WFMAD Day 22 – indie love & flap copy


Thank you to everyone who chimed into yesterday’s discussion about the most effective ways to deal with censorship. I really appreciate the obvious time and thought that went into your comments.

I’ll post more on this tomorrow, including a link to a lesson plan from a teacher who has put together a unit on censorship for grades 3 – 5. If you have classroom ideas or if you talked about these ideas on your blog, leave me a note in the comments section. I’ll try to include links to everything you tell me about this.

Now on a different topic….

Our president and his daughters supported an independent bookstore this week. Yay for them!! I did, too, and started my Christmas shopping. The independents in my area seem to be doing great, I am very happy to report

When was the last time you shopped in your local independent bookstore? Do you know where it is?

Ready…. “If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  Toni Morrison

Set…. if it’s not raining where you live, go for a walk before you write. If it is raining, go for a walk anyway. I dare you to do this without an umbrella. I dare you to let the rain fall on your head.

Today’s prompt: Create the flap copy for your book. Doesn’t matter if you are writing fiction, non-fiction, or memoir. Write the two or three sentences that convey the essence of your story in a way that will convince someone to read the entire book.

This can be incredibly hard. In fact, I can’t do it in the earliest draft of my book. This is usually because I haven’t yet fully figured the internal journey of my main character. Take a half dozen of your favorite books off the shelf and read the flap copy to learn how the book was distilled into a few lines. Does that flap copy do a good job of it? Would you have written it differently?

(If you are totally stuck and can’t figure out how to write the flap copy for your story, rewrite the copy for a book that you love.)

Then go back and try to do it for your own work.

If you are still stuck, ask yourself this: What does your character want? What is the most basic driving desire that compels your character through your story? What stands in the way of that desire?

Scribble… Scribble…. Scribble!!!

16 Replies to “WFMAD Day 22 – indie love & flap copy”

  1. Now here’s an exercise for the month that I can really get into. I’m going to do this and then post it somewhere I will see it every day as I sit down to revise. Because: 1) it will help me answer the question, “Does this scene advance the plot?” and it will help me stay true to my characters and their story.

  2. The last time I supported an independent bookstore was last night at Changing Hands. The same store where I saw you Laurie, when you were on tour a couple years ago, and you were awesome.

  3. Unfortunately, all the independent bookstores in my areas are french because I live in French-Canada. The activity although, will take me planning out my story and I don’t know if I can do that. I have various excuses for not doing your prompts everyday even if they almost always interest. I’m just not motivated anymore.

  4. I know you do not know me, I teach your books in my classroom. But more than that when my then 7th grade daughter came to me with one of your books and said mom you have to read this, I knew it was important. Many discussions came from the book, I thank you for that.

    I love the flap copy idea and see it as a great way to help spring my students into their longer writing pieces. I will by nature of some of their writing styles and have to start with having them write flap copies to books they have read.

    I will shop inpendent when I can, but most book stores by me are really just aisles in supermarkets/department stores. I do spend time on and in used book stores, but in my town I would take any bookstore even the big boxes.

  5. There aren’t any independent bookstores in my city, but the next city over has a small one. I’m planning on buying Mockingjay there. I’m excited. When I’m at school, that city has the most awesome independent bookstore. I love it.

  6. Great prompt Laurie!!
    I really enjoyed this one….especially since I know exactly the type of book I want to write.

    This made me think of the book flap for Wintergirls. Love that one. The exerpt that is on it is incredible.

  7. One of the last times I visited an independent bookstore was actually at a book signing for Wintergirls. 😀 One of the greatest nights of my life.

    A weird prompt took a hold of me today. I read an interesting comment on another website about someone looking so fragile and innocent, yet in reality they were manipulating everyone. It struck me, so I took what that person said and wrote two pages around it. And now, I have no idea where to go with the story 😀

    Owell. It was a nice idea while it was in my mind.

  8. I went to an independent bookstore last week, R.J. Julia Booksellers. It’s a wonderful store! They have a cafe, too. We would love to see you there sometime, Laurie!

  9. Our bookstore is the BEST!!! Every time I go there I wonder why I didn’t remember to pack some snacks and beverages, ’cause it’s just the place where I want to hang out for hours and hours and hours.

    Check out this one! When I saw this article, I just wanted to give this woman money (and pull up a chair and set a spell.)

    Love this prompt today. Your timing is impeccable. You definitely have knack with that.

  10. I was just at an Indie bookstore yesterday. Bought Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I try to shop the indies as much as possible.
    Today’s prompt reminds me of the month in which my writing group decided to write query letters… but this is even more brief like haiku, hmmm.

  11. This prompt was extremely helpful to me today in determining where my new WIP is headed, and laying out a basic path for the plot. I like to ask myself what the character yearns for; doing so helps me delve a little bit deeper into the character’s motivations than asking what he or she wants.

  12. I don’t believe this. I haven’t been keeping up with my blog reading daily with the start of school (but I have been writing 15 minutes a day instead!), but this was in essesence the writing I did on Sunday. I took a 10 mile bike ride. At about the 3/4 mark, I had an epiphany about my novel. I came home a scribbled it down on the back of the first printed page.

    I would love an independent bookstore in town. The closest is in the town 20 miles away, but they are very generous to teachers. 🙂 I would love any bookstore in town. Right now I have one aisle in Wally World. At least there are online shopping opportunities.

  13. I purchased three books from an independant bookstore last week.
    At the toy store where I work, we sell children’s books. Many are unusual, and not typically found at the big chain stores. I get to hand sell books and it is an absolute pleasure to do so. I wish all books could be sold this way. I tend to jump in and help when customers are aimlessly wandering through the children’s section at Borders looking for what book to buy.

    I loved this prompt and wrote flap jackets for my novels.
    Before I read a novel, I usually read the flap jacket first. And the one sentence summary, sometimes listed under the publishing information. I also keep a notebook where I write this information down, including my reaction to the novel. What I liked. What I didn’t like and why.
    Once I’ve finished a novel, I read the dedications and see if the editor is listed. Or agent, if applicable.
    Thanks for this prompt!!

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