One Sheet | Synopsis


(A Onesheet should be part of your conference supplies along with business cards.)

What is a Onesheet?

A onesheet is a promotional device with a specific target market in mind. (Retreat speaker, conference speaker, HP, LI, Historical, Guinea Pig herder)A.k.a. Promo Sheet.

(It's everything on one easy-to-carry sheet for that specific target.)

A onesheet should scream visually what it is you want people to know about you and attract your target audience.

(Does not have to be full of color or graphically busy.)

Unique enough to get noticed but simple enough to not get rejected.

(Remember KISS – Keep It Simple Sweetie)

Size: 8 ½ x 11 portrait

(A onesheet is easy for editors and agents to take with them. It's like an over sized business card.)

(It shows you know how to be concise in your summary and present a professional image.)

A OneSheet serves several purposes:

  1. Makes you think more deeply about your story
  2. You can read from it (Peace of mind)
  3. You can hand it to the editor
  4. The editor can take it

What should be included on a Onesheet?

* Your Name Big! – A headline
* Photo – that looks like you. Idea=editor/agent to remember you
* Contact Information – e-mail, web site, phone number
* Bio - short
* Short Synopsis of 1-2 ideas you are pitching (with pictures representing them if possible).

A Sample Synopsis/Proposal

I start with my name and contact info in the upper left corner. In the upper right corner I put word count and genre. Then I label it "Synopsis" and put the title under it, centered.

After that I list my theme and theme verse. Sometimes I use my theme verse for the theme.

Then comes the teaser paragraph. This is like back cover copy. It is to intrigue and give the editor a taste of the book.

Next comes the brief character sketches of the main characters. I label them heroine and hero. But if I have more than two I might label them by their name or the part they play. In the character sketch is where you can put in your character's backstory and set up the conflict between the main characters.

Then last comes the story summary. This is where you tell the WHOLE story, start to finish. Don't leave the editor hanging by not telling them how it ends.

I bold all my headings so the editor can easily skip to what he/she wants to read first. One editor may want to only read the summary, while another may want to read all the other information before reading the summary. Since I can't read an editor's mind, I give them the option with an easy to skim synopsis. The synopsis should be in present tense.

* * * * * * * * * *

The following example is chapter-by-chapter synopsis.

Mary Davis
e-mail address
web site
phone #
Contemporary Romance (genre)
About 50,000 words (word count)



Theme: Gifts from God.

Theme verses: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 (NIV)

“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Cor. 9:15 (NIV)

Teaser: Jayne Tolomei is not looking for a man in her life when she runs smack dab into Kyle Buchanon. Kyle knows God has someone special for him, but when he meets Jayne he says 'no way'. She does not fit his ideal of Miss Right. Though both Jayne and Kyle resist each other, they are inexplicably drawn to one another.

Heroine: Jayne Tolomei has had the one great love of her life and the Lord took him home. She will live the rest of her life thankful she had him for a short while and live among her shadowed memories with her children. Though on the outside she is lively and together, inside she is broken and weary. She refuses to accept that the Lord wants her to marry again. She has loved once and refuses to love again. Her heart was ripped open and held together with only a bandage to stop the hemorrhaging when her husband passed away. She is emotionally bleeding to death but refuses God's prescription.

Hero: Kyle Buchanon comes to live in the same town with his cousin who is like a brother to him. He has decided the time has come for him to find a wife, not that he hadn't been looking. He believes that God has led him to the DC area and is leading him to one special woman. He had felt God preparing his heart for her. It was just a matter of finding her amongst the myriad of people. But when God reveals who He has chosen for Kyle's future wife, Kyle rejects the gift. She doesn't fit his picture perfect ideal of who he imagines for his wife. Though he is witnessing to a co-worker trying to force him to accept the gift of salvation, he can't see his own refusal of another kind of gift his Heavenly Father is holding out to him.

1 – Kyle Buchanon is pumped as he enters the church building for the first time. He wonders if this is where that special someone is. He sees Jayne Tolomei across the church lobby and gets the distinct impression ‘She's the one.' But his hopes are quickly dashed when a little girl calls her mommy and he sees a wedding band on her finger.

2 – Jayne reflects on Kyle's image only to find him standing in the store she works in. She insures her co-worker helps him but he is insistant upon speaking either to the manager or the artist of a painting of the cherry blossoms in the display window. Jayne is both. They share an uncomfortable moment before he leaves.

3 – Kyle talks with his cousin about Jayne and how wrong he was and doubts he would even know who God intends for him if she were standing right in front of him. But one thing he does know is he is going to avoid the one woman he can't get off his mind. Kyle starts as a coach of a little league team and is instantly drawn to a young boy named Grady. He soon finds out that Grady is Jayne's son.

4 – Kyle tries to force a co-worker to accept the free gift of salvation. While trying to avoid Jayne, Kyle goes with his cousin and another man to do repairs on the roof of a poor widow from church. Jayne is that widow. It seems the more he tries to avoid Jayne, the more he runs into her and the testier he gets. He is like Jonah, and the Lord is preparing to send a whale his way.

5 – Jayne is confused by all these chance encounters with this man she can't stop thinking about. Since Kyle obviously can't avoid Jayne, he gives in and makes a half-hearted attempt to date the widow Tolomei. Jayne refuses to go out with him, so he gives up and continues his search for Miss Right. The Lord couldn't fault him for tying, could He?

6 – When Kyle's cousin's wife has her baby, Jayne brings a meal and visits her at the hospital. She times it to run into Kyle to try to figure him out. Why is it she can't stop thinking about this man? And how is it his eyes pierce her deeper than she had allowed anyone in years?

7 – Kyle talks with his cousin about his perfect Miss Right. The cousin's wife think she sounds a lot like Jayne. Kyle feels he can't love someone else's kids, he wants his own.

8 – Jayne and the cousin's wife go shopping while the cousin and Kyle baby-sit. When Jayne drops off her children, her daughter Lexie crawls up into Kyle's lap to get a closer look at the new baby. The picture of Kyle, her daughter and the baby pull at Jayne's heartstrings. Later, Lexie crawls up onto Kyle's lap and as he reads her a story, she wiggles into his heart. Jayne talks to the cousin's wife at the at mall about Kyle.

9 – While Jayne and the cousin's wife are still out, Lexie falls from the swingset in the backyard and brakes her arm. Kyle rushes her to the hospital.

10- In the hospital, next to Lexie, while he is praying for her, Kyle finally gives in and submits to God's will and is set free. How can he not love Jayne's children? Love for Jayne and her children then comes easily. At the hospital, Jayne is touched by Kyle's concern for her daughter and makes an emotional connection with him she has been trying to avoid.

11- Kyle hangs around Jayne and creates reasons to be near her. Kyle sees more and more that she is Miss Right. He starts falling in love with her.

12- When Kyle asks her out, Jayne says no. Kyle tells her about God's plan for them to be together. Jayne rejects his offer of love. Jayne is not ready for a relationship and is convinced she will never love again.

13- Kyle rails at his cousin at how heartless Jayne is. Can't she see that God wants them together?

14- Kyle continues to grow closer to Jayne's son Grady and agrees to take Grady to the father/son breakfast at church. Jayne is unnerved by the relationship developing between Kyle and her son and wants to put an end to it before Grady gets too attached and hurt. Though she sees a great big warning sign, she consents to let Grady go.

15- Kyle tells his cousin and wife he prayed about how to win Jayne's heart and the answer was Grady. The cousin's wife cautions against using Jayne's children to get to her.

16- Jayne's resistance is slowly chipped away by Kyle's nearly constant presence. She likes having Kyle around for the children's sake, and having burdens and joys shared with another adult has been uplifting.

17- Once again Kyle tries to push salvation on his co-worker and realizes gifts aren't always easy to accept at first.

18- Kyle takes Jayne's family to Washington's monuments and the Smithsonian. Jayne struggles with wanting him near but not wanting to get close to him emotionally. The more she comes to depend on him, the more frightened she becomes. She feels like she is betraying her deceased husband.

19- Jayne is almost relieved when Kyle asks her about her deceased husband. She hadn't talked about him and feels a healing begin. Jayne realizes it is time to put her deceased husband to rest but can't quite give up her ring, yet.

20- Kyle tries a less pushy aproach in witnessing to his co-worker, who finally accepts the gift.

21- When Kyle confronts Jayne about her feelings for him, she denies she has any. Kyle gets upset with her and tells her not to lie to herself.

22- Jayne is nervous that Kyle might not show up to take Grady to the father/son breakfast after their fight. Kyle arrives on time and lets her know that she can't get rid of him that easily.

23- Jayne visits her husband's grave and says good-bye to him for the first time. She removes her ring and lets her husband rest in peace. She takes the picture of the cherry blossoms and finishes it, adding the girl releasing the dove, finally letting go of her dead husband.

24- Jayne watches as Kyle wrestles around with Grady while Lexie clings to his back. She wonders how she couldn't see before the gift of love the Lord was giving her and her children. She waits until after she has put the children to bed to tell Kyle she loves him too.


~What is POV?

POV stands for Point Of View. POV is like looking through a camera lens. The camera lens you are looking through is your POV character. You can only see, feel, touch, hear, smell, taste, and think what your POV character does. Think about real life. In real life YOU are the POV character. You can only see, feel, touch, hear, smell, taste, and think what you can experience. The same is true for your characters. But your POV character can make assumptions as to what another character is thinking or feeling. If you want the reader to know what the other character IS thinking, you can have your POV character guess correctly. But you can also throw the reader off by having the POV character guess wrong. You can also let the reader know what the other character was thinking by making the next scene from that character's POV and have him/her reflect on what happened in the previous scene. Also facial expressions can give away what someone might be thinking.

~Who cares?

Well, caring is the point of a tight POV. When you are right inside a character's head and don't jump out of it to tell other things that that character can't know or see, then the reader becomes that character and is seeing the world through his/her eyes. The reader is trying guess along with the character as to what others might be thinking or are going to do. The reader connects with the character. When you pull back and give a little of everyone's POV, you have a hard time connecting with anyone.

Content Copyright © Mary Davis
Graphic Design and Layout © Delta Communications