I spent this past weekend and a good portion of yesterday drafting and editing my one-page summary. I’m still only 98% happy with it, but am keeping my fingers crossed that today, I can finally put this sucker out of its misery.
Yes, you read correctly. 4+ days spent slaving over a one-page round up of my novel. Here’s what my favorite book doctor, Elizabeth Lyon, says about summaries:
“What some writers fail to realize is that they must summarize the beginning, middle AND end. In other words, Problem, Conflict, Resolution. Plot that springs mostly from character ensures that a novel has dramatic structure.”
“I asked a literary agent with strong editorial skills what a synopsis should include: “Emotional turning points,” she said. [A summary] leapfrogs from one big scene to the next. The climax of a novel is the final emotional turning point. It should be emphasized in your synopsis, along with a statement regarding how your protagonist ultimately changes by book’s end.”
Oh sure. Sounds simple enough. Which explains why I have a tremendously skull-rapping headache.
I pulled out every trick I knew to make this thing happen. I researched examples of summaries, re-read Ms. Lyon’s critiqued examples in her book, Sell Your Novel ToolKit, countless times and harassed my beta readers into reviewing several drafts.
I even dredged up every last bit of skill gained from writing press releases. After all, writing a great summary is just like creating a great movie trailer. If the trailer looks dumb, no one’s going to pay money to see it in the theater. They’ll just wait until it’s on Netflix or Amazon Prime.
I’m tired. I can’t believe how much effort is involved in a one-page round up.
A GOOD one-page round up.
But now the beta readers are making approving noises. Perhaps it really is finally looking the way it’s supposed to–an invitingly, delicious mystery novel feast. The figurative version of that ice cream sundae pictured above.
My head still hurts though.