Boiling it Down

It’s really hard to take your full length novel and boil it down to a sentence or two.

But for some reason, it’s not that hard to do with somebody else’s book.

Jojo Moyes Me Before You is about a girl who takes a job caring for a quadriplegic man.

Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is about a boy with autism trying to find out who killed his neighbor’s dog.

David Levithan’s Every Day is about a person who wakes up in a new body everyday.

You can do it to. Think of the book you’re currently reading and write a one sentence synopsis.

Now these aren’t super fantastic hooks per se, but I could come up with them off the top of my head. Whereas when somebody asks me what my book is about, my brain shorts out and I’m like, “Well there’s this one thing, and this other thing. And they’re actually connected, but then something happens. And probably everyone is going to die.”

It takes a lot of practice to be able to describe your own book in one sentence. While you’re honing the skill, I think it’s helpful to have critique partner’s do it for you. Have them describe your book in one sentence. That will give you an idea of the fundamentals that you can then refine into your own short synopsis.


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