I’ve fallen into freelance writing in much the same way that I fell into technical writing. While the writing itself comes easily, I sometimes rely on my more experienced writer friends for information about various technical aspects of freelancing, especially the all-important query/pitch. Today’s question was addressed to Lisa, who gets an A+ for creativity, if not clarity. I have to be honest – I’m still not sure I know what her answer is…
Liza: Do you remember that story about my friend’s sister? My friend asked if I could write up a piece in English about her sister’s case and related issues. I contacted another friend who works for a certain publication, and she said I’d have to pitch it to the editor. Any tips or suggestions that you can offer would definitely be appreciated.
Lisa: Keep the pitch short and pithy. Three paragraphs, with three lines each, should do it:
First para – outline the story. Example: On June 2, 1984, the naked body of a well-known socialite was found in Central Park, just 3 minutes’ walk from her Fifth Avenue residence. Twenty-four years later, a man whose DNA matches that of blood found at the crime scene was discovered in Boston, Massachusetts. It soon emerged that he was a popular professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and that his blood sample accidentally turned up in a crime lab after he allowed one of his students to practice drawing blood by using his arm.
Second para – sketch background. Yasmine Levy, a half-Chinese, half-Jewish teenager whose father made his money with a chain of Glatt Kosher Szechuan Chinese restaurants, was a model student who had recently been accepted to Juilliard. She was her parents’ only child. Her violent death shocked Manhattan, but despite massive publicity no-one was ever arrested for her murder.
Third – closing platitudes: number of words you’d like to write, when you’d like to submit it, looking forward to her response, etc.
Liza: You’ve got quite an imagination…
I think the professor was actually the socialite, and she faked her own death because she knew that her family would never accept the fact that she’d always felt like a man trapped in a woman’s body or the fact she wanted to help people in a meaningful way by teaching medicine (following a stint at a desolate medical clinic in Southeast Africa), and would therefore never be able to lead the life that she truly wanted to live.
As for Yasmine, she was murdered by a hitman, after a contract was taken out on her life by her father’s biggest rival, half-Jewish, half-Chinese businessman Shao Ling Goldfarb, because he believed that Yasmine’s father had stolen his secret recipe for shmaltz fried rice…
Lisa: I think we should write this email exchange as a blog post. 😉
This entry was posted in Daily life, Friendships, Humor, Writing and tagged Humor, Lisa Goldman, query letter, Writing by Liza Rosenberg