Wednesday, April 20, 2011

You Give Them An Encyclopedia, They Ask For A Tweet

My poor beleaguered editor emerged from hiding to say that while she thought it was extraordinary of me to write a twelve page synopsis, full of the most intricate detailing (I could be paraphrasing here), for The Shade Of The Moon, what she really wanted was just a sentence or two. How, she asked, did I describe the book to my friends?

Well, the truth of the matter is, I haven't described it to my friends (present company excepted). Yesterday, it's true, I did talk to a friend, but I described The Offering instead, at twelve page length, full of intricate detailing. And when I've described it to you (present company included), I've described it as Peyton Place The Next Generation, which isn't exactly how I'd like to present The Shade Of The Moon to people who're going to decide if they want to publish it or not.

Not that Peyton Place The Next Generation wasn't fabulous. It was. I can still quote dialogue from it.

"Oh, Betty."

A classic.

Actually, speaking of dialogue, what I immediately thought of when my editor requested twelve pages be boiled down to two sentences was the beginning scene in Sullivan's Travels, which is probably the best beginning scene in the history of everything.

Sullivan: I want this picture to be a document. I want to hold a mirror up to life. I want this to be a picture of dignity - a true canvas of the suffering of humanity.
Lebrand: But with a little sex.
Sullivan: With a little sex in it.

So here is the two sentence version of The Shade Of The Moon. Feel free to put a little sex in it!

Seventeen years after the end of This World We Live In, teenagers related by love and by blood to the families in Life As We Knew It and The Dead And The Gone struggle to find their place in a society that is welcoming to some and forbidding to others.

Sixteen year old Juliet reveals in her diary her feelings of love, jealousy, and yearning, until a shattering truth changes her destiny and that of everyone she loves.


Anonymous said...

I can think of several things that could be spun from those two paragraphs:

1) Gabriel's friend turns out to be related to Charlie, Juliet's father.

2) Since Miranda is, according to what you've said so far, more or less head of household now, something might happen that will separate her from the rest of the household: a) she's adopted, which might lead to the family shattering because of the expected recriminations (maybe Matt knew?, maybe Hal went to less-than-ethical lengths to obtain Miranda?;) or b) it appears as if the same influenza that did such damage in Book 1 -- and possibly left a quarter of all male survivors infertile -- might return, perhaps because somebody dug up something they shouldn't have; or c) there are two "safe towns", the one above ground, where the kids live, and another one directly beneath, where the elites and their families live, built during the 2012 scare (only the meteor came first)-- and Juliet encounters a "Romeo" from one of those families.

Take your pick (or not) of any of those possibilities.

And in reply to yesterday's post, you DID say the same thing about World We Live In Now -- and your readers said otherwise. Besides, it's still a great book title.

Anonymous Santa Fe

Anonymous said...


Fear Death By Water said...

this has set me 'a tingling' if you get my meaning. wink wink nudge nudge say no more say no more.

words thing is 'backs' how ordinary.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Good morning Anonymous Santa Fe, Jamie, and Fear Death By Water-

The Shade Of The Moon will continue to evolve (if the publisher gives the okay for it to), and plot twists I haven't thought of yet will show up (this morning while Scooter snuggled, I created an entire laundry scene; what would a Moon book be without laundry?).

But so far my thinking (all 12 pages of extraordinary synopsis) is completely different from Anonymous Santa Fe's. Except maybe there will have been a second pandemic, but it would have happened a long time ago, and it wouldn't have affected fertility at all.

Still, it might have left everyone "a tingling!"

Maria said...

My 9th grade students and I have just finished "Life As We Knew It" and they have been fighting over the other two books. They aren't on my book shelf/cart for long before someone else picks it up.

Needless to say they are biting at the bit for the fourth book. Even just hearing that your in the process of writing a new book has them very excited!

This series has sparked so much conversation that I have had students from other grades ask to borrow a copy.

Thank you,
San Antonio, TX

Nina said...

I agree... I can't keep any of these books on the shelves in my libraries. I know that everyone will be excited if your publisher gives you the nod! How exciting!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello and thank you to Maria and Nina-

I'm having one of those days where I'm trying to accomplish a dozen things and getting none of them done.

So your words of encouragement are especially needed right now.

Please do me a favor, and say hello to your students for me!