I recently wrote about the upcoming Left Coast Crime conference in Sacramento. I’m participating in a workshop on story structure. The workshop leader, author Alexandra Sokoloff, asked us to send the premise of our mystery before Thursday.
Write a one-sentence summary of a 300-page novel that hooks the reader. We’ve all seen them on book jackets, New York Times best-seller lists and movie blurbs.
I sought out some fresh examples and set out to write it. The form has many names: hook, logline, premise or pitch. Some are no more than 15 words. Some don’t use character names. My writing group said they liked it better with the name of my protagonist.
It was hard.
Four days later, I finally had it down to two sentences and more than 45 words. Here’s the result of my effort.
Focused on Murder
A Spirit Lake Mystery
Britt Johansson is a star newspaper photographer whose reckless behavior nearly ended her career. She gets a chance to redeem herself when she’s working in Northern Minnesota and stumbles across an international crime ring that ultimately pits her and her brother against a deranged killer determined to destroy them.
If you like it, please hit the Like button. If you have suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
I like this. It’s succinct but gives the idea of what it’s about.
Thanks for commenting! I still feel like it needs work. I can write a chapter faster than it took to do this summary.
I like this one a lot! It’s truly amazing how hard it is to do this kind of clear and succinct summary. This one hooks me and makes me want to read more.
Thank you! I appreciate the support.
Nicely done, Linda. I’m intrigued! And that’s a great blog post title.
Thank you! I’m so glad you’re intrigued. Ha, I couldn’t resist doing that title. It asked to be written.
I thought your pitch was very clear and I liked it. We’ve been doing pitch slams every Thursday at my blog and I’ve learned so much from seeing other’s pitches. Mine will be this week and I’d love you to drop in and give me your opinion! Whittling down 300 pages is so very difficult!
Thanks for the support! I’ll definitely check out your pitch. Good luck!