Sunday, May 24, 2015

Manna from Storymakers 15, Part 1

Boy, do I have some writing k-bombs (knowledge bombs) for you. Last week was the three-day LDStorymakers conference at the Provo UVCC, and I, if I could scribble fast enough, would have a tome of advice from nine break-out classes, one 2-hr MFA intensive, a "new deal" author chat, keynote speech, and a publication primer workshop I attended. 

Instead, here are a few of my notes:  


  • The elevator pitch needs to be clever, interesting, concise and should include the title and sometimes comparative texts. (Mark Gottlieb, agent)
    • My attempt -- 
      • With wit similar to Jenny Lawson's in Let's Pretend this Never Happened and the darkness of The Liars' Club, A BIRD IN MY HEAD is a loss of innocence memoir about Rena, an eleven-year old, gap-toothed Mormon girl wrestling with familial expectations and her own ambition. 

  •  Synopses (Josi S Kilpack, writer)
    • Why do you need one? 
      • You need it for preparing for pitches or writing queries.
      • An agent will need to see how the story arc works
      • Editors - same 
      • Marketing Dept. - need it as a quick way to become familiar with the story
      • Art designers - same
    • Compress or condense your story down to the bones. Keep in mind your MC and plot.
    • Should be 2 pages or 1,000 words approx.  
    • 12 pt font, TNR, put info in the top right-hand corner
    • Capitalize your characters' names the first time you use them in the document
    • Single-spaced, unless the synopsis is two pages.
    • Write it in third person, present tense. 
    • Don't write as one of the characters. 
    • Tell how the story ends; no cliffhangers in the synopsis. 
    • When write one? Before or after? 
      • Before it can serve as an outline
      • Makes writing it easier
      • It's revisable
      • After it can assist you with revisions
      • Agents, editors want it

  • First pages (Jennifer Rofe, agent)
    • It is a promise to the reader that something in these first few pages will come true. 
    • If it isn't going to matter later, get rid of it. 
    • How does your first page reflect your last? 
    • When revising your first page, consider: 
      • Did you start in the right place? 
      • Do you place the reader in the world of the story? 
      • Do you give the reader a taste of the conflict to come? 
      • Is it tightly written? 
Up next: Slush Pile Secrets and Plotting: Hill-shapes and BEYOND. 

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