After spending a couple of years writing a novel, you either give it a proper burial in the lowest drawer of the tilting metal file cabinet, or you come up with a one-sentence pitch that describes your masterpiece. Then you start repeating that sentence to agents who then repeat it to publishers.
Say it’s a damn good sentence. You get an agent and she sells the book, increasing your home’s drawer space. She also sells a few of the subsidiary rights: the audio and maybe the German rights and oh a film option so you make a little money, enough to justify two years of novel-writing to those who may have suspected you’d spent two years Googling ex-boyfriends, checking Twitter and lurking on yeah write.
You start repeating that one damn good sentence with frequency and enthusiasm because booksellers, publicity people, the jacket illustrator—they aren’t going to actually read the book. They’ll do their best to sell it from that one sentence until the pre-pub reviews start coming in, and they can steal sentences from the better reviews. So make it good. Hint: a better book will birth a better description of itself.
The short cut to finding out if you’ve written a story or not
Now look at your possible yeah write post for this week. Describe it in one sentence to someone who may or may not read the post itself.
Were you describing a story, or a jumble of thoughts and feelings? Did you worry, as you spoke, that the response to your single-sentence-description might be, just might be, “So what?”
One of my favorite yeah write posts ever told the story of a woman who went to Target to buy underwear, mistakenly bought thongs instead and resigned her thrifty Midwestern self to wearing them in spite of discomfort.
It featured a clear plot, rising action, a climax and resolution and an understory about what it means to feel pretty on the inside. The mundane illuminated in the fluorescent light of Target, and it worked.
Describing your own writing can be painful, but it’s a short-cut to finding out if you actually wrote a story or not. That right there is the inherent challenge of the yeah write challenge grid.
Yeah write at the speakeasy
Submit your fiction and poetry over at the speakeasy. If the speakeasy gets at least 10 submissions, the participants will be eligible to win a $25 Amazon gift card. Find a yeah write virgin to coax into the safe haven of the speakeasy, and Flood will donate custom photography for your blog. You can see samples of her work incorporated into headers at Chicken Noodle Gravy, Ice Scream Mama and free fringes.
Yeah write virgins and sluts: work on your post until your brief description of it might elicit this answer: “Hey, I’d like to read that!” Welcome, yeah write virgins! Please read the FAQ and the submission guidelines one more time. Then bring us your best stuff because yeah write #94 is open.
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With enough supporting subscribers, yeah write will continue to help the smaller bloggers find their tribes and refine the art of online storytelling for years to come. If you’ve benefited in any way from the community here at yeah write—whether it was meeting your new best friend or introducing your blog to hundreds of readers—please consider keeping us afloat. We’ll be here for you as long as you are here for us.