Writing Hooks: Trailers, Pitches, Themes

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I’ve been researching book trailers (software, how to, best practices, options, etc) in anticipation of doing a how-to ebook. Once again, it’s apparent to me that we must be able to describe a novel in one sentence.

Elevator Pitches and Book Trailers

You’ve heard that the one-sentence elevator pitch is the standard tool for getting interest in your story. You need a hook that shows how unusual your story is, a hook that has an emotional tug, a hook that makes your story irresistible.

Book trailers need the same kind of hook. You have a minute, give or take, to present a multi-media version of the elevator pitch. Really – the only difference is that it’s multi-media: images & text, voice/music/sound effects.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobalong/2921148701/

Log your Story.One suggestion for developing a concept for a MOVIE trailer is to “log” the movie, or to watch it and jot down brief descriptions of important scenes, bits of dialogue that reveal character conflict and emotion, dialogue or images that reveal theme. Once you’ve logged the movie, then you analyze and extract just the bits needed to pitch the movie in a trailer.

I tried this in my novel, The Wayfinder, and found that the theme is contained in such a small amount of direct dialogue, description, action or exposition. Yet, the theme is an important element to work into a pitch.

Yeah, I know, I’m mixing up movie trailers, book trailers, elevator pitches and the theme of your story. But they all relate to the idea that we must describe our stories in truncated, incomplete, enticing tidbits. One sentence. A 30-second video.

In fact, it’s what we practice all along. The theme of your novel is delicately woven into the story with just a few hints, a bit of dialogue, a turn of phrase. You know how to do this already.

Log Your Novel. Log your novel, then mine it for those places you’ve already done it; then use those gems to craft a short, but compelling hook for your novel.

NOTE: Look for an eBook about book trailers later in the summer! While I’m researching – I’m looking for input about what you want to know about trailers. Please leave a comment.

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1 Comment
  • Kimberley Griffiths Little
    May 25, 2010

    Hi Darcy,

    I did my own book trailer with a friend who wrote original music for it. I wrote the script and we hired a gal to do the script as a voice-over. I also took about half of my own images (and I’ve never taken a photography class in my life and have a very simple camera.) We spent about 200 hours on it, very motivated to make it something really special, and are very excited about it. Scholastic wants me to officially *release* the trailer the end of June just before my July 1 pub date, but if it’s helpful to you and your e-book I could give you a sneak preview. :-) Just email me!

    Kimberley