Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Before I get to day 2, I forgot to tell you about a panel I went to on Friday night. It was the Coolest Gizmos for the Professional Fan/Geek. It was nothing like what I expected it to be. I was hoping they would have gadgets to show us, even if they were fake gizmos, but they didn't. It was basically just a bunch of guys talking about what they do for a living. There was one panelist who was helpful, Nathan Lowell. He started his career by making his books available as podcasts. He got a huge following, and people wanted to see his books in print, so he was contacted by a publisher. He says he was going to self publish, but these people got a hold of him first. I didn't have a lot of time to talk to him right after the panel, but I found him on Sunday. He gave me some great advice. I tell you what, this whole podcasting thing is a lot more involved than I expected. I will tell you more about it later.

Day 2. The panels started at 10:00, and I found myself laughing because everyone kept referring to it as early in the morning. 10:00 is not early in the morning. 6:30 or 7:00, when I usually get up, that's early in the morning. I've usually accomplished quite a bit by 10:00. Anyway, the first panel I went to was Scoring in the Elevator: Writing a Good Two-Sentence Pitch, which turned out to be a workshop. It was pretty obvious that all of us writers weren't expecting that because we were unprepared. We were actually going to perfect our sentences, which no one had, so when the moderator told us this, you could see everyone furiously writing something down. The panelists were Hilari Bell, Frank Fiore, Rebecca Bates, Rob S. Rice, and Mario Acevedo.

I was a little nervous about workshopping my sentences, not because I thought someone would steal my idea, but because I thought there might be too many people. You all know what happens when there are too many cooks in the kitchen. There were maybe 30? people, but it turned out fine. The audience didn't help out too much on the first couple of authors, we mainly sat back and left it to the experts, but by the fourth/fifth, we were all involved. It was a wonderful process. I got my sentence written. You ready? Here it is: "In a devastated America, Krista must overcome tyranny in the east to defeat the zombie menace in the west." What do you think? The pitch is supposed to convey the main idea of the story, yet still be able to spur conversation. If the agent was interested enough in those few words, they would ask questions about the rest of your work. The other pitches sounded great too, and there are a lot of wonderful and different stories out there.

I was a little surprised at how helpful everyone was. I didn't really have any expectations, but there was a part of me that thought everyone would be competitive and try to get the edge over other authors. I also thought the panelists might lose patience with us newbies, but it wasn't like that at all. It was a very relaxed and supportive environment.

I went to several more panels on Saturday, but I think I will talk about them tomorrow and the day after. I want to give you my insight into each one without feeling like I'm taking up a bunch of space. So, tomorrow I will talk about Adapting Prose to Scripts and Comics.


Tamara said...

What did most people do wrong with their pitch sentences? What was the most helpful thing the panleists said?

(I love conferences!)

Pembroke Sinclair said...

The biggest problem with most of the pitch sentences (including mine) is that we tried to put too much background information in them. The panelists said a lot of really useful things, so it's hard to narrow it down to one. One thing they said to strive for was to make the pitch only 14 words long. That would be amazing! On average, all of ours were between 20 and 30 words.