Synopsis III (Yes, really) and my two cents on women's fic

So the synopsis is supposed to be 1-2 pages, right? I have whittled this thing down from 4 pages to 2.5, and now it's down to the *very last line *of the 2nd page! That counts as 1-2 pages, yes? Just kidding (partly.) Yes, it's down to 2 pages, but I still need to tighten a bit more. And the strange thing is, I think this has been a helpful exercise. It's possible most of the agents I query might not even request it, but it's helped me condense the story down in my mind to its main parts. I've been able to see what's most important--those parts I just cannot cut out of the query. Sure, I've cut out parts I wish I could include--parts that are essential to the story--but I think I've covered the story well enough to at least cause someone to say, "Hey, this is interesting, I think I'll read more." Which is really the whole purpose, right? The thorn in my side is still the fact that it only tells one timeline of the story, and I have two. But it's proved impossible for me to write the synopsis succinctly AND cover both timelines/POVs. Just won't work. So my hope is that the agent remembers from my query that the story is told in alternating POVS, and the synopsis just covers one. I've alluded to the other MC's story in the synopsis, so hopefully that is enough.

Whew, this thing truly is a beast.

In other news, I had a dear friend--who's also a reader, writer, and editor--read my manuscript. She loved it. She even got a little teary telling me what she thought--and not because the story itself made her cry, but just because she was really proud of me. That made me feel good. She said she thought all the storylines worked, the pacing and voice were spot on--and it kept her up late reading!

And another friend (who is also the big trifecta of reader/writer/editor--I seem to have a few of those friends!) has offered to read the manuscript. I'm giving it to her Monday when I go to HER BOOK SIGNING at the Alabama Booksmith! (Anyone who loves good music should check out her book Muscle Shoals Sound Studio: How the Swampers Changed American Music!)

I'm feeling good about THE HIDEAWAY's prospects, to tell you the truth. I just feel like it needs to land in the right set of hands--but that's always the case with any author's work, isn't it? I'm feeling more and more these days that I need an agent really works a lot with women's fiction--not YA, YA, YA, and a little women's fiction on the side. YA is so hot right now, but it's just not anywhere close to what I write. The bells and whistles of YA (dramatic cliffhangers, world-ending choices, evil dictators, etc) can lead people to look for those things in queries and manuscripts--even for women's fiction. My story (and much of women's fic) is about a woman's journey. If THIS doesn't happen, the world won't end, the bad guys won't win, and no one will be banished forever. Most likely, the woman's life will go on, just maybe not as good as it could have been. I guess you could stay they tend to be quieter stories. (Yes, women's fic can have humor, cliffhangers, exciting things, etc. Of course it can! It just lacks the THE WORLD WILL EXPLODE IF THIS ONE THING DOESN'T HAPPEN! storylines.)

All that to say, I hope I can find an agent who who loves women's fiction and *gets* my story. It'd also be nice if the day she reads my query, she's not suffering from indigestion from a double-decker cheeseburger she had at lunch, which makes her uninterested in anything she reads. (Ha! Just a nod to the subjective nature of this whole process!)

Take care!

Synopsis II

Another day, another post about the synopsis. I just this minute stopped myself from disappearing into the deep dark galaxy of over-googling. I've searched for just about every combination of words I can come up with to try to figure out this synopsis thing--more specifically a synopsis for a book with two timelines. I'm sure my Google ads are going to be all over the place with my frenzied googling! (Reminds me of the time I googled "motorcycles gay men ride" for research for THE HIDEAWAY. Definitely got interesting ads popping up after that one.) I've written a two-page synopsis (was intended to be one page, but you know) that sort of condenses the main parts of the story, but it only mentions one of the timelines. And just talking about one of the timelines sort of--well, it leaves out FIFTY PERCENT of the book. But summarizing both of the timelines is darn-near impossible in a synopsis--especially a short 1-2 page one.

In other news, our writing cartel met last night and they gave me some good food for thought about a few chapters of my manuscript. A little more tightening, a few clarifications, the usual. Overall, the book is finished, but as more people read it, small things pop up. Not game-changers or anything requiring a massive overhaul, thank goodness. I've done that once or twice already and I'm satisfied with how the story reads now--and my readers have been too. But that's not to say it's perfect--which is why my cartel is so awesome. They tell me what I've missed and suggest how to fix it. And I try to do the same for them. Honestly, I don't think my book would be what it is now if I hadn't found this group.

Hopefully the next time I post, I will have made some significant progress with the synopsis and will be closer to "go-time" (and by that cheesiness, I mean the point when I'm ready to start sending queries out for real.)

Have a great weekend!



I mistakenly thought I was *this* close to being ready to start the querying process (other than the two agents mentioned in the previous post), but it seems I have forgotten one teensy little thing. The synopsis. (Cue scary music. Or crickets.) I've bookmarked a ton of websites and blog posts about writing the synopsis, but once I got rolling on writing and polishing my query, I just plain forgot the thing. So...onto the synopsis. It's basically just a 1-2 page summary of the entire book, right? Shouldn't be hard at all, wink, wink. I did find a very helpful post about writing synopses on literary agent Carly Watters's blog. It's impossible to follow everyone's advice on everything about the querying process, but her tips for the synopsis was perhaps the clearest and most helpful that I've found.

Once I write and polish the synopsis (and have another reader or two read it for me), I think I'll be set. I'm really happy with my novel, and I truly believe it is as good as I can make it on my own. I'm also happy with the query (and since it got positive responses from two agents, I'm thinking that's a good sign.) Now, it's just holding myself back from jumping the gun before that dreaded synopsis shines and is ready to go.

Until next time!