Monday, April 2, 2012

Story Summary 4 Growth Paragraph

Week four and our final one-paragraph story summary. The Growth Paragraph.

I like to use this type of story summary for pitching. Why? Because in most modern/commercial novels the hero (and/or heroine) needs to demonstrate growth. This one-paragraph version of your story takes that growth into consideration. It also encompasses theme. In most of my books, the “theme” of the story…forgiveness is hard, for instance…relates to that growth. So I came up with this simple formula to write out my story idea in one paragraph.

My novel is a [story type of genre]

About  [main character]

What [action/idea]

Who learns [theme]

And as a result [how does he reach his goal]


My novel is a suspense about a complacent grocery store manager being stalked by the teenager who works for him, who – when the kid moves on from terrorizing only him to terrorizing the whole town – learns that there are times in life when the system fails and you must take care of yourself and as a result musters both the internal fortitude and physical strength to take on the kid and win.

Do you see how having THAT information could not only help you come up with scene ideas, but also keep your book focused?

Again, you have turning points:

1.    Store manager being stalked

2.    Kid moves onto terrorizing the whole town

3.    The manager learns there are times in life when the system fails

4.    He musters the internal fortitude and physical strength

5.    He takes on the kid and wins.

It’s a very clear paragraph that gives you the heart of your story so that you don’t waste time with deviations or trying other paths.

And, again, learning to focus your story before you write it doesn't merely save time when you write, it results in a clearer, better book.

So, there you have them. The four one-paragraph story summaries. I can now confess that I typically use at least two of them when I'm creating a story. I like to look at my story from all angles so that I forage around until I find the BEST way to tell the story. The one with the most drama. The one I know will put readers on the edges of the emotional seats.

And now you can too.

Happy Monday

susan meier

No comments: