10 November 2008

Plot, Platform, Publicity

In a recent issue of The Bookwoman, the official publication of Women's National Book Association, Fern Reiss gives hints on how to publicize your novel. One of her methods is to put a nonfiction hook in your novel. Hooks provide a potential platform as well as leverage for publicity. Riess' words shot through me. Of course! Brilliant!

I often guide writers through the pitfalls of creating the Middle of your story in two ways. The use of antagonists is one. The other is to create an unusual world. When the protagonist leaves the old world, they enter the story world. Not only does this technique support your writing, as Reiss points out, creating such a hook leads to so much more.

Write what you know. Create the story world around your passion -- that which you know and love.

Or write about that which you do not know, but fascinates you enough to immerse yourself in until you become an expert.

Readers and audiences love to learn or experience something new and exotic. Provide that in the world you create in the Middle.

Take raising a wild coyote (the core of a new memoir coming out 12/2 by Simon and Schuster -- The Daily Coyote) or learning about life as a queen (as in CW Gortner's new historical novel by Ballantine Books: The Last Queen). Not only do the exotic worlds of contemporary Wyoming and 1492 Spain provide excitement and plot twists, they also provide a potential platform from which to publicize your work.

For instance, Barnes & Noble writes of Daily Coyote: "This full-color illustrated book will change your view of an entire species." This is big, news worthy, and holds importance beyond the book itself, beyond Shreve herself. News outlets -- T.V. and radio, newspapers and magazines are more likely to do a story on Shreve and her book based on that one statement than simply doing an interview about the book itself. Therefore, the unusual world she elaborates on -- raising a wild coyote -- becomes her platform which an entire publicity campaign centers around.

What unusual world does the story world in the Middle of your story involve???