Synopses


Saturday’s NARWA meeting went great, and — as usual — I came away inspired. Our guest speaker, Harlequin American author Cathy McDavid, presented talks on characterization and that bane of many writers’ existence (or at least mine), the synopsis.

I came away with some great tips, along with some worksheets that will likely prove very helpful. Among them:

  • One size synopsis does not fit all. Some publishers want a two-page one, others want a five-pager. To meet varying requirements, think of the synopsis as an accordion, expanding and contracting your description of the action.
  • When describing the action, you don’t want a chapter-by-chapter play-by-play. Pick six to eight turning points (such as their first kiss, first time to make love) and focus on those.
  • Mention more than once why they can’t be together and explain why they fall in love. Don’t forget to include how the hero and heroine have grown and/or changed.
  • Make every word count. Use power words (like scarlet instead of red) to evoke a stronger vision. For every sentence, ask, “Can I make this better? Shorter?”
  • Try to infuse your synopsis with the same tone as your book.

That last one I struggle with. (Oh, who am I kidding? I struggle with the synopsis from start to finish. If I could get by without ever writing one, I would.)  My synopses aren’t even half  as funny as the stories themselves.

Well, time to take another look at my synopsis for “Blind Date Bride.” One of the goals I set to finish before our July meeting is to submit at least two queries on “Blind Date Bride.”

The other is to write a query letter/synopsis for “Beauty and the Ballplayer.” I must be a glutton for punishment. 😉

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I find that hard to believe.

Since it’s about time for me to write another one (or two or three) of these buggers, I found this post over at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood particularly useful.

I wish I were one of those people who writes synopsis first and novel later. But I always find myself, at the end of my novel, going back to write a synopsis that includes all the major turning points.

Perhaps with my next novel — the one I start after I finish revising, expanding and writing synopses/queries for my “Women of Willow’s Grove” stories — I’ll try doing the synopsis BEFORE I start to write.

It certainly can’t hurt, right? 😉

In an effort to get over the disappointment of not finaling in the Golden Heart, I’ve been a busy, busy writer. 😀

No giving up for me, no sir.

I spent the weekend working on a synopsis for “Blind Date Bride” and reworking the ending on my losing GH entry. (I’m getting rid of their silly argument for a meatier one. There’s probably still not enough conflict, but I think it’s getting closer.)

I also discovered I may be eligible for PRO status with RWA. I’m going to look into that.

Nothing like a little disappointment — or a lot — to make you realize you need to work harder.

Today, I spent some time before work trying to come up with a synopsis for next year’s GH entry, which I want to enter in a contest with an April 10 deadline.

More later.

How long am I allowed to wallow in disappointment before it morphs into full-blown depression? Right now, I can’t seem to concentrate on anything more taxing than a box of Chicken McNuggets chased with a carton of Ben & Jerry’s.

I’ll give myself the rest of the night to sob into some comfort food, but tomorrow, it’s back to eating right and, more importantly, writing. I have a synopsis to come up with for “Blind Date Bride.”

What to do, what to do?

I’m at a bit of a loss again. After writing more than 1,000 words on Meg and Matt’s story yesterday, I’ve hit a block. If I take a page of advice from the “write quickly and often” book, I’ll sit down and make myself write something — anything.

But maybe I should continue working on my new synopsis for “Operation Snag Mike Brad” — the one that puts more emphasis on the conflict (you know, the one that may or may not actually exist in the story. I’m trying. It really does have more conflict than it used to.)

I’m not sure it’s worth sending out more queries on that one until I resolve the conflict issue.

Or perhaps I should do something else altogether. “Blind Date Bride” needs a query letter and synopsis. I’m thinking about taking an online synopsis-writing class that starts in March, though … so maybe I should wait on that.

This is the story of my life these days: I seem to have a short attention span. I can’t settle down to any one project. Yet I need to keep making progress on my Word Count Club goal. I don’t want to be the one to fail.

I also need an editor’s note for the next NARWA newsletter. I’m thinking my topic will be … drumroll, please … rejection. I’ve certainly handled enough of it lately to consider myself an expert! 😉

My task for “Operation Treat Writing Like a Day Job” today? Query letters.

I sent out 3 more e-queries this morning. Unlike last week, no responses awaited me at the end of the day. But that’s OK. I didn’t expect them to.

Not sure what’s on the list for Saturday. Perhaps some writing on Meg & Matt. Then again, maybe not. I may have more pressing matters to attend to.

Once I got to the office this afternoon, it hit me: I’m going to need a synopsis and query letter for “Blind Date Bride.”

However, since I just finished the first draft, I’m wondering if I should wait. I’ve read it through a couple of times and still like it just the way it is … perhaps it’s time to wait for some outside feedback.

Queries and synopses are not my favorite things to write. Anyone out there really like doing them?