Sunday, 4 January 2009

The Elevator Pitch Part I

Or as I might call it The Lift Pitch but as that doesn't quite have the same ring to it so I think I'll stick with elevator.

What's all the fuss? Well, you're at a writing conference and it just so happens that you're sharing an elevator with your dream agent/editor. You have one floor before they depart and they casually ask (as their wont to do) 'so, what's your book about?'

What is it about? How can you possibly condense your novel into a sentence? I mean, query letters are hard enough right? Oh, wait I haven't done one of those yet but I hear they're really, really hard OK?

Some writers like to do this sort of thing near the end of the writing process and other like to use it as a focal point and do it right at the very start. Me, I'm a bit dumb about things like this - I've just done mine now and I'm in the middle of the writing process (not quite half way through yet).

Why now? Well, I've now got a very good idea about where my book is going (finally) and some of the smaller elements of my book are going to be quite a bit bigger than I had originally envisaged. Aaaand, Randy Ingermanson has just run a competition for his readers to do a Star Wars–One Sentence Summary. The results are here.

So what is my story about?

Well, here's one I did earlier (it's a bit rubbish but I'm feeling brave today). Written quite some time ago (nearly 8 months ago in fact - wow I need to finish this book) under the title of One Sentence Story Arc.

Aydan searches for his identity and clues to who he is, but has a second chance to shape his future.

Yeah I know it really is pants so after reading Randy's recent posts I decided to rewrite it.

An amnesiac, on the run from the Police, searches for clues to his past whilst hunted by a powerful religious cult.


It's not ready yet and as you can see there's no hint of any Sci Fi elements at all but that's easily remidied by something like:

An amnesiac, chased across the galaxy by the Police, searches for clues to his past whilst hunted by a powerful religious cult.

This is probably something that I could tweak forever and a day but it's time to set myself a deadline so I will finish it tonight and I will post the final sentence here tomorrow.


  1. It's beginning to take shape!

    Once it's done, think of ways you could glide into the pitch whilst in the elevator. Most agents aren't going to ask for your pitch. So what are some ways you could bring it up with it sounding as though it isn't a "pitch"? But if you can't come up with something clever & smooth, then just ask if you can tell him/her about your book (and don't wait long because an elevator moves fast and you'll quickly be alone in the lift, kicking yourself for missing the opportunity).

  2. Thanks Helen.

    I think if I thought too much about how to slide into a pitch I would freeze. For me I think the best way to do it would be off the cuff. The hardest thing would be to strike up a conversation after that it should be easier.

    Hey I wouder if I could just ride the elevator all day and practice!


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