We’ve been discussing for the last week how to write a one-sentence summary of your novel, as I advise in my article on the Snowflake method.
Barbara emailed me with this very long one-sentence summary of her novel:
Three disgruntled scientists are hired by a biogenetic research laboratory — run by a clandestine government agency — to evaluate possible modifications to lower life forms, never realizing their results will be used to alter the human genome.
As Barbara noted, it’s too long, at 36 words. The question is how to shorten it. I believe in making it as short as possible, but no shorter. Let’s see what we can do here.
One thing we can do is to change the subject of the sentence. There is no rule that the subject has to be your protagonist. Why not make it the government agency? Let’s try this:
A secret government agency manipulates three disgruntled biotech scientists into research that can be used to alter the human genome.
That’s 20 words and I don’t think it’s lost anything. By being shorter, it may even have gained. Less is more in this game.
Can anyone improve on this? You folks are getting quite good at this!
Let’s do another contest, shall we? Whoever comes up with the best revision by Friday night at midnight, PST, wins a free one-page critique from me. This is Barbara’s novel, so she gets to decide which version is best.
Go to it!