Are you really selling the story?



Everyone I know loves, loves, LOVES the new Old Spice commercials with Isaiah Mustafa, and with a series of related You Tube vids (including hilarious responses to Twitter comments) the campaign has gone viral.

But sadly, Time magazine is reporting that Old Spice sales have actually gone down since the campaign began.

So what's my point here, on a blog devoted to writing and publishing? Ask yourself today, what ideas am I attempting to sell with my story? And am I really selling it, or clouding my core product (the manuscript's heart and soul) with clever techniques or convoluted asides?

It's so easy to lose focus, especially when you're working on a novel, which takes months or years to produce. You show up to your task, every day a different person. Some days you might be in a down mood or a silly mood or a distracted state, and those all find their way into the story.

Frequently, the revision stage is the place to ask yourself, what is the mood of the whole story? What is the theme, the voice, the point? Once you're certain, it's time to sand down all the rough spots, to smooth away what doesn't belong and emphasize what does.

To sell what you are selling. Otherwise, what is the point?

Comments

Mylène said…
Wild. I was JUST watching this commercial yesterday (laughing) and thinking the same thing. There are limits to what the ironic pose can accomplish (as the young designers of this ad campaign are now finding out).
Colleen, that's EXACTLY where I am right now--using this current draft to focus and find the right narrative space to fit my voice. I've been a little worried that in developing my subplots, I'll actually muddy the message of the main plot, so that's why I'm trying to make sure the subplots all connect (and don't go all over the place in terms of genre). It's tricky, but I think I'm finally finding that balance.

Thanks for this. It was very timely for me today.

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