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That all-important Elevator Pitch

January 31, 2015

So, having been away from my main WIP for a little bit, I’m thinking it’s high time I got started on the next draft. This draft, more than anything, will be the “fleshing-out” draft: I know the story I want to tell, thanks to the previous draft, but there’s still a good number of bits that need expanding out. Right now, my manuscript comprises about 70 thousand words; after the next draft, I expect to be reach over on hundred thousand.

Today, though, I worked on something slightly different. Instead of any actual writing, I looked into how I should explain my book concisely to people – the so-called Elevator Pitch. This has nothing to do with marketing, in case you’re wondering: I’m nowhere near that stage yet and don’t expect to be for some time. Instead, my reasoning is far more simple: I still freeze up whenever people ask me about the book, and I’m really getting fed up of having that happen.

What I soon found, though, was that pitching my book will be far from easy. Although the base concept is actually very easy to explain, explaining the actual execution…isn’t. Take, for instance, this guide from Graeme Shimmin:

In a (SETTING), a (PROTAGONIST) has a (PROBLEM)  (caused by an ANTAGONIST) and faces (CONFLICT) as they try to (achieve a GOAL)

Sounds easy enough, right?

Now, I can actually follow this template very easily…for the first eight chapters. After that, things get murky: the original antagonist stops being an antagonist, the original goal evaporates, and the sources of conflict change accordingly. The protagonist’s initial “problem” continues to drive the story, but her ultimate response bears no resemblance at all to the initially-presented goal…and for that matter, needs a fair amount of context to fully explain.

And of course, I can’t explain all of that in an Elevator pitch. Because then, it would no longer be an elevator pitch.

Clearly, I have a bit of a task ahead of me. And I do want to at least somewhat figure this out now, as I reckon it’ll help to guide the editing process later on. I’ll be thinking on this some more tomorrow, so watch this space…


From → Writing

  1. I know I should start thinking about my elevator pitch, too. Except… it scares the inkblots out of me. I almost can’t even think about it right now. Good for you for taking that next step. The best thing to remember, I guess, is that Graeme Shimmin’s guide is just a guide. You’ll figure out the best structure for your story’s elevator pitch in time.

    • It’s certainly worth doing at some point, though I don’t think it’s necessary to do right right now. Really, I just wanted to make sure that my book was in fact possible to pitch. Your book most certainly IS pitch-able form what I’ve seen of it on your blog, so I really don’t think you have a lot to worry about 🙂

      And yeah, you’re right: that guide really was just a guide. I eventually stopped trying for such a rigid structure to the pitch on the advice of a friend, and said pitch immediately became ALOT easier to work out.

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