|Just one of many things myself |
and Mariah Carey have in common.
I realised I was crap at pitching when I was writing Carry the Beautiful. When people asked me what it was about, my first response would be 'Erm...'. Then I'd waffle a bunch of words that vaguely made sense, but didn't convey anything remotely like the enthusiasm I felt for the story. I knew it was a great read, and I knew people would like it. I just didn't know how to convey that in a succinct way, when they politely asked me what it was about. I think it's called an Elevator Pitch. Can I summarise my idea in as short a time it takes for someone to get to their floor? Can I be brief yet draw people in? Can I make them want to hear more?
|Now THAT is who I need to channel when I get |
into a (metaphorical) lift and pitch my ass off.
Here's the problem I've been having since the start. It's a fairly fundamental issue. The thing is, I don't know who I'm writing it for. Yeah, you heard right. I haven't got a clue who this is aimed at. My last book was easy. It was adults who like a decent story. End of. This time, it's not so clear.
First of all, like any book ever written, it's for the author. I've told a story I want to read, so I'm the main audience at the most basic level. But obviously, that's not enough. What motivated this particular story, is my feeling that there's been something missing in pre-teen fiction over the last decade or so. Back in the day, when I taught a class of eight and nine year olds, the novels available to them seemed very samey - basically, they seemed massively influenced by Harry Potter. Stories contained magic, spells, superpowers and all sorts of things that just don't happen in real life. And for the kids that devoured that sort of stuff, fair play to them. They had lots of reading material to choose from. I just knew I'd be struggling if I were eight or nine at that time.
|You tell 'em, Judy!|
The thing is, I still think adults would like it too. I've found myself laughing as I've written parts of it. (Could I be any more self-absorbed?) But it's pretty funny in places. I've also put in some emotional bits. Even when the ten year old narrator doesn't realise it's emotional, the reader can read between the lines and see the scene being played out. At least an adult reader could. I've swung between thinking this is for adults and thinking this is for children for the past two years. And now it's nearly ready and I'm still not entirely sure.
One thing I am sure of - it is definitely suitable for children. There are no bad words or sexy times! I strategically use the word 'penis' - you may clutch your pearls now - in relation to a scan photo, and later 'willy' in the same context. I think that's more than acceptable considering it's just biology. So yeah, it's SFW! Safe for work, AND safe for children to read and put on their book shelves. And yet, I still think adults would get something out of it too.
So for now, I'm going to crack on with working on that elevator pitch. And just for funsies, I'll leave you with a blurb I've discarded as being not enticing enough. See what you think. Picture me blurting this out at you in a lift!
It is January and Leeza McAuliffe faces a year of change. The move to high school is getting closer and puberty is just around the corner. As she prepares for the inevitable, she realises that no amount of planning can prepare her for the changes she didn't see coming.
Between her household of brothers, her vegetarian parents (who have no idea about her love of ham) and the drama of juggling two best friends, Leeza shares her thoughts the only way she can – with her diary.
|No worries, Jake. |
You have yourself
a cracking day!
Have a lovely week, folks.