So here I am, passing along her notes to you. She gave five steps for building your pitch. I think this pitch can transfer to the written query letter as well as be used for verbal pitching at conferences.
Step One: Write down the following:
3. Setting (where)
4. Protag (who)
5. Main Conflict (what)
Step Two: Write down the following:
1. One vivid detail that makes any of the above elements different. Part of Ms. Rennert's talk focused on what makes your story different. She called it the "Who, What, Where and Why Should I Care." It's this last part that you're focusing on here. Why should an agent care about your setting, protag or main conflict? What makes them different?
Step Three: Identify if your story has:
2. Inherent conflict
4. Real emotional power
Step Four: Write down three "big" words -- evocative words -- that relate to your story.
Step Five: Set a timer for 5 minutes and write:
1. A one-paragraph pitch for your novel using what you've written in steps 1-3. In the last sentence, use one of your "big" three words to finish the pitch.
And now, something I've shared before, but what I think fits the formula of Ms. Rennert's pitch steps.
In a world where Thinkers brainwash the population and Rules are not meant to be broken (where), fifteen-year-old Violet Schoenfeld (who) does a hell of a job shattering them to pieces. When secrets about her “dead” sister and not-so-missing father hit the fan, Vi must make a choice: control or be controlled. (what)
CONTROL ISSUES, a young adult dystopian novel complete at 75,000 words, (title, genre, word count) addresses the topic of teens fulfilling their duty as citizens of society, along with how hard it is to grow up under the expectations of parents and other adults when they're trying to make their own choices. (why should I care? "Big" words: duty, choice)
Try it! Set aside some time this week to build your pitch using these steps and see how it goes! Special thanks to Laura Rennert, simply for being awesome and sharing such amazing advice.