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I don’t know about you, but while I love to talk about writing, I often find it hard to talk about my own work.  Unless I’m prepared for it, the words “What’s it about?” send my brain into automatic shutdown. 
 
I find myself in helpless burble mode: “Well it’s er… it’s a book, and er… it’s about this guy and this thing happens to him… well, it doesn’t so much happen to him, it’s more that it happens when he’s there. It’s good. At least, I like it anyway. Ooh, and there’s a giraffe…’ 
 
The poor unfortunate soul in front of me, who more than likely just asked out of politeness, stands there with a fixed grin on his/her face, staring over my shoulder in search of an excuse to get away.
 
Then I learned about elevator pitches, those one-sentence book summaries which we all need for query letters and chance encounters with potential agents. 
 
My
GSHW friend, Gary Frank, has an excellent one for his novel, Forever Will You Suffer.   Ask him what it’s about and he’ll say, “It’s a three hundred year love story gone horribly wrong.”
 
Over time, I came up with my own one-line summaries. Now when someone asks me ‘What’s it about?’ I’m completely relaxed:
 
“It’s about a boy who meets a talking cat that only he can hear.” (Fur-Face)
 
“It’s about a shy scientist who gets the brain patterns of a bad-tempered CIA agent stuck in his head.” (Waking up Jack Thunder)
 
“It’s about a medieval James Bond-type, set in a world where humans are just one of many species to evolve into ‘humanoid’ form.” (A Union of Snakes)
 
Of course, those only work for my own books. Ask me about someone else’s novel and all bets are off - though if you wait long enough as I attempt to describe it, I’m pretty sure I’ll throw in a giraffe somewhere. 
 
How about you?
 
What’s your elevator pitch?





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bogwitch64
Jan. 6th, 2010 02:36 pm (UTC)
Finder is the story of a theif and a runaway slave, of forbidden spices and outlawed love, and the music that binds them together.
jongibbs
Jan. 6th, 2010 03:54 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I like that one :)
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clarionj
Jan. 6th, 2010 04:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks for offering up your one-line pitches. I think these are amazingly difficult to do. I've been putting some together for my novel and still don't feel I have it down to something tight with punch. What I find most helpful is reading other people's pitches; I learn best by example. So thanks. I'll come back to these as I go to work on those one-liners again.
jongibbs
Jan. 6th, 2010 04:36 pm (UTC)
It's the weirdest thing, others may have had different experiences but the way I see it, there's no formula. The only way to find a sentence that works is to keep coming up with one-liners until something sounds right.

Not very scientific, but what can you do? :)

mongrelheart
Jan. 6th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
I love the one for Waking up Jack Thunder, I really want to read that!

Here's one for my trilogy that I'm planning to condense into a single book:

150 years in the future Midwest USA, a teenage fugitive and a deeply conflicted gay white supremacist join forces to overthrow a repressive, ultrareligious dystopia.
jongibbs
Jan. 6th, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks. I hope you get the chance :)

I hear trilogies are popular with publishers (for obvious reasons). Did that figure in your decision to write one or was it just the way the story panned out?
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(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
Jan. 6th, 2010 07:15 pm (UTC)
The ultimate in self-publishing :)
kmarkhoover
Jan. 6th, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC)
My elevator pitch:

"Does this look infected to you?"
jongibbs
Jan. 6th, 2010 10:13 pm (UTC)
Lol, ew :)
tracy_d74
Jan. 7th, 2010 12:52 am (UTC)
My pitch for the Diyari Chronicles: Book of Spirited:

The first day of summer break becomes the first day for 16-year-old Azer Gray to confront two secrets: she can see demons and she’s in love with her best friend.
jongibbs
Jan. 7th, 2010 11:10 am (UTC)
Nice! :)
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writertracy
Jan. 7th, 2010 07:50 am (UTC)
It took me a while to come up with mine. But now when people ask, I tell them that the Tranquility series is what you would get if Jeff Foxworthy wrote the X-Files.

jongibbs
Jan. 7th, 2010 11:10 am (UTC)
Great idea, using the if so-and-so wrote so-and-so approach :)

Who's Jeff Foxworthy?
(no subject) - writertracy - Jan. 7th, 2010 04:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jan. 7th, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - natf - Jan. 11th, 2010 04:28 am (UTC) - Expand
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mary_j_59
Jan. 7th, 2010 03:55 pm (UTC)
I have a couple of versions. The one-sentence, fifteen-words-or-less one is:
A boy becomes a traitor and thief to keep a sacred promise.

The slightly longer one is: When his young half-brother is kidnapped and sold into slavery, a boy and his cousin find they must become criminals, betraying all that they hold dear, in order to rescue him.
jongibbs
Jan. 7th, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC)
Both sound good to me, but if I had to choose, I like the first one better.

Thanks for sharing :)
(no subject) - mary_j_59 - Jan. 7th, 2010 04:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

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