No writing tonight. I made the mistake of catching up on the Walking Dead. After what Robert Kirkland did to me tonight, I just can’t bear doing the same to somebody else.
Tomorrow though… It’s going to get real.
Tomorrow though… It’s going to get real.
At a party last weekend I realized I had a problem. Friends I hadn’t seen in a long time were interested in my novel and I stumbled over how to talk about it. How could I possibly encapsulate all that I’ve worked on and all that I’m planning into a conversation piece that wouldn’t make eyes glaze over and kill that nascent interest? I’d been parceling everything out through narrative revelation and realized I myself didn’t have a holistic description for it.
I really had no excuse for this. I’ve been doing project summaries and carrying them around in my theoretical pocket for a dozen years in my job. I speak of course of…
The elevator speech! (Saw that coming, didn’t you? My teaser titles may need some work.)
An elevator speech is a short and concise blurb about your project that you have ready for whenever a prospective resource shows interest in it. When you end up on the elevator with the VP of Technology and she asks how your big development effort is going you don’t have to think. You tell her exactly what the status is and where it needs help, and you do it in less time than it takes for the elevator to get to her floor.
I generally have three versions ready at any time for projects I’m working and I think the format will work most excellently for writing projects. I’ll take one of my books through this as an example (and because I need to do this for all of the books I have in process). These are all for Unseen, the third volume in Ages of the Seed and the book I’m currently NaNo’ing.
A simple statement that encapsulates. It answers the question “What is it”? This is what you give to casual inquiries to judge whether deeper conversation is warranted.
Unseen is the introductory novelette for the steampunk/noir age of my novel series.
That’s a lot of information with few words. I’ve conveyed the title and genre as well as giving a reference for length. I’ve also related that there are more stories in this vein as well as additional novels. I’ve given them multiple topics they can ask follow-up questions on depending on their interest. If they’re not interested in any of that a longer description is just wasted words.
This adds status to the statement and fleshes out the description. How is the project doing? Where is it in the process? Where do you need help?
The story follows a young man and the voices in his head as they navigate through an Earth where physics has gone wrong. I’m about a quarter complete and am planning on getting the draft out to early readers for feedback by mid December.
I’ve engaged the story (compared to the book) and communicated progress, completion estimate, current state and that there is an opportunity for their assistance.
The waxing poetic marketing blurb. This is stuff suitable for the back cover and the Amazon description. This tends to work better written, unless you can talk like that guy who narrates all of the movie trailers. “IN a World…” You know the guy.
200 years have passed since the fall of mankind. Life is cheap, brutal and short for the remnants of humanity as they eke out a desperate existence in the deadly Earth their ancestors created. The Cataclysm mankind visited upon itself has taken away its greatest advantage; technology no longer functions in a world where physics is broken.
Life is slightly better for Daeven. Deep in the Burrows he has food, shelter and community, a quality of life that he had thought unachievable. But there is a shadow hanging over Daeven. A darkness that lies waiting in his mind, ever watchful, ever waiting.
Darkness has decided that its waiting is over.
At this point they should be telling me to shut up and take their money.
There you have it. The elevator speech, sized to fit all audiences.
You’ll end up on an NSA watch list as I most assuredly have. In the past 2 days I’ve Googled:
Okay, that last one might not have tripped any flags but I’d still be worried about anybody searching for it. Unless they were writers, of course.
What scary/weird things have you been Googling?
Isn’t technology grand? I can track the progress of the cable I ordered right to my door. This is the cable that (fingers crossed) will allow me to recover my Scrivener file and all of the juicy metadata for my books and get back to NaNoWriMo-ing.
Back in the old day I would have been content to patiently wait for it’s delivery. Instead I’m obsessively refreshing web pages as if the driver could feel me poking her.
Doesn’t technology suck?
In other news, I received a new cover proof from the incomparable Mareta Pettigrew showing the title text enhancement. It’s perfect – no more text fade with the dark background and it looks floaty the way I wanted. Once she paints that in I will have completed cover art.
Unseen (Ages of the Seed, Vol 3)
Chapter 1 – Darkness
Daeven wasn’t mad, but he was pretty sure one of the people living in his head was. Most of them were okay folks; some were even friends. Faena helped him find food that didn’t make him sick. Taran remembered things, sometimes things from long before Daeven was born. Adiv and Vida, the deadly twins, kept him alive in the dangerous dark confines of the Burrow. Even little Pastich did her part, lifting dark spirits with her infectious laughter. They all worked together and tried to make their communal life as pleasant as possible.
But then there was Darkness. Darkness never spoke to Daeven or the others. Darkness just lay in the back of Daeven’s mind, brooding and watching. Always watching.
Daeven felt Darkness push forward again and held his breath as he concentrated on pushing back. “Help me” he whispered. “Please. Somebody help me.”
Darkness surged forward and Daeven’s head exploded in pain. Tears rolled down his face leaving tracks through the grit and soot as they fell across his cheeks. “Oh, please no. Please no. Please no” he cried over and over.
He had some experience resisting his passengers. When they first fell out of their shadows and became real people they were panicky and frightened. Most reflexively tried to assert control and he would gently but firmly stop them. It didn’t take much effort as they were very weak when they first arrived.
But not Darkness. Darkness had never so much as moved before and Daeven had had no idea of its power. This was no freshly delivered passenger, weak from its birthing. This was a mind with strength and purpose, easily on par with Taran and possibly even stronger. Possibly stronger than Daeven himself.
The pressure in his mind was unbearable. His vision faded to darkness and exploding lights. A rising roar assaulted his ears. He squeezed his eyes shut and pushed back desperately. “Taran. Vida. Anybody. Help me. Please!” he begged. Where were his passengers? Why wasn’t anybody helping?
“Stop it! You’re hurting him!” Pastich’s tiny little girl voice yelled at Darkness. It receded somewhat, perhaps out of surprise. Daevan gulped in a breath of air and PUSHED, taking advantage of the small respite she had given him. Darkness pushed back and Daevan felt its anger, hot and musky, a palpable thing. He clenched his hands into fists and concentrated with all of his will. Slowly, ever so slowly, Daevan pushed Darkness back into its corner at the back of his mind.
Abruptly, Darkness stopped resisting him and retreated to its normal home. Daevan still felt its anger as it sat brooding and watching, but the pain in his head began to recede. He pulled in several clearing breaths and felt the pain vanish. He opened his eyes and was again able to see.
He leaned back against the cold granite wall and slid down to the floor. “What do you want!?” he screamed. Darkness, as always, did not answer.
The bad news: Desktop is dead.
The other bad news: I didn’t back up my Scrivener file for Ages of the Seed (that’s all of the books I’m working on)*.
The irritating news: Best Buy does not actually carry anything any longer to actually work on a PC.
The good news: Finally got my new desk set up.
The other good news: Got Scrivener to work on Alana’s laptop.
The happy news: Found what I need to recover the desktop hard-drive for under $10 on Amazon.
Trying to work on AOS without my Scrivener metadata is maddening. I’ll be doing some fairy tale conversions for insertion purposes until I get my meta back (probably Tuesday).
* Totally know how stupid this was. Already heard all of the comments, mostly from myself.
I will be ready to distribute the 1st draft of Weavers (Ages of the Seed, Vol 1) for early reader feedback by Friday 11/27.
The purpose of early reader feedback is to give basic impressions on story, plotlines, characters and environments before I begin the extensive second draft of the work. Continue reading “Call for action – Early Reader Feedback (ERF) needed for Weavers draft”