The Dreaded Question – What is Your Story About

The dreaded question - what is your story about
What’s your story about?
I think there is one question that really throws most authors.

The dreaded question, ‘What is your story about?”

I don’t know about you but I used to stumble through that with something like: “uh, it’s a suspense/thriller. This woman got kidnapped when she was a baby and now as an adult she’s trying to figure out the truth…”
the dreaded question, what is your story about
How do you keep it short and interesting?
I always felt unprepared.
It’s sort of interesting but not really. I always used to do was start with, I write suspense/thrillers or I write romance. I’ve learned not to do that, unless they ask that specifically. The reason I suggest that is because there are amazing books written in every genre but sometimes when you tell someone the genre, you may lose them. They may say, “Oh, I don’t read suspense/thrillers. I don’t read that kind of story.”

I know for me, if you asked if I read dystopian novels, I’d say no. But the truth is that I’ve probably read at least twenty in the last two years alone. They wouldn’t have been my choice to read but the authors did a very good job on selling me on what their story was about. I thoroughly enjoyed each one but I would not have sought out a dystopian type novel to read.


So what do you say, when someone asks, ‘What’s your story about?”


There are three elements that really make a fiction book blurb compelling – setup, capture, intrigue.

Setup is the underlying theme or problem throughout your story.

Capture is the heart of your story – where the protagonist is, where s/he wants to be, the hurdles s/he has to overcome, what brought them to this point, etc.

Intrigue is where you use the climax and ending to pique curiosity – you hint at who wins, who loses or what might happen…

So when someone asks what is my story about, I use the setup, which I tend to write as a bold statement, and then the intrigue. Anytime you are talking about your book, you want the other person to leave being curious. You want them to wonder what happens? What is going on for your protagonist? What will happen to your protagonist? Where does the story go? You want the other person to care.

So how do you use, Setup and Intrigue?

So the setup would look something like this:

     She was kidnapped not once but twice and now someone wants her dead…

and the intrigue would be something like this:

     Can she unravel 30 years of secrets, lies, and deceit, to find the truth?

When you put them together:

     She was kidnapped not once but twice and now someone wants her dead…

     Can she unravel 30 years of secrets, lies, and deceit, to find the truth?

“Setup and Intrigue work well
to grab attention and pique curiosity.”
Keep it short and punchy.
It’s short, simple, clearly states what is going on for the protagonist, and really it is telling the person that it is a suspense/thriller without actually saying that. It will grab people’s attention, even those who don’t read my genre.

So the next time someone asks you what your story is about, you will have a short, punchy comeback that will intrigue them.

Writing Tips from Authors – Interview with Laurence O’Bryan


I’m thrilled to have been able to do this interview with Laurence O’Bryan – Author, Marketer and founder of BooksGo Social.

Laurence shares some interesting tips about his journey of becoming a writer – some things that worked and some that didn’t. Research is important but Laurence goes above and beyond to do his.

His tip for new authors – Get connected. The Indie Community is amazing, so reach out. BooksGo Social is a great place to start. There are approximately 15,000 authors on their facebook group that share information about their journey with writing and reach out to get help. It is a very inspiring and supportive community.

Check out the upcoming Dublin’s Writers Conference – June 23 – 25, 2017 in Dublin, Ireland.

Laurence O’Bryan

Author, Marketer and founder of Books Go Social.

I was first published by a school newspaper when I was ten, for a short story about aliens getting lost.  The Istanbul Puzzle was my first novel to be published (Jan, 2012,) The Jerusalem Puzzle my second (Jan, 2013,) and The Manhattan Puzzle my third (Aug, 2014.) The Nuremberg Puzzle (April, 2016) is the fourth novel in the series.

In 2007 I won the Outstanding Novel Submitted award at the Southern California writer’s conference. I missed the award ceremony and only found out after it was over that the agents and editors attending had picked me out from over 300 unpublished novels submitted.

The Istanbul Puzzle was also shortlisted for Irish Crime Novel of 2012. It has now been translated into 10 languages.

I am on the committee of the Irish Writers Union, and I host a”live” crime writers’ group in Dublin each month. I also promote and support other writers through my site BooksGoSocial.com.

My research has taken me all over the world, from San Francisco to deep in the Arab world. I still enjoy looking at the stars, and listening to the stories of strangers.

What keeps you going?

I know it’s a cliche, but I dreamt of becoming a writer when I was a child telling adventure stories to friends on my street. Two of those friends committed suicide before they reached the age of 21. Ireland was a place of repression, secrets and shame back then. It still is. I dedicate my writing to their memory.

My motto? Not All Who Wander Are Lost – Níl gach uile fhánaí caillte.

BooksGo Social is a good way to get your book out there and get it found. If you go there to use their services, mention that I sent you and you’ll get 10% off. Or contact me and I’ll give you the discount coupon.

Five Resources Every Author Should Be Using

Five Resources Every Author Should Be Using

I wanted to share some resources that I use that I find help me in the process of writing, self-publishing and marketing my novels.

These are just some of the software that is available (some is free and some is not) that I have found invaluable. These are in no particular order. I will be doing a post on each to show why they have made life so much better and easier as an author.

  1. Scrivener – I think this platform is brilliant. It is incredibly useful and has made my writing life so much easier.
  2. Calibre – a great way to convert your ebooks from epub to kindle to pdf, etc. It is another amazing tool. And it’s free, although they do appreciate donations.
  3. Book Funnel – I just learned about book funnel. I think it is brilliant and has made it so much easier to share my free ebook Captured Lies with readers. It’s a few step process that puts the ebook right on the person’s reading device. Love it.
  4. Divi by Elegant Themes – This is a wordpress.org website theme. I love how easy they have made Divi to use (for the nontechie people – me). It allows you to create pretty much any look.
  5. Aweber  – is an email autoresponder. It is really easy to use and provides you with the means to you keep in touch regularly with your email subscribers.

5 resources every author should have


I think this software is brilliant. It has made my writing life so much easier. It is great for keeping me organized, keeping all of my information – characters, outlines, research, images, plot ideas, etc. all in one place. The best part is Scrivener gets me. 🙂 I don’t have to write linearly as I can move chapters or scenes around really easily.

Calibre Ebook Management

This is another piece of software that is invaluable. It allows me to convert my ebooks to kindle, epub, etc. and then I can easily share them with my beta list. I can also convert my free ebooks into these formats and then share. Love it.

Book Funnel

This is such a cool bit of software. It allows you to store your ebooks in whatever form you’d like. Then it gives you a link for you to make available to your subscribers (or whomever you’re giving your ebooks to). It is brilliant because the subscriber clicks on the link and then book funnel walks them through the process to download the ebook to their phone, laptop, tablet, ereader… and they provide the support should the person doing the download need any help. Love them.

Divi by Elegant Themes

Divi is a wordpress theme (for wordpress.org). It is an amazing theme that allows you to do pretty much whatever you want to do with your website. It is very flexible in what it allows you to do. The builders at Elegant Themes have made it and continue to make it easy to use with lots of training and support. Elegant themes also has other wordpress themes as well as a few dynamic plugins.


There are other auto responders out there but I really like aweber. They are very helpful, they have a lot of great resources to help you and they have made it really easy to use. Oh yeah, and you can do some pretty cool stuff with your emails. It is a great tool to use to captured your email list and to keep them engaged. You are building your email list right?

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Watch calibre in action

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