When Kim asked me what it was I was working on, I sent her the link to this trailer:
Now here's the interesting thing. I mentioned that I did this for all of my books (The one for Crossed Swords is HERE) and that I also did it before the book was written! Kim said it was a stroke of genius.
Stop laughing. She really said that.
Now Kim is as brilliant as she is pretty, and she's awfully dang pretty, so having her say that really made me pause for a second. I never considered for a moment that my somewhat narcissistic approach to writing would be helpful to others, but I do know how I use the trailers.
There are two parts to it. The first part is that I usually attach a publication date to the trailer (I didn't for this one for a specific reason I'll tell you about down the road.) What this does is force me to keep to a regular schedule of work. In order to get Crossed Swords out the door by August 2011 (while also getting my non-fiction out on approximately the same time line) I need to write about 1,000 words a week just on that story alone.
The trailer then becomes a sort of motivational contract. I put some of my favorite music and some stirring images on there so I'm inclined to watch it, and every time I do, I see that stark reminder: August, 2011, and I realize I better get my ass on the keyboard.
The second reason I do the trailers is entirely different. Think back to movies you really wanted to see and what the trailers showed. Star Wars Episode III is a good example. Let's be honest; we all pretty much knew that the Star Wars prequels were going to be about as delightful as an ass-flavored biscuit. We were largely watching them out of love for the original series and a desire for completeness. What we wanted to see was Obi-Wan kicking twelve colors of crap out of Anakin. In the trailer we see just one lightsaber slash of that fight (albeit from two different angles.)
The rest of the trailer fires our imagination. Why is Bail Organa screaming "NO!" over the cockpit of his fighter? How does Senator Palpatine go from a fifty-something to a decrepit beast in just a few scenes? Why does Yoda look so pissed?
If you're like me, and I know I am, you wrote that movie in your head about three dozen times after seeing the first trailer for it. I connected all those little dots in my imagination and hoped like hell that Lucas was up to the task of making a movie that was better than the one I saw on my own eyelids.
This is the secret behind why I make book trailers: Counterattack is not written yet. In fact, it exists solely as the 854 word prologue, two 400 word chapter precis, a yWriter file named Cntrattk.yw5, and the trailer above.
But every time I watch that trailer, I get an idea. Every time I consider the fight of eight humans against an alien race, I get inspired. Every time I think about what might happen if our world was destroyed by an alien civilization and the only thing left to fight for was vengeance, a few more words sear themselves into my mind.
I can't promise that the technique will work for you, but if you have a few minutes and some knowledge of iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, this is just something to think about trying out.
Oh, and if you need help making a trailer, shoot me an email. I've taught iMovie in the classroom and am experimenting with WMM. I'll do what I can to help you.
Until then, Write On!
Virgins Slain, Dragons Rescued.
Reasonable rates for all budgets!