What I Did in School Today

Well, technically it was yesterday since it’s after twelve now (for me). In case you missed it, my Advanced Fiction Writing II class is focusing on the YA novel and writing as a whole. The lesson for 2/8/10 was plot. What is plot? How do you formulate a plot? Can a plot center on a character? Does it have to? Which came first, the character or the plot?

However, before we got to answering those questions the professor gave us an exercise:

Take a novel that you know forward and backward, the plot, the characters, the details and write the beginning, middle, and end in one sentence.

The beginning being an original situation which was unsatisfactory.

The middle being the conflict and cause(s) of change.

The end being the resolution.

We couldn’t give the character name or whether it was a book or movie. The class had to guess from the sentence we wrote and check if it followed the above format.

At first, I was going to use Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Infinity. But, for the life of me couldn’t remember enough details. Then, I thought about Sophia Jordan’s Firelight:

“As the first firebreather born in 100 years of her clan, a sixteen year old girl is expected to mate with the Alpha’s son or flee to the human world where they hunt her kind.”

Now, this is in no way an accurate description of the novel. It is, however, the sentence I used…which apparently followed the format *shrug*

BEGINNING: “the first firebreather born in 100 year of her clan”

MIDDLE: “a sixteen year old girl is expected to mate with the Alpha’s son or flee to the human world where they hunt her kind”

END: It’s a trilogy so it doesn’t really have an end yet. But, the book itself is cyclical in that the girl returns from where she flees.

Then, I just tweeted about plotting a short story because I couldn’t sleep and decided to try out this format. It’s hard. How do you sum up the beginning, middle, and end of your story in one sentence?

When plotting...

But, think about it. Isn’t that the one-sentence pitch all writers should have for their book, polished and ready on the off chance someone might actually want to hear it?

This is what I came up with for my short story (Don’t steal it! Cuz you know, it hasn’t been done to death by HOW many other authors -_____-)

An impoverished Earl in desperate need of funds to keep his estate running and his family cared for, marries a wealthy debutant just out of the schoolroom by proxy with the intention of maintaining a marriage in name only, but finds himself inexplicably attracted to her and reneging on his personal vows.

(1 – I just learned how to spell ‘renege’ 2 – I will be –trying- to apply this format to WW, LTL, and THS to see what I can come up with.)

What do you think? Do you have your one-sentence pitch? Is it polished? Care to share?

PS

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