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“Like Carrie but with water”

At an hour that doesn’t even exist on Saturdays, I made the trek, with the aid of some strong coffee, to Portland Community College to sit in a room of hopeful writers. Well, they’re actual writers. They write. They’ve written! They are all probably writing right now.

I’m not sure what I expected, but whatever it was, it was different than what actually happened. There were about 35 people in the room, all shuffling papers and dreaming of three-book options. And then there was me: some silly kid who just came up with a book idea a few months ago and the only person present who wasn’t actually going to pitch at this year’s conference. I’m not even going to the conference this year. I felt like that awkward college student who walked into the wrong class but was too embarrassed to leave mid-lecture. A thought in the back of my brain said, “just get up and go.” But what the hell? I might as well stick around and learn something.

The first two hours of class were devoted to learning how to pitch. What information you HAVE to include, what you should never say, etc. The last four hours were pitch critiques and lunch. I was the only student who had to leave early (wedding season) so that meant I had to pitch early.

It wasn’t as bad as it could have been but it wasn’t that amazing moment when everyone in the room realizes I’m the next Suzanne Collins or Stephanie Meyer and they all stop me and beg for my autograph, then three agents pop out of the closet and start fighting over how many millions my book is worth.

I spoke too quickly. I was nervous because I wasn’t expecting to read a pitch I had just written 10 minutes earlier to an entire room full of writers. The instructor wanted to hear more about Harbor’s abilities. Her immediate reaction was “like Carrie but with water” to which I replied “awesome” but what I really meant was “Nooooo. Harbor’s a role model for young women. She may be a badass but she’s good-natured. She’s nothing like Carrie.” The most encouraging part is when I was walking away, the instructor said, as an afterthought, “Huh, that was good. I want to know what happens to her. You’ve got something very commercial.”

I’m glad I went to the class and gained some pitch experience, but my main focus is spending time with Harbor and crafting her world. I can worry about selling the goods later.

Published inDeveloping the storyWorkshops

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