Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What's Your Book ABOUT?

From Design Your Writing Life, which credits Copyblogger:


"It's not uncommon for writers to get 5, 10, 20,000 words down the road and bump up against the thought, "What in the heck am I writing about?" If this is where you find yourself now, here are six starting points for doing the back cover writing exercise:


Title your book. Go ahead, just make one up.


Write a headline. This should be a grabber, and a great place to start is to pose a question, the million dollar question.


Paragraph One: Answer the question. Provide a thumbnail of the plot through the eyes of your main characters, and their core conflicts. What are they up against? What's in their way?


Paragraph Two: Describe the outer world. Give us some context. Create the bigger world your characters live in--time, place, sensibility.


Write in the language and feel of your novel. Think of yourself as an actor trying on a costume. As a writer, your costume is the nature and feel of the language.


Write a closing sentence. This sentence can allude to the resolution of the book. Because this is an exercise and not the actual back cover copy, don't worry about giving away the store."

9 comments:

Debra Whaley said...

Hi Peggy, this is interesting. I think that some of this exercise could be useful in writing non-fiction as well. Thanks for posting it. Good information.

Peggy said...

Definitely useful for nonfiction, too. There's nothing quite so clarifying as summing up one's book in a sentence.

Debra Whaley said...

I like that idea!

Peggy said...

I can remember waiting until late in the game to write a summary of a book and then thinking: hey, this sounds like a good book! But it wasn't quite the one that I had, at that point, written. Which took me back to revising...

Lisa Gates said...

Peggy, thank you for your sweet post of my post. It's nice to be in the company of YOUR company.
:-)

Peggy said...

Thanks, Lisa. Your blog is one of the most exciting I've seen. It appears to me that people are changing and doing in response to the conversations there.

Debra Whaley said...

I am sure that was quite frustrating, Peggy! You probably have so many great ideas roaming around in that creative mind of yours, that they have to "take a number" in order to be heard!

Lisa, I agree with Peggy. Your blog is very interesting, and although I have just been "lurking" around there lately, I do plan on doing some of the exercises that you suggest.

Peggy said...

I got startlingly good results from one I tried: making a commitment to accomplish x by the following Monday.

Debra Whaley said...

Thanks for that info, Peggy. I think that I will head over to Lisa's site later today, and give it a go!