Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Day After

As predicted, very few comments (so far) on Star of Justice. I don't think people quite know what to do with the story. I am grateful to one of my "new friends from the boards" who copy-edited it for me. I slapped my forehead when I read it. How could I have missed those obviously glaring issues? Because they were my glaring issues, obviously.

Oh, I relish the thought of mingling with other fantasy authors, even if it is virtually.

I suspect I know who the author of Dying For Dragons is, but I'm very bad with logic problems, so I could be wrong. We'll see.

The main critique for my synopsis, and every synopsis that has posted thus far, seems to be "too busy." While that may be true, it does beg the question of exactly how to distill a 166,000 word book into, let's say, 500 words. That's about one page single-spaced.

I just did a quick count (very quick) but I have, at least, seven different storylines/ mysteries/ plot complications in Star of Justice. (to paraphrase Quillek to Dr. Lazarus in the deleted scene from Galaxy Quest: "it's very complicated.") I mentioned the five main characters in the synopsis because they each play a part in what is most likely the main story of the book: Caissa's quest to verify the truth of the so-called prophecy. That's not the only thing happening in the book. For 166.000 words, I would hope not.

Plus, a synopsis, according to Jeff the Publisher, is supposed to lay out the meat of the story in three acts. At Jeff's request, the synopsis I submitted for the contest covers acts 1 and 2. I appreciate this deviation. It allowed me to leave out some major zingers that would have ruined the book if they were told in synopsis form. Since I hope one day some of these people will be readers, I would have hated that. For a regular synopsis reviewed only by an editor, I would include those because they show I have tricks up my sleeve, new twists on an old story, as it were.

Some of the synopses in the main contest were written the proper way, and the irony is people complained about giving the whole plot! Chuckle. This highlights the difference between editors and readers. Are editors visionaries? They read the little blurbs and see what could be instead of what is? If that is true, I am not editor material.

Now, this is not sour grapes. This is real puzzlement. If a synopsis is supposed to summarize the story and give a flavor of the writing style, it's no wonder so many people aren't doing it well. I've actually relaxed my normally uber-legalistic rule-following because I see how much trouble we newbies are having with this.

If premises and blurbs and synopses are what get a writer's foot in the door, it is to my advantage to learn to write them well. This contest is the first step.

5 comments:

  1. I left something for you over at my blog.
    Blessings,
    Susie

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  2. Well heck, now I have to go to Susie's blog to see what she has for you...but back to my original thought..you are learning so much. I am watching you grow and mature and am so excited about what God has in store for you and your talents. Having read the book I know it is complicated and always have been impressed with how you put it all together so it wasn't disjointed or confusing, just a solid, well written fantasy. I loved it and I love Elementals. That was just fun to read and wait for the ending. MORE MORE MORE!!!! love you MOM

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  3. I think those who complained about the synopses that gave the end away did so because they knew the instructions were to *not* give away the ending. So those authors were being dinged for not following instructions.

    A lot of us are struggling with the whole synopsis-writing thing. But I love that we all have a bunch of new partners to help us figure it out.

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  4. Robynn,
    I am through to the next round but I too had a very hard time with the front matter. From the posts on my book's thread, I have POV problems also. Winnie the Pooh? LOL Maybe I could get you to do my audio book.

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  5. Anonymous, I'm pretty good :). I read a week's worth of writing work to my mom every weekend to improve clarity and get a little praise time before I head back to the grind of the keyboard.
    Personally, I want Terrence Stamp to read my audio book. Or Kesley Grammar. Kelsey's a little more likely since he married a Kansas girl.
    Best wishes on your entry. Looking forward to the reveal.

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