Pitchcraft: Summary of SIWC Master Class: Katharine Sands, Agent for the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agnecy

Katharine Sands, Literary Agent

Making the Perfect Pitch

Katharine Sands presented a 3 hour master class at the Surrey International Writer’s conference October 21, 2010.  The summary notes can be read on my website page.  (A six page summary is too long for a blog.)

A gifted teacher, she walked before the class for three hours, never consulting a note, and held our rapt attention.
She has written a book: “Making the Perfect Pitch: How To Catch a Literary Agent’s Eye.”

Writing Discipline

My daughter, one of my mentors,  suggested that I keep a pad and pencil at the breakfast table, away from the computer and spend the first hour every day writing long hand.   It works!  No e-mails, no distractions, just me, the pencil, and the paper.

Once immersed in the story world,  interacting with the characters, I am on my way and the first hour becomes several hours or more.   Writing every day keeps the story fresh and alive.   I don’t get trapped in a revision cycle.

There is a time for heavy revision.  It comes later, not in the first draft.

Marion  (Life is a treasure hunt)


Getting ready to head south to Texas to visit the household of my daughter, granddaughter and the fellow who keeps them up and running.  Then over to Tennessee to visit a dear friend and her husband. Good old Alaska Air miles!

My Texas daughter has a Masters of Fine Arts Degree in English and Spanish, and I look forward to learning a great deal from her on this trip. In addition to working full time, being a soccer Mom, and training for a half marathon, she is getting ready for the National Write A Book in a Month (50,000 words), beginning Nov 1st. (I probably didn’t get the name of the challenge quite right … but the essence of the endeavor is there!)

I will be at her house at that time, so I am guessing we will both be doing some writing!  I am hauling along my lap top.

The garden is finished, and all the produce is frozen or canned. Crisp misty mornings and sunny afternoons continue to add to the glory of the turning trees and my hunter/gatherer husband has provided game for the table.

Happy Hallow e’en.



Through the office window, high enough to provide only a view only of evergreen tops backed by an autumn sky, I see billowing white clouds layered with grays and bordered by deep blue … and I imagine crisp air with interval bursts of sun. Love it. Might even get outside for a bike ride.

Ten days since I last checked and posted? How can this be? Another time warp?

Life … fascinating things to do and learn, so while I wipe aside cobwebs of distraction to write every day, some activities must fall by the wayside.

Anybody interested in excuses?

  • Keeping my touchstones close … as in family and friends and writing buddies. I put this first because it is easy to take them for granted and let this one slip. For me it is a priority because without the love of these people in my life, everything else seems shallow.
  • Enrolling in an on-line html class. Strange terminology is a stiff hard climb, but I realize that once I ‘get it’, the process will look simple in hindsight.
  • Planning activities for a writer’s conference coming up in October, choosing from multiple choices of workshops, preparing a “pitch” for possible agent/editor appointment. What’s a pitch?  A writing teacher, Laurel Leigh, once said it should be concise and short enough to engage an editor’s interest during an elevator ride. Now there’s a challenge! Others teach that then a paragraph to follow … only a paragraph?
  • Keeping up with group members in the Greater Seattle RWA group, and attending a meeting … Saturday in fact … a 100 mile drive. Now that’s hunger!
  • Bookkeeping for my husband’s business, and tracking my writing expenses just in case
  • Continuing education daily on writing craft excellence and the business end of writing.
  • Exercise … notice … this is last on my list. Sigh.

As the learning curve eases on blog and web site construction, my goal is to make this more than a daily journal.

Another blogger stopped by … how cool is that? Her blog site is listed to the right. Thanks for stopping by, Melissa.

Thought for today?  Balance … nobody can stand on one foot for too long.

Enjoy your day.



The thrill yesterday? Finding my name listed as one of the preliminary finalists of the “Seven Page Opener” writing contest for the Emerald City Writers Conference in the fall. This annual conference is hosted by the Seattle Branch, called ‘Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America, or GSRWA. Now I must get busy and write the ‘rest of the story’.

Today? Another day of computer struggles … trying to traverse the uphill climb from computer ignorance, specifically the web, to learning how to manage a blog and get a web site. Keeps me humble. Have a great week everyone.

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