I was at Jackie’s birthday party the other night (happy birthday Jackie!) and a lot of the people there had works in progress…quite the literary crowd.
Of course, the inevitable “what’s your story about?” question was popped several times. Each time, I varied what I said, but each time, Julia sounded boring. I really need to work on my elevator pitch!
My main character, Julia is in her early twenties. She’s a social worker. Her father dies in a plane crash and that starts to unravel a family secret.
Even as the words fell out of my mouth, I thought: why am I giving this back story? It doesn’t matter how old Julia is. Why do they care that she’s a social worker?
Are these facts important to the story? Yes and no. In the grand scheme of things, yes. In the pitch that’s supposed to get people excited about the book and want to learn more? Not so much. Ooh, she’s in her early twenties. Man, I gotta get me that book!
According to Nail Your Novel, “writing a synopsis can rock our novel.” She makes a convincing argument that writing a synopsis before you’re finished with your book can help guide you through any rough writing patches you come to. And, in comments, someone even suggests trying out a query letter prior to finishing.
Synopses and query letters are a bit longer than elevator pitches. I should give them a try, but let me start with this:
Julia, fresh-faced social worker out to change the world, begins uncovering a family secret after her father’s death in a plane crash.
So? Thumbs up? Down? Sideways?