I’m working through the one-sentence summaries that my loyal blog readers have posted here over the last couple of weeks. I’m trying to go in order, so those who posted first get theirs critiqued first.
The next on the list is Karla, but she recently posted a revision, so I’m going to look at both of them.
Okay, I am going to go ahead and edit the one sentence summary I originally submitted. Is this better or just different?
Original: A pastor’s wife joins a girl biker club and encounters new adventures that startle and shake up her husband’s church.
Revised: When a burned-out pastor’s wife becomes a biker chick, her new adventures startle and shake up her husband’s church.
Randy sez: I like the original better, but it still needs work. The original has a pastor’s wife joining a girl biker club. To me, that implies a fair bit of conflict and definitely an interesting character. The new version adds in the descriptor “burned-out”. The problem I see with this is that this description has been way overused and is now verging on a cliche. It can still be done, of course. Burnout continues to exist. But calling it “burnout” is the cliche. In any event, I think we’ve got enough to describe this lady without the burnout. In fact, I think it works even better to strip down the revised version just a little:
“When a pastor’s wife becomes a biker chick…” I think that sets up the story nicely.
Now for the second half, things suddenly get vague. This biker chick has “adventures”. She “startles” folks. She even “shakes them up.” All of these are fine for a first cut, but specific is always better than vague. If you tell us the adventure, we’ll be able to guess that the church folks are both shaken and stirred.
What adventures could our biker lady get into? An infinite number! Tell us one, Karla, in three or four words, and we’ll guess the rest.
Karla, when you pitch this to editors and agents, if they seem interested, you should also let them know pretty quickly that you’re a biker babe yourself, not to mention one of those minister’s wives. I’m sure you already know to do that, but many of my loyal blog readers probably aren’t aware that you’re writing what you know here. Now they do.
Next question: Shall we continue on One-Sentence Summaries or is it time to move on? We have many dozens more posted here, but I don’t want to keep flogging a dead horse. If you all think you’ve got it, we can find a new topic.