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!
Today’s Writing Prompt: Write your own history.
I have always wondered about my ancestors. I have been able to go back as far as about five or six generations, but that’s it. I have often been told stories about how I am a decedent of this person or that person, but I never knew if it was true. Maybe my history isn’t as exciting as it has been told to me. The writer in my says it can be as exciting as I make it. Create your own history as you imagine it to be. You can start with your last name. Create an origin and start from there, or it could be a family trait that many of you family members share. Be very creative.
Today’s Writing Prompt: What if…?
Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you got the man/woman of your dreams, won the lottery, been born with a special talent? For today’s writing prompt write about what that would be like. If you would like a little more of a challenge, write about how having the thing you’ve always wanted made your life worse.
My enjoyment of listening to and telling stories is one of the reasons I wanted to become a writer. Stories can have a profound impact on the teller and the listener. Author Colum McCann on the profound power of a story.
Source: Colum McCann on the Profound Power of a Story
Today’s Writing Prompt:
Do you have a favorite nursery rhyme, fairy tale, or children’s story? Challenge yourself to rewrite it. You could write a contemporary version or cast a famous figure as the title character and craft the experiences to match what you feel is that person’s personality.
Today’s Writing Prompt: Have you ever thought about what the world would be like if everyone had access to all the same things in equal measure (education, food, money). How would the world be different? How would you be different? If there were no “haves” or “have nots” how would the dynamics of society change?
Today’s Writing Prompt: The best way to describe me is…
One of my good friends posted this on his blog today. It is amazing because I was searching for a prompt for today and I was immediately led to his blog. Then I thought of ways to describe myself and I was finding it very easy, but when I asked my brother to describe me he had a totally different set of qualities. Then I wondered how could what I think about myself be so different than what others thought of me. Actually it really doesn’t matter. I am satisfied with myself, but I will continue to be a work in progress. Nonetheless, it makes for an interesting writing concept. It think it would be great to write down a set of qualities you feel you possess and then poll a few of your friends and see if they come up with the same things. Then write your feelings about the differences.