Writing with Rose- Reducing your Idea to an Elevator Pitch

Remember that blog post about how I got started writing? In the post, I talked about how I got the idea for my debut Young Adult novels,  The Final Life Series. (Non-spoiler alert, it was from a dream). But the concrete steps that actually led me to that idea is an interesting story for any aspiring writer.

For a lot of people, one of the hardest parts about writing is picking something to write about. Why? Because our brains can sometimes be all over the place with a gazillion ideas. Mine was! (Still is, but that’s a topic for another day). A wise author friend suggested, back when I was first starting out, I should reduce my book idea to an elevator pitch. She said doing this would help me discover the premise of the story. 


Let’s dive in and start with defining elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is how you would describe your book in one short sentence to someone in a quick elevator ride. The pitch is designed to get the person to want to know more, and eventually buy, your book. The elevator pitch is used in various businesses all the time. As a writing tool, it’s gold for helping you discover the foundation of your story. Gold, I tell ya! 

I started developing my elevator pitch by boiling down the plot lines of several books. Here’s what I mean, starting with my book:

A girl tracked and hunted for lifetimes fights for her survival.
Final Life

A girl falls in love with a guy who turns out to be a vampire. 

A writer goes insane in a hotel that’s closed for the winter.
The Shining

An astronaut stranded on Mars has to figure out how to survive.
The Martian

You get the gist. Now, think about what you want to write about. Close your eyes if it helps. Really narrow it down in your mind to the most basic idea. Got it? Here's the fun part...pretend we’re in an elevator. Just the two of us. We start chatting and I discover you want to, or are writing, a book. I ask you what it’s about. What’s your elevator pitch?

Think about that pitch and tell it to some friends for their opinion, would they want to buy and read it?  If so, why?  If not, why not? Developing that baseline pitch will help guide you for next month's post, how to build on your nugget of an idea and get started on the road to becoming a published author.