Monday, August 11, 2008

Getting Organized

When you attend a writers conference, quite often, the speaker talks about something you already know. You'll scribble some notes to be polite but you are wishing they would come up with something new--after all, you paid a ton to come to the conference.

Not so at the conference I attended in PA.

One speaker suggested we organize our writing. She even drew a little diagram on the board for us to copy. OK, I don't write like that. I go with my gut, forget the storyboards, and the index cards or the notebook with little flags sticking out of each section. I keep it in my head.

So I wanted to fold up my notebook and check out what others were doing in the reception area. But then she caught me. Her method seemed almost too simple. Would it really work for me?

1. Working Title

My biggest pitfall. I need a book of titles to use. Weak area--I know it. So why start here? But the more I thought about it, it made sense. Start with a title that focuses on what I want my book to be about.


IN ONE SENTENCE or even one word she went on to say. Like Hope, grace, renewal
I rarely speak in one word let alone one sentence but I had also recently made up a One Sheet and knew how much some editors preferred them. When I have only fifteen minutes to pitch a book, I guess I should narrow my theme down.

3. Hook

For me, the most important part. I want to make sure the reader will feel the need to keep reading.

4. List what I want to cover in the book (15-20 items)

Each chapter should fall under 2000 words. Prioritize the events in the book.

5. Takeaways

Starting with my lead in -- what do I want my book to leave the reader feeling, knowing, understanding etc.

6. Ending

I want the reader satisfied and when he looks back at number five and my lead reason for the book--a connection is made.

So I came away with some new information mixed with some old. I also came away excited to put my next book to the test.

1 comment:

Joanne said...

It's nice that you came away with positive motivation! To some extent, do you think you did some of those six items in your thoughts? I like them, they're kind of like a checklist, great to keep on hand. Thanks for sharing.