There’s a big difference between what I learned doing an MFA Degree in Creative Writing at a place like Georgia College and what I’ve learned being in New York, reading for a literary agency, and beginning to hang around literary business types here. Both experiences (my MFA and living here) have worked together to teach me a lot of what I want and need to know.
What I needed right away for life in NYC was an elevator pitch. In other words, I needed to be able to summarize in one sentence what my book was about. For Love on the Big Screen, it didn’t take me so long to come up with this: Love on the Big Screen tells the story of Zuke, a college freshman whose understanding of love has been shaped by late-eighties romantic comedies. People usually responded to this line with a laugh and publishing and film reps usually requested to read more after hearing that one sentence.
So here I go again with a new book and a new need for 1 sentence summaries and a short synopsis. Here’s where I am at:
In the rural town of Horseshoe, where everyone knows everybody else’s business, the lives of its citizens intertwine for thirteen bizarre tales of faith, sin, guilt, and deliverance. Think: Flannery O’Connor’s “Misfit” Fiction Meets Pulp Fiction.
Any of that catch your attention?
And here’s the short synopsis:
The little town of Horseshoe becomes the protagonist in this unique novel-in-stories format that bucks against the boundaries of time and asks readers to make the connections to put the story together. The book initiates in the local grocery store where a churchwoman named Pam Scott delivers judgment on a philandering butcher. Pam returns home, a place where each night she faces what is either a figment of her imagination or an increasingly terrifying knocker. In this little town where everyone knows everybody else’s business, the lives of its citizens intertwine for thirteen bizarre tales of faith, sin, guilt, and deliverance.
I wrote both the one-sentence summary and the short synopsis in conversation with the team at Cherokee McGhee. As I say in class all the time, “Writing Floats on a Sea of Conversation.” Without conversation, I don’t have much to say. If you’ll look over there to the right of the page, you’ll find all the virtual places where we might chat up reading, writing, and teaching.