Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Head Is Swimming With Plot Points...

,,,and character arcs. Salient story lines and pertinent details; what makes make my main character (MC) tick? What drives her to do what she does? What is at stake for her? Who, of the other cast of characters, deserves to be pulled forth and presented in my two-page novel synopsis?

A lot of these questions are ones that a good writer addresses BEFORE starting the manuscript. But, I've never been one for planning! I'm a 'pantser', through-and-through: I pick a place and a couple of names and let 'em go.

This being my first foray into this part of the publishing process, I'm learning as I go. And, as those around me are wont to point out, I'm coming across as a bit "negative" / "too hard on myself" / "perfectionist" / "obsessive". Now, other than the last one, these are not labels usually attributed to me. I can laugh at myself, and the crazy, while simultaneously pulling my hair out.

I brought a two-page version to my writers group on Monday evening, and after reading it aloud, I was instantly struck by the places it still had left to go. Feedback was clear and useful from the group, but it made me realize that the page is about 40% of what I want it to be.

I am going on a trip in a week, and was hoping to have this done by then, but I'm not holding my breath. Upon the advice of several friends, I am getting out my head about it; I've been on new walks, dancing, singing, sitting at the beach listening to the waves... anything to turn me around and give me some new perspective, free of the pressure and meticulousness of my mind and open to the heart-space that can provide me with the proper words and efforts. The heart of writing - the heart of my love for writing - the heart of my story - the heart of my audience - the heart of it all.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Still working on the Book Synopsis? Yup.

We're nearing the two-month mark since I attended the PNWA conference. That's four times as long as I wanted it to be before I got my letters and pages sent off. Everything is taking much longer than I expected it to.  Here's a few things I've learned so far:

  • Before writing your synopsis, check the webpages of the editors and agents you are querying to find out how long of a synopsis they actually expect and want from you.
    I made the mistake of writing plot points first, which came to ten pages. THEN I found out that I should've only written one to two pages worth! A good learning experience for me, but unnecessary for this time. Sigh.
  • The best way to write a synopsis is to start short, and add as you go.
    The opposite of what I did, to start with. Instead, Do this: Write one sentence summarizing the entirety of your novel (The Elevator Pitch works well, here). The summarize your beginning: Who, what, where, when, how...Who is your main character(s), what  is their objective/goal/driving force and what is their obstacle? Next, summarize the ending. How is the objective met, obstacles overcome, and conflicts resolved? Save these three sentences as your starting point, and build from there.
    Read more about this process from author Beth Anderson, here. It's extremely useful!
I'm really, truly, definitely, hoping to get everything emailed out THIS week!