WINNERS: The One-Sentence Summary Contest
Wow! We had nearly 500 entries in last Wednesday’s contest. I’m thrilled, because this means 500 of you worked on creating a concise summary for your book, something most writers find difficult. But it can be done, right? I hope this served as a helpful exercise for you.
Of course it was very difficult narrowing down the entries. Don’t feel bad if I didn’t choose yours. There were quite a few really effective ones in the mix, but I was only able to choose 1 out of every 100 entries, so the odds were high.
Of course, choosing the winners was an exercise in subjectivity. But notice that the summaries I chose each present an interesting scenario and a clear conflict. Occasionally they break the “formula” but are still successful because of they way they use humor or intrigue to build interest in their story.
NOTE: Tomorrow I’ll do one last post on one-sentence summaries, offering critiques of some of your entries and a few more tips. (Please email me if you DON’T want your pitch critiqued on the blog.)
Thanks everyone for participating, and again, I really hope this gave you the motivation to create a rockin’ summary of your book in 25 or fewer words!
Here, with my brief comments (and in no particular order), are…
Peter Robertson serves on the jury for the trial of a murder that he committed.
RG says: This is very simple and doesn’t say anything about what happens, but the premise is interesting enough in itself that I’d want to hear more.
When a dangerous romance puts two teenage girls on opposing sides of a supernatural war, they must choose between their lifelong friendship and the survival of the human race.
RG says: I like when circumstances put people in the position of having to make impossible choices. This one has friendship, romance and a supernatural war—lots of potential for a good story.
A boy who remembers his past lives finds the girl who’s always shared them, but this time she doesn’t remember him and he must earn her love before she forgets him forever.
RG says: A nice description of a promising romance story. This summary is very clear on the protagonist, his goal, and the stakes.
In 1823, one freed slave surmounted the seemingly impassable barriers of gender, marital status, and race to become the first single woman missionary of the American Missionary Movement.
RG says: Sounds like a terrific true story about a fascinating woman in history.
A girl discovers her geneticist father is covering up multiple secrets, all of which are named Jason.
RG says: Couldn’t help it, this made me laugh. There is a lot of information hiding behind the words “geneticist” and “Jason.”
Winners: Please email me!
(I did not include the authors’ names on these, sorry.)
→ After a series of devastating losses, a southern girl moves back to her home state of Georgia to take a job in the wine business, discovering that a bottle of wine, paired with her best girlfriends, can solve almost any problem.
→ Just moved to Luling, “the armpit of Texas,” because of her Dad’s job, a preacher’s kid with a reputation for accidental miracle-working decides to break all 10 Commandments to get him fired and her family sent back to their old hometown, where her best friend is waiting.
→ When her precious, stolen song flies up the country music charts, a music teacher battles the thief–a famous Nashville songwriter who threatens to steal her heart as well.
→ When a staircase portal opens in Madison’s backyard cavern, she is drawn into a strange new world where a haunting family mystery begins to unravel and she must defeat the evil Mourgla bent on destroying this beautiful place.
→ When a cloning project reintroduces the pandemic that wiped out the Ice Age megabeasts, a veterinarian and a CDC investigator battle to keep humans from becoming the next target for extinction.
→ When a successful geneticist wakes up as her own experiment’s newest success, she must battle her amnesia and new animal instinct to find the truth about why she’s involved–but she won’t like the answers.
→ Failing to escape the witch’s oven, a young girl falls through a portal to a dangerous world and spends years searching for the trail of breadcrumbs that will lead her home, despite the interference of the goblin king who would claim her for his own.
→ Two PhD students win a competition and find themselves in a French Chateau with a diamond, a thief and a murderer and the sneaking suspicion that maybe they shouldn’t save the day.
→ A killer finds the perfect place to hide: within the mind of the man chasing him.
→ When tween angel Gabby is assigned to protect her school nemesis, she quickly discovers what can happen when you hate someone to death.
→ Magically transported to the wilds of Africa, an unmotivated high school freshman must save a species on the brink of extinction, without becoming extinct himself.
→ Camellia Stafford finds that going home again gets complicated when she gets caught between the sexy ghost haunting her bedroom, and a gorgeous neighbor encouraging her to chase her dreams.
→ Emma Carter must fight for sanity and life against both seen and unseen enemies when she and her friends are kidnapped by a sick, game-obsessed stranger who is bent on transforming them into real-life characters from an online game.
→ To save her home and the eleven other Webbed Worlds from being destroyed, Ayana must journey to far off lands to discover the secrets of the Dark One and break the enchantment that is siphoning the magic of the Web.
→ A struggling teen falls for a handsome plane crash survivor, only to discover he might be an alien and she might not be exactly human herself.
→ The aborted come back angry, and the only one with a shot at stopping them is a rural cop with a secret identity.
→ At the start of WWII, a young woman must battle her parents for the freedom to chase her dreams, and her sister for the man she loves.
→ A disfigured modern-day prophet must overcome his own despair in time to seal one of the seven mythical gates of hell.
→ A generation of women struggle with the most important decision of their lives, and learn there is no one “right” way to be a good mom.
→ In the Amazon jungle, evil spirits and malevolent shamans need to be kept in check, and when the vulnerable Wilo tribe realize their witchdoctors are not up to the task, they seek help from a surprising source.
→ Although you might not expect to find mirth around the mortuary, this author’s stories of growing up in a family of undertakers demonstrate that there can be fun around the funeral home and a few profound points to be gathered as well.
→ When a hospice worker’s own frail mother turns annoyingly chatty about the past, the nurse must choose whether to kill her softly (and not with her song!) or to live with the horrible consequences of the old gal’s mouth gone mad.
Q4U: If you entered the contest, what was was it like creating your one-sentence summary?
Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent