14 January 2014

the dreaded synopsis

The synopsis--the thing that every fiction writer dreads--needs to be written. Yes, that does mean that I've finished my YA novel. You could say that I finished it a long time ago and have spent the last 6+ months editing and polishing something that should have been submitted to agents long ago. You might be right; however, I appear to have a need for my writing to be perfect before I feel comfortable letting go, at least in regards to a novel-length manuscript. Short stories are much easier to polish and submit, and I don't have the same hang-ups about the shorter works that I do about a longer one.

So this synopsis thing...is it really that bad?  Maybe not; I'll have to let you know once I've written it. Some agents don't ask for a synopsis, but a lot do, and the query letter is almost more important than the actual manuscript. If your query doesn't grab an agent's attention, he'll move on to the next one and you'll be stuck submitting elsewhere. A writer always hopes that submitting to agents won't be a long, drawn out affair, but sometimes it turns out that way.

Here's what goes into a synopsis:

1. Hook: a paragraph or two similar to the blurb on a book dust jacket. It's gotta grab attention.

2. Introduction of characters: who are these folks you're writing about?

3. The body: the entire story in chronological order.

4. Crisis and resolution: the ending

5. Now go back and rewrite all of that until it's perfect, but don't take 10 years to do it.

Easy, right?  Well, we shall see.

28 July 2013

the right word at the right time

Swear words are something of a controversy in books. With judicial use, they can convey intense emotion on occasion. Cursing without restraint, however, is not cool. For example, the book I am reading is about a woman learning she has inherited a house in a weird town full of weird people. Her language, when she's upset, frequently includes the 'f' word. It actually gets in the way of the story, if that makes sense. (it does to me)

That's exactly what I want to avoid in my own writing, particularly in Penalty Shot. There are a few words that my mother would not like (sorry, Mom!) but I think I have used them judicially, and they may not survive the final edit. On the whole, though, a few well-thought out strong words can have just the right effect.

The question the author has to ask of him/herself is: does that word convey what I wish to convey in this sentence/paragraph/book?   All word choice is important in writing; there is always a right word and a wrong word.  I'd like to avoid using as many 'wrong' words at I possibly can.

What do you think?

23 July 2013

A new direction

I've totally changed Dream On, including the title. The working title is Penalty Shot.  The POV has changed from Cassidy (boring) to Joel, and instead of being linear, I've tried to make each chapter not that way. Each chapter is titled with a song, and it would be so awesome if I could have s soundtrack playing while the book is being read. 

Music highly influences my writing, no where as much as with this particular story. It started with a song, "See You" by Depeche Mode and morphed into its current life a after many years. 

I remain hopeful that the end is near. 

15 December 2012


NaNoWriMo was a massive fail this year, for a number of reasons. The main reason is that I made a mistake with my choice of story. I chose the zombie manuscript, which I had started for NaNo two or three years ago and failed, thinking I could make it work this time. The problem was, I had no passion for it. Last year I did all sorts of pre-writing for 'Blood Moon', which I did finish. This time, I was all 'eh'.  And it showed. I just didn't care.

Lesson learned. 

Better luck next time, maybe.

08 November 2012

NaNoWriMo DAy 8

Word Count: 14,582

I did a little better today. There isn't this urgency to write like there was last year. Then, I was thinking about the story all day, and had done some massive pre-writing. As I stated in an earlier post (I think) I didn't do that this time.

I'm almost at the end of rewriting, and while I know that I want all the characters to converge outside the city, I'm not quite sure how that will happen. The real bummer is that when I started this thing several years ago, I hadn't heard of The Walking Dead, either the graphic novel or the tv show. Now, I've changed from calling the zombies deadwalkers  (too close to walkers} to rotters (thanks, Kirstin!). Floaters and bloaters were also suggested, but I think I'll pass on those.

The truly ironic thing is that I never used to like zombies (not that I really like them now) and thought every movie/book with them was dumb. Now look at me.

I'm not confident I'll reach 50,000 words, but I'll keep plugging away.


Jeremiah slips into his coat and buttons it, the silence like a living thing. A living thing with teeth. Marie watches him without speaking, but she doesn’t have to say anything because it’s already been said. Already he’s shrugging off the past hour, letting it slide from his shoulders, from his mind. It has to be this way.

            “Take whatever you want,” she says, her voice low and ragged. “You always do.”

            He doesn’t respond. He won’t allow himself to be drawn into it. Not again. It’s just the way things are. The way they have to be.

            Grabbing his pack, he quickly empties it, organizing the things he’s leaving her in trade and the things he’s taking: ammunition: four boxes of rifle shells and two for his pistols, followed by water (he refills his jug) and some canned vegetables and fruits. He’s not greedy.

            “That’s it, Marie,” he says finally, when he’s ready to leave. “Is there a back way out of here?”

            “If there was another way out of here, I wouldn’t tell you.”  She’s standing in front of the unmade bed, her hair wild, and she’s opening and closing her fists.


            “Why’d you have to come here? You just used me, like always.”
            “You’re wrong,” he says, not looking at her. “I just wanted to trade. You wanted something more from me, like you always did.”

            “And what’s wrong with that? Do you think I like being alone? Do you  think I like it when men come in here to trade and end up taking what isn’t for sale? Do you, Jeremiah? No, you couldn’t possibly understand, because you don’t care about anyone but yourself. You never did.”

            Jeremiah shakes his head. It will do no good to argue with this woman, who might be slightly unhinged now, which isn’t surprising. This basement room, while an amazing accomplishment, is not a place to stay mentally healthy. He has had enough of this windowless hole, and he’s had enough of her, too.

            “Well, I’ll see you, Marie.”  He heads toward the door, a little worried about what she’ll do.

            “You bastard.” 

            He turns around just in time to see her grab a pistol and point it at him, the barrel shaking while tears course down her cheeks.

            “Get out,” she screams while he struggles to undo all the locks. “Get out before I blast you to hell where you belong. I hope a rotter bites your head off, Jeremiah Stone.”

            He slams the door closed just as a bullet slams into the metal door not two inches from his head. It doesn’t punch through, but leaves a large blister, which is quickly joined by six more.

            Moving as quickly as he dares, he heads for where he thinks the stairs are, but a shuffling noise from that direction causes him to duck down another hallway. He presses silently against the wall, knife in hand, because being quiet is the only way he’ll get out of this place. As his eyes adjust to the dimness, he sees a group of what he is sure are rotters shuffle past. How the hell did they get down here?

            When they start pounding on Marie’s door, Jeremiah knows he can’t walk away. Pulling out his rifle, he steps out into the hallway. To his horror, the door bursts open beneath the assault, as if she hadn’t reengaged the locks.

            Light floods out, illuminating the ragged figures as they move into the room. When he bursts inside the room, the first thing he sees is Marie sprawled across the bed, the mattress beneath her soaked red, but not from the rotters who are fighting over which one gets the prize. The smell of gunpowder is strong, and when he spots the pistol beside her hand, he melts back into the hallway, not sure if he should feel better because her death wasn’t as horrible as it could have been, or if he should feel like crap because she killed herself.

            Just another sin to add to the load he already carries, he figures, climbing the steps two at a time. He’s definitely going to hell.


07 November 2012

NaNoWriMo Day 7

Word Count: 12,396

I wrote a little over 1,000 words today. I hope to do better tomorrow morning.

06 November 2012

NaNoWriMo Day 6

Didn't  get much writing done today, due to lying in be a little too long.

Word Count: 11,463

I plan to do much better tomorrow!