The Dreaded Synopsis . . . HELP!!!

WBI really want to enter a certain writing contest this year. It requires an eight page SYNOPSIS, and the first twenty pages of my manuscript. The manuscript is easy. Not so much that other thing.

I know my story. It’s not like I don’t know what to put down. But, how to do it? I haven’t written a synopsis since school. I’m not sure they’re even the same, or if I remember what’s to be done.

Help me get rid of this synopsis block. It’s that word . . . synopsis . . . intimidating me. Silly, technical sounding label.

I know there are resources to help me with this, but I’d like to hear some feedback from other writers. What’s your approach to writing a synopsis? Do you have any rules of thumb? Any tried and true tips? What not to do?

(Slaps hand to forehead) It can’t be this hard! Sheesh!

~RG

 

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Short Is Sweet!

Over the past month and a half, I’ve written three short stories, submitted two to a monthly contest, and one to a friends blog for the Halloween season. This little writing side trip has been fun, revealing, rewarding, and a palette cleanser.

In September, I entered and won the Darker Times Fiction contest with my horror short, No Lights. I surprised a few folks who weren’t aware of the darker side lurking beneath my surface. In October, I entered Pay the Piper, a supernatural piece, and was rewarded with second runner up. Both of these stories will be published in the Darker Times Anthology (date to be announced) and will be available in e-book and paperback. This has me pretty giddy as they will be the first pieces I’ve had published since a poem, in another anthology, in 2000.

In the spirit of Halloween, I also rallied to a request from a friend to write flash fiction (although mine is over the word count a bit) to post on her blog for the haunting season. I’m going to keep this one under wraps as I may be able to enter it in the November Darker Times contest.

While I hope that I can add more short stories to my repertoire, the next big goal is to get my novel published. That brings me back to why this venture into the dark side has been cleansing. It has made me eager to dive back into the revisions on my book, shown me some things I need to do to make it better, and helped me realize I have a character that needs some TLC.

Stay tuned!

I’m Watching You

I have been all over the page lately. My brain on overdrive.

Maybe it’s the change in weather.

Maybe it’s the month.

Maybe it’s just that my imagination feeling rather hyper.

The way my brain feels.

Anyway, I thought I’d do a little review piece to further send the synapses into acceleration.

Anyone know John Reeves? No? Well, you should.

He’s the hero of an action/thriller series by Kirkus MacGowen. The book I’m going to talk about in this post is Wrath, the second book in the series. The first one is The Fall of Billy Hitchings if you want to read them in order.

Wrath picks up with John Reeves return to his hometown where he’s dealing with a little bad family blood, working with an accountant and wannabe, although inept, private detective, and a vengeful, psychopathic, serial killer.

Wrath is a visceral read. It makes you feel the action and some of it doesn’t feel that great if you’re a little squeamish. I found myself drawn in with most of my senses, the descriptions acutely visual.

The one issue I had with it was I wanted a little more John Reeves. This book dealt with his relationship to his ‘estranged’ brother and I felt there was enough of the brother, but not quite enough of John. If you read both books, you’ll see what I mean.

However, that one issue doesn’t keep me from giving Mr. MacGowen’s book a huge thumbs up. I’m looking forward to reading the next John Reeves adventure.

The psychotic in this novel got my appetite ready for the Halloween season. The next two reviews are witchy in nature. Although both have a little vamp and ‘other’ supernatural in the mix.

First is A Discovery of Witches, a supernatural tale woven by Deborah Harkness.

Diana is reluctant to embrace her witch heritage, but when the historian of alchemy stumbles on a ancient manuscript that only       opens for her, the supernatural world around her closes in.

Deborah Harkness creates a rich world of witches, vampires and daemons in this book, the first of three. I did not want to put this                    down. It kept me engrossed and pulled me from England to France to New York and then into time itself where it left me, anxiously waiting for more.

I guess I have to get the next book, huh?

Next is The Forever Girl: Sophia’s Journey by Rebecca Hamilton.

This was an intriguing read about a young Wiccan who discovers that she’s a descendant of elemental witches and a forever girl. I’m not going to go into all that because I want you to read and find out for yourself.

There is mystery aplenty in Ms. Hamilton’s first book of the series. Cruors (vampiric beings), Strigoi (shifters), and many more paranormal beings. There’s also an unsolved murder or two.

This is more of a YA or New Adult read, but I enjoyed it immensely. I did have one issue. The ending. I wish it had left me with a stronger feeling that there is more to come. It did and it didn’t, so I would be okay if it was a stand alone or a series. Since it’s billed as Book #1, then it needs to be a little more leading.

That’s it for book reviews. I would like to throw in a theatrical review even thought the musical is ending this week.

I recently saw a production of Three Penny Opera at the Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden, Colorado. I just want to say Bravo! Also, if you love the arts in any way, shape, or form, check out your local theatre productions. The big stage is not the only place to see excellent theatre. Support the little guy.

Well, I succeeded in throwing my head into a more frenetic tail spin. Anyone have something they’d like to recommend?

The Spirit of Wayward (book teaser)

Last Wednesday, I woke up to my alarm slightly confused and pensive about the dream I’d been awakened from. The scenario was not complete. It ended before I understood what it was about. 

I dreamed about Wayward. This is strange because Wayward is my novel, it’s the conceptual plane that Simon gets pulled into and eventually learns to use. It is, in essence, a character on it’s own.
The really interesting thing about this movie of my subconscious is that not only was I in Wayward, but I could hear Simon’s voice (the same one that tells me to get it gear and do revisions). I was in an area of Wayward called The Field. It’s a place where you can imagine anything you can think of, almost without limit. The only thing I can remember him saying to me is ‘look at it, this is your creation.’ I think he told me other things, but I can only recall that.
While I scanned the area, The Field appeared as I envisioned it in my book, but when I turned around what I saw was dense rainforest. At this point I was joined by my Aunt Genevieve. She lives in Washington State a place that I have a particular fondness for. She did not say anything. We stood there in silence and then she put her arm around my shoulders and hugged me to her. That’s when the alarm went off. I didn’t know why she was there. Only that it was peaceful. 
Aunt Gen had recently suffered a stroke, which was complicated by pneumonia. She has been in hospice care for a few weeks now. I learned later in the day that she had slipped into a comatose state. She woke up a couple of days ago and is still weak, but doing better.
I have to wonder, in that rift between life and death, had she visited me? It’s a premise in Wayward, the connection of subconscious minds. It segues nicely into the book teaser that I’ve chosen. I would not have picked this passage had it not been for the dream. So, first a little intro.
Simon has been pulled back into Wayward by his friend Eli Cusack. In this chapter, Simon discovers that he’s already able to use Wayward and finds Eli willing to answer some of his questions. Eli’s wife, Celeste, has been dead for twelve years, but he’s indicated to Simon that she visits him in Wayward. This excerpt introduces us to Eli’s character arc. I hope you enjoy it.
RG
After several minutes Eli gets up, stretches, and comes to stand beside me. The pole magically disappears as he gets closer. He sets the beer bottle down. “Pick it up.”
It disappears when I try to grab it. I take my hand away and it reappears.
Eli smiles, “I can see your projections, you can see mine, but we can only interact with our own. However, if you had a straw you could put it in my bottle, but–”
“If I tried to drink it, I’d be sucking air.”
“Exactly.”
“So, projections are physical to a point–manifestations are not.”
“You’re beginning to get this. You’ll figure out all the rules in no time.”
“You say Celeste comes here. Is she a manifestation?”
“Oh, no, she’s real. The dead can visit Wayward. There are rules around that as well. We can’t touch, but we can talk. She, like a manifestation, is not corporeal. She can’t touch anything on this plane.”
“Are you saying she floats, like a ghost?”
He laughs at this, “You could put it that way. She has energy about her that I can feel. It’s as much as I can hope for.” A hint of sadness appears in his eyes, but he recovers quickly.
“Where is she when she’s not here?”
“Our ancestors called it Tir Na Nog, the Land of Youth. The Vikings called it Valhalla, some say limbo, whatever your culture or religion’s name is for it. To pass through to the final destination, the spirit or their loved ones must be ready to let go.”
“Are you keeping her here Eli?”
His face clouds over. “Partly. And part of it is her. We haven’t been able to say our final goodbye.”
 

A Peek into Wayward

Finally! I make good on my word to bring a little tidbit of my novel, Wayward.

It’s just a little taste, but hopefully enough to whet the appetite. My protagonist’s name is Simon Farrell and he’s just been through something weird and unsettling with more to come. 

Go ahead, you know you’re just itching to get into Wayward, even if we don’t visit this time. Read this snippet and let me know what you think. 

Regards,
Robin

WAYWARD – CHAPTER ONE
I’m going to land hard, and there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s as if my soul is being sucked back into my body at high velocity. The impact is so abrupt I slam my head into the headboard. A second of blinding white flashes behind my eyes.
“Aw shit,”
I grab my head and wince in pain. My heart hammers in my chest, I gasp for air as though I’ve run a marathon. Sweat drips from my face and runs down my neck.
Just minutes ago, my father chased me out of Cusack’s Shack. Then everything disappeared, went pitch black. A magnetic sensation took over, and I sped through darkness until I could see myself hurtling toward myself. It makes no sense and yet, it does.

Go Ahead–Call Me A Slacker

I haven’t been on here for awhile. I have to get more consistent with this blog thing. Part of my absence is that I said in my last post, that I would be including an excerpt from my book, Wayward, in the next post. Trouble is, I can’t decide what to post. Do I pick something from my first chapter? Do I pull out something from another chapter? What’s just enough to make you want more? Well, you see where my head went with this.

What it really boils down to is me, getting in the way of myself. I just need to kick myself in the posterior and get disciplined to blog at least once a week. Sheesh, what a slacker!

So, this is my apology for being remiss. I’m going to pick out a little tidbit from the novel and post it!

Within two days of this post there will be and excerpt of my book.

See you Friday, February 17th, 2012.
Robin

Going Up…… (I hope) – "Top floor, Agents, Publishers, Readers!"

I’ve heard it called a pitch, or a log line, but my favorite phrase is elevator speech. It’s the quick version of a self marketing ploy, that can be spewed forth between floors – hopefully – going up.

Now that I’ve said this, I would like to put my pitch out there for you to read. I will preface it first by telling you that my book is called Wayward (at least until someone tries to talk me into changing it) and it is a paranormal fiction (or speculative genre). I welcome any comments or questions you have, and will answer them, but keep this in mind, if you ask me anything where the answer might be a plot spoiler, you will get the game show buzzer.

Without further ado, here it is:

Simon isn’t sure how to tell his disapproving father that he wants to move home to the small mountain town of Farrell Springs. The need to make a decision escalates when he is inadvertently pulled into a conceptual plane called Wayward, where dreams are tested and the dead interact with the living. But, Wayward also holds memories, and after a disastrous family gathering, he returns there to uncover the family secret and decide on the life he truly wants.


Okay, that’s it in a nutshell. I hope to hear from you and the next time I post about the book, I might just include an excerpt.

Until next time,
Robin

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