Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 23, 2010

One Line Book Pitch Discussion

Les Edgerton suggested a book titled, Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder about writing screen plays.  I knew I had to check it out as soon as Les said he felt screenplays and novel-writing have a lot in common, because I had been thinking about that for the last few weeks.  Why had I been thinking about that?  Well, it seems that editors are looking for something that straddles the line between literary and commercial fiction.  When you consider the market and current economy, they really have to take a page from Hollywood’s book. 

Then today I was working on the NJSCBWI Conference and decided to write up something for the people coming to the conference, letting them know to come prepared to talk about what they are working on, before they arrive in June.   So when I started reading through some of the pages in Save the Cat! I was drawn in by Blake talking about how important having an interesting logline or one line pitch.  In his book he points out that one of the important elements for a good one line pitch is irony, because it hooks your  interest. 

Even if you aren’t planning to pitch at the conference or even if you aren’t coming to the conference you should always be ready to give a one line pitch.  I know it sounds funny to say you should always be ready to pitch your story to someone in an elevator, but we actually had one of our members sell his book in an elevator.  So it is important to be ready.

Here are some one line pitches you might recognize:

A cop comes to L.A. to visit his estranged wife and her office building is taken over by terrorist. – Die Hard

A businessman falls in love with a hooker he hires to be his date for the weekend – Pretty Woman

A newly married couple must spend Christmas Day at each of their four divorced parent’s home.  –  4 Christmases

A just-hired employee goes on a company weekend and discovers someone’s try to kill him. – The Retreat

A risk-averse teacher plans on marrying his dream girl but must first accompany his overprotective future brother-in-law — a cop — on a ride along from Hell. – Ride Along

Now that you have the idea, give it a try.  After you perfect your one line pitch, try it out on ten people and use the feedback you get to improve it further.

Here is the link to Save the Cat!  Good Luck and let me know how you make out. 



  1. hey, Kathy 🙂
    I’ve always felt we can learn so much from well-done screenwriting. I’m a big fan of figuring out the most inherent themes of movies, try to categorize the most memorable or meaningful characters, or figure out what it is that moves me about a scene and/or the story as a whole–what makes it all work. It’s all about storytelling! 🙂


    • Donna,

      I see everything in pictures, so it makes sense to me that we could learn alot from studying what makes screenplays work. Actually Catherine Gilbert Murdock says she thinks her novel success is directly related to her writing screen plays prior to writing novels.



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    • Thank you for the kind words. I really try to come up with things that are interesting and will help. I wish you would have left you name. I would have addressed this back to you directly.



  3. […] One Line Book Pitch Discussion […]


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