September 17th, 2006

A Pocket Full of Murder

Just don't tell the Children's Aid

Overheard in the van while driving home from church this evening:

NICHOLAS: Daddy, when we get home, will you torture me?
DADDY: If you want, sure.
SIMON: Me too, Daddy, me too! Please?
DADDY: Oh, all right, you too.

As you've no doubt figured out by now, our family's sense of humor is a little bent.

BTW, as a follow-up to the last entry, it was just as I anticipated--Simon came home perfectly happy and chattering about all the things he'd done in school. So no harm done, and he doesn't seem to be distressed about going again tomorrow.
A Pocket Full of Murder

Extract of Book, 1 tbsp.

Some recent discussions in superversive's journal, plus an essay by alg about how to successfully pitch a novel to an agent or editor, got me thinking about a problem I've been struggling with for some time. To wit, what is the proper answer to give when relatives, casual friends, and just-met acquaintances ask you, "So what is your book about?"

At present, I have two methods of responding to this question, and neither one is up to much.

The first is Collapse )

The second is Collapse )

So as you can see, my explanatory technique could use some work.

Seriously, though, it is a problem. Collapse )

jamesbow had a recent entry in his blog about the difficulty of writing catalogue copy for his second book, Fathom Five, and how he ultimately had to turn to his wife to help him boil down his 40,000 word story to its essence. Of course, in some cases the inability to summarize a book in one or two sentences is a warning sign: it means that the plot lacks coherence, that the themes are too diffuse. But that really wasn't James's problem, I don't believe, and although earlier drafts of Knife may have suffered from that malady, I don't think it's really the issue with my book either.

Ultimately, I think I'm just too close to the story, especially right now, to step back and look at it as a first-time reader would. But somehow, I need to figure out how to get the necessary distance -- and soon, as I'd like to have a pitch prepared for any contacts I might make at the SCBWI conference I'm attending next month.

Thoughts, anyone?