Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Describe your favorite novel in six words

Here is an entertaining post from Robert J Sawyer: Favorite books in six words

Yesterday on my Facebook wall, we played this game:

Describe the plot of your favorite book in exactly six words — but don’t say what it is, let us guess.
I described seven favorite books thusly. Here are the descriptions, along with the books’ titles

I like this one the best:

“Hen lays dinosaur egg; chaos ensues.”

Can you figure out which book this is? I would not have recognized it, but I do think I would have loved this as a child.

Here’s a link to Sawyer’s Facebook post, if you’d like to click through and read some of the many, many clever entries.

Here’s one I recognized instantly: Dennis Dickens — “Successful lunar revolt with computer assistance.”

I find this one evocative: Anthony Marchese — “Entrepreneur builds park, ignores chaos theory.” What would that be?

I’m not very good at this sort of thing, but how about — “Girl seeks mother; unfortunately, finds her.”

That six-word limit is a killer. I don’t see how to do this one with fewer than seven — “Cousins learn flying and magic, save homeland.” I mean, I’d hate to leave out either main character, so honestly, seven seems to be the best I can do.

I definitely admire people who are good at pithiness and one-liners. I expect people who can do this easily are also talented at coming up with one-sentence pitches for a book. And perhaps even, for that matter, with book titles.

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10 Comments Describe your favorite novel in six words

  1. Elaine T

    I loved the ENORMOUS EGG, and so did the Teen before she was a teen. Reread it recently – it’s still fun. No idea what the entrepreneur one would be, or the girl seeks mother. Saw a couple on Sawyer’s page that might have been LOTR, and one A CHRISTMAS CAROL, none of the rest jumped out at me.

    Your cousins entry in TFI, isn’t it? I was going to reread it yesterday, but the Teen absconded with it. Reports it’s still good but why do the fire dragons have feathers? Claims ‘it makes sense for the air dragons to, but not the fire..”

  2. mona

    >>”Girl seeks mother; unfortunately, finds her.”

    The City in the Lake! Although she sets out to find her father at first, no?

    I was thinking for The Floating Islands blurb, you can sub a comma for the “and”, headline-style. “Cousins learn flying, magic; save homeland.”

    These are rather difficult to come up with.
    “Boy meets girl; hormones kill everyone.”
    “Girl and boy race crazy horses.”
    “True love breaks 200 year curse.”
    “Thief steals stone in plain sight.”

    (Romeo and Juliet, The Scorpio Races, The Tower of Thorns, The Thief)

    It’s fun, but after the above, I won’t be adding this to the list of road-trip games.

  3. Kim Aippersbach

    I loved “Ring disposal task requires long hike”!

    One was definitely Outlander; one was Nine Princes in Amber (I think; it’s been years!)

    Pretty sure “Lost in magic islands, going home” is The Odyssey.

    This is fun! Don’t know if I could write one, though.

    Siblings go north, wolves maintain order.

    Requires serious mental effort!

  4. Rachel

    Oh, Jurassic Park! Okay, I see that.

    Yes, the ones I did were CITY and ISLANDS. I kind of forgot about Timou setting out originally to find her father. Mona, good job getting ISLANDS down to just six words!

    I instantly got “Girl and boy race crazy horses,” but I would never have recognized Romeo and Juliet. Really funny.

    Kim, I didn’t notice “Ring disposal requires long hike” on my read-through of the entries, so I’m glad you pointed it out — it may be my favorite. What is “Siblings go north, wolves maintain order”?

    Elaine, the Teen’s question is a good one. I guess I naturally feel that all dragons ought to be evolutionarily related and thus have similar features, even though I must admit there is no particular need for that to be true in a fantasy world.

  5. mona

    I just noticed I used “Thief” in the blurb for The Thief. Disqualified. Maybe “Ne’er-do-well” instead.

    I’ve always thought of dragons as reptilians and therefore requiring scales or really thick leather-ish hide, but the idea of feathers is a fantastic one, imo.

    “Law creates tension between fire and earth.” Too obvious?

  6. Rachel

    Mona, the role of “law” in that one could be confusing. Or even misleading. Yet how to adjust it isn’t clear. Hmm.

    I completely missed that you used “thief.” Too bad! Um, robber? Pickpocket?

  7. Rachel

    “Trickster” is good for Gen.

    Black Dog — um — “Three siblings defend new home against …” Hmm.

    “Siblings defend new family against evil.” Well, that’s rather generic.

    Six-word descriptions are not going to catch on as the new short pitch, I’m pretty sure.

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