This exercise is based on the notion of the ‘Elevator Pitch’ and it’s just a way to get the imagination going.
The Elevator Pitch is based on the idea that if you ever happened to get in a lift with a top publisher/director/agent, you could tell them the idea for your brilliant book/film/play in the time it takes to get to their floor.
The lift scenario is quite unlikely (agents probably take the stairs for exactly this reason) but every writer is supposed to have their elevator pitch ready to go at all times.
It’s a sentence or two that encapsulates what is great about your story, makes you want to hear more, and it has to be really short (50 words MAX) so cut out anything irrelevant.
Sometimes elevator pitches are much better than the actual books. So it can be fun to skip the book-writing part and go straight to the pitch!
For this exercise:
- Explain to your writers what an elevator pitch is (show them the examples below and maybe talk about why they’d make you want to read on, what they include and what they leave out)
- Ask them to write ten elevator pitches of their own for stories that would make people want to know more, even if they have no intention of ever writing them.
- Share them with the group. (You could have a prize for the one that makes everyone go, ‘Ooooh! I’d read that!’)
- Tell people that if they’ve been inspired by a pitch (their own OR someone else’s) they can have a go at writing it.
Examples taken from How to Write an Elevator Pitch on Jericho Writers :
A teen romance between an ordinary girl and a boy who is actually a vampire.
The Da Vinci Code
A professor of symbology unlocks codes buried in ancient works of art as he hunts for the Holy Grail.
A wife (Amy) goes missing, and her husband is suspected of murder. But the sweet diary-writing Amy of the first half of the book is revealed to be a very different woman in the second half . . .
Astronaut, stranded on Mars, has to figure out how to survive.
A love story between two male cowboys
Harry Potter series
Orphan boy goes to school for wizards
Alex Rider series
Young James Bond