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

Who's Jeff Foxworthy?
Jan. 7th, 2010 04:40 pm (UTC)
He is a southern comedian. The one who invented the "you might be a redneck" jokes. He hosts "are you smarter than a 5th grader."

I just thought it was the perfect way to encapsulate the 'fish out of water moves to a small town and observes the strange and funny rural customs and helps to solve strange murders' aspect of the book.

It also sounds a lot better than saying "it's this great murder mystery set in a weird small southern town where everyone has a strange gift, and there are ferrets and alpacas and DB Cooper, and the Mothman and Renaissance wedding planners and ghosts and four friends who solve murders."

The elevator pitch just sounds more intriguing.
Jan. 7th, 2010 04:42 pm (UTC)
'The elevator pitch just sounds more intriguing.'

I agree completely :)
Jan. 11th, 2010 04:28 am (UTC)
Who's Jeff Foxworthy?

I'm glad you asked - I was about to! I hope that whomever is in the elevator with writertracey knows who he is! ;-p
Jan. 11th, 2010 12:19 pm (UTC)
I'm sure Americans would. Are You Smarter 's a popular TV show over here.

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



Books by my writer friends - compressed

NJ Writing groups - compressed

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