Tuesday, December 29, 2009

K. I. S. S.

By Darvell Hunt

If you can’t pitch your story to an editor in an elevator in ten seconds, you may need to refine the focus of your story. It may just be a matter of changing the way you look at your story, or it may not be that simple—but it needs to be.

Why? Because simple sells. If your idea is so simple that you can say it in ten seconds, yet is something that has never been done before and you do it well, your book will sell itself.

Sure, don’t forget to be creative, but remember K. I. S. S.: Keep it simple, stupid!

Here are some examples of simple but effective story ideas:

Jaws in Space. (The first Alien movie)

I See Dead People. (The Sixth Sense)

What if your entire life was a TV show and you didn’t know it? (The Truman Show)

What if you were a superhero, but you didn’t know it? (Unbreakable)

What if your boyfriend was a vampire? (Twilight)

What if you found an alien in your backyard? (E.T.)

They have forty-five minutes to save the world. They need forty-six. (Big Trouble)

You probably get the idea from these examples. What’s a short tagline for your story? If you can't write one, maybe you need to refocus your story. Or, perhaps you need to think more on what your story is about. You might have to add something to focus it or remove some things that are making it too complicated.

Remember to keep it simple, refine your focus, and write your pitch with as much passion as you wrote your story—then all you need to do is find some excuse to ride a lot of elevators with book editors.


L.T. Elliot said...

I love K.I.S.S. It's so applicable to so many life situations. =]
And you're right about the elevator thing. How on earth do I make those two schedules come together?

David J. West said...

Here's a few for my upcoming novel.

The Wheel of "Mormon" Time

The Lord of the Golden Plates

Mormon the Barbarian

Corihor's & Cummom's

Alma the Potter and the Gadianton's Seer Stone

Cassandra Jade said...

First I would need to live somewhere where there are elevators but the point is well made. I found that writing a short pitch for my story was harder than writing the story and that was because I hadn't really thought about what the book was about. A lot of thinking and planning and tweaking of the story later and I finally knew exactly what the story was about and I could finally write a pitch that made sense.
Thanks for sharing this advice.