Monday, June 8, 2009

Write On: A Little Writing Advice...Elevator Pitch

There is a philosophy referred to as Occham's Razor (Ockham/Ocham/Occam being spelled several different ways depending on the period of time your resource was written in and by whom, but anyhow...) The theory essentially says that the best answer is always the simplest. This theory goes hand-in-hand with creating an elevator pitch for your story. And it's also remarkably similar to the drawing theory Disney animators work with--a character should be able to be drawn with only 10 lines.

Imagine you're at a big convention or conference. That editor or agent you've been hoping to hook steps into the elevator with you. The doors shut. You have only moments to make a succinct pitch--a memorable pitch--before those doors open again and that contact runs away (not that they'd run away...).

In one sentence can you summarize your novel? And don't say "Of course, I know how to properly use semicolons." ;-) I don't want some ginormous synopsis, just get to the heart of your tale. Tell us something key about the main character and his/her struggle. Make us care about the outcome. Make it clear what their world is like--it probably matters to their struggle. Before you get too attached to your "elevator pitch," say it aloud. Does it hook the listener? Does it make your story sound enticing--cinematic?

Want some hints on what works? Listen to some movie trailers. Look at some (high quality) novel trailers. They create the hook and keep things short and to the point. Think about them as you work on your own.

Good luck and feel free to share here!

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