~Writing the Pitch~
In 2010, I submitted my second novel, Momma’s Rain, to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest. The administrators asked for a pitch upon application. I had written a synopsis, jacket blurb, query letters, etc. but had no idea what was required for a pitch. After some research I was thoroughly confused. I cleared my head and spilled some ink, came up with the following pitch. On the strength of it, Momma’s Rain made the first cut. My novel was one of the thousand kept for further consideration out of 5000 applicants. My feeling is that a pitch is more an example of your writing style, its application to the work offered, rather than a synopsis.
Pitch: ~Momma’s Rain~
Momma and Daddy thought they had killed him finally. They rolled their boy child’s lifeless body into a blanket. Daddy smacked it against the wall then lit a cigarette. The body in the blanket didn’t offer much resistance. Nine-year-old Jerry weighed less than sixty pounds and wasn’t yet five feet tall. Daddy’s foot almost went through him.
“Stop kicking it!” Momma hissed. “We have to find a bridge to throw it off.”
“I’m whippin’ the l’il bastard’s ass one more time!” Daddy insisted, “L’il sumbitch thinks he can steal my lunch bread and get away with it. I’ll show ‘im!”
Jerry scrunched his eyes shut. His nose and cheeks were numb with cold, his face wedged in the corner, icy walls indifferent to his plight. Daddy had stuck him there hours ago, daring him to move, daring him to breathe. Daddy dared Jerry to even think. Jerry, lying little bastard that he was, promised after each punch and slap from Daddy’s hand that he would never steal the family’s bread again. He would not move, he would not breathe, he would not think.
Jerry wiggled his nose, cringed inside, hoped no one noticed; he moved. His ribs hurt where Daddy kicked him when he fell down when Daddy hit him. They hurt so he breathed in shallow little gasps of breath, cringed inside, hoped no one noticed; he breathed. Yes, he was a lying little bastard. He stood in the corners of this house, naked half the time and cold, imagined a plethora of scenarios of death, his own death at Daddy and Momma’s hands. The bridge was long and tall. Through a hole in the blanket, Jerry saw its steel girders high above stabbing through clouds, wrapped in sunlight. They tossed him over the rail, Momma and Daddy, and walked arm-in-arm away. Lying little bastard that he was, he wasn’t dead. His broken body tumbled through the air, stones, muddy water rushing, weeds. He scrunched his eyes shut, cringed inside, hoped no one noticed; he thought.
~Momma’s Rain~ (pitch)