We’ve been discussing one-sentence summaries for the last couple of weeks, and I think we’ll be drawing this topic to a close in the next few days.
Today, I’d like to finish critiquing Laura’s summary sentence, which I started last week (but was unable to finish because I didn’t know the genre). Here is Laura’s latest comment over the weekend:
This will be a Women’s Fiction novel. She is the Controller (Head accountant) of an up and coming “hip” fashion accessory company. When she finds out the charismatic owner is basically a crook and confronts him, he gives her the choice to leave or be fired. She’s bought into the American Dream, not to mention the So. Ca. lifestyle, and finds herself on the street with a tarnished career and major burnout. Chucks it all and decides ambition is way overrated. Decides to go find something to do that she loves instead.
She doesn’t go looking for the job as a groom, just kind of falls into it. As you can imagine, the ranch owner becomes the hero.
Sorry to go on and on, but want everyone to have an idea of the plot.
Please continue to tear up the sentence!
Randy sez: OK, that gives me enough to go on. Here is my suggestion:
“Fired by her crooked boss, an accountant meets her dream man at a dude ranch.”
15 words, 3 characters, 2 plotlines, 1 dude ranch, 1 ranch dude. I think it’ll work. The focus here is on the future–the guy. What do you all think?
Now, let’s look at Gerhi’s one-sentence summary, which we discussed last week also. Gerhi wrote:
“A dorky dad does a gender bender to steal his toddler son from a deranged dimension.”
Randy sez: You do NOT want your lead character to be “dorky”. That’s a non-starter. In another post, Gerhi explained that in going to the mirror dimension, the dad becomes a woman. This has a lot of potential, so let’s backload that at the end of the sentence. I would recommend we make the adjectives on the dad less interesting so as to focus on the gender switch. Here is my suggestion:
“After chasing his toddler son into a mirror universe, a young father discovers that he has become a woman.”
19 words, 2 characters, 2 universes, and 2 crossovers. You might think we’re over the word limit, but 3 of those words are “a” and 8 of those words are 4 letters or less.
An operational issue: Probably 80 to 100 of my loyal blog readers posted one-sentence summaries, and it should be clear that we are never going to get through all of these, especially since new ones keep coming in daily. And the larger problem is that there’s a limit to how much I can improve a sentence in 5 minutes of work. Normally, I spend at least an hour writing a one-sentence summary for my own novels.
I was mulling this problem over the weekend and hit on an idea. For those of you who REALLY need a strong one-sentence summary, maybe I could offer a paid service: one hour of my time to buff up your one-sentence summary to a high polish for a suitable fee. I would have to set the fee high enough to drag me away from my many other worthwhile projects.
Let me know what you think of this idea. I would probably not advertise this service outside the blog for awhile, if ever. For one thing, my loyal blog readers deserve first shot at my limited time. For another, I’m not sure how many one-sentence summaries I can do before becoming completely deranged. I might end up wandering off into some mirror dimension, with consequences that could only be described as tragic.