I've just been to 8th grade orientation at my daughter's school, and I am completely exhausted. They do this mini-schedule thing where you go from class to class and sit for five minutes in each room, hearing a little overview about the upcoming year, before running to the complete other end of the hall to hear about the next class, fighting a stream of parents doing the same thing in the opposite direction.
Not one teacher got her whole spiel out in the allotted five minutes. I think they all need to go to novel writing school.
I've been thinking about summaries and synopses lately, since I'm taking this great plotting workshop from Suzanne Johnson over at Savvy Authors. Our first assignment was to write a one-sentence overview of our story, and then we had to write the blurb for the back cover of the book (Hey! I thought my publicist would do that for me, you know, after I get the $500,000,000 contract).
This was a great exercise. I really had to think about what my book is about, besides just, "There's this really hot, but troubled guy, and this really nice girl with some issues, and they meet and solve each other's problems and live happily ever after." And I had to do it in a fairly concise manner. Not my strong point, but useful, and very applicable to middle school teachers, too:
Take, for example, History, where they'll be studying the Civil War (and beyond) this year. Let's rename it something more appealing, shall we? Let's call it: Love's Rebel Flame.
The one-sentence pitch? "When a Northern State tries to fight the evils of slavery,a Southern State must learn to surrender its old way of life in order to gain true freedom and reunite with the states that make its country complete."
And then for the cover, they need to get Abe Lincoln to put on a kilt (and nothing else, except maybe that sexy hat) and pose on a hillside overlooking the White House.