Writing a One-Sentence Summary

Sharp pencilsLet’s discuss the one-sentence summary, also known as a logline, a hook, or a one-sentence pitch. (It is not a tagline, however.)

What: About 25 words that capture your novel, memoir, or non-fiction book.

Why: To get someone interested in reading your book.

When to use it: The start of a query, book proposal, or anytime someone asks you, “What’s your book about?”

What it does: A one-sentence summary takes your complex book with multiple characters and plotlines and boils it down into a simple statement that can be quickly conveyed and understood, and generates interest in the book.

What it should include:
→ A character or two
→ Their choice, conflict, or goal
→ What’s at stake (may be implied)
→ Action that will get them to the goal
→ Setting (if important)

Tips:
→ Keep it simple. One plotline, 1 or 2 characters.
→ Use the strongest nouns, verbs and adjectives.
→ Make the conflict clear but you don’t have to hint at the solution.

In your one-sentence summary, try not to pitch a theme. Pitch what happens. Examples of themes (what not to do):

This book explores forgiveness.
This book looks at the thin line between right and wrong.
This book explores the meaning of independence, and asks if it’s really possible.

Here is Nathan Bransford’s simplified formula for a one-sentence pitch: “When [opening conflict] happens to [character(s)], they must [overcome conflict] to [complete their quest].”

An example:

Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
A boy wizard begins training and must battle for his life with the Dark Lord who murdered his parents. (Thanks Randy Ingermanson for this one.)

→ Character=boy wizard
→ Conflict=battling the Dark Lord
→ Stakes=his life
→ Setting=none
→ Action=wizard training; avoiding the same fate as his parents

Want to give it a try? Leave your one-sentence summary in the comments. Then feel free to offer feedback on other people’s summaries. (Constructive comments only!)

Sharpen those pencils and get to work!

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  • http://grapevine.com.au/~nataliem Natalie

    When dragons enslave her town, Seyune must overcome her lack of magical ability and low self-esteem to defeat them.

    • http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

      Interesting premise, and I love the name, but there’s one thing that needs to be addressed – why is it up to Seyune? The lack of magical ability is clearly a handicap in a society in which there are people with that gift, so I think it has to be explained – here – why the task falls to her.

      “Low self-esteem” might also be replaced…maybe something like “…knowing she lacks the magical ability to defeat them, Seyune must nonetheless meet in battle the dragons which enslave her town.”

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      When dragons enslave her town, (good) Seyune must overcome her
      “lack of magical ability”–Perhaps something positive would be more compelling. “Must learn the secret of the chicken curse <–silly, but just an example

      "and low self-esteem"–kinda pop psychology meets fantasy. Conquer her fear before she can defeat them.

      This is off the cuff, but I'd look into those two elements.

      • http://grapevine.com.au/~nataliem Natalie

        When dragons enslave her town and wipe out the powerful magic users, Seyune must team up with the arrogant archmage’s apprentice to fight them despite her own lack of magical ability.

        • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

          Yeah, better. How about:

          When dragons enslave her town and slaughter the powerful magicians, Seyune must face her inadequacies and join forces with an arrogant archmage’s apprentice to free her people.

          • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

            PJ, I really like that! I think a combination of this and Natalie’s revision would be perfect!

          • http://parisbreakfasts.blogspot.com parisbreakfast

            When dragons enslave Springfield, Seyune jumps into the fray to lead the forces of good to save her town.
            Name names pls.

        • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

          Wow, Natalie! Much stronger. Great job! I’m ready to read your book.

        • Suzanne

          This revised summary really drew me in! (I’m actually looking up your book now…)

          • http://grapevine.com.au/~nataliem Natalie

            Thanks heaps everyone! Now maybe I’d just better actually finish the book …

    • Brenda

      An orphan girl fights the small town bully, united with her alcoholic mother while trying to stay alive in the big city with her newborn baby.

      • http://grapevine.com.au/~nataliem Natalie

        So are they in the small town, or a big city? How is she an orphan when she has an alcoholic mother? And did she have her newborn baby when she was 12 or 13 if she is still a “girl”? It seems a bit contradictory.

    • Tom

      When his parents die in a tragic car accident, Tommy Slattery struggles to find happiness after he is forced to leave school to raise his deformed sister and run his father’s failing business.

  • http://head-heart-health.com KatieP

    A recovering bulimic’s reawakened sexuality has unexpected consequences when her estranged husband kills himself leaving her struggling to understand what love really means.

    • http://deadcember.com MK Becker

      @KatieP: I know comments are usually written quickly, but you might want to fix the grammar (comma after husband, period at the end). That said, I’d be curious to learn more about how suicide connects to “understand what love…”; I’m not getting the connection (though I doubt I’m the target audience either).

      @Natalie: I love “lack of magical ability”; it promises an interesting series of clear challenges on what is probably a Hero’s Journey. I’m not as excited about low self-esteem; it feels like a secondary problem, not necessarily worthy of the big-bang first sentence. What about an adjective or adjectival phrase preceding Seyune – “chambermaid Seyune” (low status), “ugly duckling Seyune” (outcast, bullied), etc.

    • http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

      I’m not sure that ‘sexuality’ is the best word – perhaps ‘passion’ of ‘passions’ would be better?

      Sexuality is kind of limiting, and to some degree pigeonholes the narrative arc. My feeling is that the awakening is more complete for the protagonist, and a word like ‘passion’ would cover that.

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Katie, I like the concept but I’m not clear on how her “reawakened sexuality” could result in her husband’s suicide. I realize that it’s a complex story and that so little can be told in the hook, but the lack of even a hint of a logical connection troubles me. But I may the only one who doesn’t get it. If I am, please ignore me. :)

    • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

      Katie, sounds fascinating! To avoid confusion about what is CAUSING what vs. what FOLLOWS what in time, maybe start with, “After her estranged husband’s suicide …”

  • http://deadcember.com MK Becker

    When Jonah is exiled as a cursling, a youth with a special gift, he must find a way to stop the schemes of the man who condemned him – if he can first survive the lethal Threeland nights. (“Threeland,” MG novel)

    • http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

      Great, but I’d lose the ‘first’. It tripped me when I read it.

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      MK, I think the phrase after the dash makes your logline. That was the part that captured my attention. I agree with Andrew in part. The word “first” is a bit of a stumbling block. However, instead of eliminating the word, consider reconstructing the phrase. Perhaps: “–but first he must survive the lethal Threeland Nights.”

      • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

        I like that, Christine! Good idea!

        • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

          Thanks! I’m looking forward to reading your novel. :)

      • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

        Yeah, that works, Christine. Overall, it’s a good pitch, MK.

        • http://Deadcember.com MK Becker

          Thanks, everyone. Appreciate the help (and encouragement).

  • http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Mary Connolly was killed by a terrorist bomb, but when the last empty seat on a long flight is next to a woman who could be her twin, Mike Trainor has the chance to face the past from which he’s fled – and reach for a future for which his heart yearns.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      Perhaps too much detail in the sentence for an elevator? Not sure.

      After a terrorist’s bomb kills Mary, Mike Trainor’s true love, a woman, who could be her twin, comes into his life, forcing him to choose between suppressing the past or reaching for the future.

      Just a thought, bro.

      • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

        P.J., you’ve really got a knack for this. I hope you’ll take a swing at mine (below)! Pleeeeease? :-)

  • http://www.gabrielle-meyer.blogspot.com Gabrielle Meyer

    A headstrong bride-to-be arrives in town and finds the groom is missing, but a hundred eager bachelors wait in line to take his place.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      Needs a bit more conflict or detail. I’m thinking she’s a flake if she doesn’t ask what happen to the guy. Is he dead? Who cares about these other guys, John is missing!! (or whatever his name is)
      It’s not a mystery, is it?

      A hundred bachelors? Is it Alaska during the Gold Rush?

      When a headstrong bride-to-be arrives in a town devoid of women, she discovers the groom has abandoned her, forcing her to choose between a hundred eager bachelors or starvation. <– i have no clue what I'm talking about here. :)

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Gabrielle, I agree with P.J. that more detail is needed. I don’t feel I can give an example of an alternate pitch because I don’t have a real sense of what the story is about. I’m intrigued in regards to why there are a hundred guys ready to take the groom’s place, but like P.J., I have no sense of what the conflict is or why the bride seems unconcerned that the groom is missing. Is this an arranged marriage? Is the town (as P.J. suggested) composed solely of men? Perhaps giving a setting would help.

    • http://www.gabrielle-meyer.blogspot.com Gabrielle Meyer

      Yes, the town was comprised mostly of men (they actually put out an advertisement saying there were a hundred bachelors for every “good-looking woman”). My book is set in 1857, Minnesota Territory, and the bride is VERY concerned that her fiance has disappeared – one of the conflicts she had to deal with is the hundred eager bachelors, when all she wants is the one who’s gone. :)

      In 1857, a bride-to-be arrives in Minnesota Territory, but discovers the groom has abandoned her, leaving her at the mercy of a hundred eager bachelors, ready to take his place.

      • Suzanne

        Your revised statement is more interesting! I’d read further.

      • http://deadcember.com MK Becker

        When a mail-order bride arrives in the Minnesota Territory and discovers her perfect groom has vanished, she must [something] a town full of men who’ll stop at nothing to take his place.

        My problem: I don’t know the [something]. Fend off? Choose from? Audition? You’ve given a great setup, but I’m not sure what the conflict is after Chapter 1.

      • Patti

        much better – and as a Minnesotan, I’d love to read it one day. :-)

    • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

      I’d love some names here; it would help me to immediately connect with the characters.

    • http://www.gabrielle-meyer.blogspot.com Gabrielle Meyer

      I thought it had to be under 25 words, but now I look back and see it should be “about” 25 words.

      In 1857, bride-to-be Kathryn Westbrook arrives in Minnesota Territory, but discovers the groom has abandoned her, leaving her at the mercy of a hundred eager bachelors, ready to take his place.

      Question: Kathryn starts to fall in love with William, who is one of the bachelors and a man committed to ridding the town of outlaws who threaten his investments and the future of the town, but when her fiance shows up again, and she discovers he’s become one of the outlaws, she must choose between him and William – who is determined to bring her fiance to justice. How would you fit that into a one sentence hook – along with what I already have?

      • http://www.heatherdaygilbert.blogspot.com Heather Day Gilbert

        Gabrielle, I kinda like it w/out the deets on the men she has to choose between. I think if you stick w/your main character and his/her conflict, that’s your hook. The other stuff can go in the synopsis. And even then, stick w/the how she deals w/the two guys (not the whole town o’guys…hee).

  • http://katelarkindale.blogspot.com/ Kate Larkindale

    When Sacha finds herself playing second fiddle to her rocker boyfriend’s newly acquired drug habit, she realizes that despite what all the songs say, sometimes love isn’t all you need.

    • http://grapevine.com.au/~nataliem Natalie

      I think no one has commented on this one yet because it is really good. A very clear pitch.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      “finds herself playing second fiddle” seems a bit passive.

      Suggestion:

      “When her rocker boyfriend plunges into drugs, Sasha learns that, in spite of the songs, love isn’t all you need.”

      • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

        Great rewrite, P.J.

      • http://katelarkindale.blogspot.com/ Kate Larkindale

        The second fiddle bit is a reference to the fact Sacha is a violinist….

        • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

          Ah, OK, we didn’t know that. Without that information, it seemed like a cliche. It kind of clashed–rocker-second fiddle (I don’t know, Dave Matthews uses fiddles, right?)

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Katie, it’s a good plot concept, but please do take a look at what P.J. did with the pitch. The phrase “playing second fiddle” is cliche. “Love is all you need” is fine because you’ve connected it with the song lyric, but having two cliches in one sentence might lead agents and editors to think that you’re writing will be riddled with them. I suspect that you were going for a music-resonant phrase when you used “second fiddle,” but I’m sure you can come up with one of your own.

      • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

        Agreed, Christine.

  • http://www.deebright.com Dee Bright

    As a mother fights to overturn her son’s life sentence, he uncovers a deadly and far-reaching conspiracy that threatens to destroy them both.

    • Patti

      @Bree:

      Too vague – tell us what the conspiracy is. In the example from Harry Potter, we know the man who killed his parents is after him. Specificity will make your pitch stand out.

      Good Luck

      • Patti

        Sorry – I meant @Dee. :-)

    • Rose Gardener

      @Dee. Consider,

      While in prison, (Name) uncovers a deep-rooted conspiracy which puts the one person striving to overturn his life sentence in mortal danger.

      • https://traditionally.wordpress.com/ Julie Morrill

        Question: About whom is this story? The prisoner himself or the one trying to get him out of prison?

        Not knowing exactly what the story is about, I made up a couple of taglines that could be for either character:

        Option A: In prison for …, (Name) discovers a deep-rooted conspiracy that could overturn his life sentence, but put his life in danger.

        Option B: Striving to overturn a friend’s life imprisonment for a crime he didn’t commit, (Name) uncovers a deep-rooted conspiracy that could put him in mortal danger.

  • http://www.hypnoticdreams.com/stories/pygmalion.html Daniel

    When a hypnotist is challenged to turn a woman with low self esteem into porn star/ dominatrix, he uncovers evidence of a childhood abduction and traumatic sexual abuse. He must help the girl overcome the trauma and help the FBI track down the pedophiles that abused her.

    Okay, that’s 2 sentences and 47 words, but I don’t see how I can condense it any more.

    • Patti

      How about:

      When a hypnotist accidentally uncovers his patient’s latent memories of sexual abuse, he must ….

      I stopped there because I don’t see the conflict for the protagonist. What will he lose by helping this woman? Is this an example of systematic abuse by people of power? Is he struggling against a greater force?

      Answer these questions and I think you’ll have a better pitch. Good luck

      • http://grapevine.com.au/~nataliem Natalie

        Yes, I really wonder why he “must”. Why has he become so involved?

      • http://www.hypnoticdreams.com/stories/pygmalion.html Daniel

        The hypnotist’s motivation comes from the women in his life. His girlfriend’s sister was abducted and is currently missing (previous novel). His publicist said that if he could give the girl enough confidence to leave an abusive relationship she would provide her publicity services for free. Also he feels an obligation to an FBI agent because he’s partially responsible for her best friend’s PTSD (previous novel).

        So his motivation is complicated.

    • Rose Gardener

      @Daniel. Perhaps give away less of the plot. Consider,
      A shy woman challenges a hypnotist to turn her into a porn star, but secrets are uncovered that instead turn him into a detective, chasing down the men who abused her in childhood.

      • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

        Oooooooooooooh, I like!

      • http://www.hypnoticdreams.com/stories/pygmalion.html Daniel

        Thanks for the suggestion, Rose. But as I state above, it’s not the subject who issues the challenge, it’s his girlfriend and a concerned friend.

      • http://www.hypnoticdreams.com/stories/pygmalion.html Daniel

        How about:

        Challenged to turn an anorexic co-dependent girl into a dominatrix, a hypnotist uncovers repressed memories of a childhood abduction and a ring of pedophiles. He must track down the girl’s abusers in order to discover the girl’s true identity and reunite her with her family.

        • Rose Gardener

          Daniel, now that version I really like! There’s a book I’d read. Well done. :)

        • Patti

          Much better. Good job!

        • http://www.hypnoticdreams.com/stories/pygmalion.html Daniel

          Thanks, Rose and Patti.

  • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

    When the holy men of Boston become victims of a psychopathic murderer, Detective Adam Stein must delve into the elusive killer’s mind to stop the slaughter of priests and pastors.

    • Patti

      I like – good job!

    • http://dcmorin.blogspot.com Dannie Morin

      This is probably personal bias, so take it with a grain of salt but the work psychopathic stuck out to me. (I’m a therapist.) I think what you mean is sociopathic. Psychopathology applies to anyone with any sort of mental health condition from depression to schizophrenia. Sociopathology is when someone’s behavior deviates from what is socially acceptable i.e. murder. Again because of my bias, the word psychopathic as used implies that mentally ill people are violent murderers and can be construed as offensive. Otherwise, well done. Great energy and tone.

      • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

        Thanks Christine!

    • http://www.johnniedonley.com Johnnie

      PJ, you have a clear and focused pitch. If you replace your character’s name with something like “embittered detective” or “burnt out detective” or “detective of the year” (okay, maybe not that one), but something that tells us who this guy is, it’ll be even stronger.

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Really excellent, P.J. I love your strong verb phrase “must delve.” The phrase “When the Holy Men of Boston…” tripped me up. I had to read it twice and I didn’t quite know what you meant until I saw “priests and pastors” at the end of the sentence. On reading the sentence a few times, I think that the problem may be that it is passive. They “become the victims.” Consider switching the sentence construction so that it’s more active: “When a sociopath [to use Dannie's suggestion] begins killing the holy men of Boston….” I think that might make the sentence stronger.

      • http://deadcember.com MK Becker

        A mass murderer is by definition a sociopath; the word is redundant. Also, become victims is passive.

        How ’bout:
        When detective Adam Stein spots the thread connecting the murders of Boston’s priests, he must find the key to the killer’s mind before he strikes again.

        Not quite it, but something like that…? I know you said priests and pastors, but “religious leaders” lacks punch. Unless the next victim on the list is his rabbi? (Just thinking of the name Stein and Boston’s long and troubling religious struggles. Depends whether its set in Southie or Brookline… but if it is in either of those communities, be specific, since they have resonance.)

        • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

          Oooh, I like that MK!

        • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

          Thanks MK. Some things about the book require that no rabbi is killed. :)
          You and Christine are right, the passive has to go.

        • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

          How about:

          When a sociopath murders priests and pastors in Boston, a Jewish detective must delve into the elusive killer’s mind to stop the carnage.

          • http://www.johnniedonley.com Johnnie

            I like it, PJ. Good job!

  • http://www.eviemclaughlin.com Evie McLaughlin

    Captive in ancient Albia, deep beneath Antarctica’s ice-sheets, Gus finds first love and the courage to escape with a mission to avert global climate crisis

    • Patti

      This is too general for me. Tell us more about the mission and less about how he finds it.

      Good luck

      • Marilyn Groves

        Thank you so much for that advice. I shall ponder how to follow it :-). Good luck to you too :-)

  • Patti

    When zealots steal a religious manuscript explaining how to start Armageddon, Polly must uncover the origins of the manuscript in order to prevent it.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      Good description, a bit clinical.
      Suggestion

      When zealots steal a religious manuscript that unlocks the door to Armageddon, Polly must uncover the origin of the document to prevent world destruction.

      Meh, mine’s not great. Yours is good, I just think it needs a punch, because it sounds like a good book.

      • Patti

        Thanks for the critique. How about:

        When zealots steal a religious manuscript needed to begin Armageddon, Polly must uncover the origins of the manuscript in order to stop them.

        • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

          Sounds good. I hope it makes it to print. I’d read it!

          • Patti

            Thanks! Have to finish writing it first. ;-D

        • http://charmainetdavis.com Charmaine T. Davis

          Hey, Patti!

          I am always puzzled as to why evildoers (books, movies) would want to start Armageddon–it is only a quicker way to Hell, according to the book of Revelation. Thanks!

          • Patti

            Short answer:

            Because they believe everything that is physical (Earth, humanity, etc) was created by the devil and only by destroying it can we all be saved.

            For more info you’ll have to read the book :-)

    • http://www.johnniedonley.com Johnnie

      I’m going to give the same advice I gave PJ — instead of a name, tell us something defining about Polly. Who is this girl?

      • Patti

        Here’s a different take:

        While investigating her mother’s death, Polly finds a religious manuscript needed to start Armageddon only to have it stolen by her mother’s murderer who plans to use it.

        • gwen

          While investigating her mothers death Polly uncovers the key to unleashing Armegggedon and now the killers have her in their sights.

          rough- but taking the basic structure and key info on- the language can be smoothed out.

          all Polly wanted was answers to her mothers death, instead she uncovers a manuscript detailing how to unleash Armeggedon, and some people will do anything to get their hands on it.

          This stuff is hard :(

  • http://www.camilleeide.com Camille Eide

    Coming in off the ledge for a minute to play, then back to work dodging pigeons:

    “While Josie poses as Kennedy’s mommy to protect him, she finds unexpected love, until the birth mom’s appearance threatens all she loves with the truth.” (25 wds)

    (Hmm…Am I the only one writing romantic relational drama?)

    • Jeanne

      You’re not. ;) I just haven’t dived in with mine yet.

    • http://mgkingbooks.com M. G. King

      Try simple active verbs for more punch:

      Josie protects (baby?) Kennedy by claiming him as her own. Then the birth mother appears with the truth, threatening everything Josie loves.

      Wonder if you could replace “threatening everything” with something more specific?

      Good luck with those pigeons!

  • http://www.aboutchristian.org Kerrie Price

    Be inspired and motivated to live your Christian life to the full, as you work through 40 short, relevant and practical How-to topics.

    • http://mgkingbooks.com M. G. King

      Instead of being told it’s relevant, I’d like to come to that conclusion on my own by having more specifics: who’s the target audience (working moms? teen girls? retirees?), what is the nature of the topics (spiritual disciplines? relationships?), and how am I going to work through the topics (is this a fill in the blank workbook? do you give real life assignments? or simple meditations for the day?)

      I’m ready to be inspired!

      • http://www.aboutchristian.org Kerrie Price

        Thank you for your help M. Here is my second attempt.

        Christians of every age with a desire to serve God, will be inspired and motivated as you practice the practical How-to’s following each of 40 short topics.

  • http://terripatrick.wordpress.com/ terri patrick

    A Romeo and Juliet in reverse, the friends and family want the wounded warrior and the reluctant healer tied together before she flies off, and he sails away, in three weeks.

    • http://www.juturnafaerthing.blogspot.com Juturna F.

      Not sure I’m hooked on “A reverse Romeo and Juliet”–unless you really are the next Shakespeare, it sets up some pretty tall expectations. I think this would be stronger without the reference.

      Maybe “Friends and family want a wounded warrior and his reluctant healer…”? Also you don’t need to set off “and he sails away” with commas.

      • http://marilynhudsontucker.wordpress.com Marilyn

        @Kate, you are absolutely right about the commas. Extra commas are my pet peeve.

        • http://marilynhudsontucker.wordpress.com Marilyn

          @Terry, you sensed two pauses, but dashes would be more appropriate than commas here.

          • http://marilynhudsontucker.wordpress.com Marilyn

            I like it better with neither dashes nor commas.

  • http://makingbabygrand.com Dina Santorelli

    When the governor’s infant daughter is kidnapped as part of a plot to delay the execution of a mob boss, a down-on-her-luck writer is abducted to care for the child and must find the strength to protect her and save them both.

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Hi Dina,

      It sounds like you have an action-packed story! One suggestion: perhaps start your pitch with your protagonist. That way, the hearer / reader cares about her. Currently, she is taking a back seat to the infant and the governor.

      • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

        Agreed! Maybe “When down-on-her-luck writer is abducted to care for …”

        • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

          Good lead in, Jackie. :)

  • Taz Lindsay

    Racing against time to hunt down his father’s betrayer, Fletcher must uncover long-kept family secrets before it’s too late to save those he can’t live without.

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Taz, your pitch was great up until the end. The sentence becomes awkward at “to save those he can’t live without.” See if you can find a way to rephrase just that part.

      • Taz Lindsay

        Onto it! Thank you!!

        PS~ Wonder what Rachelle thinks of all these comments flying fast and free. Bet she loves watching the interaction. It’s like a mini conference.

  • Taz Lindsay

    Take two (this is going to take a while)…

    Hunting down the lifelong friend who betrayed his father leaves Fletch out of time, discovering you can’t kill a man twice.

    • Suzanne

      This ending is interesting! I’d read more, Taz.

      • Taz Lindsay

        Wow, thanks :) It’s a test to pack in the info but only in 25 words. Journalists would have a field day with this. It’s like the first sentence in an article.

    • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

      Very intriguing!

      • Taz Lindsay

        Thank you. My one-sheet is even better ;)

  • http://www.lisamairey.com Lisa M. Airey

    When Julie Hastings, abuse victim, accepts a veterinary position in South Dakota, she ends up falling in love and healing herself.

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Lisa, I feel that you have tied this up too neatly. It’s as if you’ve told your story in a sentence. Hint at the ending without completely giving it away. For example, “In her new position as veterinarian, Julie Hastings loves and heals animals, but can she find love and heal herself of an abusive past?”

      • J. M. Tompkins

        I agree, the story sounds great but I do feel like I already know the ending. Maybe mentioning what she battles internally when she falls in love? It certainly sounds like you are writing a book that can help so many. I wish you luck!

      • http://www.lisamairey.com Lisa M. Airey

        Thank you so much! Great feedback!

        • http://www.lisamairey.com Lisa M. Airey

          How’s this?

          New veterinarian, Julie Hastings, has been taught by her stepfather that not all beasts run on four feet, now she must face another truth: some beasts are good.

          • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

            It’s intriguing, Lisa. :)

  • http://michaelseese.blogspot.com/ Michael Seese

    Tommy should be doing something normal, like studying or making out with a cheerleader, instead of staring into the eyes of the monster he created.

    • http://www.edgeofescape.blogspot.com Debra Chapoton

      I love this! You got my attention!

    • http://warriorechidna.blogspot.com Jeanne Rogers

      I like it too. I would certainly want to read more.

    • http://www.loreoffei.weebly.com Kathleen S. Allen

      Instead of the word “normal” try taking it out so it reads: Tommy should be studying or making out with a cheerleader, instead of staring into the eyes of the monster he created.

      I’d read it!

      • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

        Excellent revision, Kathleen!

    • http://showknowgrow.com Melinda Viergever Inman

      This is great! The character of the lead is captured, and I want to find out what happens next.

    • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

      Haha, love it!!

    • http://michaelseese.blogspot.com/ Michael Seese

      Thanks to all who offered their kind words and suggestions. Truly, I am touched.

      So…um…any of you know an agent looking to represent a YA thriller?

      • Evelyn

        I teach high school and my students would love this.

        • http://michaelseese.blogspot.com/ Michael Seese

          Evelyn, OK. So it’s not published…yet. What can we make happen? If interested, please write me mail(AT)MichaelSeese(DOT)com

  • http://ROYPIPES.COM William Pipes

    Darby is a novel of danger, mystery, and intrigue set in the Appalachian mountains of Western North Carolina.

    • http://www.edgeofescape.blogspot.com Debra Chapoton

      Name the danger, mystery, and intrigue.

      • http://ROYPIPES.COM William Pipes

        Darby is a small rural community. The novel begins in 1895, when George Walsh is murdered and Floyd Caldwell, a neighbor and farmer was blamed by George Walsh’s family for the murder. This developed into a feud,and later a duel between Caldwell and the brother of George Walsh. The duel won by Caldwell drew Walsh’s son and Caldwell’s son into the feud. This controversy lasted over twenty years. It involved Walsh’s son seeking revenge.

        • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

          Good synopsis, William. Your concept sounds good. But you haven’t got a pitch yet. Your original pitch was too general. Your synopsis is much more interesting. Even so, I’m not clear on who your protagonist is and what that protagonist’s conflict is. Looking again at Rachelle’s formula and try writing the pitch again with a clear protagonist and conflict.

          • http://ROYPIPES.COM William Pipes

            The novel, Darby, begins in 1895 when George Walsh, a rocky soil farmer, dram drinker, father, and husband is killed. Floyd Caldwell, also a farmer found Walsh standing in Elk Creek where he appealed to Caldwell saying, “Floyd I’m stobbed and stobbed bad.” Floyd rescued him but was later blamed by Walsh’s family for his murder.
            This blame developed into a feud, and a duel in which Floyd Caldwell killed Virgil Walsh, George’s brother. This drew their eighteen year old sons, Andrew Walsh and William Caldwell, into the feud. Andrew was pretty much of a hothead and he took up where Virgil had left off by holding a grudge against the entire Caldwell family.
            In a bar fight Andrew killed a man and was sentenced to ten years in prison. While in prison he killed a fellow inmate and his sentence was increased to life in prison. Even though the inmate he killed admitted to killing his father, Andrew refused to believe him. He continued blaming the Caldwells and threatened to break out of prison and kill them all.
            Andrew had a sister, Deborah, who married William Caldwell. This angered Andrew so much that when his mother visited him in prison he attacked her for allowing Deborah to marry, “one of them murdering Caldwells.”
            During these more than twenty years, William Caldwell and Deborah attend college where he became a doctor and his wife a school teacher and they had two children.
            Andrew, in a high security prison feigned insanity and was assigned to an insane asylum from which he broke out and headed for Darby, North Carolina, and the Caldwells. This time he was caught before reaching Darby, but not before he murdered three people.
            Another time he was thought by hospital psychiatrists to be rehabilitated and was given unsupervised probation. He again went after the Caldwells plus his mother and brother.
            While he was unsuccessful in killing the Caldwells, he did try to kill his brother but was himself, killed by his mother.

  • http://www.edgeofescape.blogspot.com Debra Chapoton

    When seventeen year old Jessica suffers a brain injury the only two friends who can see her splintered soul must help her before she gets stuck forever in her rival’s body.

    • Patti

      Who is the protag of your story? Jessica or her two friends? And if Jessica’s soul is split, does she realize and is unable to fix it? You have an interesting concept here, but I just have too many questions to be hooked.

    • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

      Very interesting concept! I’m intrigued!! Is Jessica the main character here? The brain injury in the intro does not prepare me for the ending “in the rival’s body.” That concept should be introduced earlier.

  • http://Www.renew-ministries.com Robin Gilbert Luftig

    When it is discovered that I have a brain tumor and only ten days to prepare for what could be the end of my life, I use those ten days to reflect over the different types of brokenness I experienced and realize that God’s, love, grace and protection was always there and available for me.

    • http://www.renew-ministries.com robin gilbert luftig

      Too long, let me try again.

      When I am diagnosed with a brain tumor, I have ten days to face and accept my brokenness I determine if God was ever there for me.

      • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

        Hi Robin,

        You have a powerful story here and your second pitch is almost perfect. I think that you may just have a typo (which is really easy to do when writing these comments). I’m thinking that you meant to write “I have ten days…to determine if God….” Is that right?

        • http://www.renew-ministries.com robin gilbert luftig

          Thanks, Christine!

          • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

            You’re welcome ! :)

    • Evelyn

      Glad to see another memoir on here. I just pitched mine. Should they be in first-person? What’s the standard?

      • http://Www.renew-ministries.com Robin Gilbert Luftig

        What does your editor suggest? I’m working in first person. It makes it easier to engage the reader.

        Thanks.

        • Evelyn

          Here’s mine in 3rd: A 36-year-old retraces her failed relationships since 16 to find closure and reach happiness with her husband and two sons.

          • http://Www.renew-ministries.com Robin Gilbert Luftig

            When I read a story, I am more drawn in when I experience it, not just hear it. Good luck with this.

          • Evelyn

            So are you suggesting I change it to first-person, or start over?

  • http://solitruth.com Diana Harkness

    Eli is beaten, betrayed, burned, and accused of murder on his quest to find his calling and to know YHWH.

    • Patti

      I like the concept, but on any worthwhile quest, someone will be beaten down, etc. I want to know why he’s on this quest and what will happen if he doesn’t succeed.

      • Patti

        Oh, and what the quest is. (forgot to add that)

        • http://solitruth.com Diana Harkness

          It is the same as anyone’s quest to find their calling and to grow close to God. What happens if he fails? What happens if anyone fails? As Mordecai told Esther, “If you do not do this, God will raise up another.” (paraphrase) Maybe the better question is: what happens if he succeeds? Will life be easy or will trouble continue to follow?

          • Patti

            That’s all fine and good, but what is the inciting incident that makes him leave his comfort zone to find himself? Why now?

            The point of fiction, even character studies like yours, is to watch people grow against the odds. Show us who he is before he finds God and what he aims to become after he finds God. Then you have a pitch.

            But, this is all just one persons’ opinion. Feel free to take it or leave it – which ever helps you grow as a writer.

            Good Luck.

  • R. S. Jacob

    In the world of the Gifted, two powerful forces work together to stop the deadly workings of a scientific researcher gone evil, while battling their own unclaimed feelings.

    • http://MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com Meredith Mansfield

      The first thing that’s missing completely is any hint of the main character or characters.

    • http://dcmorin.blogspot.com Dannie Morin

      I think the more specific you get here the more opportunity you have to showcase your manuscript’s uniqueness. What can you tell us, more specifically, about these two powerful forces and the characters through whom they are conveyed?

    • http://warriorechidna.blogspot.com Jeanne Rogers

      The world of the Gifted is very intriguing, but I would like to know a bit more about it.

    • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

      Does “unclaimed feelings” indicate a romance? I guess I’m not sure what you mean by “unclaimed feelings.”

    • R. S. Jacob

      Hey guys thanks for the feedback. Here is another shot at it.

      To stop the evil machinations of a Gifted Scientist, a librarian hiding her own powerful gifts works to uncover the truth behind the killings, however will working with her unclaimed love proves to me be a trial that she can overcome?

  • http://MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com Meredith Mansfield

    When they sail to that part of the map labeled “Here be dragons”, normally shy Astrid must use her gift for telling the right story at the right time to help her people build a new home.

    • http://dcmorin.blogspot.com Dannie Morin

      I’d cut the “normally” out. I think it’s implied and also your logline shows greater conflict without it. I’m also not sure you need the “at the right time.” I don’t think it adds anything in the vacuum of a logline and for me it makes the sentence feel a little clunky. Sounds like a great tale!

      • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

        great suggestions!

      • http://MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com Meredith Mansfield

        Thanks. I think you may be right about that.

    • http://warriorechidna.blogspot.com Jeanne Rogers

      Very interesting. Only one question; why did they sail to that part of the map?

      • http://MeredithMansfield.WordPress.com Meredith Mansfield

        Hmm. Well, that’s where one-sentence pitches get difficult. With three sentences, I could tell you more. :)

        They’re starting from Greenland ca. 1350, where the Norse colony was slowly starving. They’re going to Markland (North America)–uncharted territory, which was commonly labeled “Here be dragons” on the maps of the time. And they will encounter things that look to them a whole lot like dragons.

        • http://marilynhudsontucker.wordpress.com Marilyn

          I would like to see the time period in the sentence.

  • http://dcmorin.blogspot.com Dannie Morin

    When her rock star father is murdered, Skylar Benson, a sixteen year old girl with cystic fibrosis must do the one thing she never expected–survive.

    • http://www.juturnafaerthing.blogspot.com Juturna F.

      Why must she survive? To find his murderer, to get revenge, to keep his band going?

    • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

      She never expected to survive? I’m guessing what you actually mean is that she never expected to have to fight for survival, is that right?

    • http://dcmorin.blogspot.com Dannie Morin

      No, I mean survive period. Cystic fibrosis is a terminal disease.

      My two sentence logline is: Sixteen-year-old Skylar Benson has cystic fibrosis and one certainty: she’s going to die first. When her rock star father is murdered, she must do the one thing she never expected–survive.

      • http://www.juturnafaerthing.blogspot.com Juturna F

        With that two-sentence logline, I’d replaced “die first” with “die before her father.” “First” is a comparative term and does you no good unless you know to whom she’s comparing her lifespan.

        Again, I need to know why she suddenly needs to survive (or why she didn’t need to survive before). I have no sense of what’s at stake. It’s a great concept and ordinarily surviving would be a goal in and of itself, but when you say she expected to die, I need something stronger and more specific to explain why she suddenly needs to live. Maybe she’s living to carry on her father’s name? Throw in a “to” clause (“When her rock star father is murdered, Skylar Benson, a sixteen year old girl with cystic fibrosis must do the one thing she never expected to [honor his memory/find his killers/find fulfillment/prevent the zombie apocalypse]–survive.”) It’s a great one-sentence summary, but I really need that motivator before I’m hooked enough to want to pick the book up.

  • Eve Harris

    A millionaire’s illegitimate son signs a bethrothal contract to save his father’s life, and sets to find his spouse’s missing ex to win his heart.

    • Patti

      Sorry, but I’m confused. How does a betrothal contract save a person’s life? Is he being threatened by somebody? A threat is always more powerful when we know who is doing the threatening and why. And how does his finding the ex help?

    • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

      Wait, hold on. I got confused about whose ex and whose spouse we’re talking about. Make the characters’ connections to one another clear.

  • http://warriorechidna.blogspot.com Jeanne Rogers

    A tormented fox has gained control of a powerful sword and three unlikely heroes must lead the forest creatures to reclaim the Kingdom of Sunderland.

    • http://dcmorin.blogspot.com Dannie Morin

      I feel like I want a little more character here. What’s the fox’s name? Is he one of the heroes? Give me someone to whom I can anchor myself and thus bond to your story. Sounds really cute!!

      • Jeanne

        Thanks, Dannie. How about this?

        When Cynric, a tormented fox, gains control of a powerful sword, three heroes forge an unlikely friendship and find they must lead a rebel army of forest creatures to reclaim the Kingdom of Sunderland.

        • http://dcmorin.blogspot.com Dannie Morin

          Better, I think. :)

          It might be too wordy for a logline but I wonder if you could show the unlikely friendship, rather than tell?

        • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

          Jeanne, I love this! First, I was intrigued from the moment that you said, “A fox finds a powerful sword….” A fox is an unusual protagonist even in a fantasy. (Thank you for not making your protagonist a mouse.) I’m glad that you took Dannie’s suggestion and named the fox. Cenric is a fantastic name, indicates your writing style and immediately helps the readers connect with and care about the character. I am ready to read your story. Best of luck with it. :)

        • http://deadcember.com MK Becker

          Intriguing. I want to learn more. You could tighten it, I think.

          When Cynric, a tormented fox, gains control of the powerful Magalunian sword, three heroes must forge an unlikely friendship to muster an army of forest creatures that can reclaim the kingdom.

          In these books, swords tend to have names – and that fact that it’s a named sword matters more, I think, than the name of the kingdom. Also, I’ve tried to make the main clause more imperative and urgent. Does it help? Right track?

          BTW, “forest creatures” sounds MG – is that the audience? Or is it older fantasy? That said, I can’t off the top of my head come up with a one-word noun to replace it. And I still have too many verbs there – forge, muster, reclaim. Does it actually need the reclaim part? I guess that’s what’s at stake, but the interesting part is the friendship and the army, to me.

          • http://warriorechidna.blogspot.com Jeanne Rogers

            @MK, Christine and Dannie – Just wanted to say thank you so very much for your feed back and advice. This is a middle grade fantasy, which will soon be released. The title, The Sword of Demelza, will introduce kids to animals that are very unusual, many of which are endangered. Most of the anthropomorphized characters are animals found only on the continent of Australia.
            I do hope you will look for it in the near future.
            Thank you again for your kind help and words of support!
            Jeanne
            https://facebook.com/australianfantasyadventures

  • http://gonna-let-it-shine.blogspot.com Jen Kohler

    When flying trapeze artist Lulu Young suffers a tragic injury, she must find a way to rebuild her life and her father’s ailing circus.

    • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

      Fascinating! I’m intrigued. Could you add some descriptor of Lulu? Is she super talented (which implies that the tragic injury is even harder to take)?

      I trip up on the word “ailing.”

      • http://gonna-let-it-shine.blogspot.com Jen Kohler

        Thanks Jackie! How about:
        When elite flying trapeze artist Lulu Young suffers a tragic injury, she must find a way to rebuild her life and save her father’s bankrupt circus.

        • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

          I LOVE IT.

          • http://gonna-let-it-shine.blogspot.com Jen Kohler

            Yay, thanks for the feedback and encouragement!

  • http://brendanomeara.com Brendan O’Meara

    26 words for my memoir “The Last Championship”:

    A son watches his father play senior softball and learns to reconcile the bitter end of his baseball career by playing again after ten years away.

  • http://warriorechidna.blogspot.com Jeanne Rogers

    Thanks Dannie! How about this;
    When Cynric, a tormented fox, gains control of a powerful sword, three heroes forge an unlikely friendship and find they must lead a rebel army of forest creatures to reclaim the Kingdom of Sunderland from him.

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Jeanne, honestly I liked your second pitch better. But that’s just my opinion.

      I’m sorry that I misspelled Cynric’s name in my last comment.

  • http://www.staceythureen.com/about/ Stacey Thureen

    When several deaths and a cancerous growth happens to one young woman, she must overcome severe pain and loss to come to terms with her childhood and raise up the next generation.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      Hmm, it’s a bit awkward.

      After the death of (whom?), a young woman learns she has a cancer and must overcome her debilitating pain to nurture her children.

  • http://www.wanttoknowyou.com Jay Faubion

    An orphaned teen is drawn into a twenty-first century web, trapped by an ancient evil.

    • http://www.juturnafaerthing.blogspot.com Juturna F.

      What ancient evil? What’s unique about this teen? What’s the web? I think you need to be more specific with at least one of these, to make your summary stand out.

  • Greg Levin

    Helping a terminally ill family friend kill himself was supposed to be a one-time favor — Eli never suspected euthanasia would become his true calling.

    (Okay, so I cheated a bit by using an m-dash.)

    • http://showknowgrow.com Melinda Viergever Inman

      That’s intriguing! I’m hooked -em dash or not.

      • http://www.lisamairey.com Lisa M. Airey

        I like it too. Interesting story idea.

  • http://www.sarahanneloudinthomas.wordpress.com Sarah Thomas

    When drought strikes 1954 Wise, WV, it takes an unwed mother’s miraculous ability to feed the town to teach Casewell Phillips what love and forgiveness mean.

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Hi Sarah,

      First of all, I love that you named your town Wise.

      Your pitch is good, but I think it could be a little stronger. The current sentence structure is passive “It takes….” Consider making it more active: “an unwed mother’s miraculous ability teaches Casewell Phillips…” And I would omit saying exactly what her miraculous ability is. Make people read the book to find out. :)

    • http://www.heatherdaygilbert.blogspot.com Heather Day Gilbert

      Sounds like something I want to read. WEST VIRGINIA is going to come into its own in the literary world!!!

  • Jeanne

    Mine is probably a bit weak, but here it is:

    When a woman wins dance lessons and chance to help foster children, she must learn to trust her husband’s lead while dancing with another man.

    • http://www.sarahanneloudinthomas.wordpress.com Sarah Thomas

      Hmmm. What’s the conflict? Is she tempted by the other man? Does he threaten her marriage? I like the play on lead and dancing, but I want to know what’s at stake. Oh, and maybe use her name.

      • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

        Agreed. We can’t tell what she’s trusting her husband to do. Is the dance teacher symbolically teaching her to follow her husband? Is her husband unable to dance?

  • http://showknowgrow.com Melinda Viergever Inman

    Tess always longed to find Jesus, but after getting drunk at a frat party, being raped, and discovering she’s pregnant, she doubts he’d want her.

    • http://www.heatherdaygilbert.blogspot.com Heather Day Gilbert

      Hi Melinda, this sounds like an interesting concept. But it sounds like things are happening TO Tess (I know they are). I’d recommend using more action verbs. And now I’m so low on the screen I can’t re-read your sentence and elaborate more!

      • http://showknowgrow.com Melinda Viergever Inman

        Thanks, Heather! I’ve worked it over a bit. I don’t know if it has more of what the lead character DOES, but it might be a better descriptor:

        After a sensitive young woman is devastated by a sexual assault and its consequences, a kind, chivalrous man helps her heal and find peace with God.

        • http://www.heatherdaygilbert.blogspot.com Heather Day Gilbert

          That sounds good…but maybe throw the stakes in there as something to overcome…Do you see the formula I wrote at the very bottom? Like “When ________ survives sexual assult, she has to __________ or she’ll never ________.” That kind of setup–ups the drama factor.

  • http://definingyourhome.blogspot.com Freda Cameron

    When widowed FBI Agent Amelia Candler’s colleagues suspect she scammed millions for a bogus Alzheimer’s cure, Amelia must uncover egregious family secrets and survive a deadly deceiver to prove her innocence.

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Freda, I love your concept and the pitch is basically quite good. I think you have a usage error, though, with “egregious.” You might want to reconsider the adjective.

      • http://definingyourhome.blogspot.com Freda Cameron

        How about heartbreaking family secrets? What Amelia discovers about her family is devastating. Devastating family secrets?

        Thanks.

        • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

          Devastating is a great word, Freda. Heart-breaking works too, but I think devastating is stronger.

          Blessings! :)

  • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

    Siobhan, a teenage Faerie, defies her culture, risks alienating her mother, and journeys through treacherous Dragonsword Forest to fulfill her secret longing to become a Dragon.

    • http://www.juturnafaerthing.blogspot.com Juturna F.

      Oooh, I like this one! Love your strong verbs. :)

      • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

        Thank you, Juturna! :D

    • J. M. Tompkins

      I also like your verbs!

      • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

        Thanks, J.M. :)

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      This is good, Christine. It describes the conflict well and falls out of traditional patterns of these types of sentences.

      Would tension be added by saying “in the quest (or in hopes) to fulfill her longing”

      I’m only saying that because it’s implied she got there. Or, I’m just bug-eyed after reading so many.

      • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

        Thank you, P.J. I love the addition of the word “quest,” since it is such a good fantasy genre word. How is this:

        Siobhan, a teenage Faerie, defies her culture, risks alienating her mother, and journeys through treacherous Dragonsword Forest in a quest to fulfill her secret longing to become a Dragon.

        And yes, you must be bug-eyed by now. You did a fantastic job, though, in revising pitches. You may have a new part time job! :)

    • http://talesfromtheredhead.blogspot.com Jennifer Major @Jjumping

      This is great! I didn’t comment earlier because I’m armpit deep in edits.
      And seriously, giving you tips is like telling Yoda how to use a light saber.

      • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

        Thank you, Jennifer. That’s is really sweet (and I love the simile).

        Blessings on your editing work. :)

    • http://www.heatherdaygilbert.blogspot.com Heather Day Gilbert

      EXCELLENT! Active and hooks me in!

      • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

        Thank you, Heather! :)

    • https://traditionally.wordpress.com/ Julie Morrill

      Hi, Christine! I’m honored that you would want my input. This is my first time at this website and I didn’t think I had any idea what I was doing. Reworking other people’s taglines is good practice, as well as fun!

      I couldn’t think of anything better to write, but I do like P.J.’s suggestion of using the word “quest.”

      Happy writing!

      • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

        Hi Julie! Thanks for your feedback. Yes, P.J. is great at this.

        I hope you will continue to follow the blog and get involved in the conversations. It’s a wonderful community of writers and you fit right in.

        Blessings!

        • https://traditionally.wordpress.com/ Julie Morrill

          Thanks, Christine!

  • http://wisesculpture.com Gdub

    The son of the mercenary who assassinated JFK sets out to extort and inflict pain on those conspirators still living who killed his mother and aunt.

    • J. M. Tompkins

      This sounds intelligent, and that makes me desperately want to read it.

      • http://wisesculpture.com Gdub

        Thanks. I’m hoping it is, and also hope you’ll get the chance to read it in 2013.

  • J. M. Tompkins

    A woman, separated from her sister and her husband, is trying to survive after global economic collapse.

    There are many fascinating one sentence summaries on here, I hope I get to read them all!

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      J.M., your novel sounds intriguing and I would like to read it. Your pitch would be stronger, though, if you added a couple specific details. I think the most important detail to add is the woman’s name. It will help readers connect with her and care about her.

      • J. M. Tompkins

        How is this?

        Audrey, a woman barely surviving after a global economic failure, is desperately searching for her newlywed husband, Patrick, after a violent riot separated them.

        • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

          It’s great, J.M. The only problem is that now you have a parallelism error at the end of the sentence. Maybe say, “…after being separated from him by a violent riot.” That way, you stay in the progressive tense throughout.

  • http://www.howmuchcanuread.blogspot.com Cheick Ahmed

    A prince must regain the trust of his people. In the course he must overthrow his own brother; who has become the most powerful being of the galaxy.

    • http://www.juturnafaerthing.blogspot.com Juturna F.

      Your grammar’s a bit off, and you could probably make these one sentence. Would this describe the story?

      To regain the trust of his people, a prince must overthrow his own brother, the most powerful being in the galaxy.

      If that’s not entirely accurate, at the very least your semicolon should be a comma. I think this sounds very interesting!

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Cheick,

      Your story sounds like something I would want to read, but please note Juturna’s re-write of your pitch. It not only turns the pitch into one sentence, it also makes it stronger.

      It might help, as well, if you named the prince and the galaxy. When I read “the most powerful being in the galaxy,” my mind immediately flashed to Darth Vader. Naming the galaxy would eradicate that knee-jerk reaction.

  • Rose Gardener

    A doctor who confessed to a murder she didn’t commit must convince the prison psychiatrist she is both honest, and innocent.

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Hi Rose,

      Your pitch is good, but here are a couple of suggestions that I think would make it stronger. Add the word “now,” and eliminate “both honest and,” so that the sentence reads: “A doctor who confessed to a murder she didn’t commit must now convince the prison psychiatrist that she is innocent.” Also, I wondering about motivation. Why did she confess to a murder she didn’t commit? Was it out of love? Out of fear? Perhaps getting a short phrase of motivation in there–”who confessed out of love to a murder she didn’t commit” will help. Alternately, you could insert what impels her now to convince the psychiatrist of her innocence. If it’s just because she doesn’t want to suffer the consequences of her actions (choosing to confess), in all honesty, I wouldn’t feel any sympathy for her. If she now needs to convince the prison psychiatrist of her innocence before the date of her execution, that’s different. Suddenly, there is a sense of urgency. If she is not faced with execution, then definitely get her motive for confessing into the pitch in order to win the reader’s empathy. Naming her would help as well to get readers to care about her.

      • Rose Gardener

        Many thanks, Christine. :) You’re right, it’s not about escaping consequences and the reader should feel sympathy for her. But what motivated her to confess is complex, so I’ll have to consider how best to summarise that. Thinking cap back on!

        So many interesting loglines here, I wish I had time to reply to everyone.

        • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

          You’re welcome, Rose. Best of luck. It sounds great!

  • http://www.juturnafaerthing.blogspot.com Juturna F.

    The plot of bastard daughter seeking revenge against her nobleman father requires coercing a wizard to kill her, but when she poisons the wizard’s muffins to anger him, he decides it’s love at first assassination.

    (Technically has 3 characters, is that a problem? It just didn’t sound right to have revenge without mentioning who the revenge was against…)

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      “He decides it’s love at first assassination”–I love this phrase! Your plot also sounds great and I definitely want to read your book, Juterna. :)

      Your pitch needs a little bit of tweaking grammatically. I stumbled over “The plot of bastard daughter” a couple of times before realizing that it was the plot she had hatched. Perhaps change the wording to “A bastard daughter’s plot to get revenge against her nobleman father….”

      • http://www.juturnafaerthing.blogspot.com Juturna F.

        Hm, that does read better. Thanks! (retypes for memory…)

        A bastard daughter’s plot for revenge against her father requires coercing a wizard into killing her, but when she poisons the wizard’s muffins to anger him, he decides it’s love at first assassination.

        • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

          Excellent! :)

  • http://www.loreoffei.weebly.com Kathleen S. Allen

    Here’s mine: After suffering a concussion, fifteen year old Iris can sense when someone is about to die. When she tries to prevent the next death from happening she is stopped by Zac, who just happens to be a boy with a secret of his own.

    • http://www.juturnafaerthing.blogspot.com Juturna F.

      Interesting! I think you can reduce your words by cutting out the concussion (we don’t really need to know how she got the ability). Also, from his name and the use of the possessive pronoun “his,” we know Zac is a boy, so you can cut that out. And you can make “stops” an active verb. That leaves you with:

      Fifteen year old Iris can sense when someone is about to die. When she tries to prevent the next death from happening, Zac, who just happens to have a secret of his own, stops her.

      Why is Zac stopping her? What’s his secret? Without knowing why he’s stopping her, the conflict isn’t clear.

    • http://www.loreoffei.weebly.com Kathleen S. Allen

      I wanted to leave in the concussion part because it’s her defining moment but maybe it’s not necessary. I’ll have to think about how to describe Zac more. Thanks for the help!

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Kathleen, consider eliminating “who just happens to be….” It’s wordy and a bit awkward. Consider this: “…she is stopped by Zac, a boy with a secret of his own.” I don’t know that you need to say anymore about him. Not knowing his secret makes me want to read the book to find out.

      • http://www.loreoffei.weebly.com Kathleen S. Allen

        After suffering a concussion, fifteen year old Iris can sense when someone is about to die. When she tries to prevent the next death from happening she is stopped by Zac, a boy with a secret of his own.

        Yes, I agree. I like it! Thanks for the help. Next step is the query and synopsis.

        • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

          Great work, Kathleen. Blessings on your next steps.

        • http://www.loreoffei.weebly.com Kathleen S. Allen

          New version:
          After suffering a concussion, fifteen year old Iris can sense when someone is about to die but when she tries to prevent the next death from happening she is stopped by Zac, who harbors a secret of his own.

          • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

            “Harbors” is an excellent verb. I think you’ve nailed it now, Kathleen. :)

          • http://www.juturnafaerthing.blogspot.com Juturna F

            Love this new version! You nailed it. :D

  • http://www.meghancarver.blogspot.com Meghan Carver

    Third year law student Dana Muhlenberg possesses a sound mind, but would she be allowed to use it if she said, “I do”?

  • http://my.tbaytel.net/bonnieheather/index.htm Bonnie Ferrante

    When the environmental cascade brings humanity to its knees, Anastasia must decide if she can save her family and friends without giving up all her values. DAWN’S END OUTWORLD APOCALYPSE (Now available on Amazon.com)

  • http://www.Martha.net Martha Bechtel

    Gah! One word over and I can’t figure out what to cut–

    The Clockwork Sorcerer’s missing his heart and Wendy fights to finish the story her daughter started before the land of Velanon unravels into the Story Beneath.

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Martha, I’m not sure being one word over will matter that much. Having a pitch that is concise and effective is more important.

      I am intrigued by your pitch but I don’t really understand enough about your story to help you with the rewrite. The only thing I can do is give this feedback. “The Clockwork Sorcerer’s heart is missing and…” I expect someone to be working on that. I assume that that is what Wendy is doing by trying to finish the story, but the sentence really doesn’t draw a clear cause and effect relationship. I don’t know that we need to know yet that her daughter started the story, so if I am interpreting your pitch correctly and the conflict is that Wendy must find his heart and finish the story before Velanon unravels, then toss the daughter overboard and focus on Wendy. For example, “The Clockwork Wizard’s heart is missing, and Wendy must find it to finish the story before the Land of Velanon sinks into the Story Beneath.” I love the verb “unravels” but I can’t picture how something can unravel into something else.

      • http://www.Martha.net Martha Bechtel

        Thanks for the feedback! :)

        I was trying to chop down a much longer ‘story blurb’ and was tripping over what to leave out. It’s an important plot point that it’s not Wendy’s story (or world), but I think you’re right that it can be left out.

        I used unraveling because I use the metaphor that the stories her daughter and late-husband tell are just fabric overlaid on the Story Beneath; they mask the underlying archetypes, but don’t truly change them.

        Hmm… *plays Tetris with the sentence*

        The Clockwork Sorcerer is missing his heart and Wendy must help finish his story before the land of Velanon unravels into the Story Beneath.

        Amusingly I could also use:

        With the help of a unicorn with no horn and The Cat That Walks Alone, Wendy sets out to vanquish an evil sorcerer menacing Velanon.

        • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

          Martha, I like both of your revised pitches. I’m not sure which one I like better. Obviously, go with the one that best communicates the heart of your story. The second one pulls me in more. It intrigues me (if nothing else, I want to know why the unicorn has no horn and meet The Cat That Walks Alone) and makes me want to read the story. Even so, I think your new version of the original is fantastic.

  • http://www.rasavary.com R.A.Savary

    This is kind of long and I threw it together kind of quick – forget the “kind of.” I had pitched the hell out of “Special” last year and have reworked some things, including several different approaches to the pitch and synopsis. I seem to hook everyone but agents. I couldn’t pass on this “hands-on” opportunity for feedback.

    Accustomed to arranging life to suit himself, psychopathic Jack Coal makes the biggest mistake of his life when he abducts a young mother and her daughter, imprisoning them in the underground tunnels near Burlington Wisconsin, and gets to experience the caustic results of his own Karma as he is hunted and tracked by the woman’s most recent, unknown admirer, enlisting the aid of a black Chow possessing a myriad of intuitive abilities.

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      R.A., you’re trying to pack too much into the pitch. While I love details, yours need trimmed back a bit. For example, although the black Chow is an interesting detail, it’s not necessary in the pitch unless the unknown admirer is the protagonist. From the way you wrote the pitch, it seemed to me that you were telling Jack Coal’s story. If I have misinterpreted that, you might want to consider re-writing your pitch so that the focus of the sentence is on the protagonist (and his dog).

      If Jack Coal is the protagonist, here is a possible revised pitch:

      “When psychopath Jack Coal imprisons a young mother and her daughter in underground tunnels, Karma finally catches up with him and the hunter becomes the hunted.”

      • http://www.rasavary.com R.A.Savary

        I knew it needed to be cut and I am glad I left it long. Your comments about the protagonist hits the nail on the head, as far as my complications with the pitch. I had uncertainties about the protagonist, and treated the issue as having several, with one taking more priority over the rest, just as I also have several p.o.v.’s, depending on the action in a particular scene. While I thought at first the main protagonist was the woman, I came to realize that it is the two men only who share the protagonist role, with the others building up steam for protagonist roles in possibly future stories.

        I tend to pack too much in everything I write, and while I work hard to cut, chop and simplify, I do not wish to totally discard what I have come to see as using one of my weaknesses or faults as a tool in establishing my uniqueness as a writer. Granted, I am not entirely unique in my wordiness and longevity, but most people just do not try to transform their defects into assets, because it is too much work – and risky, as their are an infinitive number of people out their saying, “naughty, naughty, naughty.”

        Thanks; I do not take anything lightly.

        • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

          You’re welcome, R.A. and I understand what you mean. One of my WIPs is a complex psychological mystery with two main characters. It’s difficult boiling it down to one sentence.

          • http://www.rasavary.com R.A.Savary

            Yes, and with mine, I knew it was complicated, that’s why I’ve concentrated on other projects while I sort out the best approach to a new query.

            Your comments helped me to see that I just need to stick with what I know, regardless of whether it is the way it’s usually done; I have two equal protagonists. It is still a great story.

            At one point I had thought about dividing the manuscript and making it two separate tales, but the two men’s stories are too dependent on each other as they unfold.

            A scarier but more real bottom line to this is that I have two different voices, telling two different tales, with the resulting conflict within myself.

            I began to see this when I worked on my first query letter and shared it with some friends, but it was more along the lines of the old me and the new me.

            Now I am seeing that it is just me.

            Thank God it is fiction, right? … Right? (just kidding)

            I know this is why I keep returning to SK’s “On Writing,” and his admonishment to “tell the truth,” and “get on with the story.”

        • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

          I’m glad that I could help R.A. Based on what you’ve written here, it sounds like writing two separated stories would be a mistake. I like the idea of setting up two equal and worthy adversaries. It may just take perseverance and timing to get the right agent and / or editor for your manuscript. Blessings!

  • http://marcusdehart.com/site Marcus DeHart

    How Deep Lies the Shadow
    When Sean Glynn gets a phone call from his dead father, he must unravel the schemes of the Neverborn to stop them from releasing an ancient darkness.

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Sounds great, Marcus!

  • http://jeffpfaller.com Jeff

    When his village is overrun by Saxon barbarians, a young man must overcome his addiction to hallucinogenic herbs and rescue his childhood love.

    • Lisa

      Saxons?? Yesss!!

      I liked this one but I wonder a bit about the “addiction to hallucenogenic herbs”. If you are writing a strict historical, these words seem too modern to the concept of the story. Also your protagonist’s name would help.

  • Katie

    When freed from captivity, Rhian, the Keeper of the Dead, enters a world she doesn’t remember to kill the King but an abundance of unveiled secrets threatens to change everything.

    • http://www.juturnafaerthing.blogspot.com Juturna F.

      This is really interesting. I think a tweak in the first part would help (I’m assuming it was the king who held her in captivity; otherwise, you need to explain why she wants to kill the king).

      When freed from captivity, Rhian, the keeper of the dead, enters a world she doesn’t remember to kill the king who enslaved her, but (….)

      The last part isn’t as strong. Change everything how? What sorts of unveiled secrets? These are complete shots in dark, but hopefully will give you some ideas:

      … but discovers he’s the key to keeping her freedom.

      … the king she thought enslaved her, but discovers he was wrongly accused.

      … but discovers his death will unravel the world.

      Sounds like a great concept, and I can’t wait to see it on the shelves!

      • http://Deadcember.com MK Becker

        If she’s the keeper of the dead, does she enter the world of the living? And is it utterly alien to her? If so, I’d bring that idea forward.

  • http://www.AdelleGabrielson.com Adelle Gabrielson

    I’d really love to see some non-fiction pitches here! I’m still working on mine…but surely I’m not the only one? The fiction stuff on here though – wow. Can’t wait to see some of these in print!

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Adelle, there was one other non-fiction pitch earlier today. I’d love to see yours. :)

      • http://www.AdelleGabrielson.com Adelle Gabrielson

        We’ll never measure up to the Pinterest-perfect life, but when we allow ourselves, we can find freedom in our flaws and see that really, our broken places are how the Light shines through.

        • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

          I really like this, Adelle (the wording and the concept). I would suggest just a minor change:

          We’ll never measure up to the Pineterest-perfect life, but if we allow ourselves to, we can find freedom in our flaws and discover that our broken places are where the Light shines through.

          • http://www.AdelleGabrielson.com Adelle Gabrielson

            Thanks! Great suggestion.

  • Brooke

    When Nicole battles Russian terrorists to avenge the murder of her husband, she must find her own identity while seeking justice for crimes she didn’t commit.

  • http://www.blairbburke.com Blair B. Burke

    When Tarya’s family is killed by agents of Lord Falton, she vows to avenge their deaths and for that she must turn herself into a weapon.

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Really good, Blair. Here’s my suggestion to make it a little tighter:

      “When Tarya’s family is killed by agents of Lord Falton, she must turn herself into a weapon to avenge the deaths of her family.”

      • http://Deadcember.com MK Becker

        When Tarya’s family is killed by agents of Lord Falton, she must mold herself into a weapon to avenge their deaths, becoming the very thing she seeks to overcome.

        It’s sloppy (“seeks to overcome”, “thing”), but you might try it as a concept to build on. Why is it important to Tarya? Not that family isn’t important, but the intriguing become-a-weapon concept suggests there is more at stake. And look for strong words (despite my rushed and weak clause!) – mold instead of turn into, for example.

  • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

    Westlin Beck, daughter of the increasingly detached local pastor, and new-to-town Silas Hart must orchestrate a summer rescue of Silas’s mysterious twin sister Laurel, who believes she is living in a dream.

    • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

      This was way harder than I thought it would be. I need help, friends!!! Suggestions? (The story is about West learning to navigate her father’s detachment from her family and Laurel’s detachment from reality, all while questioning her faith and falling in love.)

      • Sam Beringer

        First, to cut down on words, don’t mention characters by name. Give a brief description of them. (The only exception is if a character is famous, like Albert Einstein or Elizabeth I). This is also important because people listening to/reading your logline will have to keep track of which character is which if you give names. By taking out names, not only do you cut down your word count

        For example, if Tolkien had to write a logline for “The Lord of the Rings,” he wouldn’t write “When he discovers the ring left to him belongs to the Dark Lord Sauron, Frodo Baggins, a hobbit, must take it to Mount Doom to destroy it.” He’d write. “When he discovers the ring left to him belongs to the Dark Lord, a hobbit must take it to Mount Doom to destroy it.” Okay, it’s not the best. But it gets the point across.

        • Sam Beringer

          Sorry, I forgot to finish a sentence.

          By taking out names, not only do you cut down your word count, but you also make it easier for readers/listeners to get an idea of who the characters are.

        • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

          The teenaged daughter of the increasingly detached local pastor teams up with the gorgeous new guy in town to rescue his mysterious twin sister, who believes she is living in a dream.

          Grrr, there are still so many characters in this! Confusing? I’m not sure how to cut any of them out, since they are ALL essential to the story.

          Help??

          • Sam Beringer

            Not terribly confusing, but why not cut down on adjectives? I don’t think audiences need to know that the new guy is gorgeous or that the pastor is getting “increasingly detached” (maybe detached, but not increasingly). Is it essential that readers know that the pastor is detached? For that matter, what about the twin sister? Is her belief that she’s living in a dream important to the plot?

            Forget subplots, just focus on the main plot for your logline.

          • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

            Yes, the plot is that West is learning how to deal with Laurel’s disorder and her dad’s detachment.

          • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

            Jackie, who is your protagonist? I’m assuming it’s the Westlin, but you say all of the characters are essential. If the teenage daughter is the protagonist, focus on her main conflict. Is it to help Laurel return to reality? Is it to win the love of the “gorgeous new guy” or is it her faith crisis. Your main character and her main conflict are the heart of your novel, so make them the heart of your pitch.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      Hi Jackie, there are a few questions on this one. Why is Silas new to town and is the twin sister new to him as well? Also, are we talking depersonalization disorder, autism or does she just daydream?
      They are rescuing her over the summer- so it’s a process?
      I’d take a stab at it, but I keep locking up on details and erase. That information would help.

      • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie Lea Sommers

        Yes, West is the protagonist, and it’s about how she meets these mysterious twins one summer, one of whom (Laurel) has a dissociative disorder (solipsism syndrome), where she doubts reality is real. The story is about West and how she handles her summer with the twins, grieving for and frustrated with one, falling in love with the other, and all while her “perfect” family life is falling apart.

        Sigh. Who knew it would be harder to write one sentence than a whole manuscript??

        When West encounters the mysterious Hart twins the summer before her senior year, she must learn to question love, family, and the nature of reality itself.

        • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

          When twins, Silas and Laurel, move next door to high school senior Westlin Beck, Laurel’s mental illness complicates Westlin’s blossoming romance with Silas, forcing Westlin to rethink her preconceptions of family, love and reality.

          I don’t know. Does that ring any better? It’s a tough one, but it sounds like a good story.

          Perhaps-

          When her new boyfriend’s mentally ill sister complicates Westlin Beck’s life, she must discover how to connect with the girl or risk losing her newfound love.

          • http://jackieleasommers.com Jackie

            Thanks PJ! That gives me a good start!!! Appreciate you!

  • Sam Beringer

    “When his stepsister gets kidnapped by Witchkin planning a deadly ritual, a young man joins a group of hunters to find them.”

  • http://annbracken.weebly.com Ann Bracken

    When Mary, a widow, finds a wounded Revolutionary War soldier on her doorstep as the winter snows trap her on her farm, she must learn to compromise and forgive before she learns to love.

    Thirty-four words, it needs trimming…suggestions?

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      First, Ann, I love the concept. I’m assuming this is a romance, yes? If so, focus on the relationship. “As snow traps Mary on her farm for the winter, the wounded Revolutionary War soldier she finds on her doorstep teaches her about compromise, forgiveness and finally, love.” It’s still over by three words, but hopefully this helped.

      • http://annbracken.weebly.com Ann Bracken

        Wow! That’s great! Thanks so much.

        • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

          You’re welcome, Ann. I’m looking forward to reading your novel. I love historical fiction.

  • John

    Rex discovers his destiny when unimaginable events send him on a collision course with love, otherworldly forces and dark revelations about ancient mysteries that threaten his very existence.

  • http://claudenougat.blogspot.com Claude Nougat

    When Robert retires, he decides to become an artist but his old-fashioned paintings appall his young artsy wife, and that is only the beginning of Robert’s troubles…

  • http://www.talesfromtheredhead.blogspot.com Jennifer Major @Jjumping

    Steve Austin, a man barely alive and harbouring a love of slow motion just wants to see if PJ notices this, he’ll be back later with the real deal.

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      LOL, Jennifer! :D

      • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

        When bionic scientists transform astronaut Steve Austin into a half man- half machine, will he choose his former love, Jamie, or fall to the flirtations of a lawnmower that him to cut all ties with humanity?

        • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

          “that beckons him to cut” <–woops :)

        • http://talesfromtheredhead.blogspot.com Jennifer Major @Jjumping

          AHahahaha!! I had to read that twice!!! VERY funny!

  • D.L.L.

    “A devious CEO in Seattle embezzles millions from investors only to squander it on the ultimate lifestyle.”

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      This is more of a newspaper headline. What’s at stake here? Does the embezzler have an existential crisis? Who’s the protagonist? Does the man get caught? Do his victims come to him as ghosts on Christmas?

      • D.L.L.

        P.J. – Thanks for your reply!

        Rachelle mentioned to make the conflict clear, but that we don’t have to hint at the solution. I didn’t want to tell the whole story.

        The CEO is the antagonist, but I could easily revise this to include the protagonist, who is a young stock broker:

        “A young stock broker uncovers a CEO’s devious plan to bilk millions of dollars from thousands of investors. Once they learn that their money was wasted on the his lavish lifestyle, they seek harsh retribution.”

        • D.L.L.

          Without typo:

          “A young stock broker uncovers a CEO’s devious plan to bilk millions of dollars from thousands of investors. Once they learn that their money was wasted on his lavish lifestyle, they seek harsh retribution.”

          • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

            The protagonist is the POV from which to work. Is it his CEO by the way?

            OK, let’s say his name is John Smith.

            When John Smith discovers the CEO of his company is bilking millions of dollars from investors,

            OK, now his personal crisis. What is a stake for John Smith?

            he must choose between destroying his career or keeping his integrity.

            Maybe that’s not the conflict, but put the pressure on the protagonist. Ask what’s at stake for him and those he cares about.

      • D.L.L.

        We ran out of reply room – here is your last reply:

        The protagonist is the POV from which to work. Is it his CEO by the way?OK, let’s say his name is John Smith. When John Smith discovers the CEO of his company is bilking millions of dollars from investors,OK, now his personal crisis. What is a stake for John Smith?he must choose between destroying his career or keeping his integrity.Maybe that’s not the conflict, but put the pressure on the protagonist. Ask what’s at stake for him and those he cares about.

        Working from the POV of the protagonist is a better approach – thanks. The CEO (Keith Larus) is not his boss. The young stock broker (Trent Willams) is selling stock on behalf of the company and discovers the fraudulent activity. Trent now has to find a way to expose Keith, resolve the embezzlement issue from his clients (investors) and obtain retribution against Keith. This story is actually based on true events where the CEO ended up getting a 20 year sentence. Wouldn’t that be letting the cat out of the bag to put that in the summary sentence?

        How about:

        “Trent Williams, a young stock broker, uncovers a devious plan that Keith Larus, a megalomaniac CEO, concocted to bilk millions of dollars from unknowing investors – only to squander it on his lavish lifestyle. Trent has to find justice before his client’s, friend’s and family’s money is lost forever.”

        It’s a bit wordy, but it does describe more of what is really happening in the story.

        • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

          Yeah, that’s much better. It gives us a sense of what’s happening and gives a sense of urgency to the Trent. What do you think of cutting some detail in the sentence and building around that later in the synopsis?

          When stock broker Trent Williams uncovers a CEO’s plot to bilk millions from his family, he must beat the CEO at his own game or his family loses everything.

          You can build more detail in the overall query. The idea is, what can you say on an elevator between floors one and three to a person who asks, “What’s your book about?”

          • D.L.L.

            Awesome – thanks!

  • http://indianawonderer.wordpress.com KarenM

    I’m amazed at the outpouring of creativity and support here today! Excellent job, everyone! I decided to throw in mine as well-been tough to think of a oneliner, so I appreciate this exercise! Here goes:

    Twenty-five year old Jessica Hartley goes undercover with a handsome local cop to save her hospitalized best friend from a maniacal co-worker…and discovers love along the way.

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Hi Karen,

      It’s a good pitch. I just have one minor suggestion:

      Twenty-five year old Jessica Hartley goes undercover with a handsome local cop to save her hospitalized best friend from a maniacal co-worker and is surprised to discover love along the way.

      • http://indianawonderer.wordpress.com KarenM

        Thanks, Kristine! Great modification.

        You’ve been busy today ;-)

  • R.P.M.G.

    Christina and Jude thought they were inseparable when deceit and betrayal had shattered what could not be broken,leading Jude onto a thirty year journey searching for his true love in a quest to mend the love that was torned from them…

    • R.P.M.G.

      I know needs trimming and mispelled…”torn”

      • R.P.M.G.

        here I go again… misspelled ;-)

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Hi, R.P.M.G.

      Good job, but here is a suggestion to help clean up the grammar issues:

      Christina and Jude thought they were inseparable, but deceit and betrayal shattered a love they thought could not be broken, propelling Jude into a thirty year quest to find Christina again and mend the love that had been torn from them…

      • R.P.M.G.

        Thank you Christine! I love the revision – Randy

        • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

          You’re welcome, R.P.M.G.

          Glad I could help. :)

  • Pingback: Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, November 8 and 9, 2012 « cochisewriters

  • https://traditionally.wordpress.com/ Julie Morrill

    An elopement, an annulled marriage, a single pregnant girl in 1890s California. Can Victoria hide her pregnancy and find a husband before it’s too late?

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      I like where this is heading. An agent would want to see it in a sentence.

      When Victoria’s elopement is annulled in 1890′s California, can she hide her pregnancy and find a husband before it’s too late?

      • https://traditionally.wordpress.com/ Julie Morrill

        Oh, thanks! I really need to keep it to only one sentence? I didn’t realize that.

  • https://twitter.com/JennaK777 Jenna C.

    Emma Johnson just came back from a summer vacation with her family. But when a tragic accident occurs leaving her parents in a coma and her brother half paralyzed, she feels there’s no use living any longer. And when she finds out the new stable hand at her uncle’s ranch is the new stable hand, she struggles with forgiveness.

    :)

    • Lisa

      Don’t need your first sentence. You could take out the “her” in the second sentence and insert your character’s name. And there is confusion here – the last sentence doesn’t make sense. I assume the “new stable hand” is the one that caused the accident?

      • https://twitter.com/JennaK777 Jenna C.

        Oh!! I meant to mention that the new stable hand was the guy who caused the accident..yeah… :P Thanks! :)

    • https://traditionally.wordpress.com/ Julie Morrill

      I need a little more information here, but here’s an attempt to rework your tagline:

      When a tragic accident leaves her parents in a coma and her brother paralyzed, Emma Johnson stays at her uncle’s ranch in … But in a life no longer worth living, will she learn to live again…and forgive?

    • https://traditionally.wordpress.com/ Julie Morrill

      Jenna, I had too many words in my last suggestion, so here’s another attempt:

      When a tragic accident leaves her parents in a coma and her brother paralyzed, Emma Johnson must learn to find a reason to live…and forgive.

      • https://twitter.com/JennaK777 Jenna C.

        Okay! Thanks! :D I will work on this!

  • Lisa

    These books all sound intriguing!
    Here’s my attempt:

    Thomas McCadden’s mixed up life gets worse when he accidentally Travels through a Thin Place to Britain in 643 AD where he discovers he is a wilding Fey and the key to another Traveller’s plot to disrupt history.

    Not sure i have nailed it but it’s a start…

    • https://traditionally.wordpress.com/ Julie Morrill

      How about…

      When Thomas McCadden slips through a “Thin Place” and ends up in 643 AD Britain, he discovers another time traveler’s evil plot to disrupt history.

      This is my kind of story! I love time travel books!

      I don’t know how “evil” the plot is, but “plot” sounds nefarious!

      • Lisa

        Thanks – that is great! And of course the plot is “evil”!!! :)

        • http://www.davidjonfuller.com David Jón Fuller

          I might add what he has to do:

          When Thomas McCadden slips through a “Thin Place” and ends up in 643 AD Britain, he discovers another time traveler’s evil plot to disrupt history — which only Thomas can stop.

          • http://Deadcember.com MK Becker

            Intriguing. Take out the extra words and explain why it means something to McCadden.
            Perhaps: When Thomas McCadden slips through a Thin Place into 643 AD Britain, he alone can stop another Traveler’s plot to disrupt the future, and thus his own existence. (Question – McCadden is a Scottish name, but Scotland was a separate kingdom back then. Does that play into it vis-a-vis the other Traveler? Maybe it’s just me, but Mc/Mac and ancient Britain call up the idea of complex feudal issues.)

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Lisa,

      I would love to read your book!

      • Lisa

        David – I love it! Getting better and better all the time! Question, though – the pitch has lost an important element, the fact that Thomas discovers he is a wilding Fey. Should this still be part of it? It’s a big part of the novel.

        MK – yes, Thomas’ heritage definitely comes into it! And you are right – the fact that his own (future) existence is threatened is part of the driving force for Thomas to fight against the antagonist but it’s bigger than that – what the antagonist is trying to do back then would have huge implications for our “now” so Thomas has to stop him.

        Christine – thanks! Good to hear someone would be interested in it!

        These are fun, aren’t they?

        • http://www.davidjonfuller.com David Jón Fuller

          I think ideally you would want to work in the fey and the heritage aspects of it, without adding too many words — is there a way to take out the “Thin Place” reference (which I did not realize at first was tied to the fey/fairy realm), and instead add something about Thomas’s heritage/feyness that drags him back to the time story is set? So it reads as integral to the story (which I gather it is)?

  • Roxanne Sherwood Gray

    Y’all are writing a lot of books I’d like to read. Best of all, the community here has tweaked good pitches into great ones!

    Here’s mine:

    A missionary doctor on a forced sabbatical delivers a widow’s baby and begins a relationship that threatens everything he believes is God’s will for his life.

    • http://talesfromtheredhead.blogspot.com Jennifer Major @Jjumping

      Okay, I want to read this NOW.

    • https://traditionally.wordpress.com/ Julie Morrill

      Your tagline is already so concise and intriguing, I can’t imagine what to add to make it better!

      • Roxanne Sherwood Gray

        Thanks, Jennifer and Julie!

        Originally I focused on the widow’s conflict but couldn’t boil it down to one sentence.

        So for others who are stuck, try looking at another character’s conflict for a hook.

    • http://julie-weathers.blogspot.com/ Julie Weathers

      Sorry, I can’t help here. It looks perfect to me.

  • http://talesfromtheredhead.blogspot.com Jennifer Major @Jjumping

    Will Sarah Monroe, freed after twenty years of her husband’s abuse, allow a Navajo widower to love her back from her darkest nightmares or will her secrets push her to destroy not only the man she loves, but her own life as well?

    I’ve got a better version somewhere, but whatever. (I’m editing and am going insane!)
    Go for it Jim! And Christine. And Andrew. And Cherry. And whoever else wants a go at it.
    Where the heck is TOSK? And Pote?

    I leave town and look what happens!

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      Will Sarah Monroe, freed after twenty years of her husband’s abuse, allow a Navajo widower to love her back from her darkest nightmares or will her secrets push her to destroy not only the man she loves, but her own life as well?

      I like it. I might change it a bit for flow-

      After her escape from twenty years of spousal abuse, will Sarah Monroe allow a Navajo widower’s love to bring her out of her nightmares or will she cling to her secrets until they destroy both her and the man she loves?

      • http://talesfromtheredhead.blogspot.com Jennifer Major @Jjumping

        Not bad, Casselman, not bad. I might just use this.

        It would appear that you have an almost bionic ability at crafting these things.

        • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

          Beth K. Vogt taught me how to craft these. If I help anyone on here, they can thank her.

          Well that and our bantering back and forth as we were trying to figure them out. :)

          • http://talesfromtheredhead.blogspot.com Jennifer Major @Jjumping

            Does Beth like Canadian chocolate? Cuz I need some formatting done…

      • https://traditionally.wordpress.com/ Julie Morrill

        P.J., I like your tagline suggestion, but let me condense it a bit more:

        Escaping years of spousal abuse, will Sarah Monroe allow a Navajo widower’s love to heal her heart or will her hidden secrets destroy them both?

        • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

          Nice!

        • http://talesfromtheredhead.blogspot.com Jennifer Major @Jjumping

          Thanks Julie!

        • http://www.heatherdaygilbert.blogspot.com Heather Day Gilbert

          This is very good and concise. And you know this sounds like a book I’d like to read, Jennifer…

          • http://www.heatherdaygilbert.blogspot.com Heather Day Gilbert

            And oops, I was referring to Julie’s sum-up sentence on your book! It’s very concise and active.

          • http://www.heatherdaygilbert.blogspot.com Heather Day Gilbert

            AAAND I just said “concise” concisely TWO times in the last two comments. Can you tell I’m procrastinating on what I’m SUPPOSED to be writing?

      • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

        I think you’ve nailed it, P.J. :)

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Thanks for the invitation, Jennifer, but P.J. and Julie have done such an excellent job, there is nothing I can do to improve upon their revisions.

      BTW, neither you nor PJ commented on mine. Is it a case of “if you haven’t got anything nice to say…?” :(

      And 2nd BTW, where IS Beth?

  • http://jomurphey.blogspot.com Jo Murphey

    When young Jacqueline witnesses her stepfather murder her brother, she looks for someone to believe her, and all he wants to do is silence her permanently.

    One line summary for “The Sacrificial Lamb.”

  • http://davidatodd.com David Todd

    An American couple’s troubled marriage is further strained when their family becomes embroiled in a 1980s CIA extraction operation while they tour China.

    • Lisa

      Like this one, but perhaps something like…. “…when during their vacation to China they are embroiled in a CIA extraction operation”? Not sure if you need the year, either.

  • http://kristinlaughtin.blogspot.com Kristin Laughtin

    Crafting these is a fun challenge, and very useful when one needs to boil down a work’s “aboutness” for purposes of querying, etc.

    The book I wrote most recently:
    “After an alien gives Earth the technology to voyage to the stars, an expedition is sent to visit his planet–only to discover that it is empty.”

    (Yes, this cuts out a major story arc/thematic element about memory. Ideally I’d want to work that in somehow, but this is the core of the plot. I could probably do it with a second sentence easily, such as “But a woman engineered with his biological memory starts to hear voices trying to guide them, and must contend with the crew’s growing skepticism and despair in order to finish their mission and get them all home.” Hard to fit it all into one sentence that would work as a brief hook, though.)

    The book I’m revising now:
    “A secretive nun who may hold the cure for a world-wide plague hires a skeptical mercenary to escort her through the demon-infested, future ice age mountains of Cambodia.”

  • http://www.martzbookz.blogspot.com Martha Ramirez

    EXCELLENT!

  • http://www.davidjonfuller.com David Jón Fuller

    A teen werewolf who can’t stand the sight of blood seeks revenge on the vampire who killed his best friend, and must survive long enough to take his girlfriend out on their first, actual date.

    • Lisa

      Hmmm…”take out” could have sinister connotations here – do you mean “kill”? or just “take out”? Either way you should probably reword it….

      Lisa

      • http://www.davidjonfuller.com David Jón Fuller

        Yeek! Good point, Lisa. How about a minor tweak then, to remove the word “out”:

        A teen werewolf who can’t stand the sight of blood seeks revenge on the vampire who killed his best friend, and must survive long enough to take his girlfriend on their first, actual date.

        • Lisa

          That is better – also wondering about the “must”. I take it you are trying for humour here? Is the novel a comedic one?
          I like the “werewolf afraid of blood” concept!

          • http://www.davidjonfuller.com David Jón Fuller

            Yes, I wanted to get some of the humour/offbeat tone of the novel in the logline. I realize it’s ridiculous to equate a grim revenge with going on a first date, but that’s part of the interwoven conflict of the novel. I’m not sure it’s working in the logline, though.

          • http://www.davidjonfuller.com David Jón Fuller

            How about this:

            A teen werewolf who can’t stand the sight of blood seeks revenge on the vampire who killed his best friend, and totally has to survive long enough to take his girlfriend on their first, actual date.

    • http://julie-weathers.blogspot.com/ Julie Weathers

      I like this, but as others have said “take out” could be very negative. It has kind of a quirky, Buffy The Vampire Slayer to me, which is a good thing.

      • Lisa

        How about this?

        A teen werewolf who can’t stand the sight of blood seeks revenge on the vampire who killed his best friend, but will he survive long enough to go on his first date?

        • http://www.davidjonfuller.com David Jón Fuller

          Hmmm… I like that. Thanks!

      • http://www.davidjonfuller.com David Jón Fuller

        :) That is high praise! One of the things I like about Buffy is the way the show balances genuine horror with laugh-out-loud humour, a balance I am definitely going for in the novel. Thank you very much.

  • http://www.mandilynn.com/ Mandi Lynn

    I’m going to cheat and do two sentences:

    When Emma becomes haunted by a pull that calls her to the forest, she fights to maintain control as the pull tries to overtake and deprive her of her family.

    Hmm..I like it. I’ll probably change it later, but this is a good base :)

    • http://www.davidjonfuller.com David Jón Fuller

      I might recast it a bit:

      Pulled by a mysterious force that calls her to the forest, Emma must fight it as it tries to overtake and deprive her of her family.

      Though the “pull” or force is vague — what is it? Can it be made more specific? How does she/can she fight it?

      • http://www.mandilynn.com Mandi Lynn

        I’ve had the hardest time trying to describe the pull without going into to much detail. Thank you though, I’ll work on it.

    • http://julie-weathers.blogspot.com/ Julie Weathers

      When Emma becomes haunted by a pull that calls her to the forest, she fights to maintain control as the pull tries to overtake and deprive her of her family.

      The “pull” bit is a bit confusing.

      Perhaps “Emma must (do some action) to overcome a growing desire to enter the (whatever) forest and deprive her of her family…and perhaps her life” Whatever would fit there.

      • http://www.mandilynn.com Mandi Lynn

        Thank you for your opinion. I’ve been trying to find a way to describe the pull without going into to too much detail, but obviously little to no detail isn’t doing the trick.

  • Aubrey Honeycutt

    Dorianna, Bonded to the most powerful dragon in Magid, discovers his plot to kill her and Bond with her unborn child.

    Or,

    Dorianna, Bonded to the most powerful dragon in Magid, not only discovers his plot to kill her and Bond with her unborn child, but that she is also Bonded to a woman from an alternate plane of reality who is prophesied to save her.

  • Cortez Law III

    Got in kind of late with this post. We’re talking ballpark here via Rachelle’s statement (“about 25 words”), so here goes:

    Edgy Atlanta Homicide Sergeant Malcolm Hobbs and his revered Detectives known as, ‘The X-Men’, must find a kidnapped victim who might prevent a mafia war between the Organizatsiya and La Cosa Nostra and a sleeper cell of al-Qaeda and Hamas terrorists from exploding a WMD?

  • http://www.rasavary.com R.A.Savary

    My apologies to everyone. I have very recently decided that I am tired of playing around with kid gloves and going after a few things full force instead of with quiet patience.

    I read Rachel’s blog and had to post something and I have gotten some good feedback.

    But I am not interacting with the rest of you, only taking the time to read the posts and comments which I deem relevant to me, in this moment, although a part of me knows that everything here is relevant. Too bad.

    I am working on another project and am only returning when I get a message relaying a comment.

    Today it’s all about me; me, me, me, me, and still more me.

    Wishing great things for everyone here, but I “gots to go.”

  • http://www.smilingpaul.blogspot.com Paul Holte

    When airline pilot John Nash falls for aspiring psychologist Joy Hill, nothing can get between them, except 1,800 miles and his marriage to somebody else.

    • http://Deadcember.com MK Becker

      Paul, this is so catchy that I’d love to see it perfected. Something is just slightly off (besides the unneeded comma after “between them”) about the word “except.” What about “other than”? I don’t know if it’s rhythm of what, but “except” seems to me to break the flow just as it’s getting to the good part! (Minor thought – “airline pilot” is almost redundant. “Transamerica pilot” or whatever the airline is? I like the two-word rhythm.)

      • Paul Holte

        MK~That is fantastic advice. Thanks for looking at it! Hopefully it’ll help down the road. ;-)

    • Evelyn

      I would read this book!

  • http://julie-weathers.blogspot.com/ Julie Weathers

    Ok, I couldn’t resist.

    With an approaching genocidal Civil War, Gentyl’s desire to be a Far Rider with her aunt’s elite cavalry unit is more important than ever, but a senile wizard, a demon lord and her mother all have other plans.

    • Lisa

      I like it! I want to read it! But…you have the demon lord in the same sentence as the mother and the senile wizard, lending it equal strength as an antagonist to the reader. Is that the case? You don’t have a clearly defined antagonist here – is there one in the book?

      • http://julie-weathers.blogspot.com/ Julie Weathers

        That’s a good catch. The senile wizard is trying to help her, the wizard lord is trying to kill her and her mother is trying to send her to a healing school to be protected. I need to hone the antagonist better.

        Thanks so much.

        • http://julie-weathers.blogspot.com/ Julie Weathers

          oh of course that should be demon lord.

  • N.Yost

    When a timid entertainment lawyer accidentally kills a teen heart-throb and becomes the most hated man in the world, he has to prove his perseverance to stay alive.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      When a timid entertainment lawyer accidentally kills a teen heart-throb (This is good)

      and becomes the most hated man in the world (inflated phrase, could be cut or taken down a notch.)

      has to prove his perseverance to stay alive. (prove makes me wonder if he’s being put through a test by someone like the Jigsaw Killer.)
      Is he going to prison or is he out on the streets, by the way? It would have a bearing on the rest.

      Without knowing more, here’s a tosser-

      When a timid entertainment lawyer accidentally kills a teen heart-throb, he must find a way to evade ten thousand fans who want him dead.

      • Nyost

        Your tosser is pretty close, but there’s a backstory which is more of the main story in which our hero makes a pact with his assistant to make a go at living life to the fullest, something he’s never been able to do, then killing themselves if it doesn’t work out.

      • N.Yost

        When Jacob accidentally kills a teen heart-throb, he must find a way to evade revenge-seeking fans while trying to stay alive due to an unconventional pact he makes.

        • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

          I like the idea. Would this be smoother?

          When Jacob accidentally kills a teen heart-throb, he must find a way to evade revenge-seeking fans and the consequences of a lethal pact.

          • N.Yost

            Spot on…thanks!

  • http://jesusofnazareth-alovestorycom.tumblr.com/ Elizabeth Ann Grace

    As Elizabeth read the words, “You Are Being Sued”, at the top of the divorce papers,she would have screamed in fear, realizing her known world then crumbled, and she must finally face the truth about God.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      This seems like lines from your book as opposed to a pitch statement.
      OK, we know she is getting a divorce and her world is falling part, but what truth about God and how is it connected?

      When Elizabeth’s husband filed for divorce, her world crumbled, but will she turn to God or the half empty bottle of scotch?

      It’s probably not about that, but is there something that might fit?

  • http://www.aborderlife.com Shannon Huffman Polson

    After a grizzly bear kills her parents, Polson faces a wilderness of grief navigating the year after their deaths, memories of family, and ultimately the remote Arctic river where they died. Wrestling with her faith in the midst of grief, Polson finds her way to the possibility of hope.

    • http://www.taragoodyear.com Tara Goodyear

      I think the first sentence is all you need…

      After a grizzly bear kills her parents, Polson faces a wilderness of grief navigating the year after their deaths, memories of family, and ultimately the remote Arctic river where they died.

      • http://Deadcember.com MK Becker

        Shannon, what about dropping “ultimately”? It’s a weak word. I like the navigation metaphor.

        • http://www.aborderlife.com Shannon Huffman Polson

          Thank you for the suggestions- dropping weak words and tightening is exactly the inout that is helpful. I appreciate it!

  • http://www.taragoodyear.com Tara Goodyear

    When Mr. Oliver goes missing from Charlie’s neighborhood and his family discovers newspaper clippings about different local missing person cases, the precocious twelve year old and her best friend get wrapped up in a deadly game of whodunit.

    • http://mgkingbooks.com M. G. King

      When Mr. Oliver goes missing from Charlie’s neighborhood, the precocious twelve year old and her best friend get wrapped up in a deadly game of whodunit.

      I think this is enough for the logline. Maybe add one intriguing adjective for Mr. Oliver.

    • VisionWriter

      Okay, I know I kinda missed the party on this one, but hey, at least I’m finally catching up on emails!
      I am terrible at this, so here it goes.

      When the rift of the Civil War leads to her brother’s death and her father’s madness, a refined southern belle must accompany her father to the front lines to uncover and expose the terrible secret that will set him free from his prison of mad grief.

  • http://www.jenniferwilck.com Jennifer Wilck

    Thrust together as lead characters in their temple’s Purim play, Nathaniel, a single dad, and Samara, a choir director, must learn that their love can only flourish when they reveal their true selves.

  • http://www.susanbernhardt.com Susan Bernhardt

    Murder comes to Sudbury Falls, and so does a recently retired nurse, whose tenacious nature tells her that city officials are not only attempting a cover up, but it is up to her, and a handful of friends to uncover the truth, or possibly die trying.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      Perhaps a streamline version?

      When a retired nurse arrives in Sudbury Falls, she uncovers a ghastly truth–the town’s leaders are covering up a murder.

      The rest of the information can be added into the query.

  • http://www.laurahurlburt.wordpress.com Laura Hurlburt

    Teenager Bree Albina is horrified to discover she is an elf Changeling, but her journey to understand this new identity reveals her vital role in an ancient conflict between good and evil.

    MAN! 25 words or less is hard!!

    Thanks for looking, guys!

    • http://mgkingbooks.com M. G. King

      Bree Albina reluctantly accepts her new identity as an elf Changling and faces X in an ancient conflict.

      Eight words left to describe X!

      • http://www.laurahurlburt.wordpress.com Laura Hurlburt

        Thanks, M.G.

        I’ll play with that. :)

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      You’re right, Laura. It is a tremendous challenge. Having said that, I think you did a great job and I would LOVE to read a book about an Elf Changeling. The only think in your pitch that I have a question about is the word “reveals.” Reveals to whom? To Bree? To her world? Here is a revision based on the idea that it’s Bree who discovers her vital role:

      Teenager Bree Albina is horrified to discover she is an elf Changeling, but through her journey to understand this new identity, she learns she has a vital role to play in an ancient conflict between good and evil.

      • http://www.laurahurlburt.wordpress.com Laura Hurlburt

        THANKS, Christine! I appreciate the encouragement and the revision. You nailed what I was aiming to do.

        I hope I can find an agent who’d appreciate a Changeling story. I’ve got a completed manuscript to oblige!!

        All the best!
        Laura

  • http://mgkingbooks.com M. G. King

    Colin Colbeck sneaks into the deep to rescue his grandmother and stop a troll war that threatens an epic earthquake.

    • http://www.heatherdaygilbert.blogspot.com Heather Day Gilbert

      I don’t think the “threatens an epic earthquake” QUITE works somehow. But this sounds interesting. Maybe re-word a little? And I hate typing these comments b/c I can’t see your original sentence as I do it! Sorry.

  • http://ROYPIPES.COM William Pipes

    The novel, Darby, is named after a small community in the Appalachian Mountains of Western North Carolina. It is a story of humor, danger, suspense, and intrigue with the Appalachian dialect of that era spoken.
    Darby begins in 1895 when George Walsh, a rocky soil farmer, dram drinker, father, and husband is murdered. Floyd Caldwell, also a farmer found Walsh standing in Elk Creek where he appealed to Caldwell saying, “Floyd I’m stobbed and stobbed bad.” Caldwell rescued him but was later blamed by the Walsh family for his murder.
    This blame developed into a feud, and a duel in which Floyd Caldwell killed Virgil Walsh, George’s brother. This drew their eighteen year old sons, Andrew Walsh and William Caldwell, into the feud. Andrew was pretty much of a hothead and he took up the feud where Virgil had left off by holding a grudge against the entire Caldwell family.
    In a bar fight, Andrew killed a man and was sentenced to ten years in prison. While in prison, he killed a fellow inmate and his sentence was increased to life in prison. Even though the inmate he killed admitted to killing his father, Andrew refused to believe him. He continued blaming the Caldwells and threatened to break out of prison and kill them all.
    Andrew’s sister, Deborah, married William Caldwell. This angered Andrew so much that when his mother visited him in prison and told him about the marriage, he attacked her for allowing Deborah to marry, “one of them murdering Caldwells.” Andrew disowned his mother and sister.
    During these more than twenty years, William and Deborah attended college where he became a doctor and Deborah became a school teacher. They had two children.
    Andrew, in a high security prison, feigned insanity and was assigned to an insane asylum from which he broke out and headed for Darby and the Caldwells. This time he was caught before reaching Darby, but not before he murdered three people.
    Another time he was thought by hospital psychiatrists to be rehabilitated, and was given unsupervised probation. He, again, went after the Caldwells plus his mother and brother.
    During this probation, he was unsuccessful in several attempts to kill the Caldwells. However, when he tried to kill his brother and mother, he was killed by his mother.

    • Shitsureishimasu

      Dude, all I’m sayin’ is, 25 words or less. Not 25 sentences. This is your outline.

      • http://ROYPIPES.COM William Pipes

        First, I sent it as 25 words, but someone wrote and ask for more. What I then sent was my synopsis.

        Sorry

        But, since I sent it how did it sound?

        William

        • Shitsureishimasu

          Well, I really don’t know anything about your subject, so I don’t know if there’s a market for it.

          If you are using “Appalachian dialect of that era”, you would probably do well to include a small dictionary or some such containing words or sayings that non-enthusiasts could flip to. I’ve read a couple of books where the author used terms and such that weren’t well know, or in any dictionary I could find, (including ones on the internet)and it ruined the whole experience since they never thought to clarify.

          Just try and make sure you’re not to in your face with Appalachian dialect as that will irritate some people. (It’s one thing to know and love these kinds of things, but it’s another to force it on others.) If you have anybody proof reading your book, make sure to ask them what they thought of that.

          But, as I’m not particularly fond of books of that genre, I won’t comment on the plot and content. I just hope that there are many people out there who will enjoy your work.

          Sorry if I wasn’t very helpful.

          • http://ROYPIPES.COM William Pipes

            Thanks for the comments. The dialect isn’t hard to read and understand, but is instead rather amusing.

            Example: “It would be good ‘nuff for the man who kilt my husband.”

            Thanks again. I’ll certainly take you advice. My wife has edited it once with no problems, but it is now in the hands of an editor. I’ll ask him if any of the dialect is confusing.

            William

        • Shitsureishimasu

          (If this shows up in the wrong spot, blame it on my browser, it didn’t load the right reply button)

          I wouldn’t know if you’d call that “amusing” dialogue, it could be fine so long as it’s used right. But like I said, you don’t want to be ‘in your face’ about it. I understand that you would want to steer clear of anything sounding too modern, but the use of this kind of thing can either make or break a story.

          Remember to always ask yourself “Am I using this too much? Is this needed here? When read (out loud or otherwise)does it flow properly, or halt me when I read it?” You might want to ask your wife and editor these questions too. And, if you can, get some other people, that you know you can trust, to read your work and see what they think about the dialogue. (It will definitely help if they know you well enough to not shrink away from saying anything that might offend you.) It will also help if they aren’t into your genre, so that you know that if they say they like it, you have a real winner.

          Now, I’m not trying to offend you with my comments, but when it comes to your ‘baby’ you might not always be as objective as you’d like. (Trust me, I know:) I just want to make sure you have all your bases covered.

          Hope everything goes well.
          Shitsureishimashita. Jaa, na.

          • http://ROYPIPES.COM William Pipes

            Thanks. I certainly take your advice.

            William

  • http://www.myfiqtionalworld.blogspot.com Stacy

    On the day of his promotion, Officer Wesley Emerson’s dream life becomes a nightmare that leads him to question himself and his past choices.

    • http://bansheeweaver.blogspot.com Christine Dorman / @looneyfilberts

      Stacy, this is almost perfect. I just find myself wanting to finish the phrase “his promotion to.” Otherwise, the pitch is an excellent hook.

      • Evelyn

        I think it’s a little vague at the end. The beginning is great!

    • http://marilynhudsontucker.wordpress.com Marilyn

      I would like to see more information. The “nightmare” is vague.

      • http://www.myfiqtionalworld.blogspot.com Stacy

        Thank you for the feedback….how about this,

        a)On the day of his promotion to Detective, Wesley Emerson’s dream life unravels forcing him to return home and confront the life he didn’t choose.

        • http://marilynhudsontucker.wordpress.com Marilyn

          I would still like to see more detail. Take at the most recent one by Karen W.

          • http://www.myfiqtionalworld.blogspot.com Stacy

            I read hers, it was really good. How about…

            Officer Wesley Emerson’s dream life shatters forcing him to return home and face his life choices and the woman he once left behind.

            Thanks.

  • http://rebeccavance.com Rebecca Vance

    A young widow, while renovating an inherited parlor house for resale, finds herself aiding a brazen ghost in a centuries old murder.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      She’s aiding the ghost in committing a murder?

  • http://www.tfchandler.com Michelle Rhyne

    Vampire Kellan Donnolly, son of Simon the Apostle,must choose between saving his race from extinction or true love.

    • Lisa

      Holy! I’d like to see you pull this one off! It’s intriguing, that’s for sure! But you don’t have a clear antagonist – perhaps the conflict could be more specifically defined?

  • Evelyn

    Here is one for my memoir. Should it be in first-person?

    A 36-year-old retraces her failed relationships since 16 to find closure and reach happiness with her husband and two sons.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      First person would help and a bit more information. How is this trip through memory lane unique and gripping?

      • Evelyn

        Thanks! How about:

        At 36, as a wife and mother, I retrace my failed relationships only to discover the love of my life never really loved me at all.

        • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

          Yeah, it’s better in first. Now to give it some zing. To do that, I’m going to guess, but it might spark an idea for you.

          As a 36 year old wife and mother, I struggled in my marriage until I retraced my failed relationships and realized the man for whom I wasted years pining never loved me at all.

          • Evelyn

            Thanks a lot for your help!

  • Eric Hanson

    An inspiring tale of a young man on a journey in pursuit of truth and God – and the search for significance.

    • Eric Hanson

      It would be helpful to note this is a travel memoir.

      • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

        It needs more meat.

        An inspiring tale of a man’s journey (through the snake infested jungles of India) in his struggle to discover truth and draw closer to God.

        • Eric Hanson

          Hey thanks PJ!
          How bout: An inspiring tale of a man on a dangerous journey around the world in pursuit of truth and God – and the search for significance.

          Also, your contributions throughout this post have been excellent and have added real value. So, thank you!

          • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

            Thanks, Eric, I’m just paying it forward. :)

            Would this streamline it?

            An inspiring tale of a man on a dangerous journey around the world in pursuit of truth, significance and God.

  • http://talesfromtheredhead.blogspot.com Jennifer Major @Jjumping

    Holy frijoles, Rachelle!
    This is even crazier than the St Patrick’s haiku festival back in March!

    Speaking of which, is there going to be a limerick contest for Hanukkah? Think of it! EIGHT DAYS of questionable poetry!

    You’re welcome.

  • http://www.WriterBobStewart.com Bob Stewart

    A cat switches bodies with his mistress’ boyfriend, only to discover the boyfriend is a serial killer/mob enforcer.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      And this is a problem for the cat?

      You’re kitten us, right?

      • http://www.writerbobstewart.com Bob Stewart

        No, P.J. that logline got the book epublished as Alias Thomas A. Katt.

        • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

          Too funny. Being a dog person, I think cat’s want to annihilate humans anyway, so I figured becoming a serial killer wouldn’t cause an existential problem. GRIN

          • http://www.writerbobstewart.com Bob Stewart

            I agree P.J. I was a dog person for years and when my wife’s teacup poodle died we decided to try for a cst since any new dog would be constantly compared to the poodle.
            We rescued Schyler from the pound and he declared my wife the queen and me the manservant in his kingdom.
            One night while watching Casablanca I wondered if Schyler switched bodies with Humphrey Bogart would the cat retain the film noir persona. Thus was born the book, a blend of fantasy, thriller, mystery, film noir, cozy with a touch of romance and a dollop of horror.
            Since you like humor, you might find it interesting that I call it “feline noir”
            Along the way he finds out he can’t dog paddle when thrown into the Mississippi and loses two of his nine lives.
            Thanks for your comments, I’ve enjoyed them.

    • http://www.heatherdaygilbert.blogspot.com Heather Day Gilbert

      When you say “his mistress’,” it just takes my mind to bad places. I don’t think I’d word it that way. Maybe “his owner’s?”

      • http://www.writerbobstewart.com Bob Stewart

        Interesting observation the way words affect people.
        Mistress is a common term for the title of a woman’s ownership of an animal or as it appears you suggest, it could mean prostitue or white slavery but saying it’s an animal (cat) points to one particular situation describing a relationship between human and animal. I’m sorry it takes your mind to bad places.
        I really appreciate your thought and will give it due consideration; perhaps I’ll reword it as I don’t want to offend anyone.
        The logline was good enough to get it epublished by a publishing house. You can sample a chapter on Amazon by going to Alias Thomas A. Katt.

        • http://www.heatherdaygilbert.blogspot.com Heather Day Gilbert

          Aha! Soooo, we now know your logline doesn’t need a critique! Just disregard what I said, since your logline obviously already worked. Sorry that my mind tends to think the worst before thinking the best, so “mistress” just didn’t work for me (though I do know what it means in that sense–it just threw me off). Congrats on being published!

  • Daniel

    Fear has tormented and kept its victims locked in pain; this book will help set them free as it inspires them to find courage for every challenge.

    • Daniel

      Fear has tormented and kept its victims locked in pain; this book will set people free as it inspires them to find courage for every challenge.

    • http://www.facebook.com/fearnotbook Daniel

      Hey guys! My book seems a little different than most others, but what do you think about the hook line?

      • Deborah

        I think you need to review the bit about themes vs action. Try following the recommended format and see what you come up with. Good luck!

  • http://scratchesonlinen.wordpress.com Karen W

    All these loglines are awesome! I’ve been thinking about mine all day so here goes:

    When the Texas Revolution erupts, an independent minded young woman who divorced her husband, dresses as a man and enlists as a scout in only to encounter her ex-husband who wants her back.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      Just a thought on revealing the protagonist’s trouble–

      When the Texas Revolution erupts, an newly divorced, strong-willed woman dresses like a man to enlist as a scout in the army, but finds herself torn when she encounters her ex-husband who will do anything to win her back.

      • http://scratchesonlinen.wordpress.com Karen W

        So I thanked you but it went to the bottom of the comments instead of right here so here it is again.

        P.J. you are amazing! Thank you! It’s perfect.

        Now I have another one because my novel has multiple story lines:

        Having escaped slavery and seeking refuge in Mexico, a young negro man is conscripted by the Mexican army to fight against the men who enslaved him.

        • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

          Perhaps removing the passive:

          A young Negro man escapes slavery and flees to Mexico where the army conscripts him to fight against the men who enslaved him.

          If your novel has several story lines, you’d want to create an over-arching sentence.

          “North and South” (for example) is loaded with characters and story lines, but the tag line reads “Two friends, one northern and one southern, struggle to maintain their friendship as events build towards the American Civil War.”

          • http://scratchesonlinen.wordpress.com Karen W

            I like it! Thank you!

            I’ve been struggling with creating an overarching logline for some time now. I have three story lines: the woman who dresses as a man joins the rebel cause to prove herself, the slave who escapes from slavery to be free yet gets conscripted and a tejano character who sees the impending breakup of his country and does everything he can to stop it, including turning traitor to his family, friends and neighbors.

            The woman knows both men but the men don’t know each other. What do you think?

        • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

          No room to reply, so I’m doing it here. Yes, the book sounds good. You could build your “elevator pitch” on the woman or an overarching story. I’d streamline to the main character for the pitch.

          • http://scratchesonlinen.wordpress.com Karen W

            Thanks. I’ll work on that.

    • http://www.WriterBobStewart.com Bob Stewart

      I like this one

  • https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ruth-A-Taylor/112941348748036 Ruth Taylor

    This was the hardest part of preparing for the ACFW conference in September. I used these verbally for pitches, and got 2 requests, so they worked! I didn’t use them for my proposals, though.

    An Israeli mother has one reason to go on living after her husband has been murdered by Palestinian terrorists: to protect her child from suffering the same fate.

    Trudie Carlyle forfeits her life in England to follow her husband to the United States, but after a man suffers a fatal heart attack during the flight, she believes that leaving her homeland will lead to a death trap.

  • http://theworldofcora.wordpress.com Kira

    This is harder than I thought it would be! Here’s my attempt:

    “When a friend reveals the existence of a world called Cora, mage Sita Newbury and her college roommates find they must protect both Earth and Cora from soul-stealing magical terrorists or risk their souls and their secrecy.”

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      I like it. Perhaps you could drop “find they.”

      Also, if they don’t protect Earth and Cora, they risk losing their souls and secrecy? What about “or face the destruction of both.” ? It sounds nobler and is implied.

  • Susan

    A baby’s arrival usually brings joy, but for Braeden it means only trouble—especially when he tries to return it.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      Who is Braeden? Is he the older sibling? Was the baby found on his doorstep? Did he kidnap the child?

      It’s catchy, but needs just a few words of detail.

      Example-

      A baby’s arrival usually brings joy, but for (five year old) Braeden it means only trouble—especially when he tries to return it.

    • http://www.peterdehaan.com/ Peter DeHaan

      Brilliant!

  • Emily R.

    Here’s mine. Any suggestions to improve it would be appreciated! :-)

    “When a juvenile delinquent and a lonely foster teen meet, the girls’ struggles to control their own lives force them to do the thing that scares them most – seek the past.”

    • http://marilynhudsontucker.wordpress.com Marilyn

      I would like to know more about the book. The sentence is quite vague. I can’t tell whether or not I would want to read it.

      • Emily R.

        Hi, Marilyn.
        Thanks for the suggestion. This sentence describes my story better, but it’s too long. Any thoughts? :-)

        “When a delinquent and a lonely teen are thrown into new foster homes, the only way the girls can escape their disappointments and fears is to work together to find a way out – but working together is a challenge in itself.”

        It’s hard to describe the “way out” without giving too much away …

        • Emily R.

          Pardon me if I’m commenting too much, but I worked on my sentence some more, and here is an improved version.

          “When a delinquent and a lonely teen are unhappily thrown into new foster homes, together the girls must relive their worst nightmares for a chance to escape.”

          • http://marilynhudsontucker.wordpress.com Marilyn

            A delinquent and a lonely teen in new foster homes struggle to confront their pasts in hopes of a brighter future.

            I would still like to see what their pasts were–molestation, poverty, neglect.

            I think “new” could also be replaced by something much clearer, such as “abusive” or “repressive.” It would tell us what the conflict actually is. “New” is not enough for me.

            P.S. You can never comment too much when you are working on your writing.

          • Emily R.

            Ran out of reply room … hopefully this will appear in the right place. :-)

            I decided to take out the reference to their new homes. The conflict has more to do with the past than the present; their new foster homes are safe and supportive.

            How does this sound?

            “Andrea, a lonely foster teen, and Cassandra, a juvenile delinquent, must untangle their neglected and violent – but sometimes beautiful – pasts to gain control of their futures.”

  • nuku

    You might’ve started something big, given all these responses.

    I’d write one, but I’m of the paranoid lot that thinks advertising their story before it’s ready to be published is a sure fire way to get the idea stolen. And I mean seriously paranoid, I don’t even tell family. You cannot add enough seriously’s to this phobia. Or emphasis on the seriousness. Okay, I’ll shut up about that now.

    But, just a question. What do you do for the bit when your story encompasses 6-7 books and has more than 2 main characters?
    One of the characters dilemma gets fixed near the last book, then the side second character gets more of his story told… I’m not making any sense am I? I know it’d be better if I filled you in on the story line, but…

    That’s why it’s a good thing, that you do your best to instruct us on how to compose our thoughts better in tiny spaces. (Notice I fail with that…)

    Anyway, thank you. I had wondered how to sum up a story, and that example made it clearer than saying “Look at your favourite books. Do that”. Which is literally what one guy wrote.

    • http://scratchesonlinen.wordpress.com Karen W

      The main thing to remember is that each book must have their own plot arc (inciting incident to the climax). You can have your character’s BIG resolution where you planned it but in the meantime each novel has to have their own endings that are important in their own right.

      • nuku

        So I take it you mean I should find out what plot(of the side arcs as opposed to the main plot)pulls at the reader the strongest and do a 25 word bit about that for the back cover kinda thing.

        I had thought of that before, but I wasn’t sure if that’s what these people (who write books on getting published)meant.

        Thank you for making it clearer! (^_^)

  • Kate Michael

    When 17-year-old Genna discovers what she is-one chosen by the gods to bear an Immortal Season-she is immersed in the dangerous, glittering realm of the Winter Lands where she must risk her soul to save those she loves from eternal darkness.

    • http://marilynhudsontucker.wordpress.com Marilyn

      I am confused by “bear an Immortal Season.”

      • Kate Michael

        Gotcha! Will revise :)

  • http://www.edgeofescape.blogspot.com Debra Chapoton

    Five troubled teens confront demonic forces and deal with their problems in different ways; paranormal meets psycho meets budding love.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      Five troubled teens confront demonic forces and deal with their problems in different ways; paranormal meets psycho meets budding love.

      Five “troubled” <- vague teens confront demonic forces and "deal with" <– could use a more descriptive word "their problems in different ways" <– don't we all? I wouldn't suggest leaving this. It weakens the pitch. "paranormal meets psycho meets budding love." <– That's not showing off your grammar and prose.

      What about something like:

      When demonic forces threaten their town, five unlikely companions must join forces to defeat them.

      • http://www.edgeofescape.blogspot.com Debra Chapoton

        Thanks, P.J. How’s this?

        • http://www.edgeofescape.blogspot.com Debra Chapoton

          When demonic forces descend upon the residents of a rooming house, five outcast teens use both human and supernatural powers to fight back.

  • http://www.jbozzoblog.blogspot.com josey bozzo

    Ok, so far it’s been mostly fiction here, but Rachelle did say memoir or non-fiction to, so here’s mine.

    Blockbuster Inspiration
    A devotional that fuses peoples love of movies with insight and inspiration about God.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      Ah, sort of like Matt Kinne’s book “Reflections for Movie Lovers”

  • http://www.jbozzoblog.blogspot.com josey bozzo

    I also have a fiction one, but it is way too long and I’m not sure how to convey the heart of the story.

    After dreaming of her dead husband nightly, Carrie decides she prefers the dream world to reality. As she plans her suicide a mysterious stranger befriends her and helps her to see that her dream world can be real if only she opens her heart.

    • http://www.facebook.com/fearnotbook Daniel

      that sounds very interesting! I would read further … hooked me

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      How about:

      Carrie’s incessant dreams of her late husband leave her longing to be with him in death, but a mysterious stranger helps her open her heart to loftier dream.

  • http://www.jbozzoblog.blogspot.com josey bozzo

    That actually sounds too romantic. It is not a romance. The mysterious stanger is really and angel from God who helps her to open up and really live for the first time in her life.

    See why it needs help?

  • Rhonda Brooks

    I know I’m coming in late but I would really appreciate your help. Reading the comments above, I see some great things coming from the advice being given. I started with a longer hook, revised it and now feel like too much is getting lost. Any suggestions are appreciated!

    First, the original so you’ll have the basis of the story.

    When bullied, young Eslan Scarian decides to leave his troubled, grieving mother by accepting a scholarship to an elite, private school, he discovers the academy used the hope of finding his missing father as a means of getting him to become their hero by entering the Realms of other people’s lives in order to help in their time of need.

    Now, the revised version…

    When Eslan Scarian leaves his grieving mother to accept a scholarship at an elite school, he must overcome his fears once he discovers the academy expects him to become their hero by entering the Realms of other people’s lives in order to help in their time of need.

    Thanks in advance for your help!
    Rhonda

    • http://mgkingbooks.com M. G. King

      The fatherless Eslan escapes to the Academy where he’s faced with a daunting challenge. He must enter the Realms and help others in desperate need.

      • Rhonda Brooks

        I posted this in a new comment but thought I would reply here to see if you had any suggestions this time around. :)

        Lured with memories of his father, Eslan Scarian is recruited to an elite school where he enters the lives of others to help in times of need.

        Feel like I am missing the conflict. Had no clue this would be so hard! Thanks for your help

        • http://mgkingbooks.com M. G. King

          Lured with memories of his father, Eslan Scarian is recruited to an elite school where he enters the lives of others to help in times of need.

          What if you were more specific about how he enters the lives of others (is this dangerous? potentially irreversible?) or what kind of needs they might have. Lots of potential to build tension/curiosity with those elements.

          Good luck — sounds like a great story!

  • http://www.scratchesonlinen.wordpress.com Karen W

    P.J. you are amazing! Thank you! It’s perfect.

    Now I have another one because my novel has multiple story lines:

    Having escaped slavery and seeking refuge in Mexico, a young negro man is conscripted by the Mexican army to fight against the men who enslaved him.

  • http://www.lindakatmarian.com Linda

    It’s 1964 and neither the turbulent times nor the people in Elizabeth Leigh’s life make a Cinderella ending possible—least of all, a quicksand character like Mark Laughing Hawk.

    • http://mgkingbooks.com M. G. King

      NIce! Would love a hint about the main source of conflict for the character.

  • Abigail Stokes Palsma

    An influential psychiatrist sees his lifelong practice linked by the intersecting lives of one of his first patients–a derelict who escapes a mental hospital in 1951–and one of his last patients who is the only survivor of the derelict’s serial attacks.

    • http://cynthiadwyer.com Cindy Dwyer

      This sounds interesting. Can you include what the conflict/stakes are? You’ve established the link between the two patients, but not the stake that the doctor faces. Is he trying to save the victim, or perhaps himself? Is he trying to find the missing patient? We need just a little more and you’ll be in good shape.

    • http://www.heatherdaygilbert.blogspot.com Heather Day Gilbert

      This sounds like a VERY interesting story, but somehow it’s not worded in a way that draws me in. Maybe “Dr. _____, famed psychiatrist, has to figure out the link b/t ______ (old patient) and _______ (new patient) before someone else winds up dead.”

      Sorry I can’t write more–can’t see your original sentence in front of me here. But I really like your concept.

  • Pingback: The One Sentence Summary | Vincent A. Alascia

  • http://www,DebAtwood.net. Deb Atwood

    When a 16th century ghost demands help, Kendra JinJu MacGregor must risk her love and her life to prevent murder.

    • http://cynthiadwyer.com Cindy Dwyer

      I feel like I need some connection between the ghost and the murder. The 16th century was a long time ago, so it’s hard to imagine what the connection would be.

      Also, could you hint to why helping the ghost would put her love on line?

      You’re off to a good start though!

      • http://www,DebAtwood.net. Deb Atwood

        Hi Cindy,

        Thanks for the comment. Here’s another attempt:

        When a 16th century ghost seeks her help, Kendra JinJu MacGragor must time-travel to a Korea on the brink of war, risking her love and her life to prevent murder.

        • http://cynthiadwyer.com Cindy Dwyer

          That’s good! Clarifies the points nicely.

          • http://www,DebAtwood.net. Deb Atwood

            Thanks for checking in again; I appreciate the feedback.

  • http://www.themastersbard.co.za/ Zita Consani

    A former pre-school teacher lands in a psychiatric clinic after being accused of child molestation. Is she a helpless victim or trapped in a sticky web of her own making?

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      Well, it does make me want to read more to find out what you’re talking about. So it works.

      • http://www.themastersbard.co.za/ Zita Consani

        thanks muchly for this feedback, P.J. :)

  • http://www.bohenley.com Bo Henley

    When a storm traps guests inside an isolated inn, Doctor Albert Finemore must solve the mystery behind an ancient curse to hunt down a murderer.

    • http://cynthiadwyer.com Cindy Dwyer

      This is REALLY close to the mark. I assume the murderer is trapped among them? And if Albert doesn’t solve the curse he and others risk death? Clarify this point and I think you’ll have a winner.

      • http://www.bohenley.com Bo Henley

        Thank you! I can’t quite do it in 25 words, I can in 30:

        When a storm traps guests inside an isolated inn, Doctor Albert Finemore must solve the mystery behind an ancient curse in order to track down a killer – if he is to survive.

  • Phyllis Still

    Thirteen-year-old Mary Shirley’s childhood ends the day she leaves her home in Virginia to traverse Daniel Boone’s cleared buffalo trail into Kentucky.

    • http://cynthiadwyer.com Cindy Dwyer

      Great start – I’m intrigued. I think it would be stronger if you can hint to WHY she is leaving home to traverse the trail. Since she (obviously) needs to leave home in order to traverse the trail, you could consider cutting that part of the sentence to make room to add other details.

      • Phyllis Still

        Thirteen-year-old Mary Shirley’s childhood ends when Papa accepts a surveying job and her family traverses Daniel Boone’s cleared buffalo trail into Kentucky.

        • http://cynthiadwyer.com Cindy Dwyer

          LOL your first version had me thinking she was trekking alone!

          This gives me a better idea of your story, but kids move all the time. I think you need to give the reader an idea why this particular move is traumatic enough to “end her childhood”.

          For example, is it the dangers of the traveling, other responsibilities the move brings her, or simply up and leaving her normal life?

          You’re almost there!

          • Phyllis Still

            New angle:
            Shawnee raids in Kentucky threaten the life of thirteen-year-old Mary Shirley and her family as war with King George III encroaches upon her future.

          • Phyllis Still

            Thank you for the encouragement :)

  • http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/participants/jjdandj Jamie

    Michael is pulled from his life of leveling characters when he is bitten by a vampire. When it’s kill-or-be-dead can good guy Michael do what needs to be done?

    Why am I incapable of summarizing? Someone help me, please.

    Roll for initiative,
    J. Wahl

    • http://cynthiadwyer.com Cindy Dwyer

      This would be stronger if you were more specific than “do what needs to be done.” Explain exactly what needs doing. Killing other vampires? Finding a cure to vampire-ness?

  • http://cynthiadwyer.com Cindy Dwyer

    When a lifetime of running isn’t enough to escape my genetic predispositions, I rely on observational humor to accept the inevitability of becoming another deranged monkey dangling from my family tree.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      Is this a book proposal or a confession? :P

      I’m unsure as to the nature of the book, but those are good lines in general.

      • http://cynthiadwyer.com Cindy Dwyer

        LOL, a little of both. It’s observation humor, non-fiction, I should have stated that!

    • http://www,DebAtwood.net. Deb Atwood

      Hi Cindy,

      I like all the ideas here, and I think you make clear the premise of your book. My suggestion would be to tighten the word count and replace weak verbs such as isn’t, accept, becoming.

      • http://cynthiadwyer.com Cindy Dwyer

        I’m glad the premise comes through. Thanks for the suggestions on the wording. :)

  • Deborah

    The Underground: The true story of Laura Lange, a wealthy widow and socialite turned spy and espionage agent when she is forced to quarter four Nazi officers.

    Thats 25 words. I have a 50 word version too. All your feedback is much appreciated!

    Thank you, Rachelle, for your always useful advice and exercises!

    • http://mmnicodemos.wordpress.com M. M. Nicodemos

      The Underground: The true story of Laura Lange, a wealthy widow and socialite turned spy and espionage agent when she is forced to quarter four Nazi officers.

      Character = Laura Lange
      Conflict = turned spy? Or forced to quarter four Nazi officers…?
      Stakes = ?
      Setting = Most likely WWII Europe
      Action = forced to quarter four Nazi officers?

      Not sure what is at stake. What does Laura Lange have to lose? What does she want and what is she trying to do? What is preventing her from doing so?

      • Deborah

        Thanks M. I am assuming people know that the Nazis were in WWII, and that the price of being found out a spy was to be tortured to death, as well as her children, which I didn’t mention in the short version. The conflict is whether to risk your life and your family’s to torture, or try to overthrow an oppressor against all odds.

  • Deborah

    Here’s another: Devi, Tara, and Sam, three mischievous little girls, discover a secret world of witches in their haunted town of Summerland, and embark on a magical apprenticeship with disasterous consequences.

    I’m actually writing this as a series, targeted to young readers – 9-10 yr olds. Fwiw, I live in Summerland and the town is haunted – its famous for it.

    Anyway, your feedback is truly appreciated.

    • http://mmnicodemos.wordpress.com M. M. Nicodemos

      Character = Devi, Tara, Sam
      Conflict = Discover a secret world of witches…?
      Stakes = ?
      Setting = Secret World in Sumemrland
      Action = Embark on a magical apprenticeship.

      Again, what do the girls want, what is preventing them from getting what they want, and what do they have to lose?

      • Deborah

        Thanks M. They just want to have fun, like girls everywhere. :) they manage to cause a lot of trouble along the way, so how they get out of it is each stoy’s conflict. I can see from your feedback I need a persistent antagonist, beyond the boys. getting found out and accidentally revealing the secret world is the only thing now. “How do we fix this mess before some finds out!”

  • http://mmnicodemos.wordpress.com M. M. Nicodemos

    Don’t know how many people are reading this now but here I go!

    After witnessing the death of his father, Jacob meets a mysterious girl who claims to be his guardian angel, promising to take him to the kingdoms of the heavens, but never doing so until he finds a book that teaches people the joys of being evil.

    • Deborah

      I would replace gerunds with verbs to add vigor and immediacy to the writing. “promising” to “who promises”, etc.

  • Lauren

    Rosa doesn’t want a baby, especially not one synthesised by the Superiors who are hell-bent on creating a ‘raceless’ race, but when she discovers her child is part Joseph, they flee the regime together and the future she could never have begins with a perilous journey across the Russian wilderness.

    I know it’s too long. :)

    Rosa is kidnapped by the Superiors, obsessed with creating a ‘raceless’ race, and impregnated with a synthesised baby that is half Rosa, impulsive and wilful with a smart-mouth and part Joseph, the boy she loves but never thought she’d see again.

  • http://www.eshockman.com Elizabeth

    What fantastic critiques! I would love any feedback or advice on my summary…

    No foreigner had ever been invited to dance at the Bolshoi Ballet Theater, but when a 15-year old Texan ballerina leaves her home to go study ballet in Moscow, Russia, she is determined to beat culture shock, one of the world’s most difficult languages, a frozen city awash in oligarch money and corruption, and a cast of insane-genius ballet teachers on her way to achieving her dream of becoming the first American woman to dance behind the red velvet curtain.

    • Emily R.

      Hi, Elizabeth!

      I like the sound of your book! Very interesting. Here are a couple of things I thought of:

      1) Consider cutting the reference to the protagonist leaving her home. It’s understood since she is a Texan in Russia.

      2) What did you mean by “insane genius”?

      • http://www.eshockman.com Elizabeth

        Emily, thanks so much for your helpful feedback! It’s not the first time I’ve had someone comment on the term “insane genius” is it offensive? confusing? I mean to say that the teachers are excellent and smart, but a bit crazy in their pursuit of dancing perfection. Maybe “relentless” or “exacting” would be better…?

        What about:

        No foreigner had ever been invited to dance at the Bolshoi Ballet Theater, but when a 15-year old Texan ballerina goes to Moscow, Russia to study ballet, she is determined to beat culture shock, one of the world’s most difficult languages, a frozen city awash in oligarch money and corruption, and a cast of exacting ballet teachers on her way to achieving her dream of becoming the first American woman to dance behind the red velvet curtain.

        • Emily R.

          Hello again. :-)

          I think “insane genius” is confusing, not offensive. It made me think “Are these teachers insanely talented, or are they so talented that they’ve literally gone crazy?”

          I like the way you describe your story, but if you’re looking to get the word count closer to 25, you might want to only bring out one source of conflict for your protagonist.

          Here’s an idea of a possible rewrite. This one is 27 words.

          “A teenage, Texan ballerina moves to Moscow, battling exacting Russian ballet instructors for an invitation to become the first foreigner to dance at the Bolshoi Ballet Theater.”

          Hope that’s helpful! :-)

  • http://ekaiserwritesablog.blogspot.com/ E. Kaiser

    When young Fia stumbles on a royal secret, she is sent away as apprentice to a reclusive mountain jeweler, and straight into adventure; spies, thieves, fabled jewels, and what is the stable boy hiding?

    Any thoughts are appreciated, though I do know I’m “late to the party” so to speak. Thanks anyway!
    Have a good one,
    Elizabeth

    • http://www.eshockman.com Elizabeth

      I’m no expert, but first thoughts are
      1) I’m not clear why she’s sent away?
      2) I want to know more context, i.e. “When young Fia stumbles on a royal secret at Henry VIII’s court”
      3) instead of “and straight into” I would use another verb like “she is sent away as apprentice to a reclusive mountain jeweler where she uncovers a spy ring, joins a group of thieves…” etc. etc (you would know context better, obviously
      4) I’m not sure it’s a good idea to end with a question – maybe a statement like “most intriguing of all is the secret that the stable boy seems to be hiding would be better…

      • http://ekaiserwritesablog.blogspot.com/ E. Kaiser

        Wow! Thanks for the reply!
        I can see what you’re saying…

        How about:
        “When 16 yr old Fia stumbles into the Lorsian princess’s secret tryst, she is diplomatically packed off as apprentice to a reclusive jeweler; more intrigue, thieves, refugees, a burning town and a fabled jewel later, she begins to understand that life is complicated… much like the secretive stable boy.”

        Again, it has become too long! Grr.
        (And yes, that’s a made up country, Fia’s homeland.)
        Many thanks for the help!
        Elizabeth

  • http://www.heatherdaygilbert.blogspot.com Heather Day Gilbert

    Independent Aurora has it all: beauty, brains, and a loving family. But she might just throw it all away to unmask the ghost next door.

    (This is a book I’d be revising now if anyone were looking for spec fic!)

    • http://www.heatherdaygilbert.blogspot.com Heather Day Gilbert

      And OH my word, I need to reword that last sentence. Maybe “But in her escalating obsession with the ghost next door, she might decide to throw it all away.”

      Or something like that. Or maybe I’m just spittin’ in the wind, since I’m not really focused on this book right now…

      • http://www.heatherdaygilbert.blogspot.com Heather Day Gilbert

        And that’s horrible too! So sorry for plastering this one about…ah, well. Will accept any and all pointers, in case I ever pull this book outta the deep-freeze of my hard drive.

        • http://mgkingbooks.com M. G. King

          I liked your first version — nice and punchy! Would make me want to read more, to know why the ghost matters so much.

        • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

          Aurora has it all: beauty, brains and a loving family, but her obsession with the ghost next door could jeopardize everything.

  • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

    When a timid entertainment lawyer accidentally kills a teen heart-throb and becomes the most hated man in the world, he has to prove his perseverance to stay alive.

    When a timid entertainment lawyer accidentally kills a teen heart-throb (This is good)

    and becomes the most hated man in the world (inflated phrase, could be cut or taken down a notch.)

    has to prove his perseverance to stay alive. (prove makes me wonder if he’s being put through a test by someone like the Jigsaw Killer.)
    Is he going to prison or is he out on the streets, by the way? It would have a bearing on the rest.

    Without knowing more, here’s a tosser-

    When a timid entertainment lawyer accidentally kills a teen heart-throb, he must find a way to evade ten thousand fans who want him dead.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      Whoa, I put this one in the wrong place. Sorry! Just trying to make sure everyone is helped. Woops!

    • http://www.heatherdaygilbert.blogspot.com Heather Day Gilbert

      I like the very last one you did, PJ–maybe just re-word “who want him dead.” I can’t even think of how to do this right now, however. My mind is shot–trying to write a book by December…

      • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

        Thanks Heather, I was trying to help someone else out and put my post in the wrong place. :P

        I have occasional fingers faster than brain syndrome.

  • http://www.heatherdaygilbert.blogspot.com Heather Day Gilbert

    And one of the most helpful summaries for writing these kind of things came from Holly Bodger, a frequenter on Miss Snark’s First Victim blogspot. Here’s how she says to setup a hook. Works for almost ANY book–keeps it simple and concise:

    “When (main character) (inciting incident), he (conflict). And if he doesn’t (goal), he will (consequence).”

    Fill in the blanks and enjoy!

  • http://chefjohnmalik.com John Malik

    When the ten foot-high front porch light bulb of her parent’s house inexplicably burns out, Dorothy must overcome her fear of heights and her mother’s lack of incandescence in order to help Ray find his way home.

    • http://mgkingbooks.com M. G. King

      Sounds like a wonderful idea for a picture book! Not sure about the phrase “The Mother’s lack of incandescence.” It makes me worry that the mother might be the burned out light bulb.

      • http://www.chefjohnmalik.com/blog John Malik

        Well I’m just practicing this technique before I post the one detailing my novel ;)

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  • Isaazetta James

    When the enemies of a reincarnated god prevent him from coming into power and reclaiming his throne, Shámin-Wil must travel the universe in search of him.

  • http://mgkingbooks.com M. G. King

    Thanks, Heather. Will definitely look at this again . . .

    • http://mgkingbooks.com M. G. King

      Oops! Don’t know how my reply got separated here . . . .

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  • http://www.goodbyehooters.com Bret Draven

    Kick us to the curb at the street corner of Pregnancy & Fatherhood without a “master” to guide us, and we will without doubt run amok in feverish circles, scratch our “junk” relentlessly, and beeline our way to the nearest liquor store!

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      This isn’t a pitch sentence. It’s the tagline from your book “Goodbye Hooters.”

      A pitch would be more like:

      A humorous and informative take on what every expectant dad needs to know before and after he’s been handed a bundle of responsibility.

  • http://www.lovelikethislife.com Dana Brown Ritter

    Mine is a memoir:

    The story of a successful, goal-achieving, Type A TV news producer who finally found something she couldn’t just check off a list – her husband’s disability. Dana finds herself simultaneously on top of the professional journalism world – covering the White House, and caregiving full time for her new quadriplegic husband, secretly wondering if she bit off more than she can chew.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      The story of a goal-orientated news producer who finds something she can’t check off a list – her husband’s disability.

      While Dana stands on top of the journalism world, she provides full-time care for her quadriplegic husband, but is it more than she can handle?

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  • Anita Strawn de Ojeda

    “After the Miracle” chronicles two caregivers’ journeys as they explore why they feel blessed, yet depressed.

  • jack Stecher

    Charlotte goes undercover to solve a 30 year old mystery at sea, and finds herself fighting for her life against murder, betrayal and ruthless drug dealers.

  • Lillian

    As her life crashes down around her, Anita’s spirits are buoyed by a secret admirer whose identity will have her questioning the desires of her heart.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      As her
      “life crashes down around her” <- that's a bit of a cliche. Perhaps some element of the crash would be better?

      Anita’s spirits are buoyed by a secret admirer whose identity (passive)

      "will have her" <- I'd keep it present tense

      After (her divorce, the death of her mother, etc.), a secret admirer buoys Anita's spirits, but their identity leaves her questioning the desire of her heart.

      • Lillian

        You are really good at this. Thank you for the advice. Here it is again reworked.

        When Anita, a shy, quirky, metalhead, housewife, looses favor with her husband, she accepts the advances of a secret admirer who forces her to question her own identity.

  • jack Stecher

    Undercover DEA agent Charlotte Harris must pose as a swim suit model to solve the disappearances surrounding closed Frying Pan Shoals Light Station, as murder, betrayal and ruthless drug dealers force her to fight to stay alive on the unforgiving high seas.

    • http://pjcasselman.wordpress.com P. J. Casselman

      An undercover DEA agent poses as a swimsuit model to solve disappearances at a light station, but must fight to stay alive when she uncovers murder, betrayal and ruthless drug dealers on the high seas.

      • jack Stecher

        Thank you P.J. C. that was a big help

  • http://www.schumes.blogspot.com Chris Schumerth

    Memoir:

    A Teach For America teacher navigates racial tension, the dilemma of failing students, the pressures of standardized testing, state intervention, changing administrations, his own firing, and transitioning into a new school in Jacksonville, Florida.

    • http://totalcatanomaly.blogspot.com sibilant

      Hi Chris,

      Sounds like a good memoir! I would try to include a hint of the internal conflicts that occur in the main character – does he face racism he didn’t know he had? Does she learn something the hard way?

      To make room for this, I think you don’t have to list all of the pressures. “… the pressures of standardized testing, state intervention, changing administrations” could be summarized a “beurocracy”.

      Maybe:
      A Teach For America navigates racial tension, the dilemma of failing students, and government beurocracy,only to find himself fired and forced to transition to another school.

      Just my $0.02!

      • http://www.schumes.blogspot.com Chris Schumerth

        Thanks for the feedback! I will play around with it a bit more.

  • Rhonda Brooks

    I posted my monster of a hook several days ago and have since whittled it down within normal parameters. Any feedback is appreciated!

    Lured with memories of his father, Eslan Scarian is recruited to an elite school where he enters the lives of others to help in times of need.

    • Emily R.

      Sounds like an interesting book!

      I think you could make your hook stronger by making more of a connection between the memories of Eslan’s father and his being recruited to the school. Also, entering the lives of others to help doesn’t feel like conflict. Your earlier statement made it sound like he was being coerced/forced to help. If you could bring that back in and tell a little more clearly what the stakes are, I think that would make your hook more compelling.

      For example:

      “Lured to an elite school by memories of his missing father, Eslan Scarian finds himself suddenly expected to become the school’s hero or [stakes here].”

      Hope this is helpful! :-)

  • Jean Murray

    When Bridget Larkin finds herself traveling alone on a passenger wagon train in 1846, she must find the courage and strength to keep going and reach Oregon.

    • http://mgkingbooks.com M. G. King

      Would love to know what’s at stake — why does she need to reach Oregon?

    • http://totalcatanomaly.blogspot.com sibilant

      Jean, I’m definitely curious about your character’s journey, but I do think you need to include some conflict. What is she up against? who is holding her back?

  • Kathy Sloan

    HINDSIGHT has intertwining stories of two women: A career driven mother and a stay at home mom/daycare provider who are connected by a boy who will change everything.

  • http://mgkingbooks.com M. G. King

    Trying again:

    Colin Colbeck sneaks into the deep to rescue his grandmother from murderous, modernizing trolls, and discovers their plans to invade his world.

  • http://totalcatanomaly.blogspot.com sibilant

    When humans have finally destroyed the Earth, Allistaire Crowe Pratt must ensure humanity’s survival by working with the sentient plants that are taking over the landscape.

    • http://totalcatanomaly.blogspot.com sibilant

      I don’t know if it says enough! Looking forword to any feedback.

  • C.R. Anderson

    16 year old Jade Casteel and her friends don’t like rules very much. When a joyride spirals out of control, Jade finds herself in a mental hospital, and no idea how she got there.

  • Rebecca Fields

    Not sure if anyone is still posting on this topic, but wanted to try :) I welcome and appreciate any and all comments.

    Abbey shared a kiss with a stranger, unaware someone saw and now wants her dead, but with the help of her best friend, maybe she can survive the night.

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  • Dixie Jarchow

    Friar uses his skills as a former elite army scout to solve a murder in the small town to which he is assigned

    Sounds kind of bland. Any way to pop it up for that elevator pitch?

  • Tycie

    After slavers invade Sudas’ camp and take her prisoner, she must find a way to get free from tyrant masters who think she’s the secret to absolute power.

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  • Richard New

    Sent too soon on a CIA mission, Dodge must use his God given talents to execute Iranian leaders—then come to term with his abilities.

  • N. Lee Wynn

    After a broken contract, Sin must travel the dimension to learn why he now owns his lovers’ soul.

  • http://chefjohnmalik.com/blog John Malik

    Amy Sommers is prepared for the multi-faceted challenge of turning around a failing four-star retirement community with its share of mischievous octogenarians yet is she prepared to mend the broken heart of the most challenging member of her staff?

  • http://www.jenniferloliver.com Jennifer L. Oliver

    Fighting for her sanity, a regional federal investigator of paranormal crimes delves into the world of dark magic to find her daughter’s killer.

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  • http://www.wonderyearsof2.blogspot.com Jaimie

    Any tips on how to do this for a non-fiction book (that does not have a main character)?

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  • http://www.KarenAWyle.net Karen A. Wyle

    Reunited with her family in the afterlife, Eleanor struggles to understand why she abandoned the daughter she loved. Will the strange and paradoxical memories that haunt her provide the answer?

  • http://www.rachellegardner.com/2012/11/writing-a-one-sentence-summary/ Jacob

    Here’s mine. Please critique.

    When John awakens from a coma with amnesia, he struggles reconnecting with his family only to discover his dark past.

    • D’von

      Nice, This will definitely catch any readers attention.

  • http://www.writing.com/main/portfolio/view/vortex62 Jose Anes

    “Here I am; a Defeated, bruise, and battered father, alone in this new town, kids are gone and people are dying because they took them and I will make them all pay.”

    Is this a weird way to do a one sentence summary? Please critique.

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  • Bill S. Preston

    Here I sit, all broken hearted, tried to poop, but only farted.

  • Pingback: One-Sentence Summary | Pen to Paper

  • http://www.photoshop.com/users/crushsecure6/profile how many days does it take to get pregnant

    Hmm it looks like your website ate my first comment
    (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your
    blog. I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any recommendations for rookie blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.

  • VisionWriter

    Alright, I know I kinda missed the party on this one, but I’m finally catching up on emails.

    I’m really bad at this, but here it goes:

    When the rift of the Civil War leads to her brother’s death and her father’s madness, a refined southern belle must accompany her father to the front lines to uncover and expose the terrible secret that will set him free from his prison of mad grief.

  • D’von

    An inspirational story that captures a young mans journey to break the cycle through sports and become the positive figure male figure he lacked in his own life.

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  • http://aaronmonts.com Aaron

    When a church in turmoil turns on their young pastor charged with saving it from ruin, he must journey inward to find forgiveness before bitterness and rage overtakes him.

  • Dena

    I’m way behind but am willing to give this a try. This is a non-fiction.

    This book is about my journey as the parent of an addict whose story has already impacted millions of lives around the world, and how I’ve found treasures on this dark road.

  • Larry Hoffeditz

    Article I wrote: “Talking Turkey” Pitch: “A reporter’s whimsical interview of a turkey teaches him more than he ever thought possible, ending with the greatest news he’s ever heard.”

    Any suggestions?

  • Larry Hoffeditz

    Daily Devotional Series called “God’s Promises Personalized”

    Summary Sentence:
    “God’s Promises Personalized” is a one-a-day devotional vehicle making God’s precious Word come alive in a personal and practical way.

  • Beth

    Does this sound good?

    In an overpopulated world, a teenage girl is one of the first chosen to kill off the unneeded.

  • Blythe

    When an elf and a dwarf of noble decent fall in love they struggle with their secret while battling the prejudices of their races as well as an ongoing war against a foe that seeks only to destroy their peoples.

  • Animaster21

    34 words, a bit longer than suggested but I’m not sure where to cut it down.

    “After an explosive rescue at the hands of a planetwide resistance movement, former Guard Emini Turk has no options remaining but to join her rescuers in opposing the crushing grip of the Larque Government.”

  • Arthur Hart

    An innocent child, trapped inside a man’s body and a dark world,
    learns of a hidden path that leads to the greatest discovery of his life.

    • kzmlol123

      what book?

      • mm2233

        idk

        • John Kohlbrenner

          A young boy discovers that monsters are real and so he enlists his best friends to help save his town from the dangers of Halloween night.
          One Dark Halloween Night by John Kohlbrenner

  • SEANDRA JOHNSON

    Little miss goody two shoes stumbles into forbidden love and discovers her inner beauty, purpose and power as she faces ridicule in her desperate attempt to live an ordinary life in the shadow of a great legacy.

    • susan

      it sounds awesome!

    • Elaina Eireland

      I agree with Susan, this sounds awesome. I think your hook might be even more effective if you stopped about halfway through, like this:
      Little Miss Goody Two Shoes stumbles into forbidden love and discovers her inner beauty, power, and purpose.
      ~I switched the word “power” to come before “purpose” because I think the hook is a little more intriguing when it ends with the idea that she will find her purpose through this experience.

  • http://www.facebook.com/danny.barnett.564 Danny Barnett

    a third grader has a dream in which he must face nine adventurous challenges, fail and be trapped for all time. unknown to him, he is being taught a technique that helps him memorize the times tables in just a few hours. enemies are confronted, friends are made, and a secret is discovered. Technique is real with educators endorsments.

  • Audra Cava

    Which do you like better? Tony Pizzano’s family unravels; he
    escapes to Slider’s Golden Island where he’s thrust into rescue operation leadership
    and realizes he can help save his family. OR Tony Pizzano, here. Lotsa changes lately, starting middle school, really
    hard family stuff… I’m thinking going through “La Porta” fixes things, only
    problem, it’s forbidden.

  • Elaina Eireland

    My one-sentence summary:

    I left the asylum at 16, determined to forget my bizarre schizophrenic episode—until a divorce and a PTSD diagnosis sent me on a Madness Marathon in search of answers.

    The working title of my book is: GOING CRAZY, a true story of horror, hope, and healing. Critical feedback will be greatly appreciated.

    Blessings,
    Elaina

    • http://www.adventurestrong.com/ Tim

      Sounds interesting. I don’t know what a madness marathon is and what happens if the character fails to find the answers? What’s at stake?

  • Brooke

    A genius
    with amnesia pieces together his past while adjusting to life as the unscrupulous
    head of a billion-dollar company; a depressed coffee shop owner struggles to
    make something more of her life while coming to grips with a maze of
    disconcerting memories.

    • Brooke

      Pardon the weird formatting, I don’t know how that happened…

  • Alex

    Requesting an input(or two:).

    - A messiah leads a band of ordinary citizens against the progeny of Satan during end times.

    I realize it doesn’t include what’s at stake, but considering the universality of the theme, I figured it would speak for itself.

    Thoughts?

    Thank You

  • http://professionalseowriter.com/ Beth Parker

    After his children are killed by a terrorist’s bomb, Mitch Hansen sets out to deliver justice—only to find that the terrorists are merely pawns in a plot that threatens the entire country, maybe even the world.

  • Craig

    A young, Elven Shapeshifter with a fear of following his father’s footsteps into madness and the demonic bastard of a noble Human King looking for answers about his dark past, must overcome their obsessions in order to unite the free people of Arc
    in an attempt to hold back the relentless march of an infinite and deadly, undead
    army.

  • starry speedway

    Which sounds more appealing?
    “A handful of scarred and bruised rebels band together to fight against a rogue cult leader.”

    “A handful of scarred and bruised rebels must band together to fight a manipulative cult leader.”

    “A handful of scarred and bruised rebels challenge a manipulative cult leader, risking their status and morals.”

    • http://www.adventurestrong.com/ Tim

      The first one sounds better because being a cult leader already implies that they’re manipulative. Maybe naming the main character and what happens if the rebels fail would strengthen it too. Sounds cool though!

  • Tom Losey

    A teen determined to train vultures for search and rescue must overcome the limitations of Asperger’s Syndrome and the bully that wants him to fail.

  • Callie

    When a teenage girl with extraordinary powers is captured by an alien species, she must work with her fellow survivors to find out what their captors are hiding, or suffer in unimaginable ways.

  • Juli Török

    A fistful of heroes unite against a freshly elected King who turns out to be a tyrant upon discovering a magical item.

  • jayanti

    Shattered after her father’s sudden death a small town girl must persuue her higher education to fulfill her fathers dream despite heavy odds
    (pls advise on this one sentence summary )

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