Sunday, August 9, 2009

So What's Your Story About?

(I just realized that I had saved my last post as a draft, so it now looks like I wrote it weeks ago without fulfilling my promise to post my tagline on the next day. Note to self: don't forget to publish post once it is written...)

So, what's my story about?

When a tragic accident claims the life of their young daughter, a husband and wife must struggle through grief, blame, and guilt- and the possibility that their lives are now meant to follow different paths.

Okay, this still reads more like cover copy than a tagline, but it's a work in progress- much like my novel. Not very ironic, either, which doesn't make me doubt the bones of my story, but gives me something to ponder as I look at the layers of plot and character.

Speaking of irony, here are examples I've found in a few novels I've been reading of late. Note: I didn't write the following as taglines- I'm just pointing out the elements of irony found within the story itself...

From Karen White's The Lost Hours, the irony is found in her protagonist's character line. Piper Mills is a former equestrian champion who suffered a near fatal injury during a competition six years ago. Suffering from both internal and external scars, she hasn't had the courage to even get close to a horse let alone ride again. Yet, through events in the plot, she finds herself spending the summer at the estate of an equestrian family.

From Lisa Wingate's Drenched in Light, Julia Costell loses her dream of becoming a ballet dancer to the effects of anorexia/bulimia. Still coping with her own personal demons, she finds herself working as a guidance counselor at a school of performing arts. I found this line from the novel fitting: "If God had anything to do with my getting the counselor's job at Harrington, He certainly had a fine sense of humor, or irony, or both."

From Jaime Ford's Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, a twelve-year old Chinese American Boy befriends a Japanese American girl, at the height of WWII.

-- Okay, back to the drawing board......


  1. When I think of taglines, I'm usually studying the t.v. guide for something good to watch. But lately I'm thinking of Hint Fiction and whether taglines have something in common with this genre. Or perhaps the newspaper classifieds, something like Hemingway's story: "For Sale: Baby shoes, never worn."

  2. JR: I agree with the t.v. guide comparison, for the most part these write-ups fit the bill; it's been interesting to analyze some of them against the components Blake Synder talks about in his book.
    The Hint Fiction pieces are fascinating- I've read yours, and I like your take on the timeline. I'm thinking about entering the contest- my flash fiction piece was so different from what I usually write. It would be interesting to come up with something within my genre.

  3. I'm going to enter "Mixed Blessings" in the contest; but I'm not sure it fits.

    I had my students/prisoners read it and they came up with all kinds of results. Here's the best one:

    Dudley was switched at birth. The dead Dudley is not "their" Dudley; he's still out there.