Sunday, 25 May 2008

Writing Tips - Explaining It Away

"AJ .... Help! I'm doing a radio interview. The presenter has sent me a list of questions and one of them wants me to discuss my story. How do you explain what's going on in your book. I find it difficult to tell people what my story is about. How do you go on?"

This was a question raised quite recently. I'm no expert on radio interviews. I hate being the centre of attention, but talking about your book is fairly essential even to an introvert like me. I have to admit it's difficult getting the idea of a whole book over in just a few words. I always feel I'm underselling my work, but it can be done, it MUST be done. It just needs a bit of thought.

Concentrate on things that interest YOU in the book, what excites you about it.

  • Discuss the opening theme and how it affects the story.
  • Explain about the attitude and moods of the central characters and maybe why they're like they are.
  • Say what conflicts exist between the main protagonists and perhaps what those contrasts mean in terms of the storyline.
  • Tell them of any questions raised. Are the questions resolved at the end or partway through?
  • Explain how many main characters are in the story, and how the characters intertwine.
  • Explain whether the conflict is:- man conflicting with man; man conflicting with nature; or man conflicting with himself (read woman for man).
With a little preparation it's surprising what you can come up with.
Keep on writing.


Anonymous said...

Nice post. I've struggled with this issue when people ask me what my book is about. I feel like I lose them in the first 30 seconds because I've only finished the first draft and there are major rewrites in the near future. I've done a couple of synopses, but not one that knocks my socks off. I look forward to reaching the point of being able to succinctly describe my work. I'll be sure to use your tips! Thanks for the post.

ajbarnett said...

Thanks for the comments, Jonathan. I'm glad you found it of interest.

It always takes us by surprise when someone asks what the book is about - yet it shouldn't. Wh can know more about it than the author....