Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Is There a Disconnect In Your Story?

I often wonder some days, when I read a submission, if the writer really has two different stories that we're talking about. In other words, when I read the initial query, or I hear a pitch, and then I read the story, it seems as if there are two completely different projects here. As Bob on Sesame Street sings, "One of these things is not like the other."

In reality, this doesn't just happen with unpublished authors and their submissions - it happens with the published authors too. The back cover blurb (or even the title) suggests one thing and then the story takes off in a completely different direction.

Whatever the case, this is an example of writers not thinking about what they are writing. It is an example of someone not really knowing what his or her story really is about. In the end, that will be the downfall for the writer and, if you are unpublished, a pretty good chance that you will end up seeing that ugly rejection letter. If you are published, I am likely not going to get another book of yours again.

I do believe, the easiest way to remedy this situation is to try and sum your story up in a 2-3 sentence summary. If you had a single theme that resonates through the entire book, what is it? Is this story about a character or about an event? In other words, keep it short. Too often, it seems that writers are spending far too much time trying to be creative in their pitches and their blurbs. In the end, the creativity starts moving the story away from the reality of what they really wrote.

So, your project today - think about your story and sum it up. Figure out what it is really about.


1 comment:

  1. Excellent post! You nailed it with your comment: "it seems that writers are spending far too much time trying to be creative in their pitches and their blurbs."

    I've taken a few online courses on pitching and proposals, etc, and I see how our original pitch and blurb is changed during the course to something more fantastic and creative. In fact, in one course, I came away with my pitch and blurb sounding so much better than my completed book, that I really considered rewriting the book. :)