One Page

IMGP6507By S. J. Brown

Recently I was reviewing some guidelines from a publisher. They wanted the usual information like my name, contact information, the name of the book I was proposing and the word count. Then I saw it the next requirement was an impossible task, a one page synopsis. I needed to share all the important parts of a 44,000 word book all on one page, all text.

SJBrown1 Goose

To give the publisher a true feel for the book I needed to relay the personalities of the two main characters and a sense of their lives. But there was so much to tell. There are roller skates, a sewing machine, costumes, telephone poles, oh and Betty stepped on a needle that was scary. I couldn’t add photos of the main characters when they were young and innocent, well kind of innocent.

SJBrown2 SistersLittle girls like ice cream, maybe if I took an ice cream break this would flow a little better. I had to remember to mention within the pages there is a race riot, a car crash, a séance, boyfriends, and the police, . Dribbled throughout the book were paper bags filled with mystery. This book is about life, there are airplanes, a hitchhiker, tumbling beer cans, and a circus.

SJBrown3 ElephantAt this point I was half way down the page and there was so much more to tell. This was a bit too long already. How was I ever going to get it all on one page? Maybe if I had a brownie I could figure out how to make this work. Nope, no treats until I am done.
I should have started with the title ”Suburban Sisters.” Did I mention this is a heartwarming tale about two sisters? The girls are good Catholics that attend church. There is a bit of a glitch in their perfect world when stolen money in the collection plate. However I need to let the publisher know that along with the jobs, men in diapers and guns there are touching family moments like Christmas morning, family outings and cute little babies.

SJBrown4 TreesOh crap, I am at the bottom of the page and I’m not done yet, DDELETE, DELETE, DELETE. Maybe a peanut butter cup would help.

The publisher’s guidelines state they respond to submissions in 4-6 months, it may take me that long to get this down to one page. I still need to add details like an ice storm complete with dancing power lines, a truck spewing a chemical fog throughout the neighborhood, fire, oh and a dog that shows up for Thanksgiving dinner. Now this blog is getting to long.

SJBrown5 TurkeyI haven’t even mentioned the girl’s parents yet. So much happens in the 12 years the book covers. Now I needed to DELETE, DELETE, DELETE and DELETE some more. I shortened a sentence here and omitted an event there but I need to add in details about when the girl’s world shatters. So I deleted some more. Two days later it was finished and I celebrated with some chocolate chip cookies.
In closing I will ask how do you tackle a seemingly impossible task. How do you reward yourself when you accomplished your goal?
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17 thoughts on “One Page

  1. Loved your blog, not only did I chuckle, but I related! I have a box of chocolate covered cherries sitting on my desk right now, the kind with the clear liquid centers which I love. I reward myself for each “tiny” goal reached in my to do list. Only 3 left…sigh, work must be almost done… I relate to the length of the synopsis problem also. I think your blog says it all! Sounds like a fun book. Good luck!


    1. Wait I don’t understand you can open a box of candy and not each the entire box. Not something I can do. Glad you enjoyed the post.


  2. Back in 2009 when I was researching doing cover letters and synopses for literary agents, I was told to do three synopses — a short one of one page, a medium-length one and then one long one. The site even gave word count estimates. Sounds like you had to provide the short one. Based on this one sentence you provided — I had to remember to mention within the pages there is a race riot, a car crash, a séance, boyfriends, and the police — I have to say you’ve piqued my interest. As to tough things to achieve back before I retired… I was a daily newspaper person back in the 1980s, working as an assistant city editor. I had to meet daily deadlines in doing newspaper layout for the local/state section.


  3. I am very proud of myself, you aren’t my target audience and I have your attention. Now if you were only a book publisher I would be golden. Did you ever reward yourself for making the daily deadlines or were you to tired to care by the end of the day?


    1. I started work at 4:30 in the morning. By the end of deadline at about 11 a.m., my working day was nearly over. Sometimes I’d head out to the mall, get something to eat in the food court, and then walk to the movie theater and see a movie. I guess that was my occasional reward for the hectic newspaper deadlines.


  4. I loved your post but am astounded–only two days later it was finished? Wow. I can do that for another author’s book, but for mine? Misery. As for rewarding myself, I don’t. I eat all the cookies while I’m trying to write the synopsis.


    1. Glad you liked the post. That was 2 full days hubby was at work and I got nothing else done. I try , notice I said try not to eat at my desk. But breaks are another story.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The reason I asked–a contest I submitted to required a one-page synopsis, double spaced. In the critique, the judge commented that if one character was important to the plot, shouldn’t she be mentioned earlier in the synopsis? Well, yes, but earlier I was mentioning other characters and bits of plot…


      2. That is a really hard thing to do. It doesn’t matter if you are submitting to a contest or a publisher for publication the person reading your submission has to be Wowed. How each person is Wowed differs.


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