Tweet your pitch contest – revised

The very fun, very charismatic writer Shelley Watters has decided to celebrate a couple of blog and Twitter milestones by holding a contest on her blog:  pitch your novel in 140 characters or less to win a manuscript review by literary agent Suzie Townsend of Fine Print Literary Management.


Not only is this a great challenge to us as writers (more on this in a later post), but I love the fact that Shelley encouraged us to bop around to each other’s blogs and websites to comment on them.  I look forward to reading everyone’s Twitter pitches and seeing what they came up with.

Here’s mine for “Finding Kate“:

#1  A battle of wits, a war of wills, a stormy romance, a love story, a hate story:  the true story of “The Taming of the Shrew”

After hearing feedback from a few other writers (thank you!), it seems that the list is not universally popular.  So I went back to my drafts (I had about twenty of them) and pulled out a more conventional, sentence-style pitch for your consideration:

#2  Kathryn the shrew meets her match in willful Sir William.  Who will win this battle of wits?  And is it winning that matters in the end?

Then I thought I’d throw this one out there.  It’s not serious, but I just really like the attitude.

# 3 A reimagining of “The Taming of the Shrew” from Kathryn’s point of view.  The shrew had her reasons.

One last possibility, since everyone (as of the morning of 4/2/11) seems to favor #3:

# 4 The real story behind “The Taming of the Shrew” from Kathryn’s point of view.  The shrew had her reasons.

FYI, this is a young adult historical fiction novel of about 49,000 words.

I’d love to hear your feedback.  I have to post it on Shelley’s website on April 3rd (that’s tomorrow) so hurry!!!

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27 Responses to Tweet your pitch contest – revised

  1. Suzi McGowen says:

    Wow! I was kind of “blah, blah, laundry list, WOW!” The set up is perfect for the hook and I love it 🙂 And because the story is well known, you already have character, conflict, stakes…everything! Good job!

  2. So it’s… nonfiction? It was good up to the colon. Then I got confused. Probably better to leave Will out of it. Unless it actually is nonfiction?

    Read your other post about “Taming of the Shrew”… yeah, I’ve had my moments. Been chasing that dragon ever since. 😀

    • My husband wants me to call it “the real story” not the “true” story for just that reason. Thanks for your insight and thanks for looking around while you were here!

  3. Beth says:

    I really like the pitch, because of the voice. I also like the comparison to the Taming of the Shrew for the marketing, but I’d like to know something about the plot, or the mc, or both.

  4. Tina Moss says:

    I agree with the previous posters. It feels a bit like a laundry list until you get to the end. I also don’t like the flow of “love story, hate story”. Too repetitive. But, I think it has a lot of impact at the end by the comparison to Taming of the Shrew.

  5. A. B. Fenner says:

    This is a nice tag line, but I don’t know that it’s an actual pitch for your book. Once I got to the end, I thought, “Ah, it’s just ‘Taming of the Shrew.'”

    So what makes YOUR version of “Shrew” different? Making a comparison to the original isn’t bad, in fact it’s probably necessary. But all of the things in the laundry list before — battle of wits, war of wills, etc. — is already part of the original “Shrew.” Show what kind of new, dynamic angle you’re bringing to the story! THAT’S the real hook (and heart) of YOUR version.

    I love the idea, by the way! A retelling of “Taming of the Shrew” sounds fabulous!

    • I understand what you’re saying. I’ve struggled with that through this whole 140 character thing: how do I get across that it’s “The Taming of the Shrew” but my way in such a brief space? If I don’t mention Shakespeare or “Shrew” it seems to lose its essence…

      Thanks for your help!

    • Mabel says:

      When I read the third tweet option, I see that Maryanne has named the difference: she’s told Kathryn’s story, not Shakespeare’s. (And, by the way, that’s why I can stand to read about Sir William/Petruchio. Kathyrn saw a somewhat different person than Shakespeare created.)

      I’m convinced now, the list is NOT the thing.

  6. Margo says:

    I like your unusual approach! I think it will attract attention. And a retelling of a famous story is always intriguing.

    my only concern is all the cliches. “Battle” “war” “stormy”. Those could either work for you, or against you, hard to tell!

  7. Bekah Snow says:

    I think the third is better. Honestly, I get lost in list type hooks a tthe book store so I get lost in them here too. I am also not a huge fan of them here, and I have heard agents aren’t in queries. HMMMM thanks for the info on mine too : )

  8. Kaleen says:

    I like 3, especially the last line – it has voice. Best of luck!

  9. Kimberlee Turley says:

    I had the same grocery list idea, but fell in love with #3.

    Irene Goodman is hosting a historical pitch contest if you haven’t submitted to her already.

  10. Hi Maryanne,

    I actually like #3 best too! The first two tell me things I would have gathered just by saying “Taming of the Shrew”. What #3 offers is your twist on the story and a taste of the voice. It’s fun and makes me want to find out the shrew’s reasons. 🙂 Good luck!

  11. Jen says:

    I really like 3 too. I know it’s the one you were just throwing out there, but it’s got humor, a twist, and makes me want to read it! Good luck with the contest.

  12. Suzi McGowen says:

    1 is the one that made me go Wow! But if you decide to change it, I’d go with three. (I love “the shrew had her reasons”.)

  13. CobraMisfit says:

    #2 worked the best for me. A re-imaging of The Taming of the Shrew? Very compelling concept! Good luck!

  14. J E Fritz says:

    I actually like the first version the best (I really loved the idea of “a hate story”). I do think it’s a bit redundant to have “a battle of wits” and “a war of wills,” as well as “a stormy romance” and “a love story” though. Maybe you could add something like “Shakespeare neglected to mention that the shrew had her reasons” instead? Oh, well. Just a thought. Great job on voice! Love the pitch. Good luck in the contest!

  15. Kristen J says:

    I know you said it’s just for fun, but I actually really like #3!

  16. Julie Daines says:

    What a great premise for a story! I prefer number 3, it seems to flow and shows a little attitude. Good work!

  17. How exciting! I remember mostly how terrible I was in little league heh. I think I related and enjoyed the first 2 the best but the 3rd and 4th are simple and effective
    Douglas esper

  18. Suzi McGowen says:

    I saw an agent holding a pitch contest for historical fiction and thought of you. Ignore it if you’ve already seen it or aren’t interested 🙂

  19. Susan James says:

    I like 4. I love the “real story” and it tells us more about your book. Great job. Good luck.

  20. Rose Eckman says:

    Ah I know its over but I love #4 – #1 is descriptive – #4 is intriguing

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