Start Your Novel Planning with the Elevator Pitch

Welcome to the 8-post series on planning your novel. In today’s post, as your first step, we focus on writing your elevator pitch. (Updated from first publication in 2014.)

Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is another name for book blurb. You see it 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 after NaNoWriMo.

Start here: Take note of your genre. This will give you a general idea of your story ending and other reader expectations.

Elevator Pitch Formula

Draft these 5 items in note or list format. Then put them together it out in a 2-4 sentence paragraph. If you don’t know what your story is yet, use this exercise to experiment with an idea. If you don’t like what you generate, do the exercise multiple times until you come up with an idea you do like.

  1. Situation: (Also called the Initial Action or Premise, this is the beginning of the plot.)
  2. Main Character: (Self-explanatory)
  3. Primary Objective: (At the start of the story, what does your main character want?)
  4. Antagonist Or Opponent: (Also know as the Central Conflict. Who or what is keeping your main characters from getting what they want? What is the opposing force?)
  5. Disaster That Could Happen: (What’s the worst that could happen, and/or what does your character want next? Often phrased as a question.)

Example:
1. Abandoned on his relatives’ doorstep as an infant,
2. Harry Potter
3. longs to understand where he came from and why he feels different.
4. He discovers that he is a wizard and that his parents were killed by Voldemort, a powerful and evil wizard,
5. who has been hunting for Harry, to kill him.

In Paragraph Format

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.

Another example

The Torah Codes by Ezra Barany

The Torah Codes by Ezra Barany

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 bestselling author, Ezra Barany)

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Now your turn! Post yours in the comments to share!

 

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Would you like hands-on support to plan and write your novel?

PLAN YOUR NOVEL HOME STUDY COURSE AT BARANY SCHOOL OF FICTION

If you’d like hands-on support to plan your novel for Nanowrimo with your peers and with experienced instructors — Beth and Ezra Barany, then join us for our next course starting October 1st: 30-Day Writing Challenge to Plan Your Novel. Sign up for the wait list here.

You can join the home study course at any time here.

https://school.bethbarany.com/p/30daywc


Plan Your Novel Like A Pro: And Have Fun Doing It! by Beth and Ezra Barany, Available where all books are sold!

NEW! PLAN YOUR NOVEL LIKE A PRO

You can also check out our newest book, Plan Your Novel Like A Pro, here!

This book will help you get excited to plan your novel. The tools shared here are designed to spark your muse and give you confidence when you sit down to write your story. Plan Your Novel Like A Pro: And Have Fun Doing It! is for organic writers and pansters who want a roadmap to follow, so that they can let their creativity loose.

“Beth’s book is like plotting for pantsers!”—Tess Rider, Science Fantasy Romance Author

 


ABOUT BETH & EZRA BARANY

Happily married for over 18 years, Beth and Ezra Barany help authors reach their dreams.

Beth Barany, an award-winning novelist and certified Creativity Coach for Writers, runs Barany Consulting, a coaching and consulting firm dedicated to helping novelists write, publish, and market their books. She’s the author of the award-winning young adult fantasy series, Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, and the paranormal sweet romance collection, Touchstone Series. She’s currently working on a science fiction mystery series.

Ezra Barany, an award-winning novelist and the bestselling author of The Torah Codes series, is also a teacher and mentor.

Together they help authors get their books out into the world.

 


Tip #2: Plan Your Novel with Story Synopsis is here.

List of all 8 tips here.

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2 Responses

  1. David Wolf says:

    Now I am confused. Your first email about the genre contest said “attach” the 1st chapter. Your 2nd corrected email said, “Go to this site for the correct form.” I am at the site. Where is the form? Is THIS the form? (I also did not notice / forgot to include my 1-paragraph elevator pitch when I attached my chapter.)

  2. Beth Barany says:

    David, Read the instructions on that PDF https://sanmateocountyfair.com/pdf/2015/departments/literary_arts_15.pdf. It tells you how to apply online. If you have more questions about applying, contact BARDI ROSMAN KOODRIN, Literary Director, literary@smeventcenter.com. I know the application process is confusing.

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