Friday, May 29, 2009

The Dreaded Synopsis

For non-writer readers of this blog, a synopsis is a summary of a manuscript required by editors and agents. This means that a writer has to reduce an entire story to a few pages. If we were good at this, we would be songwriters, not novelists.

Here are a few links that have helped me in synopsis writing:

Writing the Tight Synopsis by Author Beth Anderson

Conquering the Dreaded Synopsis by Author Lisa Gardner

How to Write a Synopsis by Agent Nathan Bransford

I am fine-tuning the synopsis for my current Work In Progress. I changed my writing process to create the synopsis before starting a new manuscript a couple of projects ago. Writing the synopsis first and adjusting it as the story unfolds means that I don’t have this huge dreaded task waiting for me when I figuratively type The End.

If writing a book was like enjoying a multi-course meal, would the synopsis be your appetizer or the dessert?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Summer Reading Lists

Some of my favorite summer memories from childhood include the public library. I still enjoy perusing summer reading lists, which I consider to be a gold mine of new books and authors for me to try.

The 2009 summer reading lists are out. Click here to see the Top 10 Summer reading Lists for Kids and Teens.

If kid lit is not your thing, Romance Writers of America’s website lists the current romance novels released each month.

How do you choose which books you’re going to read?
A. Reading Lists/Bestseller Lists
B. Friend recommendations
C. Bookstore/Library browsing
D. All of the Above

Friday, May 15, 2009

Late To The Party

Have you ever read a book people have been raving about for months or even years to find you absolutely love it? If so, you probably were thrilled to find one, two, three or more books in the series ready for immediate reading.

I joined the legions of Harry Potter fans when the first movie was released. I try to follow the book-before-movie rule so I read Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone before seeing the movie. I was hooked.

I had the same experience recently after reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The main character, middle schooler Greg Heffley is now on my list of favorite characters. After reading the first book in the series, I had to read books two and three. Now I am looking forward to the release of book four this fall.

Is it better to find a series at book one and enjoy them as they are released? Or is it just as fun to finally cave to peer pressure to read a book you immediately fall in love with and get the benefit of a series already underway?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Free Resources for Writers

There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

You get what you pay for.

There are many oneliners that link skepticism with the word free. But how about free information for pre-published/newly-published/multi-published writers? There are several e-mail newsletters just waiting to make their way to your inbox on a weekly or monthly basis free of charge. Here are a few you might want to try:

Guide to Literary Agents newsletter: great information on new agents, where agents are speaking, etc.

PW Daily: news snippets on changes in publishing and a weekly newsletter with sales for the week.

PW Children’s Bookshelf: news on the latest releases in children’s books along with author interviews and publisher info. My favorite part of this newsletter is the comic strip at the bottom titled “Tales from the Slush Pile”. Click here to subscribe to these and other PW newsletters.

The Horn Book: a monthly newsletter with author/illustrator interviews and info on upcoming children’s books.

School Library Journal e-newsletters on books for children & SLJTeen for info on YA books.

Are you a sucker for a GWP (Gift with Purchase)? This can be anything ranging from an umbrella to cosmetics available at no additional charge with a purchase. If so, don’t forget to sign up for newsletters and discussion loops in your professional writing organizations, like RWA & SCBWI.

Do you have any resources to add to the list?