There are brainstorming exercises you can take to plan your novel that are fun, take a short amount of time, and keep your enthusiasm up.
In our Plan Your Novel: 30-Day Writing Challenge course, we teach an accordion method that encourages you to start small and expand your story ideas outward.
In this post, I share one of the essential tools on story planning that I recommend writers start with: how to your elevator pitch.
An elevator pitch can be used to shape the back cover blurb, what you see on the back of books and on the online book record, usually under “Book Description” or “Overview.”
I recommend you start with your elevator pitch because it’s an activity you can do in 5-20 minutes and it’s a good way to get your brain in gear for writing your novel. Don’t worry about your elevator pitch being perfect. You can revise it once you’re done with all your novel planning or when you’re done writing your novel.
Start here: Take note of your genre. This will give you a general idea of your story ending. If you’re not sure of your genre, make your best guess. You can always change your mind later.
Elevator Pitch Formula
Here’s a 5-piece plug and play formula that you can follow to write your Elevator Pitch. This will help you create one paragraph of 1-3 sentences. Your goal is to keep this short.
Situation: Also called the Initial Action or Premise, this is the beginning of the story.
Main Character(s): Name (optional: add one adjective, identifying the person. Pick something not cliché.)
Primary Objective: At first, what does your main character want?
Antagonist Or Opponent: (or Central Conflict. ) Who or what is keeping your main characters from getting what they want?
Disaster That Could Happen: What’s the worst that could happen, and/or what does your character want next? Often phrased as a question.
Here’s an example: (You’ll probably recognize this!)
- Abandoned on his relatives’ doorstep as an infant,
- an orphaned boy
- longs to understand where he came from and why he feels different.
- He discovers that he is a wizard and that his parents were killed by a powerful and evil wizard,
- who has been hunting for the orphan, to kill him.
You guessed it! This is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Book 1 in the Harry Potter series.
Here’s another example, in paragraph format: A reclusive computer programmer, Nathan Yirmorshy, pounds out ones and zeros in the quiet of his home while his landlord secretly watches from behind a two-way mirror. When an intercepted note connects the landlord to a secret society, and a detective ends up dead, Nathan must abandon his home and everything familiar to him, open his heart to a tarot reader he has never met, and trust her with his life – just as the ancient scriptures have foretold. (The Torah Codes by Ezra Barany.)
WANT MORE SUPPORT IN PLANNING YOUR NOVEL?
First, get the tip sheet, “10 Questions to Ask Your Characters” here: http://bethb.net/30daywc.
Then, get your list of other essential novel planning tools go here: http://www.writersfunzone.com/blog/2016/08/25/8-tips-planning-novel/.)
READY TO GET PERSONALIZED, IN-DEPTH HELP WITH YOUR NOVEL?
We’re gearing up to start our 4th Annual Plan Your Novel course. If you’d like hands-on support with your peers and with two experienced instructors — Beth and Ezra Barany have over 20 published novels and novellas between then, then join us for our next course starting October 1st: 30-Day Writing Challenge to Plan Your Novel: http://bethb.net/pynoct2017.
ABOUT BETH BARANY
Award-winning novelist in YA fantasy, Master NLP Practitioner and certified creativity coach for writers, Beth Barany’s courses are packed with useful hands-on information that you can implement right away. Beth runs the Writer’s Fun Zone blog, for and by creative writers, where you can download her free reports on book marketing and novel writing. She is also the author of The Writer’s Adventure Guide, Overcome Writer’s Block, and Twitter for Authors.
ABOUT EZRA BARANY
Ezra Barany started his career of freaking out readers with his suspense and thriller stories in college. In March 2011, Ezra unleashed his first novel The Torah Codes, which became an award-winning international bestseller. In his free time, he has eye-opening discussions on the art of writing novels with his wife and book coach, Beth Barany. A physics teacher, Ezra lives in Oakland with his beloved wife, working on the third book in The Torah Codes series.
FTC Disclaimer: All the links on this web page go directly to Beth and Ezra’s website or to Amazon; they are not affiliate links.