The best part of the writers conference was being around other writers. It was great to talk story with people who "get it." :)
At the conference Frank Ball talked often about this acrynom called SCOOP IT UP. It's great if you're a plotter (that would not be me). And it's rather handy if you're writing a query. It helps summarize you book, and focus it.
Situation- The set-up. The inciting incident. What gets the story going. With the setting included.
Character- The main character. The MC. The protagonist.Whatever you call him.
Objective- The character's desire. What he wants most.
Obstacle- The thing that stands between the character and his objective. So, yeah, an obstacle.
Plight- The stakes. The risk. Cost vs. benefit. What the character has to lose with every choice he makes.
Insight- The knowledge the character learns on the way, scene by scene, and overall.
Transformation- The change. The difference in the character from beginning to end. Negative? Positive?
Unresovled Problem- What happens next?
Over the next couple of days I'll elaborate on these. If you can identify each of these in your WIP than you are on your way to having a good summary for a query or something to say when someone asks, "So what's your story about?"