Archive for the ‘Their Graces’ Craft’ Category
Something writers must learn to master is how to pitch. We do it when we want an agent to represent us. In turn, our agents pitch to editors. Then editors make a pitch when they want to acquire and they need Marketing to get on board. Then the Marketing Department pitches our book to buyers to stock our books. There are many ways to pitch, but the more you boil your plot or characters down to a few choice words, the better. One way to accomplish that is to compare our story or characters to a well-known or currently popular story or characters. For example, the first book of my Secrets & Scandals series, Her Wicked Ways, is about a highwayman who steals from the rich to support the poor and a rich Society girl plucked out of her comfort zone and dropped straight into the backwoods. I described this book as Robin Hood meets Paris Hilton (in The Simple Life). I really sort of hated using the Paris Hilton comparison, but when I used those characters to convey my basic story conflict, people totally got it. And, more importantly, they said, “that sounds awesome!”
Anna Campbell was kind enough to call my second book, His Wicked Heart, “Cinderella meets Fight Club.” You get a very specific idea from that, don’t you? Now, my hero does not (Fight Club spoiler alert!) have a split personality, nor does he fight himself. He does, however, seek and use violence as a sort of catharsis. Someone might ask if stereotyping or analogizing could drive our plots or characterization. My answer: sometimes, yes. I didn’t read or watch Fight Club and think, “I’m going to write a Regency version of that.” I had an idea for a very straitlaced hero who needed to sort of explode emotionally. I wanted his arc to go from very proper and stoic to incredibly passionate and maybe even a bit reckless—or at least finally finding the ability to indulge his desires and own that indulgence. So I decided he should get in a fight. That’s how Regency Fight Club was born.
They say there are no new stories, that we’re all just rewriting the same basic ideas, emotions, tropes, etc. That’s true, but there are endless ways in which to tell those stories. If there weren’t, we could all use the same pitches! But we don’t, and we find new and exciting ways to reinvent the wheel. In fact, I liked the elements of Regency Fight Club so much, I wrote another book about it—To Seduce a Scoundrel. It’s not just Regency Fight Club II, however. It opens with what I call a Regency Date Night, if you saw that movie starring Tina Fey and Steve Carrell. And that’s one instance where I saw a movie, and it inspired what I wrote. I knew how I wanted Scoundrel to open, and then I thought a roller coaster ride of a night would be a lot of fun. So I put my hero and heroine through the ringer and let the fallout drive the rest of the book.
Finding the right pitch has driven more than one writer to the brink of lunacy. So let’s have some fun with it! Leave a comment with the worst pitch you can think of for a Regency romance, and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win my debut, Her Wicked Ways.