Writing for an Elevator Moment

Don’t mention you’re writing a novel unless you are willing to describe it . Quickly.

Recently, at a gathering of college buddies,  someone asked THE question. What is your book about? I had the attention of the room-for exactly one minute. The more I talked, the more I realized I was no pitcher. Not about my own stuff.  Fortunately, my listeners were friends so they just handed me another beer and the conversation moved on.  I was so embarrassed.

Later, I talked to my art mentor and good friend, Diane Edwards, and she told me about elevator time.

A stranger gets on the elevator with you. He sees  canvases under your arm and a paint splattered tote bag by your feet.

“What kind of painter are you?” asks the stranger. And, in the time it takes to move from first floor to second, you tell him.

So, just for practice, I’ve created an elevator moment for  two books science fiction readers may recognize.

**Under threat of alien invasion, the government drafts the country’s most talented high school students to fight a galactic war.**

Yep. Starship Troopers and The Forever War. In 2o words.

Sounds so easy, doesn’t it? Any one who has written a query letter knows this is the toughest writing you will ever do. First, you hook the agent with less than 30 words. Next, you reel him in with mini-synopsis of about 150 words. Finally, you send the SASE or an e-mail and you wait.

Or,  you corner him on an elevator.

Onward, fellow word warriors!

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