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    Adam Jarvis

    Member
    October 29, 2020 at 9:08 pm

    Hey Paula! Congrats on getting the first one-pager up here!

    I’m still working through mine. From what I can tell, the one-pager needs to reveal quite a bit about the story (leaving few questions) and needs to have a fair bit of narrative flow. You’ve got at least 250 words to accomplish this, but probably more like 500 (the latter is a number I’ve seen thrown around a few times for story summaries).

    You can (and, I think, should) say what the new job is, what it is that Aunt Alice gets sick with, what the mistakes she makes are, and what the animosity between these two sisters is, as these all seem like fairly crucial plot beats. It will also help us connect with Paula to see exactly what she’s dealing with, rather than just the general idea.

    (This would help explain why Paula has to overcome her fear of dogs.)

    Also relevant here may be the locations where the mother and the aunt live, if only to show how far apart they are.

    Take the opportunity to show your characters strongly. Clearly Paula’s mother is not very nice (but with a history). But you don’t say much about Aunt Alice. You had hinted at a stronger relationship in your blurb and hook – that Paula isn’t just visiting her Aunt but needs the solace that this visit offers. Adding this in would show that relationship.

    One place where you might use this is if you enter your work into contests. They often ask for a one-pager overview. I’ve heard some agents also appreciate one-pagers, so it’ll be useful for that too. In that respect, you want to include enough detail that your contest judge or agent really understands the story.

    Of course, it may be that you are at the beginning of writing your book and some of these details aren’t worked out yet. As Darren says, keep hammering away at this as you add to your story, so both become more fulsome.

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