Comment to 'What's the elevator pitch for your WIP?'
  • Ill-equipped and secretive, Jester Lewis follows the cryptic, recurring imperatives of his nightmares to 'save the crew', and infiltrates the covert mission to planet X to confront the psychosis of the holy man intent on returning to earth with an alien messiah.

    Question: Why the 20 word limit? is that a hard and fast publishing rule, or is it the challenge of the exercise?

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    • Hi Hennessy. You might find this thread interesting. It's the follow up to a webinar that Harry did on elevator pitches earlier in the year. Lots of info and discussion there!

      If you're a JW member, the original webinar is available too. You have to be logged in to view it, I think.

      Your pitch above is intriguing, if a little long. The main comment I'd have, though, is that it tells us too much (almost too much!) about the plot and not enough about the story... or the stakes for the main character.

      There's a LOT to unpack in the pitch. We have Jester (who's ill-equipped and secretive, though we don't know why). He's having nightmares (about saving a crew - whose crew and what do they need saving from?). So he infiltrates this covert mission (whose mission is it and what's its goal?). And then there's a holy man (what's his connection to the mission, or to Jester) and a messiah. Phew! All that... and to be perfectly honest I don't really know any more about what the actual story is than I did before. 

      I'm riffing on the info you've provided, and I'm likely to be way off in the details, but something like...

      To save his lost crew, a retired special operative must follow his nightmares to a planet that shouldn't exist, and confront the insane holy man who guards its secret.

      Lots of plot, characterisation and worldbuilding omitted I'm sure (as it should be, since what the elevator pitch is about is the core of the story, not the details) but the overall arc and the stakes for the MC are there (I think)! That's 29 words.

      Of course, this is VERY rough and ready! And that's to be expected. As everyone who's attempted one of these knows all to well, elevator pitches are really REALLY difficult and take endless re-working before you end up with something you're even partially happy with! I've been working on mine for a year or more! But it's a great feeling when something clicks and you see the soul of your story in those perfect, jewel-like 20 to 50 words! 😁 

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      • What Jon says.

        I think I had to read your original version three times before I could get my head around it. (So let's add a word of advice: Short sentences. Or at least no sentences that run on and on ad nauseum without so much as a comma to give breath for a subordinate clause.)

        That said, the one tweak I would make to Jon's suggestion is: … confront an insane holy man who intends to deliver more than a few Earthly souls. (Thereby playing on the meaning of deliver.)

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