Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Toolbox

by C LaRene Hall
This is a picture of the toolbox similar to the one that I own. I’ve always believed that every woman should have her own toolbox. One that she knows where it is, and that has everything she needs when she gets tired of waiting for someone else to fix something around the house.

This really isn’t what I’m going to be telling you about today. Instead, I want to share some more things that I learned at the LDStorymaker’s Conference. I attended a class taught by Nephele Tempest on Writing a Synopsis. She told us that learning to write a good synopsis gives us one more tool in our toolbox. It’s something we all need and something we all need to know how to do correctly.

She explained that when you write a synopsis you are trying to sell someone on reading more of your book. It’s simple, first you create a skeleton, and once you have the bones you can fill in the rest. You can have one or two pages, or you can have more detail, but your skeleton has to be good.

Every synopsis should include a theme, characters, the setting, conflict or goals and a conclusion. You have to be careful that you don’t give away the ending, but you have to make sure they know that you have an ending in mind.

She encouraged us to practice writing a synopsis for someone else’s book. It will make looking at your own book a lot easier. There is no correct way to do it. It’s what you consider most important – the highlights of your book.

You should adjust the level of detail based on the length of your synopsis. A very short synopsis will focus on who the main characters are and their goals, while a longer one will include in more depth how they achieve those goals.

A short synopsis is good, but shouldn’t be too short. There should be a paragraph about your book and one paragraph about you. Don’t be too brief. We all laughed when she said that we don’t proclaim idiot ahead of time by telling the editor that you are the next (------famous person). This is an intelligent look at what your book is about – who your hero is, what they are doing, how it ends. It’s not as scary as it seems. It’s just like writing anything. It’s part of your job.

She made sure that we all realized that we should only query on completed work. Most editors want a full manuscript to buy.

I learned so much by attending this particular workshop. Those who didn’t come missed a great presentation.

3 comments:

Keith Fisher said...

Somehow, I wouldv'e guessed you had a pink toolbox. :)

Good advice. thank you.

Noble M Standing said...

I thought in a synopsis you are supposed to tell the person reading it the end? This is the first time I have ever heard that you don't do that. Why, I wonder?

Anna Maria Junus said...

I want a pink toolbox.

When I got divorced I went out and bought myself a toolbox with tools. It seemed like a good deal. Unfortuneatly my sons decided to use the tools in it. So then I ended up with an empty toolbox. A useless one too, because it was designed so that the tools fit into the molded parts, you couldn't just throw tools in.