Sunday, October 16, 2011

I'll Make a Deal With You

I was very surprise at the responses I received from my last post.
I had no idea there were so many other "closet writers" out there among my friends. Welcome to the party, guys!

It was inspiring to me--and I haven't been able to stop thinking about how great it is that so many of us have stories to tell. I can't even begin to say how important I think it is to stand up for what you believe, and to spread your messages of goodness or hope or truth out into this crazy world in a productive, uplifting way. That is what I am trying to do with my story. Perhaps the world will someday read it, perhaps no one but my kids will read it. But at least they will know where I stand, and that my belief is strong enough that I want it to be heard.

I doubt that anyone would really write a book with the intent to never ever let anyone else see it. If you are writing about something, that means you feel strongly about it. If you feel strongly about it, you want people to know about it. Am I wrong, people? No, I am right!

Now for the deal I want to make with you.....

In one of the many books I've read about writing I learned that when you "pitch" your story to an editor or an agent you should be able to tell them what it is about in one sentence.
I am going to be nice and let you have THREE sentences to tell me what you are writing about (or what you have written about.)

If I get more than TEN responses from people who are working on a novel or have already written a novel, I will tell you all what my novel is about.

You do not have to leave your can post anonymously, if you want, but you have to be truthful.

So who will be first?


  1. :) I am writing a memoir about my life. It is about the craziness of growing up with a father that was un-diagnosed schizophrenic.

  2. You already know what wip I've got in the oven, but I'll drop my pitch in, anyway. On their 13th birthday, the Raven twins inherit a magic portal, and a feud with a demon. They have just thirteen days to defeat the demon or the world will become his personal barbeque and the Raven family will take the blame.

    Okay, now let's hear what you've been working on! Also, how many words is it? And what category and genre? I'm excited for you!

    PS You know if you didn't want to quite sometimes, you wouldn't be a writer, right?

  3. Chels, I know I'm not much of a commenter, but I read every post and love it! I think you are a talented writer and incredible mommy. As far as writing anything myself, I wish I could say that I have - and hope because of that you'll count me as one of the 10 so that I can know what you've written about!

  4. The most difficult thing I've ever written was a "short-short-short story" for a workshop I attended as part of a fellowship. The workshop leader talked about the (possibly apocryphal) story that Hemingway wrote: "For sale: baby shoes; never worn." And how it might have been the best 6-word story ever. We got talking about how much can be said in how few words. NPR did a piece on a book that collected celebrities' six-word memoirs which was kind of neat three years ago, if you want to check it out. Anyway, for that workshop, mine was: 30th birthday? Here's your wedding quilt!

    So... what's your novel about?!?

    P.S. I love your writing and your blog -- especially your account of your trip to England.

  5. Thanks, Suzanne, Misty and Angie!!

    Anonymous, I know who you are. Thanks for finally posting. :) I love your six word memoir. i will have to think about one for myself. Difficult task. Almost like trying to figure out how to title a country music textbook. :)

    But I'm not ready to give up my secret yet.

    Anyone else care to share?

  6. Ok, Chelsea. You intrigue me. Actually, I’ve been rather plagued by your challenge to describe my plot in one sentence. I’ll tell you why. My book really consists of three plots, seemingly unrelated, until they weave intricately together toward the latter part of the book. How do you describe three plots in one sentence? In all fairness, you’ve expanded the challenge to three sentences. But, you see, I want to publish this book, and I’d like to learn how to describe it succinctly.

    My other problem comes in sharing a one-sentence plot summary that doesn’t give away too much about the plot. My book centers around a mystery, calculated to keep readers guessing until close to the end. It also has several, shall we say, sub-mysteries. Oh, the dilemma!

    In seeking to justify myself, I’ve wondered if I could describe some of my favorite classic books in one sentence. Some are easy:

    To Kill a Mockingbird: Six-year-old Scout Finch learns profound life-lessons as her lawyer father, Atticus, defends a framed black man in the segregated South.

    The Grapes of Wrath: The Joad family seeks refuge from poverty and legal persecution blown in by the Dust Storm by loading up an old jalopy and heading to California by the skin of their teeth.

    Catcher in the Rye: Troubled Teenager Holden Caulfield questions his sanity, drops out of school, and wanders the streets in search of answers to life’s great questions.

    But what about a book like Cannery Row? Steinbeck basically paints a series of portraits depicting the motley assortment of people who inhabit the industrial area of Monterey. To write a one-sentence plot about the main character, Doc, would be a gross injustice to the rich colors of Steinbeck’s other portraits. What about Mac and the Boys? Do they warrant space in the precious one-sentence real estate?

    So, here’s my new challenge: Someone come up with a one-sentence plot that does justice to Victor Hugo’s Les Miserable. The main plot is complicated enough. How about the many important sub-plots? Hugo himself couldn’t feel at peace with his story until he had described the sewers of Paris in great detail. Overkill? I think so. But one sentence? Hmmm…


  7. As for me, I’ve narrowed my plot down to two sentences. Call it a compromise. To do this, I had to border on some run-on sentences. Being the perfectionist writer that I am, I’m very not happy with the outcome, but, here goes nothing:

    After losing his young family to a tragic accident, Tom Sattle awakens to a new life of emptiness, despair, and unanswered questions. In his desperate search for answers, Tom learns to love again, taking lessons from a profoundly distressed war veteran and a beautiful Latter-Day-Saint woman who directs his search to Christ, the ultimate source of truth and healing.

    If anyone is interested, I also attempted to write a cover synopsis, but it is a bit more lengthy:

    The sleepy resort town of Featherpine may hold the key to redemption for three troubled individuals with lives as neglected and deteriorated as the town’s historic Nuart Theatre. A war veteran buries a life of regret and anguish that withers his empty heart and bows his humbled head. A young Latter-Day-Saint woman hides a remarkable talent that could bring serenity to her lonely spirit and felicity to others. A grief-stricken man suppresses bitter pain and heartache in unrelenting work and consuming solitude. The old theater shrouds a dark, tantalizing secret that has enticed men to murder and tested one man’s soul to the core.

    Discouraged, bent, and broken, each lonely wanderer searches out a painful pilgrimage of discovery laced with despair, remorse, mystery, and intrigue. Each difficult journey cuts an intricate pathway of adventure that leads to ultimate peace, hope, and refuge in Jesus Christ. Miracles happen as people experiment upon the word of God to find understanding, solace, and healing through the matchless power of the atonement. Hearts once damaged are mended, lives once shattered are repaired, and things once hidden are revealed in The Nuart Experiment.

    Ok, now Chelsea. It’s your turn.

  8. Ah, ah, ah....I only have five responses, and the deal was ten. But Caleb, since I can tell you are totally invested in your novel and you whole heartedly took on my challenge (and then some--condensing those other books into one sentence) I will email you personally and tell you a little about my book.

    And I must admit I cannot condense my knowledge of Les Miserables into one sentence.

    Unless I did this:

    Les Mis...a darn good musical.

  9. I wish I could nail my plot down with one sentence. Right now I have a notebook full of random scenes that I've dreamed up in my head. At various times, say twice monthly, I attempt to work out how I could relate them, or who the main character really is, but then I get all down on my writing skills and give it up for a bit. So, when you're famous, if you're interested, I'll be your idea guy and you can give me a room in your fancy mansion.

    I was going to write a line from one of my scenes, but I can't find the notebook. And there you have it.

    I don't know if this comment counts. Sorry, I did my best.