Friday, June 15, 2012

Jackson Porter: Be Prepared

Is it wrong to be stoked by our next guest? Nah! I mean, when it comes to awesomeness, Jackson Porter has it in droves. He's an aspiring author and a budding YouTube personality. If you haven't seen his Inception parody, Deception, (with a voice over by James Dashner), check it out here. Now show us what you've got, Jackson!

(Be sure to check out the cover reveal for Chantele Sedgwick's debut novel, when you have a sec!)

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Be Prepared.

Is that the Scout motto or slogan? I should know that ...

Anyway. Hi! I’m Jackson Porter. I’m sixteen years old, and one day, I’m gonna be an author. I guess that pretty much sums me up. I currently live at my blog and my twitter.

I’ve taken a lot of thought to the post I was gonna do on David’s blog. When he asked people to do guest posts I jumped right on the opportunity! There was one problem, though - I didn’t know what to write about....

Until two days ago, when I remembered something that happened at a movie I went to recently. The girl I was sitting next to turned to me before the previews and said, “So, Jackson, you’ve got to tell me about these books of yours.”

And I was like, “Uh...”

Yeah. I felt pretty stupid. And then I made a ridiculously horrible attempt at explaining what my books are about to her. I felt even dumber. She was probably thinking, And he’s pursuing writing why? His ideas suck!

They might suck, who knows? I love them, though. And shouldn’t I, the writer and creator of the stories, be able to make my books sound interesting when people ask me what they’re about. Shouldn’t I be able to give them some thirty second summary that makes them want to read it?

The answer: Heck yes!

But in all truth, I can barely make Doctor Who sound good. And how does one not make Doctor Who sound good?

When the idea hit me to write this for David’s blog, the scout saying Be Prepared! jumped into my head. I’d never really given that saying much thought since then. I thought Be Prepared really meant Be Prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse. Or Be Prepared for the Nuclear Strikeout. I didn’t really think that Be Prepared could apply to every single hobby or occupation in the world.

I met a famous pianist once who said the reason he’s standing where he is right now is because he was prepared. When he landed an agent, his agent took him to meet this famous composer. Joseph (the pianist I met) didn’t really know what to expect, so he dressed nice and was ready to shake hands and talk scales. But when he met the composer, the first thing the composer had him do took him by surprise. The composer said, “Play something for me.” And he pointed to a piano in the middle of a stage. So Joseph sat down and, being prepared, played something that the composer loved. And thus his career really took a start.

If Joseph hadn’t had anything memorized, if he hadn’t prepared anything to play in a moment’s notice, would he have been standing in front of me telling me that story? No, he probably wouldn’t have. I mean, maybe eventually he would have made his way up the ladder, but the reason he was where he was at that moment was because he had been prepared.

Be Prepared!

See, if I had been prepared with an awesome-sounding thirty second summary of my books, I wouldn’t have felt like a complete nincompoop when that girl asked me about my books at the party.

I’m a writer for a reason, though. I can’t tell things in one paragraph. That’s why I write books. So from now on I’m going to have a thirty second summary for each book I write memorized for the next time someone asks me about my books. It may just start off my career.

Have you ever been unprepared and felt like I did? If you have, feel free to share your experience in the comments. And don’t forget to stop by at my blog and say hi!

Favorite Thing of the Week: Swing dancing. Surprisingly, it was fun.

And the word TARDIS: meaning Time and Relative Dimension in Space.

QOTP (Quote of the Post): ‘It’s hot because it’s hot, not because it’s hot.’ -Jay Porter

Everybody give David a big round of applause for writing such a wonderful blog!

Until next time,

I'm Jackson, and I'm an Office enthusiast.

(I think Dwight heard that ...)


  1. Yeah, you've got to be ready to spout a short and exciting synopsis of your story or book at a moment's notice! (And the 'exciting' is the most difficult part.)

  2. This is a great post, Jackson! I really like it. I've always struggled with the challenge of describing my writing projects to other people. It usually ended up sounding dumb so I'd try to wave people off with "Oh it's a fantasy novel about this girl who's the last of her family" and then they'd lose interest. Then I'd feel dumb.

    I actually recently started reading what people were saying about writing query letters, and I used that advice to write a 300-word summary. It was surprising how much this helped me understand what my book is about. (I already knew, I just didn't know how to articulate it or which parts to emphasize.) So in the future I will be writing summaries and the 30-second pitch, like you're talking about. :)

  3. Excellent post! I've been there at that "Uh...." moment. And when you get done describing it and have to end with a Lame "It's better than it sounds". Be Prepared!

  4. If you can explain your book in 30 seconds, then a tip of the hat to you, good sir. If I could explain my book in 30 seconds, I would have written that way.

    I agree. Be Prepared (it's the motto, by the way. Slogan's "Do a Good Turn Daily"). It comes in handy.


  5. Great advice. Unfortunately, preparedness is one of my weaknesses and not my strengths. I gotta work on that.

  6. I've been working on the whole elevator pitch thing, but I get so excited talking about writing that I don't just stick with what I have prepared and end up with glassy-eyed strangers wondering, "All I did was ask her how she's doing..."

  7. I LOVE DOCTOR WHO with all my heart. I can't decide if I like David Tennant or Matt Smith better. They are both wonderful in their own little ways.
    I love your idea of being prepared. My first book is super hard to explain without giving away the punchline. So, I've narrowed it down to something that isn't completely fantastic but gets the point across. I should figure something else out. Thanks, Jackson, for your contribution to David's blog.

  8. Good post, Jackson!

    Yup, been there, stammered that. Condensing 170,000 *of your own* words into a thirty second tease is tough. Odd how we can condense other people's books at a moment's notice with no rehearsal, but not our own without painstaking practice.

  9. Definitely an important thing; preparation. Your save your life or begin something big an awesome, as your example here has shown us. Short summaries of my writings is something I should work on too...

  10. I always have to pause when someone asks me about my books. That pause is the little demon, doubt, inside my head telling me I have no idea how to talk about my writing and I should just give a one sentence generic answer. Then I remember how much I love my story and I start talking. Only problem usually goes over 30 seconds because I get so excited about what I am talking about. I have had several people tell me they want to read purely because of how excited I am about it. *grin*

  11. I had to go back and check the age twice. Sixteen? And can already write like this? You're going places, Jackson Porter. You're already prepared. Thanks for the post.

  12. oh man, reading this, I was like how many time have I sat there going, "Um, it's about..." and never coming up with something good. I really should get something worked out to say. That doesn't make me sound like a crazy-person either--that might help...

  13. Yep. I've totally experienced that before. It makes me feel like such an idiot because ME, the WRITER, should know what my own book is about of all people! It's crazy! I guess I should start coming up with a 30 second speech, too. Awesome post!

  14. I'm sometimes not too bad at this, and sometimes not too good at it. ;) Coming up with a pitch when you've got days to pore over it is bad enough. Doing it on the spot when unprepared?? not that great either ;)