How do you Summarize An Entire Short Story Compilation in Sixty Seconds? Developing my 60 second agent pitch

IMG_0762.JPG I've spent a little over six years, writing, editing, work shopping and re-writing the sixteen travel inspired short stories that comprise my beloved manuscript.

I know my characters, their wants and obstacles inside out. I'm bewitched by my settings time and time again and know every nook and cranny of the world I've created. I've worked hard to weave a unifying theme to tie together the vast stretches of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years that I've been working on this project.

Tomorrow, I will have one minute, one impossibly ephemeral minute to pitch my manuscript to an agent.

I'm in a slight (or not so slight) panic. How am I supposed to condense my manuscript full of diverse characters, settings, conflicts, desires and story lines into one gasp of a sentence?

As writers, we know that every word counts. We're adept at cutting out the fat. How then do you summarize an entire short story compilation in sixty seconds-how?

When asked about my short fiction project, I tend to sputter and flail. I find it impossibly difficult to talk articulately about my writing. Around in a jumbled circle I go. I'll share a general overview, launch into the specifics of a few of my tales, talk about my travels and the different settings they've inspired and then, if I haven't completely lost my listener, I'll talk about my theme and perhaps dive into a few more story lines. A concise "so what are you writing?" elevator pitch I do not have.

As if working with a puzzle, I was up into the wee hours of the morning, piecing together (hopefully) the right words, hooks, and snippets for my one minute pitch. I'm down to seventy seconds and am feeling close to being able to give it a go.

How do you condense six years, sixteen stories and 41,000 words into a breathless minute? I've got no choice but to figure it out.

Usually the things that scare you the most lead to tremendous growth. I'm terrified, excited and intrigued by this pitch opportunity. Having never done this before, I have nothing but experience to gain.

When I write my follow up post, I'm sure I'll have nuggets of wisdom to share. Either way, this pitch is pushing me towards my goal of publication because the next time I'm asked about my manuscript, whether it be a curious stranger at a networking event or an agent or editor at a major publishing house, I'll be ready to deliver my impossibly possible sixty second short story manuscript pitch.

Now, back to shuffling my words around...

Have any of you ever pitched a manuscript to an agent? What was that experience like?