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ALGONKIAN NOVEL WRITING COURSE SYLLABUS
     THE 16 COURSE MODULE PROGRAM |   PROGRAM SAMPLE


   In Cooperation and Partnership with
Algonkian Writer Conferences and the New York Pitch




Pitch Quality Literary Agents

If you succeed, we succeed.

If and when the time comes for you to begin pitching literary agents at the conclusion of the Algonkian Novel Writing Program, we have successfully developed a way to ease the agonizing process. We have defined a high quality group of literary agents from respected agencies, and in various genres, who will appear in our AUTHOR CONNECT forums to read and comment on commercial novel and non-fiction pitches posted by member writers. AAS will schedule dates and times for pitch sessions to occur, as well as coordinate any and all matters related to the sessions.

Agents will communicate directly with the writer if they wish to pursue a potential business relationship, or simply learn more about the writer and their project.

In order for writers to qualify for the forum pitch sessions they must first receive appropriate review by Algonkian faculty. Why? Because we want you prepared, your pitch to be artful, and your novel as competitive as possible. We also have no wish to include projects that will make agents question our ability to judge commercial quality. We wish to establish a tradition of assisting to place novels in the right hands and on a path to publication.

Please note that if you are in the novel writing program, there will be no extra charge of any kind to pitch the agents.


What Kind of Agents and When?


Agents we choose via our Algonkian contacts will come from larger agencies as well as popular boutiques the likes of Sandra Djikstra, Folio, Amster Lit, Talcott Notch, William Morris, and Trident. Agents whose pitch forums already appear on AUTHOR CONNECT include Paula Munier of Talcott Notch as well as Kimberley Cameron and Andrea Hurst (two of the top five agents on the west coast).

The agents will be available to read pitches and comment in the designated forum once every 60 days (or less if circumstances allow). All writers involved will get to pitch any and all agents as appropriate. Though the final numbers and mix will depend on who we obtain for that particular time as well as their genre preferences, we guarantee the agents will be actively looking for clients and chosen from reputable agencies with firm track records.


Novel Pitch Examples Used by Algonkian


We recommend the following ALGONKIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE examples as classic models for a novel pitch session. Keep the pitch to 150-200 words (orally or in query letter format).  Note that your pitch is a diagnostic tool that helps you determine the strong and weak points of your novel. You can't have a strong pitch without a strong novel.

Take special note of dramatic tension and plot points, rising action, character qualities.

A novel pitch example as follows, from "The English Teacher" by Lily King:

(HOOK - the entire first paragraph) Fifteen years ago Vida Avery arrived alone and pregnant at elite Fayer Academy. She has since become a fixture and one of the best English teachers Fayer has ever had. By living on campus, on an island off the New England coast, Vida has cocooned herself and her son, Peter, from the outside world and from an inside secret. (SCENE SET) For years she has lived largely through the books she teaches, but when she accepts the impulsive marriage proposal of ardent widower Tom Belou, the prescribed life Vida has constructed is swiftly dismantled. (PLOT POINT/INCITING INCIDENT creates COMPLICATION or DRAMATIC TENSION)

Peter, however, welcomes the changes. Excited to move off campus, eager to have siblings at last, Peter anticipates a regular life with a "normal" family. But the Belou children are still grieving, and the memory of their recently dead mother exerts a powerful hold on the house. As Vida begins teaching her signature book, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, a nineteenth-century tale of an ostracized woman and social injustice, its themes begin to echo eerily in her own life. Peter sees that the mother he perceived as indomitable is collapsing and it is up to him to help. (PLOT POINT creates MAJOR COMPLICATION and RISING ACTION leading to CLIFFHANGER: will Peter save his mother and live to tell the story?)

Another novel pitch example from "Close Case" by Alafair Burke
:

Investigating the brutal murder of a hotshot journalist, Samantha Kincaid finds herself caught in the middle of an increasingly personal and potentially dangerous struggle between Portland's police and the DA's office.(HOOK, SCENE SET, SUBPLOT COMPLICATION).

For Deputy District Attorney Samantha Kincaid's thirty-second birthday, she gets an unusual gift: a homicide call out. (PLOT POINT begins MAJOR COMPLICATION: solve the crime) The crime scene: the elite Hillside neighborhood in Portland, Oregon. The victim: hotshot investigative reporter Percy Crenshaw, who has been bludgeoned to death in his carport.

Tensions in the city have been running high. The previous week, a police officer shot and killed an unarmed mother of two in what he claims was self-defense; in the aftermath, protesters have waged increasingly agitated anti-police protests. Crenshaw's death, it seems, is not unrelated. Within a matter of hours, police arrest two young men who appear to have embarked on a crime spree in the aftermath of the protests. The case looks straightforward, especially when one of the suspects confesses. But then the man recants, claiming coercive police tactics, and Samantha finds herself digging for more evidence. (PLOT POINT, RISING ACTION, MORE SUB-COMPLICATIONS)

Following Crenshaw's steps, her search leads her through an elaborate maze of connections between the city's drug trade and officers in the bureau's north precinct. Samantha's pursuit of the truth puts her in the middle of city political battles and on the outs with the cops, including her new live-in boyfriend, Detective Chuck Forbes. Worse yet, the path left by Crenshaw could lead Samantha to the same fatal end. Will Samantha solve the murder, recover her love interest, and live to tell the story?
_____

Now, go and write the PITCH for your novel. And please, take your time!

Once done, put it aside for two days, then read it and ask yourself this question:

WILL THIS MAKE SOMEONE WANT TO BUY MY BOOK?




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