Monday, January 08, 2007

New Year's Monday + Got High Concept?

I've learned so much from your comments on blogging and author websites. Thank you! JA Konrath has a post on blogging today, excellent as usual. I forget: even if we delete something from a blog, it's cached out in google-land.

Before I talk all about me (which you can feel free to skip), I wanted to share that Lori Wilde's Got High Concept just came in the mail today. Yay!

Nora Roberts doesn't need high concept. Stephen King doesn't, either. I think it sure helps. Dean Koontz always has high concept; just go stand in front of his books and read all the blurbs. It's an education! (Does anyone know why Dean R. Koontz became Dean Koontz?)

Does high concept do anything for you? It does make me try a new author, or make me pick up a book that's intriguing. The book has to deliver, but ... it's a help.

It's a workbook that walks you through the creation of a high concept idea, and may I say? It's absolutely fabulous. I've read nearly all the writing books out there, and this little thing is even better than Donald Maass's workbook, although this only deals with the high concept, while Donald Maass's workbook takes you through character and all sorts of other goodies.

When I saw this book talked about on Alison Kent's blog, I was skeptical. I wanted it, because if the workbook delivered its promise, then I knew it would help me. I took a $25 chance (expensive, but she puts it together herself), and I am sold. Excellent, excellent workbook.

She helps you brainstorm ideas, walks you through three different methods to come up with a high concept pitch, and she even gives you tons of little advice throughout.

I think it's impossible to get from the beginning to the end of this book without a high concept pitch and a clear idea of your plot. It's so good, that I told myself I just might buy one workbook for every book I do in the future. Here's her blurb on it:

Would you like to propel your manuscript out of the slush pile?
Razzle-dazzle editors with your high concept story?
Trigger publishers to open their wallets?
Rush readers into stores as soon as your book is released?
Impress the media? Stimulate industry buzz?
Jump-start foreign sales?
Earn a bigger advance?
Inspire Hollywood to come knocking?
Then GOT HIGH CONCEPT? is the workbook for you!

Warning: Another of those me-diary posts follows. I'll be blogging later today or tomorrow on Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys and its structure. If you've read it, let me know your thoughts. I struggled to understand the structure. How did the pacing work for you?

Happy New Year 2006!

Anyway, I think the New Year is a process, not a day, LOL. Today's my day I've set to re-evaluate my week. One more babystep forward:

  • 1.) Practice Yoga 6 times a week: 2, but we're in Stage 2 of this habit, LOL. (I'm remembering I'm supposed to do it, just not choosing to, yet. At least I'm remembering I should do it!)
  • 2.) Lift Weights 3 times a week: 0
  • 3.) Practice Forms 5 times a week: 2
  • 4.) Remove dairy, wheat, sugar, and meat from diet: No wheat! 1 item down!
  • 5.) Have sit-down dinners with DH: 3 times!
  • 6.) Write 10,500 words a week (4 novels next year): 8,000 words
  • 7.) Read at least 52 books next year: Finished 1.
  • 8.) FlyLady the house: Kitchen under control!

And just to remind myself:

  • 1) Live outside the window.
  • 2) Give everything.
  • 3) Ask more.
  • 4) Dig deeper.
  • 5) Live real.

7 bonus scribbles:

StarvingWriteNow 1/08/2007 08:22:00 PM  

It's a celebrity thing. Dean R. Koontz became Dean Koontz when he "got popular". Just like John Mellencamp became John Cougar until he "got popular" and changed his name to John Cougar Mellencamp and then back to John Mellencamp.

It's very complicated. Don't worry though, when we're all big celebrities we'll be able to do it too.

spyscribbler 1/09/2007 09:48:00 AM  

Hah! Really? I just couldn't figure out why he went to all that trouble to teach us his middle initial, if he was going to take it out later!

Avery DeBow 1/09/2007 10:04:00 AM  

Maybe he was timing his signings and realized he could save a fraction of a second for every "R" he left off.

spyscribbler 1/09/2007 03:09:00 PM  

Hah! Now that's hilarious, Avery. That's just funny!

Edie 1/10/2007 11:59:00 PM  

This is the first I've heard of Lori Wilde's high concept book. I'll check it out.:)

spyscribbler 1/11/2007 12:43:00 AM  

If it wasn't for Alison Kent, I wouldn't have known about it either. She does it herself. I don't think she realizes what an excellent little book she has. She should put it on the market!

Laura J. Thompson 12/22/2007 10:10:00 PM  

Actually, Koontz doesn't always write high concept. You certainly wouldn't call FROM THE CORNER OF HIS EYE or STRANGERS high concept, though his latter works are certainly moving in that direction.

It really isn't a question of what readers want, but of what publishers desire. High concept novels tend to sell well because they can be described in just a few words, which makes marketing easier.

By the way, I came across your blog while researching my own latest blog post.