Monthly Archives: July 2012

Jul 18

‘Elevator Pitch or Logline,’ An Article by Mary Deal

Elevator Pitch or Logline
Mary Deal

These are some tips for narrowing down your story plots points in order to come up with both your Logline and your Elevator Pitch. I suggest you begin by finding your Logline.

A Logline is usually 25 words that describe the overall plot. Many publishers will accepted up to 50 words. You must distill your story down to those few words because you will be asked time and again for them.

An elevator pitch is one simple sentence that grabs attention. Literally, if you’re on an elevator and have a few seconds to interest the curious about your book, what would you say? It must grab interest. It must make the others on the elevator jot down or make a mental note to look for your book. Have some business cards with you.

Think about that scenario. You get on the elevator and someone asks “What’s your next book about.?” You need that pitch here. It makes or breaks interest in the little slip of time before they or you step off.

Or maybe they ask, “Do you work in this building?” Your answer would be, “No, I’m a writer. My latest thriller is about a woman who finds her abducted daughter facing lethal injection for a crime she didn’t commit.”

Narrow down your story line to make it as simple as you can but still have a powerful punch.

Here are some exercises for narrowing down to both your logline and your elevator pitch. Ask yourself these questions:

1. Why is your story interesting to anyone?

2. How does my book differ from other titles in this genre?

3. Will people remember the story I’ve told?

4. How do people respond when I tell them what the story is about.

5. Make a list of benefits that readers will receive from your book?

This much will help you choose the most exciting phrases, or a particular scene, that will trigger one or two lines that describes the overall work. Distill it down till you are able to say the sentence(s) in fifteen to twenty seconds.

When you feel you have the proper pitch and may have time left to say more, consider adding what the story is about and what the reader will receive from reading it. Keep the attention on the book and story and never make a statement that draws attention to yourself as the author.

Please visit Mary Deal’s website for more wonderful articles like this one: Write Any Genre. Read More

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Jul 11

Mary Deal Tells Us About Paragraph Redundancy

Paragraph Redundancy
Mary Deal

Last summer I read a book, rather, started to read a book, and ended up donating it to a used book store. The problem was in the way the story was written.

The title of the book here or character names will change for the sake of this article. I do not like to specifically point out negativities toward a certain author. Who knows? Maybe that author was a great writer but had a terrible editor. In any case, certain errors should be noted to bring attention to a bad habit many writers must overcome.

The problem I found in this book right away was that several paragraphs in a row started something like:

Rory got in his car and sped away.

Rory found her in the second row.

Rory was about to make it clear….

Rory was angry that….

Four paragraphs in a row started off with the man’s name. It’s not very descriptive and certainly boring, disrupts the flow of the story and makes it seem juvenile. Not good for an adult plot.

These same errors repeated in several more chapters, some using other character’s names. I flipped through the pages and saw many instances.

This type writing is not developed nor descriptive and doesn’t show action. It’s the narrator telling what a viewer might see moment by moment and that’s not what makes for excitement to keep the story flowing smoothly and quickly.

Rory got into his car and sped away could better be written as: The car’s interior was hot from sitting in the heat of the glaring afternoon sun. Rory climbed in but never felt the hot seat and searing steering wheel. He was angry.

Rory found her in the second row could better be written as: The theatre was full to capacity. She always sat down front. Rory found her in the second row.

Rory was about to make it clear… could be built up like this: Karen was going to be surprised when she saw him. He motioned sharply to her from the aisle and she bolted upright in her seat. She’d have to come with him. He was going to make it clear….

Rory was angry that…. does not need to be stated in the story because we see his anger in his actions and how he approaches Karen.

Paragraph redundancy happens when straight forward telling by the story narrator occurs. This narrator had not felt anything that was going on in the story; had not been able to “be” the characters, and couldn’t let the characters write the story themselves because the narrator couldn’t get into the minds of the characters.

When re-reading your prose to see how it sounds, also look to see how it appears on the page. Some redundancies also occur with the use of “I” when writing in first person. Any word or name can be repeated too many times, but lacks polish when used to start more than two paragraphs in succession.

Please visit Mary Deal’s website for more wonderful articles like this one: Write Any Genre. Read More

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