Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ideas for Preview Language to use when describing your book to others.


If you’ve see Star Wars, Episode 4, you know the story. But, what if you were George Lucas and someone asked you,
“Hey, George! I heard you wrote a book. What’s it about?”
If you were George Lucas, after clearing up that this was part of a series of stories, how would you answer that question?
1.    Classic story of good versus evil set in a galaxy, far, far, away. Lots of aliens and sophisticated equipment. Good prevails at the end.
This really doesn’t tell enough about any part of the story, except that it takes place somewhere far away from Earth. This is NOT enough information and description to convince anyone to read the story.
2.   It’s an outer space story. You meet Luke Skywalker, the hero, as he’s working for his uncle. Someone or some thing, kills off all of Luke’s family, and he decides to get revenge. He finds a pair of robots, and, while cleaning one of them, turns on a holographic message from a princess in distress. Luke goes hunting for an old-timer that can control a power called The Force with his mind and do amazing things with matter and the minds of some lesser beings… The old timer and Luke hire a pilot named Han Solo who works with a giant big foot type character. They go looking for an find the Princess. Eventually, you find out the hero and one of her suitors are twin brother and sister. There’s a big fight with light sabers, hi-tech swords, at the end between Luke, the hero and Darth Vader, the villain. Luke survives.
Of course, this version provides waaaay too much information. And it gives away several of the key plot elements that drive the story. Chances are, you would feel like you really don’t need (or want) to read the story because you know so much about it.
3.   A happy medium is what is needed. Enough to intrigue, but not enough to require spoiler alert status. Try writing your own “best description” of Star Wars Episode 4.
4.   Check to see how you did. Here’s an original logline (a one-sentence summary of your story) for “A New Hope.”
Luke Skywalker, a spirited farm boy, joins rebel forces to save Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader, and the galaxy from the Empire’s planet-destroying Death Star.
How do YOU answer the question, “What’s your book about?” for your book?
Do you skim over the whole plot too quickly and superficially to generate interest?
Hopefully not.
Do you find your questioner looking at his/her watch as you drone on and on?
Again, hopefully not.
Of have you found your sweet spot in describing your book?
I hope so. But, if not, you’ll find more people will want to read your book when they know enough about the story to be intrigued and want to know how it ends
For Traveler’s HOT L, my elevator version (what I usually call the logline) is:
It’s eight stories of time travel where each traveler travels for different reasons and with different results.
My first expansion of the logline adds:
Some choose to make the trip. Others are recruited by the proprietor’s of the Harmonic Overlap of Time Location (HOT L) or the time synchronizers who work with them to travel and fix something from their lives or for the timeline as a whole. Each story is unique, and some of the results of the time travel fail to meet, or exceed, the expectations of the travelers.
If I have more time, I provide a brief description of the plot of each story. I emphasize that the stories are not related to one another in any way except by the HOT L.
Bottom line for this blog: How’s your pitch for your book?
Make it hittable. After all, you’re not trying to strike out with your readers.
Next week: You can’t tell a book by its cover, but the cover can convince you to buy it!
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