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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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Comments

bondo_ba
Jan. 6th, 2010 02:20 pm (UTC)
I never really had a problem with hesitation, but I also don't do the one-sentence summary for friends. I give them subplots and character arcs. It isn't easy being a writer's friend!!
jongibbs
Jan. 6th, 2010 03:53 pm (UTC)
Serves 'em right for asking :)
dqg_neal
Jan. 6th, 2010 04:15 pm (UTC)
As long as you shorten it when a publisher asks.
I asked for a pitch at the last con and people tried to talk to me for hours. I was polite. Usually cut them off after 10 minutes, unless they were trying to sell me any entire series they had already written.
bondo_ba
Jan. 6th, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
Good point. Being based in Argentina means I don't get all that much face time with publishers and editors. This is a disadvantage at times, but it also allows me to think about my pitches and craft them carefully before presssing "send".

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there


No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there















 











THE MEAGER PUDDLE OF LIMELIGHT AWARDS


Books by my writer friends - compressed

NJ Writing groups - compressed

NJ writing conference - compressed

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