I am buried.
You know that feeling when you have things to do, a lot of things…all things you CAN do. All things you WANT to do. Things that you will be excited and proud when they’re done….but the volume and the impossibility of speeding it up or skipping any steps, is just overwhelming!! That is where I am now.
The preparation for conference is in full swing and I am loving the assignments and want to share them with everyone here, because they are exercises ANYONE and everyone should do with every book they write. I love the outside input and someone else’s eyes making me look for things I never would have!
Of course the whole conference is preparing you to make a pitch, one on one, with the super powers in publishing. So the first assignment is about pitch. Find five published books that you consider to be in your same genre and study their jackets. They say you have ONE MINUTE to grab your reader. They’re standing in the bookstore, they’re reading the backs of books. They’ll read for about one minute and if they like it they may open it, or just buy it. If they don’t, they put it down and that opportunity is gone!
How you choose your five books is up to you, but I like what happened to me.
a) I live in a small town. No bookstores…and I wanted to get started!
b) I wanted to be able to take the books and their jackets home with me.
c) I was dirt poor!
So… I went to my trusty public library, where I know they sell used books…cheap! SO… I couldn’t cherry-pick all best sellers or all my favorite authors, all new books or all super famous authors or publishers. I had to take what I could get and I just like the unbiased idea of this.
Once you have five good jackets you have to identify the scene setting, the hook, the big change or complication, rising action and cliffhanger. Do this in all five and get really familiar with those five terms, so you could always spot them in any jacket, any story.
Now…. write your pitch, making sure those five things are covered….then leave it. Walk away for a couple days. When you come back, read it. Would you buy this book? Rewrite? Your choice.
The rest of the assignments I have gotten so far, have been from the online forum, which I am not even sure are real assignments or expected to be turned in, but there they are, so I’m doing them!
- What is my Story Statement?
When the appearance of one woman’s quiet life is disrupted by an unthinkable diagnosis for her young son, she is forced to wrestle the demon she has been hiding from everyone she knows and loves. To do that, could mean inviting that demon to her own hiding place, home.
- In 200 words or less, sketch my antagonist, Amelia Hiller…
When Amelia was growing up, she would look in the mirror and imagine herself an attorney or an important business woman. She thought she could also be someone’s wife and mother, but she can hardly remember her mother and wonders if she would ever know how to be one. She knew her father, she knew discipline. She was a good girl.
Years later, very book smart, but in so many ways, still that little girl, Amelia is seduced, pregnant and alone, in that order. Such a cliché, such a disappointment.
Her life, her father and her twin sons turn her into a woman and a mother and even a small business owner. But deep down the scars from that hurt have never gone away. Not a bitter liberal, but driven, her boys are her only focus. Her promise to herself is that she will never be taken like that again. As a friend, a daughter, a mother and a boss, she treats people with the same love she always has, but her guard is up.
It doesn’t matter how strong she is or how safe she has been, when her son gets sick, she is helpless. He needs his father.
- Conjuring your breakout title…
Two Sides Of Wilde (This has been the title for five years….hard to think of any other.)
Sons of Wilde
- Deciding Your Genre & Approaching Comparables…
I have grappled with the genre issue. I just keep having to settle for general fiction. There’s some romance, some suspense, some female point of view… but not enough to be called a romance, a mystery or chic lit. Ugh. I guess the problem is, I don’t know enough about genre, I don’t know all he genres available. Guilty. I would prefer dramatic fiction. That is a good fit.
After doing some genre research, I have discovered Women’s Fiction and I’m more comfortable with that. More dramatic, realistic and serious than chic lit.
Now I have to find two comparables and really get intimate with my genre and why my book is as good as they are. Here they actually encourage finding current, recent work and bestsellers as well.
So I have a lot in my brain and then…a contest I entered my book in before any of this conference stuff emails me the results with judge commentary. Some of it is great, but some of it…brutal. Before I get my knickers in a twist, I am thankful for all this input, BEFORE I get to New York, but it’s a lot of revision, reading and rereading….. of a book I thought I finished five years ago.
A hard and invaluable lesson!! 🙂
p.s. WAIT til you see my peacock conference book… the only thing besides phone and debit card that I’m carrying to conference everyday. NO laptop!