Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Writing a 1-page synopsis

You spent months writing your novel and even more time revising and polishing it. The characters in your book have become your friends and some even enemies you love to hate. You’re ready to send your precious work out to agents or editors. Congratulation, because this is further than many people ever get.

So how do you get your query to stand out in the slush pile? You draft a well written query letter and a compelling synopsis. For this post, I’m going to focus on writing the synopsis. It’s something that I always dread because let’s face it, summing up thousands of words into one page and doing it in a way that makes a book sound fresh and exciting is hard. Hopefully, the steps below will make the task a little less scary and maybe even fun.

Your synopsis should be about the main plot. If you are writing an adventure novel that has an emotional plot mixed in, your synopsis should be the adventure plotline. Don’t include the subplots.

A few tips before we get started:
-          Use present tense.
-          Write the synopsis in third-person.
-          Lead off with a strong hook sentence.
-          The first time you introduce a character, type their name in CAPS.
-          Use powerful verbs and avoid adverbs and adjectives.
-          Always tell the entire story.

For this formula, you are going to write 5-paragraphs. Since you are aiming for a 1-page synopsis, these paragraphs need to be brief, one to three sentences each.

The first paragraph includes your hook. Identify the who, what, and why of the plot. For instance: A boy goes to wizard-school where he makes friends, learns magic, discovers that an evil wizard wants to kill him, and has that first encounter with the wizard. (Yep, I went to Harry Potter for my example. Not just because it’s one of my favorite series, but because I haven’t met a person who hasn’t heard of the books or movies.)

Next, divide your novel into three acts. Each act will get a paragraph.

Finally, write the conclusion.
            The breakdown of the 5-paragraphs is as follows:
-          1st paragraph is the premise and should include your hook.
-          2nd paragraph is Act 1
-          3rd paragraph is Act 2
-          4th paragraph is Act 3
-          5th paragraph is the resolution. Yes, that means you are telling the ending. No surprises!

Because you are very close to your story, I highly recommend that you have your critique groups read your synopsis before you send it to an agent or editor.  

Format your synopsis much like you do a manuscript.

Your Name                                                                                                                Genre

Street Address
City, State, ZIP code
Phone number
e-mail address

Your name

                Start the text of your synopsis…


Remember to always check an agent’s or publisher’s website before sending material. Some have very specific guidelines they want followed.

Good luck!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Book news

News: In preparation for the release of HOLD TIGHT (book two in the series), EMBRACE received a new look, and I think it's stunning. Don't get me wrong, I like the original cover. I thought the image of the girl looking at something just out of view reflected the mystery of what Madison Riley discovers in the book. Thing is, I wrote Embrace as a stand alone novel, but reader response was so great that I ended up writing a sequel and it does a wonderful job of capture the paranormal feel of the novel. I hope you like the new look as much as I do!


Madison is familiar enough with change, and she hates everything about it. Change took her long-term boyfriend away from her. It caused one of her friends to suddenly hate her. It’s responsible for the death of a local along with a host of other mysterious happenings. But when Madison meets a hot new guy, she thinks her luck is about to improve. 
Madison is instantly drawn to the handsome and intriguing Isaac Addington. She quickly realizes he’s a guy harboring a secret, but she’s willing to risk the unknown to be with him. 
Original cover
Her world really spins out of control, however, when her best friend becomes delusional, seeing things that aren’t there and desperately trying to escape their evil. When the doctors can’t find the answers, Madison seeks her own. 
Nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover. 

Dangerous, intoxicating, and darkly romantic, Embrace is a thriller that will leave you spellbound.

Purchase EMBRACE today

Find out a little about how EMBRACE came to be by clicking here.

Where to find me

Thursday, June 2, 2011

For writers

Writing a one sentence pitch
Writing a one page synopsis
Writing for a middle grade audience
Writing for a young adult audience
Marketing Your Book On-line
Planning a virtual book launch party
Kick start an idea
                                         Picking Your Next Writing Project
                                         Be inspired
                                                      9-Ways to Conquer Writer's Block
                                         The Shitty First Draft 
                                                      Prologues - keep or cut
                                         Writers' Group Etiquette 

SCBWI Summer Conference 2011
     What editors and agents at the 40th SCBWI Summer Conference want to see
     Highlights from the first day
     Highlights from days two and three

SCBWI Summer Conference 2012
      Highlights and quotes