I’m entering a contest called The Frasier hosted by My Book Therapy. The entry includes a 500 word synopsis of my book along with the first scene. I think I mentioned before that writing a synopsis is harder than writing a novel. I was so proud to have gotten that thing down to two-pages and now they want one!
Which turned out to be the easy part. You see, that first scene can only be 1,500 words! I got out my first chapter and looked at where I thought the first scene ended. It was about 2,400 words in. Ack! I tried just lopping the thing off after 1,500 words and it left waaaaay too much out. Maybe I am getting off to a slow start!
So I took my 2,400 words and began a slow simmer over a steady flame. Cutting, rephrasing, calculating, condensing. And you know what? It’s now 1,500 words long (exactly!) and I suspect is a whole lot stronger than it was 900 words ago. I’ve gone from a light broth to a rich stock.
Do I have a winner? Time will tell. But regardless, this was an outstanding exercise in storytelling. If you’d like a writing challenge, take your first scene and boil it down to 1,500 words that set up all the key elements your reader needs to understand where your book will end up in another 75,000 or so. Phew!