Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What's your story about anyway?

I’ve been meaning to put something in my profile about my current novel.  I’ve been waiting until I can write the perfect paragraph.  Or at least not a sucky one.  You see I’ve been burned before. 

I do the rounds of the agent and publisher blogs.  I’ve seen them repeatedly telling us to perfect our one line and one paragraph pitch.  Intelligent as always I put it off.  You see I’m a stay at home mom.   My water cooler gossip happens with cartoon characters and my board meetings are at the changing table. Nobody I know in person asks about my writing other than “You still working on that?”  Except my mom and The Engineer and they already know more than they want to.  So who is going to ask “what’s your story about?” 

Then my cousin discovered I was writing a book.  She called and asked the fateful question.   Now, if I had listened to all the wonderful advice I would have had a breathtaking, smooth, enticing answer.  Instead I stumbled and mumbled, “You see he wants…. But she’s really…. And then they go to this place….That sounds kinda dumb but believe me it’s really interesting.”  That’s the point when I got the sharpie marker and wrote LOOSER on my forehead.  Then I got to work.

 I’m still trying to find the right turn of phrase, something that doesn’t inspire me to write on myself.  Hopefully I’ll get something up soon, especially now that I’ve finished the plot rewrite. (Hooray!)

What about you?  Want to share your pitches?  I’m still looking for good examples to copy…I mean learn from. 


  1. Not true! I don't know enough and suspect I will always want to know more! I think you are doing great.

  2. I came across this a while back ...

    ... It helped me with that... um, er well you see ... it's like this, moment

    "... My Story is about .... (Character/s) ... that wants more than anything .... (goal) ..., but can’t because ... (conflict) ...

    The Wizard of OZ as an example...
    This story is about ... a teenage girl from Kansas named Dorothy ... who ... wants more than anything ... to go home, ... but can’t because ... she’s stuck in a strange land"

  3. Spesh, I know exactly what you mean- it's not until someone I've just met asks me about the story that I really have to think about it. When someone I know or someone who's heard about the story before asks me, I have a short, boring, brush-off spiel to say it's about two brothers who fall in love with the same girl before the First World War, and all of them get sucked into the conflict.

    When someone I don't know asks me, the problem is that I have to ramble on for much longer to explain it. Which is *not* the best way to pitch- but as a weird benefit, it always makes me think and evaluate the story. I'm looking forward to finding the middle ground one of these days!

    You'll get there. The change table is a pretty awesome boardroom meeting some days :)

  4. Thanks Mom, You're a huge support to me!

  5. Widdershins,
    Thanks, that's a great tool. One problem I have is that I have two MCs and it gets a little hard to put them both into one sentence. I may have to concentrate on one.

  6. Claire,
    Rambling, that's my problem. I think part of it is the freak out moment when I think "wait, someone actually wants to know about it?????"

    Thanks for the encouragement. :)