Guest post by Chris Andrews

A few years back I found myself with an unwieldy manuscript that wasn’t working, and I couldn’t figure out why.

So I rewrote the ending and half the story before applying for two manuscript development programs. I made the short list for both.

BUT it didn’t quite get over the line.

Clearly, something still wasn’t right. But what was it?

Ever heard of a Logline? What about an Elevator Pitch? A One-liner?

They’re much the same thing – your story distilled into a single, powerful sentence designed to do two things:

  1. reflect the heart of your story
  2. intrigue someone and get them wanting to know more.

That’s the problem my story had: The events in a story aren’t what it’s about. I hadn’t defined its heart, and without that focus how could I interest anyone in it?

But when you summarise your novel clearly and concisely in twenty-five words or less, then you can measure your novel against that statement to see what holds true and what doesn’t, making for a tighter, more focused read.

That’s what’s at the heart of Distilling Your Story – a workshop available at Conflux 9 – designed to help you focus your novel and/or intrigue someone in ten seconds flat.

Take the time to participate and you’ll learn how to explain who the story’s about and what happens, imply the genre and tone, and provide a hook. Get your novel ‘over the line’.

Oh, the response from my latest beta readers? “Where’s the sequel?”

The Conflux website has all the details.