We’ve talked about loglines or elevator pitches many times on Paul Pens.
I’ve gotten into the habit of starting a synopsis with a preface that sums up the plot in a couple of sentences, but, making another query last night, a literary agent specifically asked for a logline to describe my book. Toby Munday is an agent at Aevitas
who use an online submission form. Theirs is different to most agencies who appear to have bought commercial software. Aevitas don’t call it a logline: rather, they describe it as a “One sentence summary of your book or manuscript.”
In seven years of making 850 queries, this is the first time a logline has been requested. I wonder if it’s the start of a trend.
Mine, for The Dead Need Nobody, is: “An art gallery owner prefers paintings to people, killing to protect his collection, something that Detective Chief Inspector Neil Kettle finds repugnant, so he lures him into a trap.”
What’s your logline or elevator pitch for your latest book?
From Wikipedia: Olney died of an apparent heart attack during a performance onstage at the 30A Songwriter Festival in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, on January 18, 2020, at age 71. He was in the middle of his third song when he stopped, apologized and shut his eyes, according to fellow musician Scott Millerwho was accompanying Olney. “David was playing a song when he paused, said ‘I’m sorry’ and put his chin to his chest. He never dropped his guitar or fell off his stool. It was as easy and gentle as he was,” Miller said.
One of my Wild West heroes, Bat Masterson, died at his typewriter; he had a remarkable life.
Just as cynics say “Great career move” when a fading musician dies unexpectedly, leading to a massive boost in the sales of their albums, so it takes having The Grim Reaper as your literary agent for some writers to get anywhere.
I’ve mentioned the sad tale of John Kennedy Toole in previous threads, and it would have been fascinating to know what else he would have created. At least he hasn’t been turned into a franchise operation with hired gun authors brought in to continue the series, as happened with Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander and the long-established James Bond and Sherlock Holmes stories.
I was reminded of it by a brilliant cartoon in today’s newsletter from Hyperallergic.
I smiled at the punchline in the final box.
Once again, I’m feeling like an impostor, as I stumble around learning how to use Twitter and Instagram. I keep wondering: “What am I doing here? Will anything I post make a difference to anything?”
But, that’s part and parcel of being a writer. The world of writing and publishing thrives on creating doubt. Subscribe to one hundred newsletters from writing gurus and soon you’ll be inundated with advice on what you’re doing wrong…and, if you simply pay £450 for a weekend residential course, all of your errors will be chased away.
What a writer desires is some form of validation. Things get so uncertain, that we analyse the language used in rejection letters for solace!
I come alive when I write more of my WIP, which is how I know I’m real and not an impostor. Tweeting and posting on social media is restrictive and repetitive, as I tailor my words to have an effect—which makes me feel like a con man—get the punters’ confidence and maybe they’ll buy my books!
Recently, I’ve been exploring Twitter, seeking out Colony members and Crime genre authors and literary agents who like crime novels. I intended to use this personal account to make contacts and to promote myself and my Cornish Detective series in a non-pushy way.
My Twitter presence morphed from a Facebook Author page called Paul Pens, which is based on threads I started on The Colony. Last autumn, I started a Facebook business page devoted to my Cornish Detective series. Why not give my fictional hero a Twitter account too?
I searched for advice online, finding this dated article:
There are a lot of Marvel and DC superheroes and fictional heroes tweeting away, as are Homer J. Simpson, Charlie Brown and Lord Voldermort, so I may join in with Detective Chief Inspector Neil Kettle.
Today, while reading A Biography of Loneliness, by Fay Bound Alberti, I found a quote from Virginia Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary which she’d used as a chapter epigraph:
“I have entered into a sanctuary; a nunnery; had a religious retreat; of great agony once; and always some terror; so afraid one is of loneliness; of seeing to the bottom of the vessel. That is one of the experiences I have had here in some Augusts; and got then to a consciousness of what I call ‘reality’: a thing I see before me: something abstract; but residing in the downs or the sky; beside which nothing matters; in which I shall rest and continue to exist.”
That’s a plethora of semicolons!
I felt bold when I once used two semicolons in a sentence.
Do you think she’d get away with it today?
Wouldn’t a 21st-century editor wield their red pen?