Apr. 16 Writing Prompt

Heading into the weekend and I can’t tell you how excited I am about that. There will be a slew of words written and hopefully some of them by me.

One thing I have noticed going on a lot lately is people wondering how to write a blurb, or in short, explain their book.

A lot of advice tells you to write your synopsis and then shorten it. Or to take the first two paragraphs of your query letter.

Others will tell you to write out what your book is about and then edit it like you did your novel until it is less than 500 words.

And on, and on and on.

While it is true that there is no write or wrong way to approach the task, there is an easy and near fail proof way.

Today’s writing prompt will show you two such methods, both using the same core principle.

So, get out your cell phones, and let’s take a look at the prompt.

April 16

Open the sound recorder on your phone, hit record and say, out loud what your book is all about. Tell it like you are telling a stranger on the bus (or train or subway, etc.) who is getting off at the next stop. When you are done, play back the recording, writing down what you said.

There is a key to this, and if you have been following the writing prompts and blog posts this year, you may have already spotted it.


Phone it in
Phones are handy for making you talk out loud

When you pretend you are on a bus and you meet a stranger, you want to sell them on your book. Being a friendly person, they will ask you “so what is your book about?”

When you realize they are gathering their things because their stop is coming up, you need to be concise. And you should also not the difference between fast and concise.

If I tell you that you have two minutes, I don’t want you to talk faster, I want you to talk better.

You need to interest this stranger, give them the basic plot of the story and give them a reason to want to find out more.

This is your blurb. Your pitch. Your salesmanship.

When you practice this a few times, you will start to see the important parts of your story emerging. You will know what to drop, where to focus more attention and what needs to be said.

An Alternative Method

If you want to get better and being concise, you will need the help of a friend. This may be better used with an external recording device, though.

First you need to set up the call with your friend. Tell them to call, and start a timer. That timer should be set for 2 minutes.

Once you answer the call, they are to start the timer and say nothing. You introduce yourself, tell them you have a book and then go straight into telling them what it is about.

Similar to the bus stop theory, your friend should then just hang up when the timer goes off. (You can call them back and say thank you, of course.)

If you have your recording set up correctly, you can play back the phone call and hear your introduction and pitch. When you can get it all done in the two minutes before the timer goes off and your friend hangs up, write it down.

The beauty about using a friend is that you can get feedback. They can ask you for more details on the parts that interest them, or remind you of things you have left out.

So go practice your pitch, and get it down to those few glorious paragraphs.

Then, post what you came up with here in the comments section for all of the rest of us to adore and applaud you.

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