Tag Archive | one sentence hook

Are You Pitch Ready?

With the RWA National Conference just around the corner, you’ll want to make sure you’re pitch ready.  Here are some helpful tips to ensure your “elevator pitch” or pitch session is spot on!

Prior To The Interview:

  • Know who you are pitching to (editor/agent). Read the person’s blog, twitter messages, etc.
  • Know what genre they are looking to acquire.
  • Know what books/authors they have recently acquired.
  • Know their company’s mission.
  • Have an understanding of what their company is acquiring now and in the past.

What To Bring:

  • Business cards www.vistaprint.com
  • Professional attitude
  • Good Posture
  • Think/say “I’m excited” and not “I’m nervous”
  • 3×5 index cards with pitch notes, if needed
  • Passion for your story!

What To Wear:

  • Business Casual
  • Vivid colors are more memorable than monochrome
  • Incorporate “Branding” (Read The Basics of Author Branding here)
  • Remember, you are interviewing not only your book, but yourself
  • Smile 😀

What Editors And Agents Know And Are Looking For In Your Pitch:

  • A VISUAL HOOK!!! (Previous Blog on One Sentence Hook here)
  • Unique Twist/High Concept
  • Structure (Previous Blog Turning a One Sentence Hook into a Five-Sentence Synopsis here
  • Personality Types
  • Flaw/Strength
  • Theme
  • Arcs
  • Conflict
  • What sells?
  • Minimal  backstory in pitch

Be Prepared To Answer The Following:

  • Your Name (real)
  • Title of your book
  • Genre
  • Word count
  • Snappy Hook (or Log Line)
  • Story plot
  • Theme
  • Character arc
  • Suspense arc
  • Romantic arc
  • What else you are working on?
  • What have sold?
  • Are you indie published?
  • STOP TALKING  with Submission Request

What To Have On Standby:

  • A polished (edited) manuscript that you can send in right away if requested.
  • A polished (edited) query letter  (Previous blog Query Letter Made Easy here)
  • A polished (edited) synopsis (3-5 pages)

After You Pitch:

  • Thank the editor/agent for their time
  • Send thank you e-mails and/or cards afterwards, regardless of request for proposal


Happy Pitching,

Cyndi Faria

Query Letter Made Easy

Designing an attention grabbing Query Letter is the next step after you’ve polished your novel, so you can grab an agent/editor’s attention.


Over the past weekend, I had the privilege of attending the Emerald City Writers’ Conference. I was inspired by the many classes, pitching opportunities, and inspirational speakers such as Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love, and Cherry Adair. I was also fortunate to hear a panel of editors and agents who talked about the business end of writing and shared their insight on publishing in today’s market. One comment was to make the query letter simple—they do not want to read about you as an author other than pertinent information regarding writing credentials, contests, and the particular novel hook and mini-synopsis.

Emerald City RWA member and Award Winning Author Heather Davis led a pre-pitch group session to help hone our pitches for the following day.

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING A PITCH:  After pitching your novel to an editor or agent, you may receive one of the following responses:

  • I think I’ll pass on your project. (Send a Thank You E-Mail).
  • Please send me a query, first page of your manuscript (MS), and a one page synopsis
  • Please send me a query, partial (3 chapters or first 50 pages), and a 1-3 page synopsis
  • I’d like to read the full. Please include a query letter along with a 1-3 page synopsis.


Using my previous blogs titled The Hook and The Five Sentence Synopsis, I will demonstrate how to assemble a query letter.

THE QUERY LETTER: The query letter should consist of the follow and nothing else.

  • Single Page
  • Your Contact Information
  • Agent Editor Contact Information
  • Subject
  • The Hook
  • The Mini Synopsis
  • Your biography regarding your writing experience, awards, and publications
  • Thank you sentence
  • Salutation


Cyndi Faria                                                                                                     November 1, 2011
123 Alphabet Road
Paradise, CA  95555
(916) 555-5555
E-Mail: cyndifaria@yahoo.com
Website: www.cyndifaria.com
Twitter: @cyndifaria
Agent Name, Agent Title
Agency Name
Agent Contact Information
Subject:    SNAPPY TITLE (Danger in the Yucatan)
                     75,000 Words (Word Count), Romantic Suspense (Genre)
Dear Agent,

(INTRO) As requested during my pitch session at the Emerald City Romance Writers Conference, attached are the full manuscript and one page synopsis of my novel titled Danger in the Yucatan.

(HOOK) When a claustrophobic herpetologist descends into a Yucatan cenote, will he be able to prove a legendary albino crocodile’s existence?

(MINI-SYNOPSIS) Bronson Parker, a herpetologist, travels deep into the Yucatan jungle in search of a legendary albino crocodile, stumbles on a hospitable indigenous tribe, and is presented with the chief’s beautiful daughter, Ravina Cocum, who leads him to the cenote. Because of Bronson’s claustrophobia, he jerry-rigs a crocodile trap, but falls into the cenote, is joined in the pit by Ravina, who tends his wounds, and then they share a night of passion. Hungry, lost, and injured, Bronson and Ravina traverse the depths of the cenote. Bronson realizes that he no longer requires the crocodile to be satisfied and is content with what he has. Separating from Ravina in a final attempt to save them both, Bronson dives into an underground river where he emerges into an albino crocodile filled pool, but is rescued by Ravina. Abandoning the crocodiles, because he’s simply awed by the simple wonders of life, Bronson returns to the tribe with Ravina, but decides, to her welcoming surprise, to stay and study the local reptiles indefinitely.

(SHORT BIO) I’m the President of the Black Diamonds RWA Chapter in California, have studied humanities both in college and since graduation, and actively blog on the craft of writing.

(SALUTATION) Thank you for your time and consideration, and I look forward to your response soon.


Cyndi Faria

THAT’S IT!   You’ve just created the perfect Single-Page Query Letter.

 Happy Writing, Cyndi Faria

One Sentence Hook – Adding and Creating Conflict

By studying examples of one sentence hooks, I’ve found a similarity that ties them together. Each sentence has four elements that can be broken into the following formula (Cyndi’s Tip Sheet – One Sentence Hook Sheet)

Character Flaw + Character Job + Action + Goal

Creating the elements can be shown as follows, but keep in mind that when you design your sentence (pitch-hook) you will want to use the character that has the most to lose in your story. This method can also be used in developing secondary characters.

Where to start (example):

Question: Publicly, how does your hero act?

Answer: Extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous.

Using the Enneagram Institute’s description of personality types, he must be The Enthusiast (#7).

As a #7, his basic fear is: Of being deprived and in pain.

Now go back into the Enneagram and read what happens to a character when they are at their worst (Level 9) and pick a character flaw.

Character flaw: Claustrophobia

Using the flaw of claustrophobia, create a one sentence backstory to explain why he fears confined spaces (what caused him in his past to dreadfully fear being confined – deprived and in pain?):

Backstory Example: He fell into an abandoned water well when he was six years old, broke his arm as a result of the fall, and wasn’t rescued for three days.

Okay, now that we know why he’s terrified of confined spaces, make him revisit his fear of being trapped to get his goal. This is the Action tag.

Action: He descends into a Yucatan cenote (underground cavern spring).

Next, we need to find out what his goal is.

Question: What would my character find in a cenote?

Answer: Fish, eels, snakes, some legendary albino crocodile.

Now assign him a story goal.

Goal: To prove existence of a legendary albino crocodile.

We’re almost done.

Your character needs a unique job and one that only he can do to get to his goal—otherwise any character could descend into the cenote and return with his crocodile.

If your character is going after the legendary crocodile, he might be one who study reptiles.

Job: a Herpetologist (someone who studies reptiles).

Finally, restate the one sentence story summary with all the elements in order and you’ve got your one sentence pitch or hook that’s FULL OF CONFLICT. (Try to keep your sentence to fewer than fifteen words).

A claustrophobic herpetologist descends into a Yucatan cenote to prove a legendary albino crocodile’s existence.

Add prior to this hook a well-known visual when pitching for a SUPER VISUAL HOOK:

In my Avatar meets Romancing the Stone contemporary romantic comedy, a claustrophobic herptologist descends into a Yucatan cenote to prove a legendary albino crocodile’s existence .  

Additional step for fun:

Go back into the Enneagram and read what happens to a character when they are at their best (Level 1).

Character Attribute: Become awed by the simple wonders of life.

This is what will happen at the end of your story–your character will become awed by the simple wonders of life. If you are writing a romance or HEA (happily ever after), he will discover the rare crock, but, perhaps, omit that fact to protect the beast from being hunted further. He will simply be too fascinated by the discovery . . . and he’ll get the girl, of course.

I’d love to read some of your examples using this method and hope this example removes some of the mystery out of creating the perfect hook.

Happy writing, Cyndi Faria