Tag Archives: Larry W. Timm. writing

Poem of a really bad pitch

Somewhere a writer is preparing to pitch to an editor. They want to stand out from the crowd, but aren’t sure how to make themselves different. The following poem is an example of how NOT to pitch. It is part poem, part song, and all one big mistake. ūüôā

I stared back at the editor

and flashed a nervous grin,

and thought about her question

and how I should begin.

“What’s the book about? you ask?”

She nodded so polite.

“It’s about 400 pages,” I said,

“I counted them just last night.”

“There’s lots of words and pictures

and so the story you will know…”

I opened up my leather case

and pulled out my banjo.

“I wanted to be different,” I said.

“And, my pitch, it won’t take long.

You’ll find all of your answers

in the words to this here song….

[I played the theme to The Beverly Hillbillies and sang…]

Come and listen to the story of my bestseller

about a lady teacher and a wine-maker,

who met one day while walking on the vineyard path;

and this is a story I call The Grapes Of Math.

Love it was, purple love, bubbly love.

The next thing ya know the trouble did begin,

her kinfolk said, “Ellie, why did you pick him?”

Angrily she answered, “I don’t care what you say.

I derned proud to be¬†Ellie Chardonnay!”

A grape that is, smushed by feet, for the juice.

Well now it’s time to say good-by to Ellie and Merlot

(that’s the winemaker’s name, I guess you ought to know);

they had a son, as the story will tell…..

and after a toast, the named him Zinfendel.

A boy he was, with big feet, for stompin’ grapes.

Just Book One in a series…ya hear?

[I put my banjo down, then winked at the editor]

She shook her head, her forehead creased;

she swallowed hard, then blinked.

“You might be sick or just insane.

I don’t know what to think!”

I handed her my one sheet,

grabbed my banjo and my straw hat

and said, “You will be sorry

that you rejected The Grapes Of Math!”

I came to a conclusion

as I stood and walked away:

Literature just isn’t ready

for Merlot Chardonnay!

 

I hope your pitching goes better. Could it get any worse?

Advertisements

6 Comments

Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, editing, Larry W. Timm, reading, Uncategorized, Writing

“Plot or Characters?”

Do not fear the road of imagination…walk it boldly…take in the sights, the sounds, the tastes, the smells…the textures. Imagine your characters reaching from the pages of your story, and inviting your readers to take their hand and walk with them. Take your reader somewhere unique and believable. Make them hate to see the journey end, and leave them filled with regret that they have to bid the characters farewell.

I am the least qualified to answer the questions as to whether captivating characters or¬†provocative plots drive a story from The words “Chapter One” to the words “The End.” People more capable than me have plucked the strings of that debate for decades, and the dueling banjos will be heard long after I am gone. But I know that plots without characters are like a musical score without an orchestra , and characters without plots are like an orchestra without any musical score.

Characters move me. Plots move them.

I have several characters packed in my imagination. Some are harmless. Some are funny and fun-loving. Some are broken. A few are well-intentioned but flawed. Some are capable of incredible good, while others sink to revolting depths of evil. Some are born out of the happy times in my life, and others are represent my deepest pains and my most unrelenting sorrows. And others…well, I’m not sure where they came from. But I’m sure we’ve met before.

And I also have stories blooming in my head. I can think of¬†six story¬†ideas that are demanding my attention right now. Two are sequels to books I’ve already written. One is a story idea that was plopped¬†in my lap at a recent writers conference (thanks J. K.). Another is probably going to be¬†the beginning of a series. And two are story ideas that started as contest entries and are begging to be fleshed out.

So, as a writer or a reader, what’s most important to you…plot or characters? Who are some of your favorite characters from books or movies? What are the most intriguing plots you’ve been caught up in?

2 Comments

Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Life, Larry W. Timm, reading, Writing

Discovering

For me, one of the most exhilarating experiences on my writing journey is discovering what I don’t know.

The¬†respect of writing¬†happens when we come¬†to an understanding of how enormous the task is. Such awareness is liberating, not humiliating. It’s like wandering around in a huge mansion that contains¬†room after room after room of surprises¬†and discoveries. Each room is filled¬†with opportunities to learn something. And I’m convinced that part of what it means to be¬†created in God’s image is that we possess¬†the unique ability to discover, reason, and learn in a given context. And each lesson learned is like a key that unlocks another door.

I don’t want to “just write,” I want to write with power and passion. I want to be a good steward of this calling. And good stewards are alert learners. They’re hungry and teachable.

Sometimes I learn from other writers or editors, and sometimes I learn from books on the craft/business of writing, and other times I just stumble my way into an “Aha!” moment.

While knowledge isn’t the a guarantee¬†of skillful application, you can’t apply what you don’t know. But once you know it, you can grow it!

How man times do we cheat ourselves–and God–by not being humble enough to admit that we don’t know everything? Pride is a poor¬†covering for ignorance. It really accomplishes nothing but self-deception. And deceived stewards can’t be good stewards.

I’m in the process of¬†going back through my first book. Oddly enough, I can’t find the words to describe how empowering it is to look at the glaring weaknesses and be able to know that’s what they are! And then feel confident about how to fix them! It’s more than the thrill of discovery, it’s the thrill of creativity intelligently focused.

The balance to be¬†maintained on the writer’s journey is between celebrating strength and recognizing weakness. If you know something now that you didn’t know before, than you have grown. And if you remember that there is much more yet to be learned, you can continue to grow in the future.

What has been a lesson you’ve learned as a writer in the last year?

 

2 Comments

Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, editing, Larry W. Timm, Uncategorized, Writing