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Jill U Adams writes about health & medicine, nature & environmental issues, and the intersection of research & policy for newspapers, magazines, and the web. Publication credits include Audubon, Discover, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Science, and Nature. A former research scientist, Jill has shed her passive voice but not her disapproval of handwaving theories. A parent of teens, she is loath to give advice, but is full of it anyway. Jill lives in Albany, NY, with her husband, three kids, and a dog.

9 responses to “How to pitch: Haiku version”

  1. Scott

    Great idea! I’d compare this to writers who make an effort to include a suggested headline and teaser/subhead in their pitches. As an editor who gets way too many poorly thought-out queries, it assures me that the writer has put enough time and thought into the story to be able to boil it down to its essence and figure out what will make it interesting to readers. I still might not think that piece is right for my publication, but at least I know (and know that the writer knows) what the story really is.

  2. Kate Cohen


  3. Hope Perlman

    Love this. I am trying to distill the main ideas of my book into a proposal. Perhaps the boundaries of haiku can help me weed out the doubts and find the nugget of insight I need to put across.

  4. Bryn Nelson

    This is such a great exercise. And as a lover of dragonflies (and someone who hates early mornings), your Audubon pitch cracked me up. Thanks, Jill.

  5. Hannah Hoag

    Love this. Really gives you a chance to see if you’ve got a story or not.

  6. Jill U Adams

    Thanks all, for your comments.

    There is something that happens for me that is more than simply boiling down. The form forces me to select something interesting, intriguing, or funny to highlight. I can’t quite express what happens, but it seems like magic is involved. The result? I see my own idea differently.

    Hope the magic appears for you all too.

  7. Robin Meadows

    I love this! Right now I write headlines and subheads but I’m going to try haikus. Oh and I have that T-shirt 🙂

  8. Christopher Knight

    Have you thought of using a haiku JUST for the lead to the pitch? That might allow you to include the distilled version, while still elaborating further…and they might not even notice if thats the worry.

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