Sunday, September 20, 2009

Plot summaries and other challenges

Have you ever tried to give a plot summary of something you really like?  I've read Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan books over a dozen times, and I have a long, deep relationship with them.  I find it nearly impossible to give an elevator pitch about what makes them so great.  (It's the same with most books I love and have read multiple times.  It's also the same with books I've just discovered and read once recently.)

Often, I'm reduced to mentioning a scene that I think will make someone interested.  "You should read this one," I say, because it has a zombie dinosaur.  Or "There's a beautiful scene in this one, one of the best I've ever seen that shows (instead of telling) the characters getting so drunk that they eventually drop a bomb in a lake, so they can 'fish' successfully."

Some books, like The Name of the Wind, are slightly easier to describe because you get such a strong feeling/impression from them that you can say, "You should read this book because it's written beautifully like the most tragic, adventurous ballad ever told by one of the best storyteller's you'll ever meet."

How do you summarize books (or movies or musical groups or whatever else you try) to recommend to people?  Do you go for concise and pithy?  Talk about character?  Plot?  Ramble on and on hoping your passion will be contagious?

1 comment:

  1. I just read the book with the zombie dinosaur!!

    I usually try to describe how awesome the characters are, since that's what would appeal to me the most.