Friday, November 11, 2005

The Elevator Pitch

Every aspiring author is supposed to have one. The Elevator Pitch. Basically, in the time it takes you to go from the first floor to the second floor, you have a conversation that goes something like this:

"Hey, Ryan."

"Hi, Bob. Two, please."

"What'd you do last night?"

"Writing."

"You're writing a book?"

Floor two lights up.

"Yep."

"Really? What's it about?"

Doors start to open.

And so you have all of three seconds to summarize the story it took you two years to write.

My problem is, I don't have an elevator pitch. At least, not a decent one. I kind of bumble along, mentioning a few key points, by which time Bob says:

"Well, I'll catch you later."

I already struggled with writing a query letter. This is a three-paragraph letter that also must summarize your story. But it is three paragraphs, not one sentence. And I have had months and months to tweak that. The whole Elevator Pitch is too spontaneous. I need to have it written out and rehearsed.

So, here are a couple possibilities. Let me know what you think:
  1. Mindburst is about a group of kids with special mindwielding abilities who escape from the asylum they're in to find their parents.
  2. It's called Mindburst. This girl, who has spent her whole life in an asylum for kids with special mind powers, escapes with some of her friends to search for her parents, only to find the world outside the asylum hates her for what she is.
Not really happy with either. The first is too sparse. The second, too long and wordy.

The hard part about all this is that when you've spent so much time with each of these characters, developing them, taking an adventure with them, even crying with them...it seems downright rude to reduce their story down to just a single sentence. Hopefully they'll understand. And, perhaps if I'm truly lucky, one of these characters will just tell me what I should say for them. Because I'm kind of sick of having to do all the work for them! It's like they think I'm God or something.

So, after my elevator pitch, what would Bob say?

"Oh. That sounds...interesting." Translation: Doesn't sound like anything I'd ever read.

"Wow. That's a lot like another book I read once." Translation: You're a copy-cat. Can't think up anything original, eh?

"Sounds great. Good luck with that." Translation: Frankly, I don't care about your book. I was being polite. Tell me about it if you ever make it big.

Suddenly, I'm feeling rather irritated at Bob.

1 comment:

Melanie Lynne Hauser said...

How about - a group of misfit teems with special powers find themselves persecuted by the outside world?

Or - teens with special powers at a private school find that the world outside isn't as friendly?

And then there's always the "X-Men" thing you could do, tying it in to that - you know, X-Men for Teens, or something like that. I can't help but draw that parallel every time you describe your book.