Saturday, May 22, 2010

Taking Control!

Erm... Sort of.

It's funny how EVERYTHING is going along fine or EVERYTHING stinks, innit? [excuse me—I may borrow a little Taff here and there, as my friend Tara seems to be radiating...]   I mean for a while it's all hunky dory, then suddenly the will power is SHOT and you aren't writing, you aren't eating right, you aren't organized... sorry if I'm projecting here, but to me it seems like life is either relatively IN control, or TOTALLY out of control.

I blogged earlier this week about the 'funk'... a general malaise that was affecting my writing and my mood... well I think it ALSO was affecting the EATING, though last Saturday I pulled THOSE reins in (a full four days before pulling in the writing reins)... and you know what?


This week I remembered some things about doing what I need to do. The first is that, corporate giant or not, Nike has something with Just Do It. Just write. Just exercise. Just eat write. Just SKIP the whiny baby feel sorry for myself snacking... Just DO IT.

And it worked.

The writing pulled me out of the funk, and the eating right edged me off the plateau... no not a REAL plateau, because I was there because of not doing what I needed to, but I'd been there for pretty much six weeks. THIS WEEK, my highest weight was my weigh in last week. Before this, I had dropped below that, but only for a day at a time. Now it's solid. Weigh in this morning was only down half a pound, but DOWN, and this is the highest since last Saturday, so I think it is a fluky UP instead of a 'didn't really lose'--if you know what I mean.

Logline Contest

And so... as I stumbled around yesterday, I ran across this logline contest for a novel at the Time Guardian Blog...

Nathan Bransford, Quinetessential Boy Toy of the Agent world... okay, so he is probably also a utility model, but he's so darned CUTE... has suggested ALL OF US need to have three hooks in the form of ONE SENTENCE, ONE PARAGRAPH and TWO PARAGRAPH versions, so if we ever have an agent's undivided attention (say in the elevator), we are ready to pitch. Bryan (blog author and contest head) suggests the one sentence is ALSO what you want for when people ask about your BOOK—MOST are only asking to be polite, but it is STILL a chance to reel them in--if you're quick about it. So in one sentence, how would you describe your book? It's a handy exercise, so I thought I'd play.

I should probably give credit where due here, too. I ran across Bryan through Roland, who also has a GREAT blog... for all that full disclosure stuff... but anyway... I thought I'd give a shot at my sentence (we are allowed up to five because then we can get feedback on what works and doesn't).

So... if I might ask you to check out MY options and the other entrant options, and give some OPINIONS (I KNOW you have tons of THOSE)... Now these are off the cuff—not polished or worked on... just me trying to think of the different ways I start off describing my book... but feedback HELPS! You know how hard it is for me to get to the point!

1)Legacy begins with a young boy witnessing his father's murder and a young girl escaping her mother's drug dealer, and goes on to show what happens when children are left holding the explosive pieces of their parents' legacies.

2)It's about three families connected through a circle of thieves who are stealing art from Romania and selling it on the black market in the U.S.

3)It's about four kids: a runaway who is escaping an addicted mom and a trio whose mother was abducted and father murdered; they realize their families have always been entangled as they help each other stay safe.

4)Legacy is about what happens to children when they are left holding the explosive pieces of their parents' lives.

5)Legacy is about art thieves, runaways, drug addiction, and abduction, but mostly it is about what happens to children when they are left holding the explosive pieces of their parents' lives.

So there we have them... off the cuff a little, but my starting place, so worth the exercise, I think...


I've got a list of NINE (in addition to the Burrow who will be about that) wanting to participate in BuNoWriMo in June... let me know if you're in so I can makes sure you get all the info you need to join us! Writing a BOOK in June! WAHOO! (then you have all summer to polish for the September Query rush, because I hear MANY agents are just plain unavailable in July and August anyway, yeah? So what better timing?!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'll have to think on writing a whole book in June. I'll let you know, Hart!

KarenG said...

I like #5. (the others seem a bit run on, too easy to loose the focus.)

Steel Magnolia said...

Hart, you are amazing. Where is the font of your energy. I wanna get me some. Cheers!

Eric W. Trant said...

Lose the it's about statements and combine them into a single thought. I had to read all entries to get the gist of the story, and recall your scenes you've posted.


The children in three families of Romanian art thieves join with a runaway to survive amid the murder and abduction of their parents.

- Eric

Erica Mitchell-Spickard said...

Glad things feel under control again :) I'm in for June! Not sure what I just got myself into yikes, but I'm in! I needs me a push.
I like the last sentence summary. I'll have to drum up some one sentence thingies myself. Kinda tough to convey what it's about in that short amount of space. *scratches head*
Okay, Im off to go sneeze, cough, eat soup, and nap. In no particular order D;

Jan Morrison said...

I'm glad you're back in the driver seat. It is so much more fun, neh?
As for the elevator pitch, I'm with Eric - lose the abouts - passive voice and this is a thriller, no?
as to the BuNoWriMo - nah! I hardly recovered from the NaNoWriMo. I'm just going to keep going. I like the fun of it but it isn't so hot for my writing.

Tessa Conte said...

I'm with Eric on the no "Legacy is about..." thing, other than that I like Nr 1 best.

Sangu said...

While I get that you would need the "Legacy is about" and "it's about" phrases for a verbal pitch, I think they need to be cut to make it read better on paper.

I like #1 best, I think. #3 draws me in really well, but it could be written smoother.

Hope that helps!

Watery Tart said...

Yay for feedback! You are all fabulous! This whole pitch think terrifies me, and I WAS sort of rattling as I'd talk, so got it... lose the 'it's abouts'... look for strengths in each!

Alex--I will make sure to keep you in the loop. Are you on facebook? That MAY be where we do it.


Jan--Oh come on... are you sure we aren't tempting you?

Anyway--appreciate SO MUCH getting some feedback on these!

M.J. Nicholls said...

Aah! Brandsford! He is cute, but he represents everything I disgust about contemporary publishing.

"Just do it" is a disingenuous slogan for a shoe company. Just do what? Put on sneakers? Idiots. I blame Brandsford!!! He is the axis of evil!

Watery Tart said...

BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Join me Mark, in overtaking the industry from the inside and then turning it on its head! It is far easier to overthrow the evil from inside the boat, than it is to overturn the behemoth... Come little friend! We can do it!

Dawn Embers said...

I agree with the "it's about" comments. Having said that... Of those, I think number 2 seemed the strongest to me. But overall, I was left wondering what's the one main plot of the novel. I don't really know from these loglines. These sound more like something you'd say when talking to random people about the book though, so getting closer. With a little work I think you'll have a great hook line for those queries.

Bryan Sabol said...

You've got some good pieces here, but as Eric suggested earlier, I think you need to combine these into a cohesive statement that covers (1) main character(s), (2) key conflict, then (3) risk/stakes.

In a sense, there's more telling than showing. What does happen to kids when they hold the explosive pieces of their parents' lives? Be active and specific: four kids [setup description] find themselves in the middle of [some key situation], and [describe the stakes -- what will happen if this or that happens/doesn't happen?]

Note that I'm saying this because I'm struggling as well to hammer this out in my own loglines (hence the blogfest). So keep at it and we'll get there together.

Thanks for joining the fest!

RaShelle said...

Hi, Legacy sounds very interesting and exciting! You've told me alot in the 4 loglines. I like #3. It tells me it's about 4 kids. What about something like: When four lives collide . . . I can tell you're almost there. =D

Lisa K. said...

I'm kind of digging logline #5, although I'd like to see you mention Romania in that one. I don't know what it is about stealing art from Romania that I find particularly attractive, but I do.

And I'm seriously, seriously thinking I'm going to join you and your Burrow friends for the June WriMo because I've been in a writing funk myself lately and there's nothing like a novel-in-a-month to get rid of that kind of funk. Not to mention that I have this novel that I've REALLY been wanting to write and have been hesitant to start.

Watery Tart said...

Dawn--you've nailed my 'trouble getting to the point' right there! It is SO HARD for me to summarize, as I am the kind of person more interested in relationships and personalities...there IS a main plot... but summing it up... ACK!

Bryan--that REALLY helps to put it a formula of sorts... it is plugging in the pieces cohesively! I'm really glad for the blogfest though, as this is stuff I DEFINITELY need to nail down.

RaShelle--I like the lives colliding--my trouble is an inexplicable need to keep it 3 and one--because the 3 have a connection and ONE problem, and the ONE has some solutions, but a DIFFERENT problem... they all need each other though, to get there...

Lisa-you are SO on my BuNo list! I'm glad you're joining us! And I like the Romanian art theft stuff myself--that was the final piece that pulled this book into alignment so I could write it (fastest book I've ever written to 'done' (6 weeks)--my NaNo was faster but had significant holes and so STILL isn't done!)

Raquel Byrnes said...

I really like your last one a lot. It seems to really get me interested.

I'll work on the one and two-paragraph versions...that was great advice.

Elaine AM Smith said...

Art thieves, runaways, drug addiction, and abduction, Legacy is about what happens to children when they are left holding the explosive pieces of their parents' lives.

Talei said...

Hi, so happy I stumbled onto your blog here! I had the 'funk' feeling last week and you're so right - it is a matter of getting up and 'Just doing it! Which I'm trying to do now. For your logline's - I like 1 & 5. Does that help? Happy writing! ;)

elizabeth mueller said...

I hope you don't hate me, but I'm going to be brutally honest...

I like the third one the best because it provides a bit more info on the plot involving the characters.

I wouldn't use the words "it's about", "is about", or "begins with", because they give a passive voice feeling and story format like "once upon a time"--especially if you're going to put this in a query letter.

Come by and read my logline!

Watery Tart said...

Raquel-thanks! And yes--I need to get to work on the one and two paragraph versions myself... I have a query draft, which might work for the two, but the one, is another matter.

Elain--I like that version! I may incorporate it!

Talei--glad you stumbled in! And yes--totally helps!

Elizabeth--I ALWAYS love honest feedback! Thank you!

Dawn said...

Congrats on getting your mojo back.
They are all pretty good, but I like Eric's take. It's a nice blend of all of them :-)

Amy said...

I like 5 best. It's not too short, not too long. It gives you a bit of the main idea, without giving away the sources of conflict (which is why I don't particularly like 1 or 3). But that's just me. :)

Lovy Boheme said...

I like the second and the fifth. The second one is short and sweet and to the point, but the fifth one injects a little more of the exciting points in the story. Either one works for me.