Friday, March 8, 2013

Twitter Pitch Loglines Part 2: Recipe Ideas

Twitter Pitches in all Colors and Flavors
(image source)
Yesterday, we explored the basic ingredients needed in a logline or twitter pitch for our novels. Still stuck?

Today we go one step further: Recipes.

Ultimately, there are endless recipes that we could use when writing Twitter Pitches. I mean, after all, the real goal is simply to tantalize ... to tease the reader into wanting more than just a taste.

Objective: Hook the reader
How: However you want!
Hint: You don't even have to include stakes!

But sometimes we need a little help getting started. Here are some recipes that just may work for you.

(Also check out my mad-lib style Pitch Generator 
if you need a bit of entertainment while crafting)

Note that in all these cases, you may find it benefical to include not only the MC's name, but a quick descriptor of their personality or role in society (e.g. amateur angel-killer, or hesitant philanthropist etc.)

Character Journey Recipes:
As we discovered after PitMad, requests for contemporary pitches were somewhat lacking. Part of this, I would argue, is due to the lack of potential to *grab* reader attention with classic character arcs rather than flashy sci-fi/fantasy creatures, worlds, and plots. This might unfortunately be one of the inherent downsides of Twitter PitchFests. Boooo. However, here are some logline formats that may overcome that problem. They hone in on some key aspects of the character arc
    • Current societal role/job --> Desired vocation/role
    • Dreams/goals
    • Flaws/faults
    • Overcoming adversity
    • Choice & consequences

All [MC] ever wanted was [DREAM GOAL], but when [INCITING INCDENT] happens, s/he must [SACRIFICE SOMETHING]. 

When [INCITING INDICENT], occurs [MC] must learn to overcome [OBSTACLE] before [CONSEQUENCES].

[MC] has a secret: [SECRET]. But when [ENEMY and/or LOVE INTEREST] finds out, there may be [CONSEQUENCES].

When [MC's] [FLAW] brings her/his [DREAM] to a halt, s/he realizes she has a choice: [CHOICE #1] or [CHOICE#2] ...with [CONSEQUENCES].

[GOAL #1] check. [GOAL #2] check. [COMPLICATION and/or /UNREALISTIC GOAL], not so much.

Trapped in his/her [JOB], [MC] longs to pursue [DREAM / VOCATION], but first s/he must overcome [OBSTACLE].

[MC] is an [ADJECTIVE] [ROLE/JOB/VOCATION], who only wants to [DREAM]. But when [INCITING INCIDENT], s/he must [STORY GOAL] or [CONSEQUENCES].

World/Setting Focused Pitch Recipes:
Got a story where the worldbuilding is key to hooking readers? These sorts of pitches have high potential for drawing the reader into your storyworld. However, it can be difficult to evoke the feeling of your setting in so few words. Here are a few ideas:

[VIVID DESCRIPTORS #1, #2, #3], the [SETTING] is no place for [MC]. But when [INCITING INCIDENT] occurs, the [MC] must [GOAL] or else [CONSEQUENCES]

In [VIVID DESCRIPTOR] [SETTING], [INCITING INCIDENT] leaves [MC] with two choices: [CHOICE #1] or [CHOICE #2].

In a world where [STRANGE CREATURES] run free, and [ENEMY] rules, the [MC] must [GOAL] or else[ANTAGONIST] will [CONSEQUENCES].

[BOOK/MOVIE] meets [BOOK/MOVIE]: In a [VIVID DESCRIPTOR] world, [MC] struggles to [GOAL] before [CONSEQUENCES].

Romance Pitch Recipes:
In some stories, what keeps readers reading is somewhat the plot, somewhat the character development, but *really* the Love Interest. In that case, here are some pitch ideas for stories focused on the Swoon Factor:

[MC], just wanted to [GOAL], but s/he still has to [SECONDARY GOAL], and [TERTIARY GOAL]. Then [LOVE INTEREST] walks in and [THINGS CHANGE].

[MC] meets [LOVE INTEREST]. Together they fight back against [ANTAGONIST] who threatens to destroy not only [SOMETHING IMPORTANT], but their newfound love.

[MC] just wanted [GOAL], but when s/he finds [LOVE INTEREST], s/he'll do anything for [LOVE GOAL], even if it means [BETRAYAL or SACRIFICE].

[MC] is determined/destined to [GOAL / CALLING]. [LOVE INTEREST] is determined/destined to [OTHER GOAL / CALLING].  Will this cause [CONSEQUENCE]?

High Stakes Pitches:

These are probably the most basic loglines of all. But possibly the most straightforward pitch is the most effective:


For [JOB/ROLE] [MC], there are only two options left: [CHOICE #1] or [CHOICE#2]. But will she lose [SACRIFICE] along the way?

Given the change to achieve [GOAL], [MC] will do whatever it takes. Even if it means [ BETRAYAL and/or SACRIFICE].

[MC] has a chance at [GOAL], but when [INCITING INCIDENT], she discovers that the cost may be [SOMETHING DEAR].


Hopefully some of these are helpful to you someday  ... whether you're developing one-liners for your query hook, loglines for a contest, or elevator pitches for a conference / Twitter Pitch-Fest!

Related Posts:

More Resources:

Previously on Twitter Pitch Galatica: The Pitch Ingredients

What are your favorite techniques for creating killer Twitter Pitches? What logline formats have you found effective? 


  1. Thanks a lot for this blog's super helpful!

  2. These are fabulous! I always have a hard time with elevator *er, twitter* pitches. I'm bookmarking this for future use! Thanks! New Follower

  3. I've been trying to think up a logline for my current WIP forever. I've never been able to come up with something before. Thank you so much for all the great advice and info. This is so so helpful.



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