It’s not Monday, but I finally got around to doing what I said I would: I submitted two queries on “Beauty and the Ballplayer.”

Now, I wait … and continue to work on perfecting the GH entries … and write some more on Bethany & Cody’s story.

For some reason, I’m finding it hard to focus just on the Golden Heart entries. Seems that, this year, I don’t have nearly as much work to do. Last year, I had to do some substantial editing and rewriting on Brad & Erin’s tale.

This time around, I have decent synopses written for both my entries, and the entries themselves are in pretty good shape.

Or maybe I’m just getting too cocky … 😉

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Thanks to one of my NARWA sisters, I found another contest to enter … a chance to win a pitch with a Harlequin American editor. Since I’ve long envisioned “Operation Snag Mike Brad” as an American Romance, I decided to go for it.

I can’t say I always envisioned it in that line. When I first wrote it, I had the Love and Laughter or Silhouette Yours Truly lines in mind. But since those are both defunct (sadly, if you ask me), I switched to AR.

The entry requires a one-page synopsis — something I’m getting better at writing, I think — and a logline.

Having never heard of a logline before, I did a little poking around at eharlequin.com. Apparently it’s also known as a “concept line” and is designed to give the editor a broad picture of your story.

One way to write one is to start with a well-known storyline, then reveal the twist that makes your story stand out. You can also use a familiar book or movie as your starting point, so you come up with something like “Elle Woods meets the Terminator” or “Beauty & the Beast set in outer space.”

The advice is straightforward enough, but I’m finding myself confused. Maybe it’s just because my MS is a big, confused mess.

I hope not.

Anyway, here’s the logline I’ve come up with so far:

“Operation Snag Mike Brad” blends “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days” and “Some Kind of Wonderful” — but in reverse.

In “How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days” you have a reporter working on a story and using outrageous advice to get dumped. (Erin is a reporter following a book’s outrageous advice to snag “the man of her dreams” while she’s chasing a big story that’ll get her out of small-town Indiana once and for all.)

In “Some Kind of Wonderful,” you have a guy who thinks he’s in love with one girl but ends up realizing he’s in love with his best friend. (Erin thinks she’s in love with Mike but ends up realizing he’s more like her best friend and she’s really in love with with Brad instead.)

So both flicks apply — at least loosely. The “reverse” part is the whole using the book to snag the guy (not lose him) and the fact that it’s the girl, not the guy doing the falling.

I’m still not wild about it. At least I have a few more days to play.

Five queries. Two same-day rejections. I appreciate the prompt replies.

I am a little discouraged, but not giving up. I believe in “Blind Date Bride.” And, as “they” say … Rome wasn’t built in a day. I’m going to find an agent who loves “Blind Date Bride” and wants to represent it (and me).

I just hope it doesn’t take forever …

Forgive me for not blogging lately … It’s not that I haven’t been working, let me assure you.

Most of my long weekend was spent on my new WIP, which is now in Chapter 3. Did I mention that there might be something to writing a synopsis first? 😉 I thought a lot about my plot before I started and came up with a summary of about three pages.

I also took some time to perfect my query letter and synopsis. This morning, I sent out a handful of queries … including one to my Dream Agent. I just wish that “I want to puke” feeling would go away. I always feel that way when I’m sending out queries: excited, but slightly nauseous.

Anyone else feel the same way?

On another note, I need to get busy writing a synopsis for “Beauty and the Ballplayer.” That was the other goal I said I’d accomplish before the next NARWA meeting — and since it talks so long for me to do one of those things after the fact, I’d better get started.

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. 😉

The hits just keep on coming!

That’s right. About 30 minutes ago, I put the finishing touches on the expanded draft of Bree & Mike’s story. It’s 56,000 words (on the shorter side of category romance, but still within the bounds) and will probably grow as I edit.

Of course, with Bree and Mike somewhat settled, I’m back to being at loose ends. What shall I do next?

The task that looms large is synopsis writing … but I think I’ll hold off on that until after our next NARWA meeting on May 15. That’s the topic our guest speaker, Cathy McDavid, will be covering.

Maybe I should go back to editing Kari & Damien’s story, “Blind Date Bride.” It’s my only single-title novel, and my writer friend Pat (who has read both it and Brad & Erin’s story) thinks it’s by far and away the better one.

Since Brad & Erin has been getting agent rejections left and right, I’m starting to think Pat may be right.

Query letter, here I come! Ugh. That sucks nearly as much as a synopsis.

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? 😉