Thursday, July 03, 2008

Actually, There Is Such A Thing As A Free Lunch

Early in my medical training, I noticed a large sign over the desk of a physician who was in charge of one department of the medical center. It read "TANSTAFL." When I asked him about it, he told me it was to remind him to be dubious when it appeared he was about to get something for nothing. "There ain't no such thing as free lunch." I've tried to keep that in mind over the years, but today I'm happy to announce that there is a free lunch. And I recommend it for all writers.

Publishers Market Place puts out a daily bulletin called Publishers Lunch. There is a paid version of it, but the free version has a lot of worthwhile information and material. You can sign up for it using this link. And for someone who's really serious, check out the tab to subscribe to the full Publishers Lunch.

At the forthcoming American Christian Fiction Writers meeting, I'll be taking a course that involves "high concept." This is something that's been around for quite a while, mainly in the area of movies, but novelists are finally catching on as well. Part of high concept is developing a single sentence that conveys the whole idea of the work. And a recent issue of Publishers Lunch (the free version) had several good examples of such a sentence as it listed the week's "deals"--contracts signed. Here are a couple.

"Screenwriter Attica Locke's debut novel BAYOU CITY, about a former civil rights attorney who becomes the target of murder investigation after saving the life of a drowning woman, to Dawn Davis at Amistad, for two books, in a pre-empt, by Richard Abate at Endeavor (world English)."

And "Iowa MFA graduate Peter Bognanni's THE HOUSE OF TOMORROW, a humorous and heartwarming story about a young man raised by his grandmother in a geodesic dome and home-schooled on the teachings of the inventor and futurist Buckminster Fuller, who upon leaving the isolated existence he has always known discovers the joys of punk music and the heartbreak of first love, to Amy Einhorn at Amy Einhorn Books, by Julie Barer at Barer
Literary (World)."

Get the idea? I read these every week just to learn more about writing these one-sentence characterizations. I also enjoy reading the publishing news, some of the rumors and hints of change in the industry. It's another way of getting an inside look, and I hope you find it helpful.

2 comments:

One More Writer said...

Reading those are so helpful! I'll have to get signed up! One of my huge weaknesses is summing up, in any form. Thanks for the tip!

One More Writer said...

Reading those are so helpful! I'll have to get signed up! One of my huge weaknesses is summing up, in any form. Thanks for the tip!