book!pitch

if I were a book editor and someone pitched me a YA novel where heroine Blue Ivy, the daughter of The Goddess and her mortal consort, was tasked with protecting her twin siblings as she guided them through an apocalyptic hellscape toward their Destiny as the Chosen Ones, Foretold By the Prophecy, I would immediately dismiss it as unrealistic and overwrought.

….and yet

ajcaimi  asked:

Hey Dana. I was wondering if you have any plans to develop and pitch a show of your own. If you do, what advice do you have for people who want to create their own show?

I did have plans to pitch a show. And I pitched it! And Disney bought it! And now I’m developing it!  It’s difficult and exciting ESPECIALLY because I’m doing all this for the first time. I hope I can show some images someday!

If I were to give one piece of advice to past me, it’d be to get comfortable writing entertaining scripts. As a showrunner the most important thing will be The Show, and 90% of The Show comes from The Writing. It’s difficult to find writers who will 100% understand your vision but if that’s an area you’re comfortable in you’ll never be an dire straits. I had never professionally written a script before my pilot. If I did maybe that part wouldn’t have been as stressful at the time haha. 

But let’s say you’re already good there. You’re good everywhere! 

How to pitch a thing! I used to love making “pitch books” as a kid, though I had no idea that’s what I was doing. It was just fun to develop worlds and characters! So even if you’re in HS or younger, making “pitch books” is a great way to spend your time and practice for the future. So get to it! Here’s just one format you can try: 

1. Cover page with short description of show and a fun image of your main character!

2. ½-1 full page describing your main character/s! (Don’t start with exhaustive explanations about the world, or any legends, or w/e, we’re here bc we want to connect with a character).

3. A couple pages with any other important characters you may have!

4. A page describing the most important relationships between your main character/s and others!

5. Simple 1 page description on how your world works! If it’s too complicated to get on one page, SIMPLIFY! Even the most complicated ideas can be pitched in 1-2 sentences. 

6. Important places! The main characters house? The bad guy’s castle? Stuff like that. 

7. Give em a couple episode examples! That’s where your show comes together, after all. 

And you’re done!

Fill your pitch book with fun images that show off your characters and your world! You don’t have to follow this format exactly, it’s your show, your pitch, do whatever you think will show off your ideas best. If you’re making an epic you might want to dedicate a page to where you want the show to go, and how the characters will evolve. Everything depends on what you want to make. But above all: Make it interesting to read!!! Make it fun to look at!!! Boredom is your enemy, fight against it!!!!

Are my exclamation points making this easier to understand? GREAT!!!!!

Now get out there and pitch some things cause I want new shows to watch.

From the Other Side of the Signing Table

“I don’t know what to say to you,” the girl said. “Um, thanks, I guess.”

“Thanks is good,” I replied.

Silence stretched, punctuated only by the scuffle of a Sharpie on a page.

We were in the same boat, the girl and I — both at a book festival, both at the end of a long day full of people, both in a signing line that had been going on for an hour already. There was only one big difference between us: she was on one side of the table, and I was on the other. Sometimes that difference seems to matter more than others.

Before I was published, I read a lot of accounts of what it was like to have your work out there, but I never read anything about what it was like to have yourself out there. I suppose I never really thought about it, to tell you the truth. I thought you wrote a book and hopefully people liked it and if I thought about book tours at all, I figured they involved standing on a stage for a bit before disappearing into a rental car. The truth, however, is that now — ten years and fifteen novels in to my career — most of my hours in front of people are spent in a signing line. Forty minutes on a stage or behind a table for a panel, and then two or three hours meeting a few hundred strangers. I had no idea what it would be like.

This is what it’s like.


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  • Lin-Manuel Miranda: Sunshine Personified
  • Jonathan Groff: The Best
  • Sydney Lucas: Unnaturally Talented
  • Lucas Steele: Anatole-y Crap What a Range
  • Idina Menzel: Just a Volcano Full of Power
  • Carmen Cusack: Underrated
  • Skylar Astin: Broadway to Pitch Perfect
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  • Mike Faist: The Sass
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  • Debbie Reynolds: The Matriarch
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DEFENDERS!  A humble pitch!

Readers and retailers!  We will be doing some serious press in a couple of weeks but as you will start placing your orders soon and I wanted to give you the hard sell on DEFENDERS. 

This is a book we are very excited about. For those you don’t know we are  launching an all new DEFENDERS in June. It is all new material written by myself and drawn by my iron Man and Civil War collaborators @davidmarquez and the amazing @jpocolors

 my history with these characters is, let’s say, pronounced. First of all, some of you know that I’m one of the creators of Jessica Jones. Doesn’t get more intimate than that.

The second season of the show is filming now. Since her TV debut she has become a worldwide media sensation. It still stuns me to this day. 

For those who have not been reading the new Jessica Jones series, things are very different for her and Luke. Their relationship will be the cornerstone of Defenders just as it was sometimes back in New Avengers.

In fact, let’s talk about NEW AVENGERS. where i staked my reputation and put Luke Cage right front and center

 if there was a major marvel event, I tried to make sure Mr. Cage, for the first time in his long history, had something to say about it

CIVIL WAR 1

SECRET INVASION

Plus, I was writing Alias, Daredevil and two Avengers books simultaneously and it created a situation where I could develop the relationship between Jessica Jones and Luke Cage into something very real…

And I love Daredevil so much. I have missed writing him. 

And returning to the character under this decidedly different scenario has been very fulfilling creatively.

When I was writing all these characters previously, I initially steered clear of Iron Fist because he was being written by two really good friends of mine Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker in the seminal run with David Aja.

 but once he became available…

 we even found a cool way to connect the iron fist saga to the Phoenix saga

we introduced the white costume which is the best costume! 

when I was done with avengers I was already preparing this book.  I was.  I pitched it publicly in on my last page…

and then something happened…

They all became big ass tv stars!

And all those who spent the aughts MOCKING me for a Luke cage ‘crush’… were silenced!! as I was proven right!! again! :-)

And now finally the stars align for us to make this very special new book. Our goal is to create a brand-new, very dangerous, very exciting tapestry for the  street-level comics. All of which will be centered around these four amazing characters but almost every single character you can think of that would fit in the mean streets of marvel will feature in this book. 

They will be threatened by new players, new threats, old scores, and new rules.

 issue three? The punisher

 here is an exclusive look at some of issue number one, two, and the ALL NEW free comic book day story that sets everything up in the Guardians FCBD issue available at all participating comic book stores all over the country on free comic book day May 5

 these are not in any sequential order, but check this out…

That’s my pitch! People always ask me what they can do to support their favorite comics… go to your local store and preorder. 

That means the store will set one aside for you and that means we will set one aside for the store.

 See you for free comic book day they where many of you are going to be shocked by what you find in that story… and then just a couple weeks later defenders number one and the all-new chapter for these characters that you and I love so much

bonus item, the Neal Adams. Cover for number one

remember that time comics legend Neal Adams drew Jessica Jones? :)

Lorcan: I have a feeling we should kiss. Is that a good feeling or an incorrect feeling?

Elide: Well sometimes I have the feeling I can do crystal meth, but then I think, mmm…better not.

  • simon: *petting baz's hair* tiny bab so soft
  • baz: *literally with fangs sticking out of his mouth* i am a Fearsome Beast
  • simon: *petting more aggressively* So Tiny So Soft
  • Baz: Wait...so you like me back?
  • Simon: There's no denying that I have feelings for you that can't be explained in any other way.
  • Baz: *blushes*
  • Simon: I briefly considered that I had a brain parasite, but that seems even more far-fetched.
  • Baz: ....

anonymous asked:

hey, i need ur help. i had this idea for a book and i don't rlly know if it's good? so the idea came bc of my physics teacher, he talked about that the sun would just explode one day and i thought, why not make a story out of it? so i thought about the main character living in a futuristic sci-fi world (it would be a million years from now) and they all lnow that the sun will explode some day not far from now. when it finally happens, the main charakter and a few others can flee on a space (1)

Advice for all writers:

  • Nothing is original. Nothing. Not even your favorite book/movie/TV show
  • All ideas are bad until they are written
  • All ideas are a failure that will bankrupt you until they don’t
  • Do not pitch your book idea before you’ve written it
  • Do not seek justification, approval, or permission to write your idea
  • Assume your idea has been done before and done better and DO IT ANYWAY

This is how writing works, otherwise we’d have three books, two TV shows, and one movie in the entire world.

That is my advice. Now WRITE.

“You have to pretend you get an endgame. You have to carry on like you will; otherwise, you can’t carry on at all.”
— Rainbow Rowell, Carry On

“He talked about the ocean between people. And how the whole point of everything is to find a shore worth swimming to.”
— Becky Albertalli, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda


Spending the weekend with my two favorite Simons—Snow and Spier.

Writing Advice: At the Heart of Your Plot Lies a Question

I’ve been thinking a lot about story structure lately. It’s the thing I struggle with the most, as an author, and judging from a lot of stories I’ve read (and blurbs I’ve helped to write), it’s a big issue for others, too. A lot of times, people don’t realize that there are fundamental structural issues with their stories until they get to the marketing phase, when they go to write a blurb or query letter and realize they cannot condense their story. 

I have some bad news for you: If you can’t elevator pitch your book, there’s a good chance that the problem is the book’s plot, not your innate blurbing skills. 

I know. That’s a hard thing to swallow. And maybe I’m wrong - maybe you just need to work on your blurbing a little bit and it’ll all be just fine. 

But maybe I’m not wrong. In which case, just humor me for a second. Your story will thank you for it. 

Thing #1: Your world-building is not your story. 

It doesn’t matter how much careful thought and planning you’ve put into figuring out the logistics of your world’s science, economy, government, etc. The intricate backstories and family histories might be totally important, but they’re probably not the plot. Until you have characters who want things and obstacles in their path, you don’t have a story. 

Thing #2: Your character arc is not your plot 

Characters should change. Your character should be transformed by the events of the story. This is, ultimately, where the story lies. It’s not, however, the plot. Why, you ask? Because plots are actually pretty generic. A plot is a framework, a set of expectations and structural beats that hold up the story. The story is the character’s development between Point A and Point B. 

Thing #3: Plots are tied to genre 

In the sense that I’m using plot here - expectations and structural beats - I would argue that “plot” is the essential defining characteristic of genre. Which is to say, the thing that unites books within a genre is that they all have essentially the same plot. But how can that be, you ask? Because…

Thing #4: “Plot” = The Story Your Reader Asks (and you have to answer)

What is it that keeps a reader turning the page? What compels a reader to finish a story? Compelling characters, cool settings, sure, ok maybe. But I would argue that at its heart, the thing that makes any reader keep reading (as opposed to, say, watching TV or playing soccer or giving their cat a bath) is curiosity. 

Humans are naturally curious. We love gossip. We find it irresistible. There’s something in our genetic makeup that craves answers to questions, to gathering insider knowledge. 

Which means that if you ask a question, and it seems like a fairly interesting question, the person hearing it won’t be satisfied until they know the answer. 

So based on that assumption, I would argue that readers keep reading stories in order to find the answer to a question. I would also argue that, for the most part, the nature of that question is the same or pretty similar for all stories of a particular genre. 

Some story questions: 

  • Who did it? How did they do it? Why did they do it? (mystery) 
  • Will they succeed in time/before bad thing happens? (fantasy)
  • Who will come out on top? (epic fantasy) 
  • How could these two unlikely people possibly fall in love? (romance)
  • What actually happened? (thriller) 
  • How will they get out of this? (adventure) 
  • Are they going to survive? (horror)

Etc. etc. 

Different stories will have different flavors of these questions, but at its core, every story should have a central question that drives the narrative onward - everything else eventually feeds in to answering that question. 

You’ll note, too, that sometimes the question asked by the narrative itself is not really the question asked by the reader. For example: Ostensibly, the mystery in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is “What happened to Harriet?” But I think the real question is “How is the PI connected to the reporter? What’s actually going on here?” (which, you will note from our handy-dandy chart, makes this book a thriller and not a mystery). 

“What actually happened the night of the murders?” <- Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. Definitely another thriller. (See also: “What actually happened to Amy?” at the heart of Gone Girl.) 

“How is Katniss going to survive the Hunger Games?” (adventure! For all that it bills itself as a dystopia, Hunger Games is at its heart a survival story that calls back to Jack London). 

There are more questions than the ones I detailed above, but those are some starters to whet the appetite.. 

The important thing to remember is that if your story doesn’t have a central driving question, it doesn’t actually have a plot. It may have a character arc! Lots of things might happen! It may have a story. But it will have no plot. And your readers might not know that’s what’s wrong with it, but they’ll notice it. They’ll pick up on it. 

And when they do, what they’ll tell you is: The book is boring. 

So the next time you’re struggling to write the elevator pitch for your story, or the story just isn’t coming together for you, stop and ask: What is the main question? What is the question that’s going to keep the reader turning the page?