So you can read my books

Friday, February 4, 2011


But first things first :

Michael Di Gesu has labored all day on my manuscript to save it from format Hell. The odds were against him. But anyone can quit.

Michael's a hero. And heroes don't know the meaning of the word "quit." Sadly, I don't know jack about high tech. But Michael prevailed against the awesomeness of my cyber-ignorance.

"Thank you" is too meager a phrase, good friend. But thanks, Michael!

Now, on with our regularly scheduled post :




Those are the signposts you keep in mind when writing your

one paragraph summation in your queries.


Yes : BAD ... WORSE ... WORST. They are the 3 keys to writing a GOOD one paragraph summation for your query.

I.) Think Three Act Play :

Act I. Bad (First Sentence)

You introduce your character and set up the conflict.
Conflict being the goal that is desperately desired and the adversary who stands in the way.

Act. II - WORSE (The next three sentences.)

Each sentence details a disaster derailing the progress of your main character and the victories of the adversary. Each disaster gets progressively worse.

The sentence of the first disaster contains the MC's decision which sets the disaster into motion. The sentence of the 2nd disaster contains some small victory for the MC that is destroyed by the sudden turn in fate. The sentence of the third disaster contains the seeds of the final confrontation between the MC and the adversary.


The final sentence contains the final confrontation and its resolution.
If you don't detail in full the resolution,

you should at least give definite hints on how the story ends with the MC triumphing over the adversary -- even at the cost of his/her own life.

II.) Polish this paragraph until it flows like the narration to a movie trailer.

III.) IMPORTANCE of this paragraph summation :

This paragraph is the skeleton of your thoughts as you write your novel.

Go back to it often and check to see if it matches the story you're writing.
a.) If not, no big deal.
b.) Just revise your paragraph accordingly.

You will not become bogged down if you have this paragraph as your guide and map to chart your course through your chapters.

IV.) This paragraph has to be intriguing and persuasive.

A.) The agent will most likely decide to reject or ask for more from this one small paragraph.

B.) This paragraph should probably contain that all important hook, without which most queries are immediately rejected.

C.) Reading this paragraph like the voice-over to a movie trailer will help you in deciding what that all-important hook should be.

D.) A well-written one paragraph summation will provide the outline for your one page (single spaced 500 words) synopsis.


Dear Mr. Wonderful Agent :

Re-imaginings. Have you ever looked at your image in the mirror and thought does the world I know exist for this copy of me? Or beyond that reflected corner is there a more magical, lyrical, dangerous world?

Thirteen year old Victor Standish lives in such a world.

There are strange tales told by the vagrants of the French Quarter when the midnight hour tolls. The hours fade as the shadows creep closer. The tales are not to amuse, but to keep weary eyes from closing.

For the creeping shadows are hungry.


Thirteen year old Victor Standish is repeatedly abandoned and picked up by his unpredictable mother. He learns “free running” and other skills a boy needs to survive the mean streets.

Victor finds New Orleans brings "mean" to a new level : the supernatural level. A mysterious Jazz club owner takes him in. Victor learns the Jazz club is actually the Crossroads of Worlds ... and the owner has the blood of Death in his veins. They both find love and adventure as Hurricane Katrina approaches.


The undead Abigail Adams marshals her forces to repel the Shadowland invasion led by her European counterpart, Empress Theodora. While the jazz club owner tries to keep the French Quarter safe, Victor falls in love with the British ghoul, Alice. His “ghoul friend” he calls her.

Between Victor's wits and Alice's strange abilities, they save the jazz club owner from Theodora and Abigail Adams.

Joy turns to dread when the Angel of Death arrives at the door of the Jazz club to claim him. Victor does not understand why he merits a visit from the Angel of Death. But to save his new family, he faces her.

He discovers she is no stranger. And he understands why the Angel of Death has come to pick him up ... again.

She is his mother.

Thank you for reading my query. I would be happy to send you sample chapters or the full manuscript. I hope that you find some gem in the flood of submissions that pour your way. May your New Year hold only happy surprises with some relief for punished eyes and swamped workloads.

Roland D. Yeomans M.A.

{The pitch section is exactly 300 words (a half-page single-spaced) Altogether it is approximately 400 words.}

*) I hope this helps in some small way when you are writing your queries and your novels. Your friend, Roland


  1. This is the hardest thing for me. I am too close to my own writing and characters to distill everything down to what someone else might want. I'd rather have a non-biased somone else read it and then tell me back how they would describe it. That might actually put it into perspective for me.

  2. What a great formula. I sure do struggle with this, and your post makes a lot of sense. I just drafted my query, and wow, it took a lot of time to write a BAD one!

  3. So much easier said that written :)

    I edited my summation to death, and still wasn't happy with it. I'm with Wendy on this one; I can't seem to get that concept with my own novel, but I've been able to do it once I've read someone else's.

    I was lucky enough to have some good advice also while writing this.

    I'm glad Michael is such a good help to you. I've seen how awesome he is; he's a sweetheart.

    Best of luck to both of you.


  4. Wendy : Think of your novel as a movie. Now, think of how you would describe it to a friend you wanted to convince to see it with you. Distill it down to what you might read of it in the TV Guide. You can do this. I have confidence in you.

    Julie : It is rough -- no doubt about it. Yet, so many others have done it. We just have to tell ourselves our dream is worth fighting for.

    Donna : It is gruesomely hard. I hate queries and summations and writing a synopsis. They come as easily to me as a root canal! And you're right, Michael is a great guy and friend.

  5. Well written. Roland.
    This post reminds me of... all those last minute book summaries I had to write for my Lit classes.

  6. Imagery Imagined : Yes, I remember all those Lit classes I had to take. Then, when I became a teacher all those summaries I had to grade. A big echo of sorts. LOL. Thanks for enjoying my post, Roland

  7. Thanks, Roland,

    I'm all choked up...


  8. Michael, I am the one choked up ... with graditude for all the tremendously hard work you did for an unknown friend in the cyberverse. Gypsy meows her best blessing your way, too. And her grandmother is Bast, you know, so that should send something special your way. Roland

  9. What a great formula! I'll definitely have to look at this when I'm writing my query!

  10. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Roland. I'm happy to be reading and learning from yours. Enjoy your weekend!

  11. Abby : It's definitely something that you can use as the skeleton of your query. It helps me I know. Thanks for commenting.

    Ellie : Always happy to visit your blog. Thanks for visiting mine and enjoying your stay. Have a great weekend, Roland

  12. Good advice! I always have trouble summing up my stories - I should practice.

    BTW if you like the idea of Being Human, you should watch the British original....


  13. Tessa : I have trouble summing up my novels as well. That's why I thought others may have the same thorn in the side. And I own the BBC original first season of BEING HUMAN. (I like it better than the American version so far.)

  14. You outlined this beautifully! Thank you!

  15. Thanks, Lisa. You have a beautiful blog yourself. I loved the quote at the top of your blog. I quite agree with it. Thanks for commenting and following, Roland

  16. I'm so glad Michael could help. That's what the blogging world is all about. Good friends who support one another.

    I need to keep this formula around to use when I get to query point. Thanks for posting it.

    I hope you're feeling better. Gypsy said you were still struggling a couple days ago....

  17. Words Crafter : Yes, Michael takes after his angelic namesake. I wish you luck and success when you begin to query. I've better from that terrible cold. But now Gypsy is worried about the migraine from Heck that I awoke with this morning. She knows I whine when I hurt. LOL.

  18. Great query letter. It demands attention.

  19. Thanks, Walter. Now, if the agent reading my Full he asked from that query decides my novel demands attention ... and representation!!

    Have a great Sunday.

  20. You were asked for a full?!!! Good luck!!!

  21. Words Crafter : Yes, for THE LEGEND OF VICTOR STANDISH. Thanks for the wishes for good luck! I'm knocking on wood. Thunk. Ouch. I knocked on my head. And I'm praying, too. Think good thoughts about me being accepted, all right?

  22. Hey Roland, nice to meet you! Love the formula for your query letter (congrats to you too, by the way). Back to my query...OH how I loathe condensing my novel into a single, 'catchy' paragraph! The fates conspire against me.

  23. Hi, Barbara, nice to meet you, too. I hope you get something out of my formula for writing a query letter. And, like you, writing queries are hard for me. Roland

  24. Roland--it's fixed!! You're a genius. My husband helped me write it with your formula and...voila! I now have something I think works, sounds 'hook-ie', and I suddenly want to retract the 10 or so I've sent out already ;( As someone who's had success with theirs, do you ever offer Query Letter feedback?? ;D

  25. Of course, Barbara. We struggling authors make it because others have our backs. I'm glad you crafted a query that you are pleased with. I wish you success in your publication quest. Roland

  26. THANK YOU THANK YOU! Sent it to your Yahoo. If that's the wrong one, let me know. And BEST of luck to you! Barbara