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OK, I admit I suck at writing summaries, but based on those I've checked on Amazon, I've realized the following pattern:

  • The first part starts with a brief introduction of the plot
  • The second part go over with each of the themes

So I tried that:

Eri misses an earthquake that hits her city. She doesn't remember what she as doing at the time, and nothing seems to have moved a single inch in her apartment. As she tries to uncover the mystery, the protagonist comes face to face with her deepest fears, reaches an understanding with her loneliness and alienation, and realizes that the world was very different to the one she once knew.

EDIT

(Based on @cornbread ninja's comment)

Eri misses an earthquake that hits her city. She doesn't remember what she as doing at the time, and nothing seems to have moved a single inch in her apartment. As she tries to uncover the mystery, she comes face to face with her deepest fears, and realizes the world around her is very different to the one she once knew.

Did I effectively mimic the structure? Will this summary hook the reader and give him/her a good idea of what the story is about?

(I wonder though if I should be doing it differently since mine is just a short story)

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I think you might be giving too much away. I suggest you keep what you have, but leave the reader room to wonder. Suggest that she has a struggle with loneliness and alienation rather than telling the reader that she does and what happens. –  cornbread ninja Oct 14 '13 at 15:35
    
@cornbread ninja Yeah, I was worrying about that. OK, I'll do some editing. –  Alexandro Chen Oct 14 '13 at 15:36
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"... what she was doing ..." –  John Smithers Oct 15 '13 at 13:28
    
@John Smithers Thanks! Not sure where the w went. –  Alexandro Chen Oct 15 '13 at 13:52
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1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

After reading the first two sentences (earthquake, amnesia), there are several possibilities (depending on the type of the genre):

  • She was drugged (by herself or by others)
  • She has some mental disease
  • Some magic happened and changed her
  • Some magic happened and changed the world

Ok, that's not a complete list, but good enough. If you write "she realizes the world is different", then it is very likely no drugging and no mental disease. So I know more about the story than I wanted without opening the book.

The most used element in book synopsis is probably the ellipsis (...). Leave things out, raise questions. Is she still sane? Are the others lying? But why should they? Is she really becoming mad as her father always told her?

Resist to answer too much. Show the conflict, don't resolve a bit.

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Thanks for the feedback. Well, the story never reveals why she missed the earthquake. That part is open to interpretation. The whole earthquake thing is a kind of metaphor for the story anyways, so it doesn't have a definite answer. –  Alexandro Chen Oct 15 '13 at 14:41
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