An Elevator Pitch for HORSESHOE

Love on the Big Screen Flannery O'Connor Milledgeville Georgia College and State University

The Theater Pictured on Cover is in Milledgeville, Georgia. Home to Georgia College and Flannery O'Connor

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.

Love on the Big Screen Flannery O'Connor Milledgeville Georgia College and State University Winamac, Indiana, Horseshoe

Horseshoe will be set in a fictionalized Winamac, Indiana

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.

Cherokee McGhee, Love on the Big Screen, Horseshoe, William Torgerson, Tarantino, O'Connor, Pulp Fiction, 80s, Lloyd Dobler, Farmer Ted, John Hughes

Cherokee McGhee Press: publisher of Love on the Big Screen and Horseshoe

Why call a book HORSESHOE?

If you know my character “Zuke” from Love on the Big Screen, I wrote that he was from a small town called Horseshoe.  In my mind, Zuke’s hometown is a fictionalized version of Winamac, Indiana.  The word “horseshoe” as the title of my novel-in-stories comes from the way my small hometown of Winamac sits on a horseshoe bend of the Tippecanoe River in North-Central Indiana.   This geographical feature is something you can see for yourself on Google Maps:

William Torgerson, Bill, Torg, Love on the Big Screen, Horseshoe, St. John's University

From Google Maps: See the Horseshoe Bend in the Tippecanoe River?

Winamac is the town where my parents are from and their parents are from before that, and even though I wasn’t born there, it’s the place where I graduated from high school and the place I say I’m from if anyone ever asks.  When people in Winamac say the horseshoe,they mean the road that runs along the outer edge of the town park which is almost pinched into an island by a sharp-hook bend of the river.  I lived in two different houses when I lived in Winamac:  one right on the river where I could look across the water, see the road everyone called the horseshoe, and also the basketball courts.  I was a bad cross-country runner in high school, and practice was often held in the park where we ran in packs and did repeats of the three-quarter mile loop.  The second house I lived in is the house where I placed the character Matthew Walker’s family.  Pam Scott, a woman haunted by the sound of a knocker, lives in the house my grandmother lives in today.

William Torgerson, Bill, Torg, Love on the Big Screen, Horseshoe, St. John's University, winamac, Indiana

The Swinging Bridge in the Winamac Town Park