1. laineyamber
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    laineyamber New Member

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    One Sentence Summary

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by laineyamber, Feb 2, 2014.

    Hi all, I've recently started writing my first larger piece of work. I've written short stories and poems before but have decided to embark on the novel journey.
    I've got a skeletal-like timeline down and thought I should write a one sentence summary before moving onto character development.
    I've been spending what feels like hours and have come up with:

    A materialistic diamond merchant discovers a fantasy world full of treasures, but an alluring inhabitant tries to teach him a different meaning of the word "value".

    Now I'm not totally unhappy with it, but the word BUT is bugging me. It doesn't fit in there right, and no matter what I can't seem to fix it. Maybe I'm thinking too hard.

    If anyone has any thoughts, critique etc then post away.

    Thanks :)
     
  2. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    Since he discovers a new world, maybe the word "where" would be a better fit?

    A materialistic diamond merchant discovers a fantasy world full of treasures, where an alluring inhabitant tries to teach him a different meaning of the word "value".
     
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  3. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    Buts, are ugly words. Have you considered only to have... slight change in subsequent wording. Perhaps separated with a semicolon or em dash.
     
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  4. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    You shouldn't limit yourself to a sentence summary. It doesn't even tell the whole story. Use a paragraph or two.
     
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  5. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    The problem is that "but" doesn't apply. It's a comma splice not a clause appended to the first part.

    "A materialistic diamond merchant discovers a fantasy world full of treasures." This is a simple statement of fact, and it's complete so it deserves a period. Had you said he believed he had found that, the word "but" might apply if he's wrong.

    The real problem might be that you're trying to condense the story too much. What the story is about can be stated in a single sentence, but that's theme not plot related. After all if you could meaningfully give the plot of s novel in a single sentence it wouldn't be much of a plot.
     
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  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I agree with Jay and partially with the Duchess. I don't know that you need paragraphs, but the limit to one sentence synopsis was something I've heard but I'm not sure I buy. Nonetheless, "but" is the wrong conjunction. It doesn't make sense in the sentence context.

    A materialistic diamond merchant discovers a [is entranced by a] fantasy world full of treasures, but [until] an alluring inhabitant tries to teach [shows] him a different meaning of the word "value".

    Welcome to the forum. :)
     
  7. laineyamber
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    laineyamber New Member

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    Thanks guys, it seems so simple when I see other ideas written down. I think I'd been staring at paper for a bit too long :)
     
  8. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I find the one sentence summary a good thing, and it's not supposed to tell the whole story but just a simplified version of it. of course there will be subplots and complications and things we can't get hold of with one sentence, but it's still useful, (for ex. when someone ask you "what is the story about?") and a good exercise. It's not easy to give a feeling of the person, the setting, the goal, the conflict and maybe even the antagonist with so few words, but it's good to be able to summarize what's at heart of your story.
     
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  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    this is what's called the 'logline' in screenwriting...

    the trouble you have with yours can be easily cured by what screenwriters often do... start with 'when':


    there are other problems here, though... it's too wordy and too vague... i'd cut it down to something like:

     
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