July 2, 2012

The High-Concept Pitch Line

A lot of thrillers deal with a "high-concept" pitch line and while I'm revising my second suspense novel, I wanted to know what exactly makes a thriller/suspense high-concept. First, from what I understand, high-concept deals with a short and exciting one line pitch.

Here are a few examples I've found:
Michael Critchton - "Killer disease from space!" to "An island of dinosaurs reconstituted from fossil DNA!" to "Killer nanorobots!"
The Hunger Games - "Teenagers fight to the death on TV!"

With my goal to find an agent with Bleed For Me, I decided to take the high-concept pitch into consideration. How could my novel be summed up in a one line, exciting and encompassing pitch? Like a hook, it needs to catch readers/agents/publishers off guard, but at the same time tell them what my book addresses.

One line... 

"A former hitman must prevent bloodshed!"

What do you think? Does the line tell you what Bleed For Me is about? Does it make you want to read more? Is it different enough from other books you've read?

The entire novel must be understood from a high-concept pitch. It has to be loud. So I gave this one a shot:

"A hitman and convict must save lives!"

Better? I found it interesting that the entire time I worked on my high-concept pitch, it was a lot easier to get through my revisions. Even if your book isn't high-concept (understood in one short sentence) you can still apply this same concept to make sure your writing is focused. 

Obviously I'm still working on it, but what are some of your ideas for high-concept pitch line?

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