The best thing about doing this workshop was to take the time to think about summarizing into a sentence or three. What is the (whole) story about? How is that story introduced in the first scene or book beginning? We identified the inciting incident, the surface problem, and the story-worthy problem in several published books as well as our own novels. We also picked one novel and identified these elements of a good beginning separately and then compared our notes. All week was a great exercise. Undisciplined as I am, I wouldn’t have done this on my own, not without being “forced” to, by doing it as a group. (It’s all about ccountability. Yay, critique groups and writing friends!)
An added benefit of this past week was to expand my thinking and realize that summarizing a novel beginning naturally led into the formation of other summaries, like a good query or pitch. In order for an editor or agent to read further or ask for more, one needs a good query, a good pitch, a good hook, AND a good storyline. As a result, I ended up redoing a couple query-pitches. It was a good week. It also got me thinking about those all-important first lines!
Whoever said writing was easy never has written, really written.
Now, on to sub and to write. Hoping the same for you.