criticism / editing / effort / fear / frustration / mistakes / neurotic thinking / novel / plot / The Blue Jar / writing

Perfect Sentences and Other Lies

Some people promise to diet or to exercise every day or to be more patient. Do you do that? Swear you’re going to be different and somewhere between three minutes and three days that is all shot to hell?

Mine is that I’m going to be less neurotic.

I’ve been trying to come up with one sentence that captures the feelings/mood/idea of my novel. I felt like I’d been left alone on the edge of a mountain with the instructions to fly down or don’t come down at all and all I’ve got are some feathers and duct tape.

But really. All I have to do is write a sentence. Why I have to make it difficult is beyond me.

So, I’ve come up with a sentence. Here’s my first draft. I’m not happy with the word ‘trauma’ but can’t think of a better word right now.

Two sixteen-year-old girls, best friends, use magic and their wits to recover from trauma and to get revenge.

Thoughts?

7 thoughts on “Perfect Sentences and Other Lies

  1. It’s very difficult to summarise a whole novel in once sentence isn’t it! I think what you’ve written does the job, but is maybe a little clunky. I think it should try and create a bit more of an exciting atmosphere somehow. This isn’t quite right, but maybe something more like:

    Teenage best friends Fran and Chesnie seek revenge for that fateful night, using just their wits…and a touch of magic.

  2. I agree with you about “trauma.” It’s so general that it’s hard to know what distinguishes the two girls’ trauma from a bazillion other traumas. The word “tragedy” could be plugged in and wouldn’t improve it at all, because that word’s just as overused and non-specific.

    Vanessa’s suggestion brings it a lot closer: “that fateful night,” for me, improves on “trauma”: it’s more specific, without revealing too much. (The reader now knows that something bad will happen at night, not just that something bad will happen.)

    The problem — I think (not sure what’s going on in your head, of course) — is that (a) you may be trying too hard to avoid spoilers… but (b) in the absence of specifics, a reader has no real reason to look more closely at your own trauma-triggered story than at the bazillion others.

    It’s been a couple years since I’ve read anything like a full version of the story and I hesitate to offer suggestions based on what I know about it — you’ve been working at it, revising and re-writing it, so much since then. But if you could say something like “After a [cold/hot/rainy/etc.] night of [terror/mystery/ etc.] in [season], [teenage/16-year-old/etc.] Fran and Chesnie bring magic and their wits together to send [a killer/their tormentor/etc.] a message: [You’ll pay for that, or whatever].” All that stuff in square brackets doesn’t really say WHAT happened, but it can combine elements of your story in a way to make a reader at least think, like, “Whoa. I wonder how THOSE are going to be connected?” And then you’ve got ‘em. :)

    • My memory is so shot. Did you read this one or a different one? A few years back I sent some people (and I can only remember a few specific people really–and I don’t know why them and not others) a copy of The Labyrinth House. That is a very different story.

      But I may have sent you this. I might pull out all my hair now anyway.

      Okay. Back to the drawing board. Or keyboard, as the case may be.

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