Chart generates pitch ideas for writers


Originally published at:


Will they expect a cut of the profits from my inevitably successful pitch for an erotic war epic about an adolescent’s devotion to re-awaken his fear of spiders? It’s an autobiography.


“The most important part of a novel isn’t the plot, the characters, or the language. It’s the elevator pitch. That one-sentence descriptor is how you sell the book to publishers, readers, and big Hollywood producers willing to shell out megabucks. But how do you generate a killer pitch—especially when you don’t have a novel yet?”

Is this a joke? The first paragraph of the article is WRONG. Unless you are querying a non-fiction book, you can’t pitch anything without first having a completed manuscript. If all you have is a killer pitch eventually someone will actually read the hastily thrown together script and realize they have a handful of shit.


I say go with it.


“A keenly observed trilogy about a lovesick daughter’s dream to avenge her sexless marriage.” or “A keenly observed tragedy about an agoraphobic adolescent’s vacation to confront an untimely death.”



Now I’ve just got live that life so I can write about it :smiley:

If all you have is a killer pitch eventually someone will actually read the hastily thrown together script and realize they have a handful of shit.

I’ve watched a good few Hollywood movies recently where this doesn’t appear to be the case :wink: I’m looking at you DCU.


Fiction writing via Silicon Valley work ethic.


Have you seen the drek populating Amazon Books these days?


TV Tropes has something similar, but even more entertaining!


Only the absolute worst of it. :wink:


How dare you post a link to TV Tropes?! Have you no common decency? Merely visiting the home page of that site can lead to days of lost productivity as link leads to link leads to link…


Bwa ha ha.


It just seems like everyone’s a member of Oulipo these days.


I’d not heard of them before, thank you. I like the idea of a collective of writers and mathematicians.


I translated the chart into a tracery grammar, because if you’re going to automate prose generation then there’s no reason to prevent people from removing the human from the loop (as you do when you stick text in a !@#$ image).

Electric Literature is one of my favorite medium publications – they post as frequently as the big self-help schlock mines (like Better Humans) while having a much higher average quality.


Totally untrue in Hollywood though. Films are greenlit and given release dates all the time without a script, sometimes without even a treatment. I worked on a film where a key expository scene was being written as it was being shot on the last day of production. This is why most films are pure shit and this “generator” is not even funny. And don’t get me started on crappy Hollywood SF, “we’ll do time travel, it just writes itself, and no one actually expects it to make sense!”


Like Trump and the GOP? :joy:


A compulsively readable thriller about a hopelessly romantic man’s vacation to undertake his sexless marriage… Doesn’t make sense. But I can’t wait to read it!


phew, I got lucky. I went into the 'Tropes, ended up three articles in reading about Zeerust, which linked me to the Meaning of Liff, from which the trope takes its name. This, of course, lead me to realizing that the Meaning of Liff itself is a book of story germs that could be combined into novella prompts, which made me immediately come back here to make that circular observation. Loop having been closed, I think I can eat a sandwich and get back to work…


"A Psychosexual thriller focusing on a precocious Starship Captain’s failure to transcend adoption."

If it didn’t have “adoption” at the end there, that’s so my autobiography.