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Posts Tagged ‘Rachelle Gardner’

Sources: The One-Sentence Summary, WINNERS: The One-Sentence Summary Contest, and One-Sentence Summary Critiques & Tips by Rachelle Gardner

Rachelle Gardner offered the following advice for constructing good storylines on several recent blog posts.

  • A one-sentence summary (also called a storyline) is about 25 words that capture the essence of what your book is about.
  • It should generate interest in reading your book.
  • Include:
    • A character or two
    • Their choice, conflict, or goal
    • What’s at stake (may be implied)
    • Action that will get them to the goal
    • Setting (if important)
  • Keep it simple. One plotline, 1 or 2 characters.
  • Use the strongest nouns, verbs and adjectives. Use specific language.
  • Make the conflict clear but don’t necessarily hint at the solution.
  • Make it visual so the reader can see what’s happening.
  • Above all, make sure you describe a story with conflict and not just characters in a situation.

This aspiring author also recommends Randy Ingermanson’s excellent Writing Fiction for Dummies.

Image: ‘Be seeing you’
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/19487674@N00/58499153

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Source: Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent: Secrets for Making a Great Pitch.

Really, really good and specific advice.

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Source: How To Title Your Book – Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent

I believe the best titles reflect the central conflict, as in “Kramer vs Kramer.” Since the central conflict also provides the theme of the work, the title will then fit the work perfectly. “The Great Escape” is another good title. But this isn’t necessarily true. I’ve always liked the title “I, Robot…” which reflects character. “Animal Dreams” is another one I like, and it doesn’t reflect conflict. Finding a good title is an art, just like writing the book. – David Sheppard

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Source: How To Title Your Book – Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent

Rachelle’s Instructions as gleaned from her post.

  1. Identify the feeling or tone you want to convey based on the genre of your book. Write it down. Be clear on what your title needs to instantly communicate.
  2. Find twenty books on Amazon that are in the same genre as yours and whose titles you like. Write down their titles. Try to get a feel for what works with your genre. What do you like about the titles? What don’t you like? Then put the list away for awhile.
  3. Sit with a pencil and paper (and maybe your critique group and a white-board) and free-associate, making lists of words related to your book. Put them in columns: nouns, verbs, adjectives. Nothing is off limits. Brainstorm until you have at least 100 words.
  4. See if any of the words would work as a single-word title. Then start experimenting with different word combinations. Adjective-noun, verb-noun. Keep a thesaurus handy and look up other words. Write down as many word combinations as you can. Try not to self-censor at this stage.
  5. From these lists, come up with at least 20 possible titles. Then put them away for 24 hours.
  6. Go back to your title list. Add any new ideas you’ve had. Then narrow it down to three to five possibilities.
  7. Run them by a few people. (This may or may not help.)
  8. Take a little more time before narrowing it down to one. If you can, wait another day or two.
  9. Go back to your list of titles from Amazon. Ask yourself if the title you’ve chosen would fit the list—without being too similar or generic.
  10. Once you’ve made a decision — celebrate!

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