Busan Writing Group, June 17 – Pitches, please!

This week we looked at pitches for stories – the 250-word summary of a story that a writer has to compose to get the attention of agents and publishers.

The Busan Writing Group first took a look at pitches written by one of our members. The stories looked awesome – some of them were ones we’ve run through our critique process before. The main difficulty with the pitches was the complexity – there was a lot going on, and it was difficult to boil down the most important info into 250 words.

We then looked over the most popular choices for Pitchapalooza 2015, over at the Book Doctors. Popular votes from readers favored the weird and offbeat. The key to gaining votes seemed to be setting up a weird or creepy situation right at the start, or to present an everyday situation and then have a quick twist that makes it weird.

Last, we looked over the winners of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. These winning pitches were simple and to the point, clearly outlying what to expect in the story. When weirdness entered into these pitches, it was clearly integrated – we found we could easily understand how the unusual factors really affect the characters. This was key to any appreciation of the pitches – for fantasy or sci-fi elements to mean anything and sell the story, we have to know what those elements mean to the characters who have to deal with them.

My general takeaway from all this:

It’s damn hard to simplify a story and get the most important details across in a meaningful way. However, that is the exact skill needed for a great pitch – the skill of delivering major plot points, along with how they affect relatable characters, in a quick, simple way.

Easy to see why it’s so damn hard, huh?

 

Image from http://www.theinfluencebusiness.com/

Wednesday Writing Club, June 10

Wednesday Writing Club – A pitch, and a well-revised story

Just a quick one today – the Busan Writing Club had a nice little meeting tonight, and we talked about the pitch I wrote for a sci-fi serial story which I am getting in gear. My pitch was a mess – I tried hard to include details as suggested by David Henry Sterry, but I ended up cramming way too much into 250 words. Too much detail, too much complication. It all means a lot more work for me as I look for a simple, yet unique way to present the soul of my story in 250 words or fewer.

The other submission was a work by our member Clare, and wow did it ever look better than mine! She had the 8th draft of an excellent bit of literary fiction told from a young Irish girl’s point of view. It’s really amazing how the story has shaped into a compelling, melancholy tale of a girl and her father’s mental illness. All of us wish Clare good luck as she enters the story into a newspaper contest in her home country of Ireland.

Anyway, guess what the next Busan Writing Club is all about? Pitches!

Yup, our meeting on June 17 will be all about dissecting successful pitches to see what makes them tick. You can bet there’ll be an update on this very blog after the event.

Are you in Busan? Nearby? Send me a private message and let me know!

The Busan Writing Group is in Busan Haps

Just a quick one – the Busan Writing group and its book have been featured in this article on Busan Haps!

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Busan Haps is an entertainment magazine edited by expats in Busan, and is pretty much the magazine us expats look to when we want to know what’s going on.

I’m really glad the Haps staff were so helpful in our shameless promotion of our book!

My first #IWSG of 2015 – A writing club that self-publishes together!

Busan Writing Group Things are certainly heating up for the Busan writing group. We are planning out an anthology of works to publish very soon! We envision this as an annual publication by our group – we will collect stories that we have reviewed and edited together for a self-published anthology.

I’m posting this to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group this month because I think this is an option for self-publishing that is not discussed often enough in writing circles. Once you have a writing circle that you work with regualrly, one possible direction foir your group is to publish together. Editing, formatting, production, promoting, etc. – all those things could be done as a group, with members sharing the tasks.

So from the IWSG community, I’d like to know: have you done a group publication before? How did it go?

More updates on my own group’s publication are coming as soon as I can say more. I’ll only say this – I’m quite happy with the submissions we have lined up, including my own work. I feel my piece is the best and most polished work of fiction I’ve done yet.

Links:

Insecure Writer's Support Group Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Busan Writing Group Busan Writing Group

                     

Feb 4th: Wednesday Night Writing Group!

I’m really looking forward to this! It’s long past time I got another publication out there.

The Busan Writing Group

It’s the first Wednesday of February!  We’ll be meeting at MoMo’s cafe in Oncheonjeong at 7pm.

It’s become crunch time for our upcoming publication!  We will be discussing formatting and content:

Hopefully we will be able to address the following topics:

1. Sequence and formatting of our book.

2. A suitable title

3. Author bios, and bio blurbs for Busan Writing Group in general

4. Cover art and other aesthetics.

RSVP on Facebook HERE 

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#IWSG – One Year Running

Click here to sign up for the IWSG!

It’s hard to believe I’ve been running this site for over a year now. I have to admit – I don’t have a lot of posts to show for it!

What a fine balancing act – getting enough writing done, getting and giving feedback, and posting on a blog. All while I teach full time and then some!

From what I’ve read, most writers have the same issue – most author pages I see around the web do not have that many blog posts. I’m pretty sure most of those who do blog regularly must have already crossed the line I can’t reach yet – the point where writing has become most or all of their income.

I don’t have a lot to show, but I have certainly done a lot this year.

I’ve got what I think is a superior submission to Sixfold (take a moment to visit, they do good work). I’ve got work in progress that has passed through my writing club and that has come out better than anything I produced before. I’ve judged a writing contest, and I’m now helping out Holly Lisle with her new site, Readers Meet Writers (again, take a moment to visit and read what it’s all about).

How about you?

What have you done this past year? Do you feel you have posted often enough to your own blog?

#IWSG – When everyone else is on vacation!

2007 Philippines 006

As usual, my Insecure Writer’s Support Group post will be a short one.

I go through this twice every year. It’s the pain of being a teacher and a writer – yes, I get two vacations every year, it’s true. I rarely have the finances to go anywhere, so I usually end up tutoring and doing other private teaching to earn extra money. You might THINK vacation means more time to write, but it rarely works that way. I’m not at the point where I can write to earn any significant chunk of income – that still has to come primarily from teaching. So that’s one problem – vacation never means more time to write, even though I sometimes think and act like it does! I find that I expect to have a lot of writing time, but then family and duties come along and fill the free time I thought I had.

The other problem is that my writing groups vanish. Poof. Gone. Everybody’s off in another country, or they too are loading themselves up with private work to take advantage of the best time to get such work. There’s nobody to write with! Nobody to talk to in person. I probably get LESS writing done just because of the lack of feedback and motivation that the writing groups provide. I’d love to be able to say that I’ll meet my writing group in September with awesome new stuff, but I don’t think there will be that much …

Writing has been so slow partly due to these factors. There has been a silver lining, though – I’ve actually managed to lose weight this summer! At least I’ll have SOMETHING to show when I go back to full-time work in September.

So I wonder what others think. For you, does vacation mean more or less writing gets done? Does most of your writing group vanish at certain times of the year?

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Photo Source: Me! Beach in Cebu, where I proposed to my pretty wife. On Valentine’s Day, at sunset. Yeah, I’m proud; so sue me.