Condensing Exercise #3

>> Saturday, May 15, 2010

Nathan Bransford, agent, novelist, blogger, has an interesting exercise on his blog yesterday. He noted that queries (and other venues) would require one condense one's beloved novel into tiny tiny packages as pitches. He also noted it was difficult. (And it is, terribly difficult).

Trying it "his way" seemed to work better, than the way I originally started with (assuming, of course, that the novels are equally thrilling). I'm game. Here are some synopses of my third novel as Bransford suggested: (a) single sentence, (b) single paragraph and (3) two paragraphs.

Novel: Tarot Queen

(a) The world of Roxell, the Tarot Queen, is turned upside down when her fated lover whisks her into adventure to save his soul and her life, and find a way to fulfill the destiny the cards have foretold.

(b) When the 400-year old Tarot Queen, Roxell, finally finds her fated lover, Dante, she is nonplused to realize he is a demon. She must abandon everything she knows to find a way to remove his demon curse while they are chased by the army and Dante can be whisked away at any moment by anyone with his demon name, but consummating the love the cards have foretold could bring her life to an end. She will have to find capabilities and strengths she never suspected within herself if she is to help them find their destiny and the opportunity of a life together.

(c) When the 400-year old Tarot Queen, Roxell, finally finds her fated lover, Dante, he is everything she ever wanted—and a demon. She must abandon everything she knows to find a way to remove his demon curse or forgo her own humanity and accept his demon curse herself. She is ill-prepared for the real world and, though Dante is capable and protective, he can be whisked away at any time by anyone who knows his demon name. And it is apparently very popular.

To save herself and Dante, she will have to develop and use skills she never envisioned, find capabilities and strengths she had not suspected. She will have to be bold, even when it distresses her protective companion. In the end, she will have to save Dante from the army that wishes to control his skills and look within herself for the answers that will allow her to fulfill their joint destiny.
You know, I think this is a great exercise, if only to remind me what's most key in my own novels. I almost enjoyed that. :)

4 comments:

  • Jeff King
     

    Yea I could see how it forces you to focus on the plot points... I am not looking forward to doing this myself, but it’s a necessary evil if you want to get an agent.
    Keep it up, and god luck.

  • Project Savior
     

    It's also necessary to market your book.
    When my book was "released" The publisher sent out the worst press release ever. It was my back cover plus information on the publisher. No one printed it. After a few emails to Lexgo (the local entertainment section of the newspaper) I found out papers want the one sentence version of the query and they did an excellent job condensing it for me. Now I use their version whenever I'm doing a press release and it gets printed.

  • The Mother
     

    I still think this is harder for a mystery than an action novel.

  • Stephanie Barr
     

    I suspect you're right. For me, I focus on the characters and why we want to follow their journey. For a mystery (I suspect) you want to focus on what the question is that needs to be solved.

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