Friday, October 4, 2013

Doing Hard (Writing) Things

I just learned the official news: The first book of the Circle C Journeys will release for the Fall 2014 cycle (either July, August, September, or October).

Here is the hard news: I have to come up with (before next Wednesday) a 200-word summary (basically the back cover text) for the book. This is one of my hardest tasks as a published author. It's very difficult to summarize a story in less than 200 words without giving away any of the surprises in the story. Go ahead . . . try it some time. It is not easy.

I also have to come up with a 40-word "nutshell" for the story. Yes. ONE sentence to summarize the entire story. This is even harder, but it's a good way to see if your story has some kind of a plot. Here is an example of a "nutshell" summary for Long Ride Home: (you can read the back of the book for the 200-word summary)

Andi's poor choices plunge her into danger when she takes her horse Taffy and leaves her home on the Circle C ranch.

Now, I challenge you to think of a "nutshell" summary for the story you might be entering in the contest. Or even a fan story. It's good practice! Nutshell summaries are what you find in library catalogs. Here are some more examples:

Fleischman, By the Great Horn Spoon: To save his sister’s home, young Jack and his butler rush off to California to join the ’49ers in their hunt for gold.

Lewis, C.S., The Horse and His Boy: A talking horse and a servant-boy save Narnia from invasion. 

Tolkien, The Hobbit: Bilbo Baggins sets out to help the dwarves reclaim their home and treasures in the Lonely Mountain from an evil dragon.
 
Sperry, Call it Courage: Mafatu, the son of a Great Chief of Polynesia, overcomes his fear of the sea and proves he isn’t a coward.

Brady, Esther Wood, Toliver’s Secret: Ten-year-old Ellen Toliver must conquer her timidity to take a secret message through enemy lines during the Revolutionary War.

So, can you do it? Want to take the challenge? Here it is: In a comment below, think of a book you are reading or have read, or a story you are writing, or even a fan story or your contest story. Write the name of the book (or story) and then the one-sentence summary in your comment. Don't be shy. Give it a try!

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31 comments:

  1. Wow! That's hard!

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  2. I have never liked writing the back of my books. :P I actually think a one sentence summary is easier than writing the back of the book! But I'd much rather just write the book. :)

    Hope you got a lot written at your "writing retreat." I've thought about doing that some time.

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  3. Ok, I think I'll give it a try! I am writing the summary about my contest story.


    Title: Andrea Carter and the Suspenseful Scheme at Circle C.
    Summary: On a simple trip to town with her mother, Andi runs into old friends and uncovers a startling mystery.


    You have read my story Mrs. Marlow(I think) How do you think I did with the summary?

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    1. I love your summary, Jessica! I t makes me want to read your story!

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    2. Your nutshell summary is very well done, Jesseca. It sure does make me want to read the story.
      About reading your story, however, I make no comment AT ALL on whether I have read it yet or not. I just know that you have not sent your contest story in yet. You might have sent it as a fan story and then changed your mind and decided to use it as your contest entry. In that case, I may have read it but I make NO COMMENTS. LOL

      That is the contest RULES, my friends! I will READ and love all your stories, but I must allow the judges to pass judgment on the stories as to their content, etc.

      I'm getting excited to see the contest stories.

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  4. Hello. My comment is more of a question. We are really getting the hang of lap books in our home. Our kids (boy - 8 & girl 6) love your Circle C Andi books and I would love to do lap books with them along with the study guides or something like that but am not as creative as so many other gals out there. So my question is, do you have anyone who has set up lap book templates for your books? Thank you so much for letting me know in a responce here. Sincerely, Mommy of two growing blessings & so much more!

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    1. Never mind...I found them on the web page. Thank you all the same. Sincerely, Mommy of two growing blessings & so much more!

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    2. Thanks for visiting over here! And perhaps your young readers might like to enter the Circle C Beginnings short-story writing contest! They can narrate their stories to you. Just click the Contest graphic at the top for all the information.

      So glad you found the lapbooks . . . Have fun!

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  5. Boy, you are right Mrs. Marlow. That is tough! Let me think a second...
    Title: The Hansen Girls
    Summary: Follow the ten Hansen sisters as they battle the struggles of being orphans in the Dakota Territory.

    Can't wait for the new book!!

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    1. Is this a story you are writing or a book you have read?
      You did a great job on the summary!

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    2. Book I have been writing. Thanks!

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  6. Um, let's see. This is the title and summarizing sentence for one of my competition stories.(I may change these later)
    A Circle C Christmas Adventure
    Andi and her siblings are enjoying their trip into the hills to look for a Christmas until a gravely wounded sister and a freak blizzard strand them in a tiny line shack.

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  7. Whoops! I meant to say a "Christmas tree"

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    1. Oh, this is a great summary, Audrey, and it looks like a great adventure too. The judges are going to love all the fan stories. I'm sure glad I am not the one who has to pick the winners! What a tough job that is going to be!

      I get to just read and enjoy them.

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  8. Okay everyone, if you would like to help me out, I need some name suggestions. I am writing a fan story. One of the characters is friendly on the outside, but sly and very sneaky on the inside. I'm really having trouble coming up with a name for this guy. Any suggestions?
    Here is a quick summary of the story:
    Mitch meets a new friend,________;but in Andi's opinion, he's much to sly. Then she discovers one of his schemes that confirms her suspicion. Nobody in her family believes her, so its up to her to her to save the day.

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    1. Okay, I was reading my story again. This sneaky critter is friendly to SOME people.

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    2. Well, can't wait to see how this fan story turns out! I will let the other fans come up with names. I've got my own set of "name" troubles. :-)

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    3. Sneaky and sly, huh? Let me see . . .

      Herman
      Oliver
      Wilfred
      Basil

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  9. Regis? Philip? Robert? Just some random names I thought sounded sneaky!

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    1. Thank you for the suggestions! I like them!!

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  10. Shannon Hale - Forest Born: Rinna a shy 15 year old must learn to overcome her fears and save her friends.

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    1. Nice, Abby. I might check this book out for myself. :-)

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  11. Okay here is my nutshell. I have a few...

    (1)Title: Twenty-Eight Wagons Go West.
    Summary: Nine year old, Amber Cooper, is traveling on a six month journey to Organ-Californa with her family are their young and inexperienced leader, Bruce Roberson. Amber's excited to reach her new home, but are the sacrifices she must make worth of her father's dream for freedom?

    (2) Title: Timothy
    Summary: Timothy Kim, finds himself struggling with temptation and fighting the desires of his flesh. Things become crazy for the young man as he learns, to listen to the voice of God.

    (3)Titel: Andi's Big Shock.
    Summary: After spending the night in jail, Andi is determined to find who is messing up her good name.

    Theses are stories I have written. Hehe I hope to maybe make them into books someday, and send in my next fan story.

    Audrey, here is a name I like, Steven Willbobin. :)

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    1. Oh, all these stories look great, and the summaries are good too. I think, however, that you could shorten the first summary. What do you think about this?

      On a hazardous, six-month journey to Oregon, nine-year-old Amber and her family must learn to endure the inexperience of their young wagon train leader. Are the sacrifices Amber makes worth her father's dream for freedom?

      I'm curious about the reference to "freedom." Is Amber's father escaping some kind of bondage? From his past? Is he a slave? Or does he just want the freedom of the "West"? And I think you should decide if it's CA or OR, not both. Just little hints. :-)

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    2. Hey that sound good, too. The freedom the father wants is kind of under the category of, room. The town they lived in was getting to big and they were having trouble with different people. He just wants to start a new life, away from other people. hehe it's quite the adventure... CA or OR. Yes I could see that. I've done quite a bit of research on this subject, and back in the 1800's they called the west the Organ Country and California, Organ- California. It may not have been as popular as just California, but if I'm right it was addressed as Organ- California at one time or another. hehe I guess it could confuse people, so I should just change it to California. :D Good ideas. Thanks for the hints...

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    3. Ohh!!! I love the last name! I think he will be Philip Willbobin, but I'm not sure.

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    4. That sounds great!

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  12. Our computer is ALIVE! YEAH! Okay, probably nobody is going to see this but I'm going to do it anyways. :) These summaries are from my own stories that I've written or am writing. :)

    Title: Then One Summer
    Emily Anna Jones finds more than her fair share of trouble on her Grandfather's ranch when she discovers a secret tunnel, stops a horse from escaping and befriends a peculiar ranch hand.

    Title: The Wrong Lawman
    It's never a good thing to be in trouble with the law, especially when Emilia Barton realizes the Sheriff of a small Texas town is really a smuggler-and murderer.

    Title: Clever Trevor Trekker
    While waiting for her father to return from fighting the Germans during WWII, Marin Hanson finds a German U-boat harboring off the coast of Maine and enlists the help of her new friend 'Clever' Trevor Trekker, who claims he's a time traveler.

    -Calamity Rene

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    1. Well, Calamity, I saw these and they are outstanding. Wow, you must have taken an excellent writing course to learn how to do these summaries so well. *he-he*

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    2. Aha, yes, my instructor was absolutely fantastic. ;) Unfortunately though, she told me to analyze every book I read and determine how good of a writer the author was. Well, I did, and I discovered there are many writers out there who have no business writing books unless they brush up on their writing skills. :D This led into further trouble when I began to point out writing mistakes in a courtship book we're going through and my mother promptly scolded me, saying, "We're not here to analyze the book, Rene! We're here to learn something!"
      I blame my instructor for that, I've gotten way too good at finding mistakes! ;) It's served me well though, I've become pretty good at finding a lot of my own mistakes and watching out for the dreaded 'ly' and 'ing' words, as well as too many commas. :D I owe her a lot and I will always be so grateful! :D

      -Calamity Rene

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    3. what's the dreaded "ly" and "ing" words???

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Let Andi know what you think!