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: On this day…
Today is a very special day for me. Over 40 years ago, my best friend was born. She is an amazing, beautiful, and successful woman and I am so glad that she is a part of my life.
For today’s writing prompt, pick a day that is special for you and find out what other things happened on that day in history. Use this to inspire your writing. I have listed a few links below to help get you started.
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.
Writing Prompt: Write a poem.
When I was a preteen, I wrote poetry all the time. Some of it was good and some of it was not so good. When I was in the 7th grade, I won a poetry contest. Shortly after, it stopped writing poetry. I believe I stopped because I was getting closer to deciding about college and possible career paths and, was constantly discouraged from pursuing a writing career. It was not until my final year of college, I had an assignment to write a poem for my creative writing class. My that poem was chosen by my professor to be included in that year’s Southern Literary Festival.
I believe all writers have a poem inside them. Use this writing prompt to get it out.
Today’s writing prompt: You wake up next to a lake of fire. There is a man named Virgil standing next to you. He tells you that he knows you did everything you could bu,t you did not make it to heaven. Then he welcomes you to Hell. Try to figure out why you ended up there. Go and explore. In which circle will you remain?
I loved reading Dante’s Inferno, but it scared the heck out of me. This prompt may require a little reading up, but of course, that is always a good thing.
Today’s Writing Prompt:
At least once a week, on my way to work, I see something that makes me want to turn around and find out what is going on. So today’s writing prompt will be to write about something you witnessed and wanted to know the outcome of. For instance, two days ago I witnessed a couple walking down the sidewalk. They stopped briefly and had a heated exchange. Next the woman’s phone rang, she answered it, and they both went running in the opposite direction. The stoplight changed and I was left to wonder what happened. For this writing prompt, I will have the opportunity to finish the story.
Today’s writing prompt:
Grab your favorite book (or one of them) and go to the last page and use it as the beginning of a new story.