Top 2014 Posts – #6 – How to Write a Novel Synopsis: 5 Tips

To end the year, I’ve decided to spotlight my top 10 blog posts from 2014. I went into my stats page and looked up those articles, stories, and other published pieces that had the most number of views. Some surprised me, others did not.

Today, we’re up to #6: How to Write a Novel Synopsis: 5 Tips

IMG_4159After attending Chuck Sambuchino’s Colorado Writing Workshop last month, I can smile and nod at this post. Because everything in it is exactly what he taught me during that conference. So, be sure to read it if you haven’t and take to heart its important lessons.


 Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! Although I’m still a few months away from finishing my manuscript, I’m always on the lookout for useful tips, dos and don’ts, and lessons about the querying process.

writing_humour_synopsis-scaled500Today’s gem, courtesy of Writer’s Digest and the ever helpful Chuck Sambuchino, focuses on the dreaded synopsis…Oh, come on. Don’t deny it. You’re as “ugh” about this step in the querying process as I am. Thankfully this article makes it a little easier by giving us five tips to use as basic guidelines. So, before you sit down to write yours, check it out!

How to Write a Novel Synopsis: 5 Tips

1. Reveal everything major that happens in your book, including the ending. Heck, revealing the story’s ending is a synopsis’s defining unique characteristic. You shouldn’t find a story’s ending in a query or in-person pitch, but it does leak out in a synopsis. On this note, know that a synopsis is designed to explain everything major that happens, not to tease — so avoid language such as “Krista walks around a corner into a big surprise.” Don’t say “surprise,” but rather just tell us what happens.

To read the entire article, click here!

For more useful advice, follow Writer’s Digest and Chuck Sambuchino on Twitter!

Previous Top 10 2014 Posts:

#7: Into Paradise

#8: Music Monday – Love The Way You Lie

#9: Operation Disney

#10: Over The Edge

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Yes, Agents Google Writers

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! Earlier this week, I met up with a fellow writer to discuss the importance of building their author platform (blogging, Twitter, Facebook, etc.). As we chatted, I explained to him how nowadays most literary agents expect writers to have these social media sites up and running before they’re published.

twitter-icon-with-books-230x299Ironically, the day I went to meet my friend to discuss this topic, I came upon an article by literary agent, Carly Watters. In it, she explains why building an author platform is so important. She also offers excellent tips for how to approach and handle various social media websites.

Yes, Agents Google Writers

Agents have changed their mind about an author after searching them online. Yikes! How do you avoid that? Making sure you don’t have websites or blogs that are ghost towns. Post regularly. And regularly can mean whatever works for you (once per week or once a day, but no less than a couple times a month!).

To read the entire article, click here!

For more useful advice, follow Carly Watters on Twitter!

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http://ingoodcompany.com/classes/using-social-media-to-build-your-author-platform/

How to Write a Novel Synopsis: 5 Tips

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! Although I’m still a few months away from finishing my manuscript, I’m always on the lookout for useful tips, dos and don’ts, and lessons about the querying process.

writing_humour_synopsis-scaled500Today’s gem, courtesy of Writer’s Digest and the ever helpful Chuck Sambuchino, focuses on the dreaded synopsis…Oh, come on. Don’t deny it. You’re as “ugh” about this step in the querying process as I am. Thankfully this article makes it a little easier by giving us five tips to use as basic guidelines. So, before you sit down to write yours, check it out!

How to Write a Novel Synopsis: 5 Tips

1. Reveal everything major that happens in your book, including the ending. Heck, revealing the story’s ending is a synopsis’s defining unique characteristic. You shouldn’t find a story’s ending in a query or in-person pitch, but it does leak out in a synopsis. On this note, know that a synopsis is designed to explain everything major that happens, not to tease — so avoid language such as “Krista walks around a corner into a big surprise.” Don’t say “surprise,” but rather just tell us what happens.

To read the entire article, click here!

For more useful advice, follow Writer’s Digest and Chuck Sambuchino on Twitter!

Photo credit: 

http://writerswrite1.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/how-to-write-a-one-page-synopsis/

10 Questions Your Readers Shouldn’t Have to Ask

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! So, I’m currently reading a book that has me flummoxed. Yes, flummoxed. Every few paragraphs I have to stop and go back to clarify a fact, or remind myself who’s who, or reground myself in the scene. Worse, I keep finding contradictions that cause even more confusion. Ex: It’s foggy and raining, yet then the sun glints off the windows and blinds the characters…Huh? What?

itchywide-620x349You would think by now I would’ve given up and returned this book to the library. But, nope. Not gonna happen. Sometimes, in my opinion, reading ill-constructed stories improves your own writing. It’s the whole, “What not to do” lesson.

So, with all of that said, I thought this article–courtesy of Rhonda Ryde–was a fitting gem for today. In it, K.M. Weiland discusses basic questions readers should never have to ask.

10 Questions Your Readers Shouldn’t Have to Ask

You want reader’s asking concrete questions. Who stole the Statue of Liberty? How is Westley going to escape the Pit of Despair? Why did Cinderella order glass slippers a size too large?

You don’t want them asking the dreaded four-word question: What’s going on here? Or, worse, the end-of-the-line three-letter question: Huh?

To read the entire article, click here!

For more useful advice, follow Rhonda Ryde and K.M. Weiland on Twitter!

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http://www.essentialkids.com.au/

7 Methods for Handling Point-of-View Changes

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! In most of my stories, I tend to keep a narrow focus by using only one character’s point of view. However, when I began rewriting my novel last fall, I decided to make a huge change and use multiple POV’s.

AHHH!

Yeah, it’s not the easiest thing to divide a story amongst multiple characters. Not only do you need to make sure you’re maintaining each of their unique voices, but you need to make sure you’re not confusing the reader by making sudden POV leaps.

POV 2

Today’s gem, courtesy of Rhonda Ryde, addresses this topic. In an article written by Jami Gold, we’re offered great tips on how to handle POV transitions, and how to avoid pitfalls that hurt your story and confuse the reader.

7 Methods for Handling Point-of-View Changes

Paragraph Break
The vast majority of agents and editors consider a paragraph break to be an insufficient transition for a POV change, especially for a character-focused story.

In contrast to plot-driven stories, character-focused stories are page-turners because the reader cares about what will happen to the characters. It’s harder to create a sympathetic/empathetic relationship between the reader and characters in one-paragraph chunks. If the characters don’t matter, they might seem little more than puppets to the plot.

To read the entire article, click here!

And for more useful advice, follow Rhonda Ryde on Twitter!

Related Articles

How to choose a point of view for your novel

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Deadly Sin of Writing #5–P.O.V. Prostitution

Point of View: Choosing Whose Head To Be In

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http://lydiakang.blogspot.com/2011/03/pov-privately-owned-vehicle.html

8 Words to Seek and Destroy in Your Writing

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! Today’s gem, courtesy of freelance literary editor, Heather Jacquemin, tackles eight specific words all writers should consider slashing axing killing deleting from their manuscript. Although these words might seem necessary, the truth is, they’re not. In fact, they tend to weaken our stories and steal their punch.

shutterstock_RedPencilBIGPersonally, I’m guilty of using over half the words on this list, particularly three of them: “start”, “like”, and “suddenly”. So, when I go back to edit and polish up my manuscript, I know I’ll need to hunt them down and chop them out–hiyah!

I encourage you to review this list as well, and find out if you’re using unnecessary words in your writing.

8 Words to Seek and Destroy in Your Writing

“Like”

I’m not just saying that, like, you shouldn’t, like, talk like a valley girl (though that too). Here’s the problem: “Like” is used to show uncertainty. And you. Should. Not. Be. Uncertain.

Be bold. When making a comparison, use force. Use metaphor over simile. Don’t let yourself cop out by coming up with a halfway description.

“My eyes rested on the gun for a sliver of a moment. I snapped forward, grabbed it, and it was like the chill metal flowed from the gun into my veins.

To read the entire article, click here!

And for more useful advice, follow Heather Jacquemin on Twitter!

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Related Articles

Five Words You Can Cut

Top 5 Tips to Cut the Clutter

Editing Tip: 10 Words to Search For in Your Manuscript

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http://www.theopennotebook.com/2013/01/16/are-you-an-editor-or-a-writer-part-ii-the-editors/

How to Intensify Conflict & Deepen Characters—The Wound

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! So, as I perused Twitter this week, I noticed a common trend: Character development. Everyone seemed to be talking about it. Tips, quotes, pictures, articles…I’ve never found so many gems about this vital writing topic. It was hard to decide which one to share with you. After much debate, I finally decided to go with Kristen Lamb’s:

How to Intensify Conflict & Deepen Characters—The Wound.

scarsThere are so many aspects to consider when developing our characters. In this awesome article, Kristen Lamb examines one of the most important: WHY? Why do our characters act the way they do? Why are they a control freak, or a know-it-all, or a shy mouse, or an arrogant butthead? It isn’t “just because”. There must be a reason–a why.

Real humans have wounds that drive our wants, needs, perceptions, and reactions and so should all our characters (even the Big Boss Troublemaker-Antagonist). Recently, I was helping a student of my Antag-Gold class plot her novel. She had a good protagonist who was a control freak. My question: WHY?

Yes, genetics will have a role in forging our personality, but genes do not a good story make. Having a character be a certain way simply because we need them to be or act that way will work, but so will a heart with damaged valves.

Wounds drive how we perceive our world, what we believe we want, and how we will (or won’t) interact with others. This is critical for generating story tension and character arc.

To read the entire article, click here!

And for more useful advice, follow Kristen Lamb on Twitter!

Related Articles

Character Development Worksheet

Character Development: Virtues & Vices

100 Character Quirks You Can Steal from Me

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http://deniedself.com/battle-scars/

Avoid These 25 Newbie Writer Mistakes

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! I think it’s fair to say that all of us are at different levels with our writing. Some of us have been at it for years, while others of us are just beginning. In my opinion, today’s Twitter gem is a great source for everyone (despite its “newbie” title).

apa-guidelines-for-writing3Even if you know the general do’s and don’ts of writing, it never hurts to brush up on “the rules”. And yes, I put “the rules” in quotations because there’s no right or wrong way to do any of this. But there are basic ways that should be considered. So check out this article by author and speaker, Jody Hedlund:

Avoid These 25 Newbie Writer Mistakes

1. Starts the opening paragraph with flowery, verbose, or elaborate descriptions. (A seasoned writer will try to start with a hook, usually a life-altering situation or action.)

2. Stops the story/plot/action to describe a room or person or scene. (A seasoned writer will try to weave those descriptions in small pieces as the story unfolds.)

3. Describes any and/or everything. (A seasoned writer will pick strategic “props” to bring on “stage” that help convey a deeper meaning, theme, mood, or contribute to the plot.)

To read the entire article, click here!

And for more useful advice, follow Jody Hedlund on Twitter!

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Related Articles

 The Top 5 Mistakes Amateur Writers Make

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Avoid These Common Fiction Writing Mistakes Like the Plague

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http://essaybasics.com/apa-guidelines-for-writing/

5 Things to Know When Pitching to Literary Agents

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! So, today’s gem is a bit broader, and perhaps many of us have heard some of these tips before, but I wanted to share them anyway. When it comes to literary agents, it’s always good to be aware and knowledgable about the big do’s and don’t’s.

literary-agentIf you’re interested in pursuing a literary agent someday, be sure to check out this post from author, Mila Gray:

5 Things to Know When Pitching to Literary Agents.

1. Make sure you’re pitching to the right agent.

Buy the Writers’ and Artists’ Handbook (in the UK). Identify those agents that rep your genre. Google them and find out what their submission guidelines are.

Check out who their clients are. This will give you an idea of how big a player they are — how much influence they have in the publishing world.

An agent with lots of high profile authors might not have as much time for you as an agent with fewer clients. On the upside a bigger agent will have more influence with publishers and be able to get your MS onto desks quicker.

Don’t go overboard with contacting every agent in the book. I contacted 12. I had 7 responses, two of which were very polite no thank yous, three of which were ‘we really think this has potential but we have no room on our list’, and 2 who wanted to sign me immediately.

I signed with the agent who I felt I had the best rapport with but she also happened to be very established with a great client list.

To read the entire article, click here!

And for more useful advice, follow Mila Gray on Twitter!

Related Articles

What Does a Literary Agent Want to See When They Google You?

New Literary Agent Alert: Soumeya Bendimerad of the Susan Golomb Literary Agency

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Photo credit: http://www.jeffcalloway.com/how-to-land-a-literary-agent.html

Sympathy for a Good Villain

Welcome to Twitter Treasure Thursday! This week, I chose to focus on your favorite character in a story: the villain.

villain21Dun, dun, dun…

Okay, maybe the villain isn’t your favorite character, but they should be high on the list. And, in my opinion, they should rival your favorite character; or at least help them stand out. Personally, I appreciate villains who try to convince you to understand them/sympathize with them (ex: The Darkling from Shadow & Bone, Sebastian from The Mortal Instruments). Or they should make you hate them so much, you love them (ex: Anton Chigurh from No Country for Old Men, Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter, Hilly Holbrook from The Help). To me, villains should captivate readers just as much as heroes do.

So, with all of that said, here is today’s gem, courtesy of Drew Chial. He wrote a fantastic (and funny) article about creating solid villains, while avoiding cliches and keeping your audience engaged.

Sympathy for a Good Villain

Every time the villain kills a henchman for no good reason, a light goes off in your reader’s brain. Every time their monologue reveals the details of their master plan, the reader questions your reasoning. Every time they choose the sinister option over the one that’s results driven, the reader wakes from your vision.

It’s good to have a clear antagonist, but you don’t want them to be transparent. Sometimes their desires are simply incompatible with the hero’s. Sometimes the hero and the villain share a common destination, only to differ on how to get there. Sometimes they start with the same beliefs only to have them tested by their environments.

Present your case against the antagonist, and let your audience come to their own conclusions. The subtler the evidence, the smarter they’ll feel for putting the pieces together. Too many reminders of who they’re rooting against will pull them out of the experience.

To read the entire article, click here!

And for more useful advice, follow Drew Chial on Twitter!

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http://blog.d20pro.com/creating-great-adventures-part-1-character-motivation-hate/

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