The Challenge of the Summary

 

holding a funnelOne of the toughest things in the writing process is distilling the novel down to a few sentences. I agonized over the back cover copy for days trying to get the most out of every word. Here are the paragraph, 3-sentence and one-sentence summaries. The one-sentence became the text for my online ads. (I tried to keep it to Twitter-friendly minimum of 140 characters.)
 
 
  • Contingency opens as Bobbi, a comfortably married teacher, discovers her husband’s extramarital affair with another attorney at his law firm. She agrees to counseling with their pastor, but her sister recommends divorce and her oldest son wants nothing to do with his father, or the idea of forgiveness. Chuck does everything he can to make things right and rebuild his credibility, but then the other woman files a groundless harassment lawsuit. Now Chuck is faced with a double ultimatum– if he fights and countersues, Bobbi will divorce him, but if he settles and gives the appearance of guilt, he’ll lose his job. This emotional strain brings Bobbi to a crisis point where she must decide whether God Himself is trustworthy before ever attempting to reconcile with her husband. 
 
 
  • When Bobbi, a comfortably married teacher, discovers her husband’s extramarital affair with another attorney at his law firm, it threatens to tear her family apart.  The other woman files a groundless harassment lawsuit, which Chuck intends to fight in order to keep his job. The emotional strain brings Bobbi to a crisis point where she must decide whether God Himself is trustworthy before ever attempting to reconcile with her husband. 
 
 
  • Bobbi Molinsky agrees forgiving her husband's infidelity is the God-honoring thing to do, but it is the beginning of her struggles.
 
 
 
My tendency is to gush all the details, but this (tough) exercise forced me to nail down the real essence of the story. Did I get it right?