Thursday, June 20, 2013

Brevity Sucks. But Achieving Brevity is Fruitful.

I'm writing a one-sentence pitch.

No, really.

I know it looks like I'm updating my blog and my simblr and catching up on newsgroups and running to the post office and rubbing cat tummies and staring hopelessly at the jungle aka my yard and wondering how to tell the oregano from the horseherb at this stage and reading e-mail and - but the backbrain is on it and I can't focus too hard on anything else while it's working.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

The trouble is, the plot is complex and fantasy and backstory-heavy and the character arc is gritty-realistic and not foregrounded because Galen doesn't talk about his inner life or even admit he has one so back off Jack, let's talk about something important, like Anything Else. And the entire story is Galen's POV. I hadn't realized till I started trying to distill it down to one enticing line how masculine Galen is, and by "masculine" I don't mean macho and tough and all that BS, I mean needy, inarticulate, and deeply embarrassed. I mean he wants to Fix Things without talking about them. I mean desperate for someone he can trust enough to Protect and Serve. I mean convinced that it's nobody's job to take care of him and if he doesn't look bulletproof, if he doesn't do everything exactly right, if he ever admits even to uncertainty, he'll be rejected and left to rot alone.

You know that self-abnegating, angel-in-the-house, everyone-else-first, I-have-no-needs thing women do? Galen does the male equivalent of that. The big difference is that women will talk about the fact that they do it and men won't.

And so far figuring out all this is no help whatsoever in creating a pitch line. Because the pitch line will work at the same level at which Galen is willing to talk about things, the surface level about turning into a vampire assassin in a high-fantasy setting and completing the job and dealing with the consequences.

And how to cram all that into a sentence without sounding merely silly? That is the question.

Excuse me, I have to go check newsgroups and e-mail and pace and find out what the cat wants and eat chocolate. The debt the publishing industry owes to the ready availability of chocolate is staggering.

1 comment:

  1. "The debt the publishing industry owes to the ready availability of chocolate is staggering."

    Agreed. Even more than the printing press, and almost as much as coffee, chocolate is what has driven the explosion of literature over the last 500 years.

    As for a Galenian one-liner, can't help you there, since I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. Men aren't the least bit like that. [/reticent male]