So here's how I'm prepping for the Pennwriter's Conference that starts this Friday.
I don't have one. I know what my book is about but I don't know how to tell others in a concise way that doesn't put them to sleep or make me sound like an idiot. In talking with my crit group I realized that it's more than not knowing what to say. When I boil it down to it's essentials, my book sounds stupid, like the most improbably asinine story ever told. No one else agrees with me, and I see their point. When I hear other about other people's books/WIP I have the opposite reaction - they all sound really good, marketable and original.
So while repeating the mantra that my book isn't the only one in the universe that sucks, I have gleaned the following, thanks to Ramona DeFelice Long, one of the conference's great workshop leaders.
"Alexandra, everyone fears the elevator pitch, and it's really not necessary. Just condense what your story is about (theme) and what happens in it (action) into a few concise sentences. "My story is a (genre) set in (place) with a (character) who must (conflict) after (inciting incident)." Something like that. Write it down on an index card and bring it with you for reassurance. It's just silly for grown-ups to get all out of whack when talking about their work, or to try to spout memorized sentences like it's performance art. I'm sure you love your work, so be honest and enthusiastic about it and you'll be fine."
I'll be honest the line about 'It's just silly for grown-ups to get all out of whack when talking about their work..." stung a bit, but it probably stung because a) I don't feel like a grown up and b) it's true, it is silly.
Some people may think this is over kill, and maybe it is. I don't know if I'll use the cards my husband designed for me and got from Vista Print cheap, but I'd hate to be in a situation where I wanted/needed one and didn't have one. These are pre-blog so I'm getting little transparent labels at Staples today and printing the blog URL, so it's on the back of the card. It can't hurt.
Tomorrow: Reviewing the schedule and planning a strategy, plus how not to drink too much because I'm nervous (advice welcome!)