How to tell what story is worth writing.
I know as a writer I always have so many ideas but I never have any clue which idea to run with; I don’t know about you but I’m not usually confident in myself enough to make that decision. Well I’m here to tell you there are ways of determining what ideas are worth that first draft and what are worth the trash can. Here are a couple little activities to help determine that distinction.
1: Write the logline
For those who don’t know what a logline is, it’s a 1-2 sentence summary that generally gives you an idea of the main characters and the what, where, and why of the story. You don’t typically include the end in the summary; it’s usually just a teaser to create interest. So write your idea down as a 1-2 sentence logline, and this hopefully will give you an indication as to whether you’re excited about just writing a scene or the actual entirety of the story. You can find some great examples on Netflix if you look at their summaries, or if you don’t have Netflix (weird that you don’t have Netflix…) go to IMDb.
Once you’ve written your logline share it with others and ask: is it interesting? Would they want to read the story? If they do, great! If not, this idea is either one you need to part with or you need to rework the logline and focus more so on what makes it interesting.
2: Write your elevator pitch
An elevator pitch is a longer logline, more so around 250-300 words, but again you don’t give away the ending (leave them wanting more). I would almost call it a blurb of sorts; think about what you would write for the back of your book to make people want to read it. You want to include the who, what, why and where, but in more detail than the logline.
Who: Who’s your protagonist? What’s weird and wacky about them? What do they want?
What: What’s the problem? What’s stopping your protagonist from getting what they want, or who?
Why: What’s at stake? Why does it matter? What will success mean to the protagonist?
These are the questions you need to ask. For examples refer to the back of any book or DVD you own and you’ll find some great examples.
Present your pitch to some trusted friends/or family. Are they excited about your idea? Do they want to hear more? Keep in mind that if you’re pitching a fantasy idea to a crime novel enthusiast the idea may not appeal to them as much as someone who is into fantasy. If the response to your idea is positive, you’re on the right track go chase that idea and don’t let it go!