Cornwall Writing Group

An online writing group for writers in Cornwall

PLOTS and PITCH – how to describe your book

When someone wants to know what your book is about, what do you tell them?

The questions below will help you to develop your pitch and explain your plot to potential readers, publishers, agents and bookshops

  • What is your story concept? This should be a very simple or basic idea your story is built around. It usually manifests at the story’s inciting incident or somewhere in the first act, because, without the concept, you cannot have that particular story. What’s the what-if question that fascinates you that you want to explore in all its potential tangents and ramifications? Example: A theme park filled with living dinosaurs
  • What is the inciting incident or event at the beginning of your story that upsets the everyday running of your protagonist’s life and thrusts them into the story? Does it lead to resistance or change or regret?
  • Remember, without the inciting incident, the rest of the plot wouldn’t happen.
  • What is your story theme? This is the message you want your story to send. Example: It’s not wise to mess with Mother Nature
  • What’s your elevator pitch? The elevator pitch is your plot. It should be less than 20-30 words and contain something about the characters, what they want, the problem they need to overcome and what they want to achieve. The pitch needs to be short, sharp and enticing Examples: Someone breeds dinosaurs. They get loose. Mayhem ensues 😀 OR A grandfather invites scientists and his grandchildren to experience living dinosaurs. The dinosaurs escape and the visitors need to outwit them to survive and escape the island.
  • What do your readers expect from your genre? This can predefine the tone, atmosphere and/or even the type of characters they will find in your story. This is where comparing your story to others can help them find the kind of plots and characters they most want to read.
  • What’s your Story arc?

You can find the full article behind these Story Arcs at

  • Do you have any sub plots or supporting side stories for your supporting characters? Do your sub plots heighten the tension and intensify the conflict in your story? Do they deliver fresh obstacles for the main character, resulting in a more dramatic climax? Do they enrich your characters’ development?
  • What is the POV you are writing in?

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