do and don't · query problems

Seven Deadly Non-Specific Sins

This literary thriller takes the reader on a journey of greed, sex, betrayal, and lust.

What does that pitch mean to you?

  • Greed — many thrillers run on greed. In what way is it greedy?
  • Sex — is this here to titillate me or warn me? This is as descriptive as, “This YA book contains kissing.”
  • Betrayal — most books have betrayal. It’s a tension tool.
  • Lust — assumed if there’s sex.

I understand the temptation to use these words: they get a strong reaction from most people. They evoke emotion and hint at intense scenes. But in the end, they don’t tell me much about the book.

The Seven Deadly Sins don’t make a specific, compelling pitch.

The four words used above are author favorites. Love, revenge, and hate, too. These aren’t bad things: they’re great thematic tools in the hands of skilled writers.

The golden rule of writing applies here: Show, Don’t Tell. Hint at betrayal in the pitch. Show me the chemistry between the heroine and her lover. Or reveal the greedy motives of the antagonist.

Show me you are a good writer who knows how to weave these things into a story.


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