Lately, I’ve been thinking about an elevator pitch for my novel, Shifting Mars’ Sands. For those reading unfamiliar with the term “elevator pitch,” it is a compelling summary of your novel that you can give in the span of an elevator ride.
Compelling is the key word. The idea is to pitch your story to an agent, so he/she is curious enough to ask to read the first couple of chapters.
The essence of the problem is how to summarize a ~90,000 novel into 15 seconds. If this sounds daunting to you, then you’re right where I am. Obviously, I can’t include everything that’s cool about the story. The key is picking the most interesting and representative.
Here’s a partial list of story aspects:
- A company on Mars, MarsVantage, needs an archaeologist to decipher symbols on a Mars cave wall.
- MarsVantage is in competition with Peter Konklin Interplanetary, an Earth-based company.
- Interplanetary is very powerful and cozy with the government, and, together, they aim to put MarsVantage out of business.
- The archaeologist, Gretchen Blake, has been blackballed in the field because she disagreed over the meaning of a dig’s artifacts.
- MarsVantage’s employee, Frank Brentford, who needs the archaeologist, is also a member of a secret organization called the Knowledge Keepers.
- Frank believes the symbols are a means to capitalize on energy-producing crystals, which will drastically reduce MarsVantage’s energy imports.
- Frank recently broke off his relationship with Erin because she didn’t wish to marry.
- Gretchen’s husband didn’t renew their marriage contract.
- Interplanetary has at least one spy within MarsVantage providing information.
Based on the above, it’s my job to craft a pitch. Soon, I’ll take a first cut at it.