Like many writers, I plan on finishing a novel. I have been working on one for a while. I have had some articles and short stories published, but I have yet to have a published novel. Many of my friends and acquaintances ask if I have written, or in the process of writing a book. When I tell them I am working on a novel, the next question is “What is it about?”
Years ago attended a writing workshop in my town and sat in a room filled with aspiring authors. When it was time for us to ask questions, one of the attendees raised her hand an asked for tips on getting an agent. Then she went on to tell what her book was about. After about 5 solid minutes of awkward starts, backtracks, and confused faces, she ended with “I have a title. It’s called Saturday Night at the Disco.” Even as I cringed along with everyone else as she bumbled through her attempt to describe her book, I wondered if I could do a better job.
Part of my current job is helping students succeed academically. I help them with time management, study skills, critical thinking, etc. I am often looking for various ways and techniques on how to improve study skills. One method is the Feynman Technique. If you are not familiar with the Feynman Technique, it is essentially explaining something in language simple enough for a young child to understand and, by doing so, you too are gaining a better understanding of the subject. After explaining this technique with several students I realized that this technique is a great way to fill plot holes and confusion in you own work.
If you want to be a published author and plan to go the traditional route of finding an agent, you will have to write a query letter. You will have to be able to sell your book in a few sentences. One way to do this is with the Feynman Technique.
iBourgie’s Guide to Writing your Query Letter Using the Feynman Technique
- Write down your tentative title.
- Write down the plot as if explaining it to an 8-year-old child
- Review what you have written (or if you have an 8-year-old handy, ask them to read it to see if they can follow it. If they cant..
- Look for the confusing parts and clear them up. This may be a great time to also look through your work to see if that confusion exists in it as well.
- Finally, make any adjustments using plain language
I really is that simple. If it is too hard for you to apply this technique, you have a little more work to do. Enjoy the journey!