I’ve been reading a lot about marketing recently. One of the techniques that strikes me as a double-edged sword is the advice to create an elevator pitch for your story that goes like this:
It’s like Alien meets 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
It’s Sleepless in Seattle but with dogs
(Can you tell why I think it’s a double-edged sword?!)
Write A Short Story Mashup
Let’s have some fun with this idea, and go literal:
Take a character who is suspiciously like another character from literature or film (an Indiana Jones-like explorer, a Tess of the D’Urbevilles-like victim, a Ferris Bueller-like rogue). Drop this character into a completely different environment (put your Indy-alike in a cyberpunk thriller; Pseudo-Tess on Wall Street; Ferris-esque into a made-for-TV-movie plot about a football team…hmm, maybe not that one).
Write your tagline first, then write whatever you like. Use this as a chance to try something new and a little bit whacky.