WEEK 3: PART 2: PREMISE INTO PITCH
- develop a pitch which encapsulates the heart of your story
I always find the stronger my idea and the more developed my premise, the easier a pitch becomes. So, if you’ve been successful in the first 2 parts of this first chapter, you’ll find this a walk in the park!
What is a pitch?
Well, there are many variants, such as a Twitter pitch, a blurb, an elevator pitch and the length will also vary depending on the circumstance. But what do they all have one thing in common: they portray the heart of the story and the key conflict/challenges faced by your character.
240 characters to summarise the heart of your story? You’ll have seen these on twitter – if you haven’t, check #PitMad – but they are very hard to get just right. Everyone struggles with the condensation of the whole story into so few characters.
So why not go the other way – start with a couple of key words or a key event (inciting incident is often good) and simply build up from there. For me, that’s an easier process as adding is always much easier than taking away.
Much like a Twitter Pitch but less restricting in terms of length. It can be a sentence, or 2 or 3, depending on circumstance.
The irony of an elevator pitch, of course, is that you should never pitch to a publisher, or agent, in an elevator – professional boundaries and all that – but if invited to give one, this is what we’re looking for. I would use a similar approach to the Twitter pitch, selecting main conflict and framing that as a challenge, something which we will want the character to succeed with, to root for them.
The key formula for all pitches, which I use:
CHARACTER GOALS + OBSTACLES = CONFLICT
Conflict is at the heart of every story and what makes us turn pages. Without it, no matter how exciting our story or how brilliant our words, your reader will not turn those pages.
Found on the back of a book cover, it’s much more of a promise or tease of the story. An extension of what you would put in a pitch. To get a feel for these, just pick up your favourite books and read the back or go to Amazon where all the blurbs are just below the main description.
Time to write!
The elevator pitch – choose 5 words which embody your story – make them specific, so much so that they could belong to no other story. Now put them into a one sentence pitch.
I’d suggest coming up with at least 3 story ideas and produce a pitch for them. If you don’t have 3 of your own ideas, use published books/films and produce your own pitch for it. It’s good practice.