Archives For christopher kokoski

Chip and Dan Heath’s engaging book, Decisive, introduced me to the acronym WRAP. The WRAP method has huge applications for writers of all kinds in generating better stories and richer content.

Before we delve into those possibilities, it might be helpful to realize that each letter in WRAP stands for an effective decision-making strategy:

Widen Options

Reality Test Assumptions

Attain Distance Before Deciding

Prepare to be Wrong

Let’s focus on just the “W”, Widen options, for this post. The key takeaway from this strategy to consider multiple ideas at once. According to Decisive, most people typically focus on only one idea. Adding even a second idea can improve the success of any decision, venture or novel.

How can widening options help writers? Consider these ways:

  • Titles: Consider (at least) 10 different titles for your story, novel, screenplay or blog. Not just variations on the same title, completely new and different titles.
  • Openings: Consider (at least) 10 different ways to open your story. What if you opened with a character introduction? Action sequence? A death? Description? Dialogue?
  • Scene Crafting: Consider (at least) 10 different ways to write the next scene. What characters could be involved? What settings? What goals? What conflicts? What secrets revealed?
  • Endings: Consider (at least) 10 different ways to end the story. Success? Failure? Death? Romance? Hint at Sequel?

In the next post, we’ll look at a few more success-producing strategies for widening options.

Until then, I’d love for you to subscribe to my blog. Thanks for reading.

What is one new idea you can consider for your writing in progress?

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Death of the Elevator Pitch?

Anyone who has studied marketing, networking (heck, communicating) has probably heard of an “elevator pitch”.

The term refers to a short, prepared message that concisely describes the value you, your ideas, products or services offer to other people. The idea is to hone this message down to a message so brief you could share it during a swift elevator ride.

Admittedly, I’ve never loved this analogy. Elevator rides remind me of cramped spaces where strangers awkwardly attempt to follow established social rules by avoiding eye contact and staring intently (psychotically?) at the changing floor numbers above the doors.

I prefer the term Sniper Pitch.

A Sniper Pitch is a honed soundbite strategically adapted to a specific target. There are many reasons I like this term. Namely, in sniping as in selling books (especially in person), you generally only get one good shot at it. As the sniper saying goes, “One shot, one kill.”

3 Keys to a Sniper Pitch

Intelligence Gathering – Collect what data and information you can from prospective readers (buyers). If time allows, you can accomplish this by asking simple, open-ended questions such as, “What types of books do you read?” or “What is the last book you read that you really loved?” I typically follow-up this question with “What did you love most about it?” The answer tells me how to (ethically and honestly) adapt my pitch to meet their expressed desires. You can also (to a point) simply observe the person’s appearance, clothing, body language, etc.

Sighting – Adapt your pitch to what you know about the other person. Odds are your story has many facets and dimensions, any of which you can highlight depending on the person or persons in front of you. Marketers, advertisers, politicians and other leaders call this “spin”. Whatever you call it, keep it honest, direct and focused on meeting the expressed wants and/or needs of the other person.

ShootingAll of the above work might be brilliantly hidden if you never share your pitch with others. Continuing the analogy, snipers spend countless hours mastering the art of shooting before pulling the trigger in a real life military scenario. Follow their lead by practicing your pitch alone and with others you trust and who will give you constructive feedback on how to improve. Practice, practice, practice. Then start pitching. You’ll learn what works and what doesn’t. Keep honing, perfecting and repeating these steps. I think you’ll be amazed at the results you get.

Here are two example Sniper Pitches for two of my novels. (Note: depending on the other person, I might add/subtract/replace details, but this is the basic foundation of all of my pitches for these two novels).

Dark Halo

Dark Halo is about a grief-stricken father fighting to keep his family alive in a 3-day Armageddon.

Past Lives

Past Lives is a series about a man who discovers under hypnosis that he is a reincarnated serial killer.

I hope this gives you a good start on your Sniper Pitch.

I’d be honored if you would subscribe to my blog.

What Sniper Pitch can you use to show the true value of your stories? Comment with your pitches!