Category Archives: Misc.

I get interviewed for Upper Rubber Boot Books’ Intermittent Visitors Blog Tour!

My interview with Joanne Merriam for the Upper Rubber Boot Books Intermittent Visitors Blog Tour is now live! Joanne  asked some great questions about my writing process and the best writing advice I’ve ever received.

Fans of my short story “For the Love of Ciderpunk,” (finalist for the 2012 Eric Hoffer Award for Short Prose Prize and published in Best New Writing 2012) will be happy to know she got me to spill all about how I came up with the grotesque events and unforgetably colorful characters who really made that story. It has everything to do with  the things I learned and the people I met while communally squatting various places in the UK in my early 20s.  You can read all about it on her blog.

 

This interview was part of Intermittent Visitors: a multi-author blog tour.

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Filed under books, fiction, Misc., On Writing, story, writers

The Most Important Sentence You Will Ever Write

One of the many waterfalls on the grounds of Dunvegan Castle, Skye, Scotland. (Copyleft Avery Oslo, 2010)

One of the many waterfalls on the grounds of Dunvegan Castle, Skye, Scotland. (Copyleft Avery Oslo, 2010)

When it comes to selling books, Agent Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown Ltd. has got the right idea– write a one sentence pitch (OSP), and then construct the rest of your queries and marketing around that.

Bransford underscores the importance of the one sentence pitch as “the core of all the summarizing you’re going to do in the future. It’s the heart of your book, whittled down to one sentence. It’s what you build around when crafting longer pitches. And there’s an art to it.”

I’ve found it to be an immensely helpful exercise, not just for learning how to grab attention and be concise, but because it helps you focus on what is important about your work, instead of what you think is important about it.

Allow me to explain. In trying to write my own one-sentence pitch for my latest novel, it occurred to me that my OSP didn’t accurately reflect the story as I imagined it.  Try as I might, I couldn’t condense the essence of my novel in a way that did it justice.

And that’s because I’m a rookie, and I make rookie mistakes. Like many writers,  I had an idea for a novel and I ran with it. But as always, the story told itself and diverted from the path I created for it. It’s a stronger story than the one I originally intended, but my heart hadn’t made the connection yet.  I found that in my first attempt at writing my OSP, I was working with what I had previously intended my story to be, instead of what my story turned out to be.

The OSP was a great way for me to reconcile head and heart, and  to realize that I had to understand the story through its own terms instead of the terms I once tried to impose on it.

And once I had, beautiful phrases jumped out, vying for my attention and begging to be included in what felt like the OSP to end all OSPs.

Moral of the story: Go to Bransford’s blog. Learn how to write an OSP, and create the best OSP out there. You’ll be glad you did.

And then let me know how it went and what you discovered along the way in the comments!

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Filed under agents, books, concise, fiction, marketing, Misc., novels, pitches, pubishing, querying, story, writing, writing exercise