGE ARRANGEMENTS is a 45,000-word short story collection, my debut. Thank you for your time and consideration.

(Feedback is always welcome.)

1 comment:

  1. You need to be more specific with the Molotov cocktail story. It sounds intriguing, but I don't really know what to do with it or what the story is really about. Transformation can mean anything and are you simply implying that the guy sets himself on fire?

    The second story gives a who, what happens, and an outcome so you get a sense of what's going on with that story.

    The third story has a who, what happens explanation and just sounds so funny you want to know more about that story.

    I'm not really sure I understand why you are using the word "arrangements" because these really sound like "circumstances" to me. Is someone arranging what happens to these people. It doesn't really seem like it, only the 2nd story really gives off that impression. Are these people making an arrangement that creates their circumstances? I think this needs to be addressed because I'm suspecting that this is what you are hoping is you "common theme" between your stories.

    Hope this helps...