Friday, April 03, 2009

One Liners

by G.Parker

In my critique group we talked about how we viewed our stories. One of them said he'd heard we should be able to pitch our story in one or two sentences. If it takes a long discourse to describe it, you're going to loose the editor/agent/listener within the first minute. The same holds true for how you think of it. Is the plot too complex? Nothing should be too hard to get down into one or two sentences.

And that's the tricky part.

We all attempted to outline our stories into one or two sentences, and most of us were able to do it in one. The problem to me, it felt -- not enough. So I think I need to work through it and see which one comes out the best.

The idea was brought up because one of our members had been told if an editor or someone representing a publishing house asks you about what your working on, you should be able to pitch it in a simple and attention catching sentence so they'll remember you and your story. Sometimes that's easier said than done, but with a little practice, everyone can do it.

Here's what I came up with for the story I've been having them critique for me:

Three women, friends since high school, take a yearly vacation together. This year's trip is to Hawaii and they discover a briefcase with a mystery, a cowboy from Wyoming, and someone who's willing to kill for what they've discovered.

Or this one from another story:

Angela Barker has left Astoria, Oregon in her past, yet finds herself drawn back by an invitation. Once there she finds love, danger and discovers there are some things you can't hide from.

Did either of those catch your attention? It's not too hard when you're typing -- you can edit and change and rework it on the page. If you've done this several times and know these lines, it will be fresh in your brain when the opportunity comes.

I would recommend doing this for all the stories you've finished and plan to submit. Since I have several stories that I'm trying to edit and get submitted, I've got a lot of work ahead of me. Guess I'd better get crackin'....


LexiconLuvr said...

Both of those were great!

Karlene said...

Good job on those, especially the first one.

Heather Justesen said...

I found when my book was accepted for publication people were always asking me what it was about and I didn't have a one-liner! Let me tell you, it only took me stumbling around for words once before I started putting something together. If nothing else, it keeps you from looking like an idiot when you can't tell people what you're working on!