Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Horror of the One-Sentence Summary

I won't keep you in the dark! I'm still busy, but I wanted to give you all a post - as well as a great prompt that's keeping with what I've been doing lately. When I submitted to Strange Chemistry, they asked for a one-sentence summary of my novel. Yes, you heard right. One sentence to summarize a 77k piece of work.

Some of you are already familiar with these summaries (or loglines), and might've written them before. For those who haven't, it's not as easy as it seems. In fact, I was pulling my hair out over it. It was harder to pack my story into that one sentence than it was to write entire the book itself! I didn't know if I was supposed to simply tell what happens in the book or make it into a hook that isn't specific, but gets you interested. So I went to Google and I found this very helpful blog post by Melissa Dean at her blog The Guardian Writer.

This is the log line I eventually decided on:

While trying to escape an arranged marriage, Lividia Blackwell struggles to uncover the mysteries of her childhood only to discover a world of dreams, secrets, and dangerous fae.

What about you? Does your book have a logline? 

7 comments:

  1. Ooo, great one-sentence summary! I'm hooked :)

    P.S. I cringe at the thought of trying to do this to my WiP. Cringe. O_o

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  2. I've given it a few stabs, but haven't had much success. They always turn out EXTREMELY long-winded. The more I Twitter, though, the better I'm getting. ;)

    Yours is really good - especially how it's normal-normal-normal, FANTASY! Genius. Your hard work paid off.

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  3. Yours is awesome! I am hooked. I had to do the same thing for the same contest, and I kind of cheated by using a semi-colon. :P

    At night, 17-year-old Anna dreams she is Juliet; but it’s not just a dream - when she goes to sleep, she really and truly becomes Shakespeare's tragic heroine.

    Good luck!

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  4. Thanks guys! I'm glad it does its job, definitely!

    Jaime, just don't think about it yet!

    Skye, bang out a few of them and mix and match. That's what I did.

    Aberthot, I don't think semicolons are bad. And that line really makes me wonder HOW she becomes Juliet!

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  5. I'm all for dangerous fae. How did you come up with the name Lividia?

    Here's mine:


    Troubled loner Addie must fight her own invisible friend, the sinister spirit she calls Julian, when he possesses the body of a human boy she's begun to like.

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  6. Your logline is awesome! I did one a long time ago before the MS was finished. But it needs some serious loving, haha. I hope I don't have to use it anytime soon!

    As is:

    Struggling to fit in at her new school in the prestigious Emerald District, a girl’s search to uncover the truth behind a kidnapping reveals a dark side to the city she loves, and a connection to a magical world she never knew existed.

    I've heard mixed things about using a character's name vs. not using their name in a logline. I couldn't really decide which is more effective!

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  7. Katherine, ooh I love your logline and the concept sounds great! You've gone the 'evil imaginary friend' route, it looks like. Pretty fun.

    I think her name came from playing around with the names Lavinia and Lydia. I toy with adding extra letters to names or combining names a lot.

    Carissa, thanks! Your logline is pretty interesting too. Wow. I didn't know a lot about logline rules until I researched, so I hadn't heard anything about using char names vs. not. I just think they help introduce the character and personalize the logline. So, I'm all for using them.

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I'd love to hear what you have to say!

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