PLAN YOUR NOVEL TIP #1: Start Your Novel Planning with the Elevator Pitch By Beth Barany
Welcome to the 7-post series on preparing or planning your novel for National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) or anytime. In today’s post, we focus on writing your elevator pitch as your first step.
An elevator pitch can be used to shape the back cover blurb, what you see on the back of books and on the online book record, usually under “Book Description” or “Overview.”
I recommend you start with your elevator pitch because it’s an activity you can do in 5-20 minutes and it’s a good way to get your brain in gear for writing your novel. Don’t worry about your elevator pitch being perfect. You can revise it once you’re done with all your novel planning or when you’re done writing your novel.
Start here: Take note of your genre. This will give you a general idea of your story ending.
Elevator Pitch Formula
Here’s a 5-piece plug and play formula that you can follow to write your Elevator Pitch. This will help you create one paragraph of 1-3 sentences. Your goal is to keep this short.
Situation: Also called the Initial Action or Premise, this is the beginning of the story.
Main Character(s): Name (optional: add one adjective, identifying the person. Pick something not cliché.)
Primary Objective: At first, what does your main character want?
Antagonist Or Opponent: (or Central Conflict. ) Who or what is keeping your main characters from getting what they want?
Disaster That Could Happen: What’s the worst that could happen, and/or what does your character want next? Often phrased as a question.
Here’s an example: (You’ll probably recognize this!)
- Abandoned on his relatives’ doorstep as an infant,
- Harry Potter
- longs to understand where he came from and why he feels different.
- He discovers that he is a wizard and that his parents were killed by Voldemort, a powerful and evil wizard,
- who has been hunting for Harry, to kill him.
You guessed it! This is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Book 1 in the Happy Potter series.
Here’s another example, in paragraph format, from a published book: A reclusive computer programmer, Nathan Yirmorshy, pounds out ones and zeros in the quiet of his home while his landlord secretly watches from behind a two-way mirror. When an intercepted note connects the landlord to a secret society, and a detective ends up dead, Nathan must abandon his home and everything familiar to him, open his heart to a tarot reader he has never met, and trust her with his life – just as the ancient scriptures have foretold. (The Torah Codes by Ezra Barany.)
WANT MORE SUPPORT IN PLANNING YOUR NOVEL?
Then get the tip sheet, “10 Questions to Ask Your Characters” here: http://bethb.net/30daywc.