Well, a plot, for one. And I'm not saying that romance novels don't have plots. They generally do (I assume. I've actually only read a few. But After Hello had a plot, so I know it does happen.) But I was struggling to find a plot for this story. I'd already started writing, and I knew the entire back story -- which I'm doing in diary format, because Codswallop's diary is beautiful. As for the main story, though....
Codswallop has joined the "Befriend the Mundanes" campaign (I don't think that's what it's called, but it's what I'm calling it for now.) So he goes out into the mundane city and makes a friend, a pretty girl called Rachel. She's inquisitive, and finds him interesting -- but her questions can get a bit awkwardq because he has to keep his magic a secret from her. Great for some fun scenes, but not much in the way of plot and action. What I needed was something that drew them together, some sort of goal they could both strive towards, like Sara and Sam trying to find a piece of artwork for a crazy movie star.
With Rachel being a journalist, the answer to what they could work on together seemed simple: a story. But what sort of story? Something cute, like trying to find a true love story? (Ok, I just threw that out randomly, and I now kind of like the idea... I think it might get incorporated into the book now!) Or something....
Yup, that's how it happened. My brain just screamed: SERIAL KILLER!
And I knew it was right. What draws two loving hearts together better than a psychopath on a killing spree? With all the murders cropping up, Rachel would want to investigate. What draws Codswallop's interest is the fact that those who are being killed have something in common, something that could put Rachel in danger.... Oooh! I'm super excited!
Because I recently pitched my other book, I've been thinking a lot about elevator pitches. I find it funny to write one before I've written the book, because usually, by the time I reach the end, the story is so completely different that the pitch doesn't even sound like it's for the same book. For example, here is the elevator pitch I wrote when I first started writing The Witch's Key:
A young witch in a small magic village struggles to control her own powers and keep the secrets of her friends.And here's the pitch I used at LDStorymakers:
A teen witch must find her voice in order to stop a war that would destroy the lives of those without magic.Yes, those are pitches for the same novel. Sort of. The book changed a lot as I wrote it, and different points became more relevant, while others disappeared completely.
So, before I write Codswallop's book and it changes completely, here are a couple ideas for elevator pitches:
Codswallop joins with Rachel to stop a serial killer, but his secret has made her the next target.Or:
A young warlock falls in love with a mundane girl, marking her as the next target of a serial killer.Yeah, I'm not any better at writing pitches than I was before I pitched my first novel....
Anyway, that's how I went from writing a romance novel to a book about serial killers. And why, if you need advice on how to pitch your novel, you shouldn't go to me.