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Blogosphere, I dare you to write a description of your novel in 140 characters (see what I’m doing here? This title is 140 characters long).

April 15, 2011

“What my novel is about? Well, erh … The main character is a young man, or actually it starts when he is just a boy, who grows up first in Glasgow, and then his family moves to England because his father gets a new job – it’s in the 1850s – and we follow the main character as he …” It takes someone with a considerable attention span to want to hear the rest of that rant if it’s only the first twenty pages covered so far, right?

It all began with Christi  telling her readers about Shelley Watters  having a contest where writers could pitch their novels in a 140 characters long description (which is the length of a single update on Twitter, for those of you who aren’t into that sort of thing) and win a professional full manuscript request.
And this got me thinking. Boiling the essence of what you have worked on for months or maybe even years down to 140 characters – that must be hard! But it also sounds useful. Haven’t we all had to answer the question, “What is your novel about?” Some people like to hear a story when they ask, of course. Others just want the gist of it.
This isn’t a contest. Think of it more as a writing prompt or a dare. Can you describe your novel in 140 characters?
Here are the ones for my two latest NaNoWriMo adventures:

Title: Chrome
Genre: Historical supernatural fiction
Pitch: A novel of development whose protagonist must face eternity. Follow James’ journey from Victorian Britain, to war-ridden Europe and onwards.

Title: Double Exposure
Genre: Literary fiction
Pitch: Life is fairly simple, but then odd things start to happen around the photographer Sean. No one else seems to notice. Is it his imagination?

Phew, that was hard!

Now it’s your turn if you want to play. I hope you do because I’m curious. You don’t have to have a finished novel to do it. Please post your pitch in the comments, or spread the word and post it on your own blog/site/Twitter profile.
Have fun!

23 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2011 8:43 pm

    This was fun. I think I’ll carry it over to my blog, too. (And I’ll link back here.)

    TITLE: Bete Noire (or, as I’m thinking of it, SWORDFIGHTING THE MAN 😉 )

    A neglected girl’s search for family, love and fairy tale escapism leads her instead to the chaos of life in Berkeley, 1969.


    • April 16, 2011 2:05 pm

      Glad you think so! And thank you, I’ll keep an eye on your blog to see it. 😀

      Great description. You managed to get a lot into it without making it heavy!


  2. April 15, 2011 10:10 pm

    This is a great idea, I wish I could post about my novel, but I cannot at the moment, sworn to secrecy or my boy will be upset 😉

    I did write another novel, with NanoWrimo, so going to go have a think about that one 🙂


    • April 16, 2011 2:06 pm

      Wouldn’t want to upset the boy! 🙂

      But I’d definitely like to see another of yours. Thank you for commenting!


  3. April 16, 2011 12:36 am

    You managed to make each of your pitches exactly 140 characters? (yep, I checked)

    I fiddled until I got 139.

    TITLE: Jesus Juice with a Side of Singularity
    GENRE: Futuristic Farce (We’re allowed to make up our own genres, right?)
    PITCH: A destitute phone sex operator tries to blackmail a cult. Instead, the cult uses her body to host the 1st sentient artificial intelligence.


    • April 16, 2011 2:07 pm

      Yes, I did. I’m bloody stubborn like that. XD

      Your pitch is fantastic! Really intriguing and original. 🙂 Thanks for playing!


      • April 17, 2011 4:31 am

        Thank you and you’re welcome! 🙂

        Of course, I could make my pitch exactly 140 characters if I trailed off at the end: A destitute phone sex operator tries to blackmail a cult. Instead, the cult uses her body to host the 1st sentient artificial intelligence..



        • April 17, 2011 9:10 am

          Haha, true! Or you could cut the comma and replace 1st with first. XD I considered doing it without punctuation altogether to get a few more characters in.


  4. April 16, 2011 3:38 am

    GENRE: Fantasy/Horror
    PITCH: Held captive and abused by a gang of outlaws, a woman discovers a dark power within her flesh that can grant her vengeance.


    • April 16, 2011 2:08 pm

      Ooh, mysterious! That sounds like the makings of quite the story. Thank you for joining in! 🙂


  5. April 16, 2011 5:14 pm

    What a great idea. I have to admit having a little trouble with this. My idea is very simple, but it’s hard to shrink down into just a few words. (Plus this is so difficult to do without sounding lame. Wow to everyone who’s done this so far!)

    TITLE: Ruin Book 1 (a.k.a. no good title yet)
    GENRE: Science Fiction/Fantasy
    PITCH: A regular human girl is banished to the Wildlands, a place where humans with powers fight for survival. Will she adapt to her new life?


    • April 16, 2011 8:03 pm

      Thank you! Glad you liked it and decided to play along! (And thank you for the link! :))
      I had lots of trouble with it! I presented the idea to the writing group I’m part of and they gave it a go too.
      Yours sound really good. I like that you got the place name in – it gives a nice feeling of insight into the novel.


  6. JA Murphy permalink
    April 16, 2011 8:24 pm

    At work we call this an “elevator pitch”, but I’ve never thought of doing it for my novel. Describing my work has often been a struggle, still I’m always up for a challenge so here goes:

    TITLE: Beyond the Grey
    GENRE: Futuristic Fiction
    PITCH: Lyvia Corran has always known that only those who lived in the domes survived the end of the world – until a stranger tells her the truth


    • April 16, 2011 9:05 pm

      “Elevator pitch” – I like that term. 🙂
      Really intriguing introduction to your story. I like that you have the name of the protagonist and the dome concept included. Nicely done!
      – And thank you for visiting and commenting! 🙂


  7. April 17, 2011 12:11 am

    Hi, I came over from Nina’s blog, so I thought I’d add mine to the mix, since they took me the better part of the afternoon to figure out! This was a lot of fun! 🙂

    Book 1:
    TITLE: Likely to Fail
    GENRE: literary/women’s fiction
    PITCH: As three friends explore the truth of their feelings, they’ll discover the inspiring reaches of friendship, and its unfortunate limitations.

    Book 2:
    TITLE: Where the Entire Universe Dwells
    GENRE: literary/women’s fiction
    PITCH: Caught between the love of her life, her children, and a husband she vowed “forever”, how will Leila move when every step feels like regret?


    • April 17, 2011 9:08 am

      Hi! Nice to meet you! 🙂 I’m glad you decided to join.
      I like yours a lot. Especially the second one. The “every step feels like regret”-part is brilliant!
      Thanks for visiting! 😀


      • April 17, 2011 6:48 pm

        Oh, thank you! That second one came to me a lot easier than the first, lol!

        Nice to meet you too! I’ll be checking out the rest of your blog! 😀


      • April 17, 2011 7:07 pm

        Thank you! I hope you’ll like it here. 🙂


  8. christicorbett permalink
    April 18, 2011 3:55 pm

    Wow! Looks like lots of writers have been having fun doing their 140 pitches. I had such fun doing mine so I’m glad to see others playing too!

    Thanks for the link!

    Christi Corbett


    • April 18, 2011 3:59 pm

      Yes, isn’t it brilliant? I’m really glad to see that others wanted to play along.
      You’re welcome – and thank you for the inspiration. 🙂



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