Sunday, January 29, 2017

How is a synopsis like ordering eggs?

What is a synopsis?

'A synopsis conveys the narrative arc, an explanation of the problem or plot, the characters, and how the book or novel ends.'
 5 Tips on How to Write a Synopsis by Courtney Carpenter (Writer's Digest)

Once upon a time, synopsis could be seven pages long. But once upon a time is a long time ago. Now brevity counts. 

How brief?

For example, my novel is 53,000 words. My synopsis is 110 words.

Desiring feedback, I brought that synopsis to my writing group. They were very helpful. But one question I didn't expect inspired this article. 

How is a Synopsis like cooking eggs?

How do you like your eggs?

He said:  over-easy

She said:  scrambled

When preparing a submission package, where do you put the synopsis?

He said:  You should include it in the query letter.
(The query letter introduces the author and the manuscript. Also referred to as the cover letter.)

She said:  It should be on a separate sheet of paper.

He explained:  Publishers don't have time to paw through tons of paper.

She explained:  Unless it's on a separate sheet of paper the synopsis will be overlooked.

Who's is right?

The publisher -- or literary agent.

Carefully read the submission guidelines. There you will find details about how the synopsis should be presented. If you don't find this information, feel free to use your best judgment. No matter where you put it, always include it.


Of course, you might not have the 'where-to-put-this-thing' problem. Your synopsis may not be as short as mine. That's okay. It can be as long as two pages. In which case, she is right.


Writing a Novel Synopsis by Jane Friedman

How to write a 1-page synopsis by Sooz

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Book review: All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner

In our fast-paced, stressed filled lives, have you had a conversation like this...

Dr. McCarthy:  ' "So tell me. What are you doing to take care of yourself" '
Allison Weiss (protagonist of All Fall Down):  ' "Nothing, really. There just isn't time." ' (p. 31)

What will happen to you if you ignore your own needs and only live to serve others and/or build your business? What will happen...?

Author Jennifer Weiner knows. All Fall Down is a cautionary tale.

When you read the words 'drug addict' do you see a vagrant with stringy hair, wearing a parka in July? 

Meet Allison Weiss--she's a wife, a mother, and a businesswoman. 

Overcome by 'the accumulated stress of a mostly successful, extremely busy life' (p. 9) Allison turns to something that will help her cope.
'The pills calmed me down... When I swallowed them, I felt like I could accomplish anything.' (p. 22)
I witnessed Allison's swift descent into drug dependency--as she takes first two, then four, then six pills to help her cope, to keep her afloat.

Author Jennifer Weiner applies all the senses and I truly felt what Allison goes through--I'm overwhelmed, I'm in need, I'm dependent, I'm ill. It isn't pretty. I see dependency plainly. I'm there.
'My skin felt like it was host to hundreds of thousands of fiery ants wearing boots made of poison-tipped needles.' (p. 216)
The message is clear:  Never get so busy that you forget your own needs. You need to listen to yourself, care for yourself--the same way you care for others. Because you can never tell if you are 'one of the earthlings, who could take or leave a glass of wine, or a joint, or a...; or one of the Martians, for was too many and a thousand was never enough. You can never tell.' (p. 358 - 359) 

Visit author Jennifer Weiner's website.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Keep Your Dream Alive (the secret of success)

(photo by ldyck)

Theme song:  Blue Skies

Martin Luther King Junior had a dream. Do you?

Do you imagine a brighter tomorrow? What does it look, smell, feel, taste like? What foods will you eat? What clothes will you wear? Where will you live? Where will you travel? Who will be your partner, your friend? How will you help others? When asked for the secret of your success what will you credit?

Find images or objects that will make your dream tangible. Imagine your success and write about in your journal.

Keep your dream in your pocket. Affirmations are keywords that help you visualize your dream. For example,  I am a best-selling author.

'I will...' puts distance between you and your dream. 'I am...' gives strength to your dream--helps you visualize it.

Write your affirmations on index cards. Keep these cards by your bed, in your car, in your pocket-- anywhere that they may be readily available.

What steps will you take today to bring you closer to success?

-visit a bookstore or library. Imagine your book on the shelves. Read books on the craft of writing.


-write a short story


-work on a novel


-network with others in the publishing industry (connect with them on LinkedIn; email your favourite author)


-visit a publisher's website and buy one of their books


-write an article for your blog


-participate in a blog tour for a new release


-join a writing group


-enter a writing contest


-attend a writing event


-send a manuscript to a publisher


Realize that you are the only one who can make your dream reality.

Stay positive.

'I just wish people would realize that anything's possible if you try; dreams are made possible if you try.' -Terry Fox


Plan to Achieve Your Creative Goals in 2017 by Joanna Penn 

Why Success is Hard

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Basket Weaving (short story) by Leanne Dyck

(photo ldyck)

Basket Weaving

The radio interviewer skimmed the paper. “Please introduce yourself to our listening audience.”

Name, city of residence that was what was expected, but instead...

“I'll soon be a widow.”

Dead air. The interviewer cut it as quickly as possible. “Oh, your husband's off for the weekend. Is he into golf, hockey..."

“No, it's worse than that.”

“Basket weaving. Ah, baskets. Why don't you tell us about the baskets you make for ch —.”

“My husband wants to get rid of me — you know, like kill. He's tried more than once. Why just the other day I was standing too close to the pool and he rushed me. He may have succeeded had I not kept my ground. But it's not going to be me who d —.”

The interview heard a man growl, “Mindy can't talk.” Click.

Hey, know what? You just read a micro text. Now why don't you write one.


Here's a reason...

Emerging authors (and CRD residents) 
enter for a chance to win $500
Deadline:  January 22, 2017

The Malahat Review (literary journal) Poetry and Micro Text contest

or if that's too short why not try this...

Deadline:  January 15
(once on the site, scroll down)

Picture Books in Canada

Red Deer Press is a Canadian multi-genre book publisher.
Canadian authors may submit manuscripts by email or mail.
Submission guidelines

Sharing my Author Journey...

Life, the universe is encouraging me to be more focused. I have

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017: a year of possibilities

("Hello 2017" photo by ldyck)

I know exactly what I want to accomplish this year--I want to continue to build a successful author career. 

But what is my next move?

 Should I write this story? Submit to this publisher? Should I include this information in my query?

"A" doesn't always lead to "B". It may lead to "C" and loop back to "B". "B" may not resemble what I envisioned. It may look like a waste of time or worse something to be avoided. 

The only thing I can control is my mind.

'Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,
we must carry it with us or we find it not.' -Ralph Waldo Emerson
'We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are.' -Talmud
'A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.' -Mahatma Gandhi
( I found the last two quotes while reading Laurie Buchanan's new book--Note to Self. It's a must-read. I'll explain why in the coming months.)

To open the door to possibility, remain positive.

How do you remain positive? 

Periodically, over the coming weeks (or months), I will share my answer to this question. I invite you to share yours in the comments.
("Good-bye 2016" photo by ldyck)

Next post:  

Published on Sunday, January 8th at approximately 5 PM (ish) PST.
Short story:  Basket Weaving by Leanne Dyck
Have you heard the literary term Micro Text?
I'll explain by way of example.

Picture Books in Canada

Based in Ontario, Pajama Press is an independent children's literature publishing house.

Sharing my author journey...

This holiday has been very productive. I've finished writing (who is to say what is more accurate) two