31 March 2008

One-Sentence Summary

Randy Ingermanson has been discussing the all-important one-sentence summary on his blog the last few days, so I decided to give it a try with one of my shorter (and therefore more definable) works in progress.

Here it is:

Catherine has finally found the perfect man in Robert Wyvern, but when his ex-girlfriend – naked, branded and very definitely dead – quite literally crashes a wedding, Robert is the prime suspect in the murder.

I think this is fine as a first stab, but it's missing a few key elements:

  1. What is Catherine going to DO?
  2. The connection of Robert’s family to the local dragon legends (and, as it turns out, the local dragon).
  3. The depth of Catherine’s own involvement (as an intended sacrifice to said dragon).

Of these, I think the first one is probably the worst thing to leave out, although - since I'm classifying this one as a "dark, urban fantasy" - I feel the other two really ought to be there as well. However, adding any these elements to what is already there will make the 'one-sentence summary' waaaay too long. It's probably too long as it stands, anyway.

So I'm stuck.

But I'm going to keep at it, because I've decided to focus on this piece until I have a completed draft. My next step is to finish plotting it, and I think it will help to work this one-sentence thing out first.

Hopefully, I'll have something better by the end of the week. If I do, I'll post it. And if I get really brave, I'll post a snippet from this piece, too.

We'll see.



Miss Crabby Pants said...

For those of us who miss the fine print of "dark urban FANTASY" your one sentence synopsis smacks of a Kay Scarpetta-esque crime novel. I know his last name is Wyvern and all, but reading about the dragons after reading your sentence made my scratch my head and re-read your post.

And I'd rather read an outtake than a single sentence any day! Be brave!

FWIW,I LOVED the (too few)chapters I read of your other novel (boats, drugged out prince, and knife-wielding princess with the creepy old lady tutor).

Bethanie said...

MCP: That's it exactly! That version of the one-sentence summary is missing major elements of the story. I think that would be a big problem if I'm trying to sell it to a publisher or agent (or even just trying to explain it succinctly) - the genre should be obvious. I can probably get away without 'dark' and 'urban', but the 'fantasy' bit needs to be there.

So perhaps I will post a snippet on Friday... we'll see where I am with the plotting. It's going well, so far, but I don't really want to re-read anything I've already written on that story until I'm done plotting.

And I'm still working on that other novel - it bits and pieces - but it's still a major mess... :(