This week JJ and Kelly are back to their regular format and discuss X Meets Y, or The High Concept Pitch: what it is, what it entails, and whether or not you need it. Also, the difference between “commercial” and “literary” (if any), and as always, what we’re reading and enjoying this week!
“High concept” is really just the ability to distill your premise down to one or two sentences. It can encompass the “X meets Y” pitch, but a high concept pitch is really the kernel of a story—the handle, as JJ’s old boss used to say—you can pick up and hand to someone else (i.e. sell).
- “Commercial” vs. “literary” is a false dichotomy; they are writing styles, not concepts. You can have the exact same idea and write it in a commercial way, or write it in a more literary manner.
- The Art of Writing Copy by JJ
Name that Book/Movie/TV Show!
- The children of Greek gods go to summer camp.
- A retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma set in 90s Beverly Hills.
- A retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice as told through a neurotic British woman’s diary entries.
- A retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew where Katrina is a 90s riot grrl.
- Children battle each other to the death on reality television.
- House of Leaves meets Battlestar Galactica (bonus: this is a PubCrawl alum’s book!)
- Labyrinth meets Amadeus (we’re giving this one to you)
- A girl who can’t go outside falls in love with the boy next door
What We’re Reading/Books Discussed
- The Corrections and Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
- Battle Royale by Koushun Takami (and movie)
- The works of Margaret Atwood
- Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
- The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
- The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
- Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
- Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
- The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
- The mysteries of Sophie Hannah
- Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
- The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
- Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
- Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
- Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
- Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
- Fire and Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (JJ actually reviewed this on her blog)
- Star Crossed and A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
What We’re Working On
- Kelly is working on an old YA project.
- JJ is setting aside her middle grade for the moment and focusing on an adult project to get ready to send her publisher for her option book.
Off Menu Recommendations
- Top Chef
- Life is Strange (JJ is on the bandwagon!)
- RadioLab’s episode “The Cathedral“
- That Dragon, Cancer
- Jane McGonigal’s TED talks and SuperBetter
- Arkham Horror (not Arkham Asylum as JJ mentions, although she has played that too)
That’s all for this week! Next week we’ll talk about CRITIQUE GROUPS! If you have any questions you would like us to answer, send us an ask or leave a comment!