The synopsis – bain of my writing…

I can’t do them. I mean how do you take a novel and make it one page long…

One page!

And that is double spaced, 12pt Times New Roman… It’s hardly anything!

BUT (an it is a huge but),

I have just been on a course about how to find an agent/publisher. Now I knew a lot of it except the synopsis. So I sat with pen poised and attention on the tutor. How do you get a whole novel into one page? There has to be a formula…

And there is!

Really, I am so happy at the moment. I now know how.

Okay so first – the formatting.

  • Use a readable front and nothing less than 11 pt (I always use 12)
  • Double or 1.5 spacing (I always use double)
  • Use third person (Really? Yes, came the answer, even if you are writing in first)
  • Use present tense (Even if the novel is in past)
  • Put the character’s names in capitals (Really? KATE said.)

So where to start…

Katherine Stansfield says that she uses the Emma Darwin approach for the first sentence…

  • Use the opening sentence to say what type of book it is and to introduce the main character, then follow that with a two sentence summary of the book’s main conflict.

For example – In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennett wants to marry for love, in a world where she must marry for economic survival.

Okay – I can do that… So that is essentially the whole book in three sentences. Now what?

Then Katherine suggests using Mike Wells approach.

Every story has five elements:

  1. the hero
  2. the situation the hero wishes to be free of
  3. the goal that will free him
  4. the villain who will stop him (this can be a thing or an idea, and not necessarily a person)
  5. the disaster that will happen if the hero doesn’t make it.

By using these elements you can create the rest of your synopsis. (Have a look at Mike’s blog for an example.)

One more thing – if you have a book that jumps around in time, do the synopsis chronologically. The synopsis is almost like a plan of the book, it isn’t meant to leave a cliffhanger but explain what is going on.

And that is it. You have a one page synopsis. 🙂 All I can say is good luck. I’m practicing but the results look promising.

Darkness

Darkness is crawling toward Bitsy… Can she escape it?

The Gone

“Shit,” Max’s voice rings around the small room.

I can feel my chest tightening and my heart beating too fast, it sounds like a whooshing in my ears. I don’t have many fears but the dark is one, and it has got worse since I found those things.

“You okay?” Max asks.

“No,” I whisper, crouching in a ball on the floor and hugging my knees to my chest.

“What’s wrong?” I can hear him moving around and searching for something on the shelves.

“The dark,” I whisper, and to my ears it sounds lame. I know there are only the two of us here, yet I’m petrified of what is going to happen, that something is going to reach out and grab me.

Max doesn’t say anything, but I can hear him moving away from me and pushing things around the shelves. Finally he gives a small shout and…

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Agents and things that go bump in the night.

I know agents aren’t scary. I really do. But still they are the one thing I dread about writing. On one hand I want to get one, to be able to hand a book over and say find a publisher would be bliss, but I have also heard some horror stories about them changing your writing to make it more commercial.

Then there is the fight to find one. I am about to have my third book published on Halloween but I don’t have an agent. I had a short story published with the press I am with at the moment and they offered me a contract. I jumped at the chance. So I never followed up with the agents or the children’s story I have out there. It has sat for the last nine months, but as I am planning the next novel I am starting to think about the future.

When I started writing I thought I was a child’s writer. An easy assumption. I mean I have a reading age of fourteen and I struggle with reading the classics, so I thought that I would just write for children, maybe young adults. Except that if you read this blog you will notice that most of my writing is, well, for adults. I love horror and thriller. And that is where I’m published.

But in the beginning I did everything to help with writing for children. I wish I’d taken a step back and decided to learn it all, instead of specialising. But I didn’t. So I am now playing catch-up. Today I am off to study on an afternoon course looking at getting an agent for adult fiction. I know how to pitch to an agent will children’s literature in mind, but I don’t know about adult. Is it the same?

I have a feeling it is, but I need reassurance. So I am going to go to the class and have a laugh with other struggling writers. You never know, this afternoon may be the drive I need to finally get an agent. Something I probably need as my dyslexic/autistic brain has trouble with the incidentals like getting published. I forget to do things, like follow up and sending emails.

So wish me luck as I am walking away from being a sole children’s writer to becoming a writer of adult horror and thriller. And today is the day I acknowledge that although I write for children, I love to write for adults.

I’ll post a bit more of ‘The Gone’ later as well, just to show my horror side.

Now, if I can get over this agent fear I will be all set. Still it is scary… But it is something I can do and I will do.

Kate Murray – Artist Spotlight – Twisted Tales 2014

My interview for the cover of Twisted Tales 2014, being published by Raging Aardvark Press. 🙂

Annie On Writing

kate

Kate Murray is an artist and illustrator who specialises in figures and pencil work. She graduated from Derby University as a medical illustrator but has left that side of the business to pursue her work with figurative and children’s illustration.

Kates’s work features as the cover an frontcentrepiece in the upcoming Twisted Tales Anthology, Published by Raging Aardvark Publishing.

She has kindly agreed to be interviewed about her inspiration and work.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently working a set of picture books for children. They range from the moon losing the stars to a story about a little boy on a monster hunt. I write the picture books as well as illustrating them, and I love telling the story with both words and pictures. I am also working on the illustrations for the short story anthology, ‘Shadows Close’, which is due to be published…

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Twisted Tales 2014

I have been busy – look! I have created the artwork for Twisted Tales 2014… 🙂

Annie On Writing

a gate to nowhere003

Twisted Tales is an annual flash fiction competition celebrating (Inter)National Flash Fiction Day, published by Raging Aardvark Publications. Judged by a panel of experienced short story writers and editors, submissions over the last three years have been extremely high quality; making the job of the judge a difficult one. Authors are drawn from around the globe and stories ranging from lighthearted tales of childhood memories, to gruesome stories to make the reader shiver.

The Twisted Tales collection of flash fiction explores the twisted existence of love, family and relationships as characters seek a sense of self and identity. Flash Fiction  as a form, requires the writer to choose each word with the intention to portray dozens of emotions and images. Whilst twisted doesn’t necessarily mean morbid, its edginess can be whimsical, playful or disturbing. Our selection of twisted tales explodes out of the page and drags the reader…

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Emmaleene Leahy – Author Spotlight – Twisted Tales 2014

An interview with a flash fiction writer. She is really good and worth a read. 🙂

Annie On Writing

emmalee

Emmaleene Leahy is from Ireland. Her fiction has been published in FlashFlood the National Flash-Fiction Day journal, 2012, 2013, 2014, Cake.shortandsweet issue 5, Wordlegs: Post-Tiger Stories,Three Broken Ribs, Eating my Words, 2014 National Flash Fiction Day Anthology, The Scum Gentry and Boyne Berries (Forthcoming).

Emmaleene’s  flash fiction, Jake’s Kite, is one of the 13 chosen by a panel of judges to be included in the upcoming Twisted Tales Anthology, Published by Raging Aardvark Publishing.

 She has kindly agreed to be interviewed about her story and of her writing.

Title of Flash – Jake’s Kite

 What was your initial motivation or prompt to write this story?

I wrote this in response to a prompt with cake.shortandsweet where five prompts appeared on a Wednesday and participants posted their story within 24 hours.

The five words that appeared that week were:

 hideout  ::  transitory  ::  share  ::  full bodied  :: …

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Trust

Can Bitsy trust anyone? Can any of them trust each other?
The next part of ‘The Gone’.

The Gone

“I’m not the monster,” Dee says, and for a moment I know what she is talking about. I mean the real monsters are outside or even the man in front of me. He was part of this, but still I can’t trust her.

Maybe it is the desperate look or the fact she finds it difficult to look at me, her gaze sliding over mine as if she has something to hide. Fully dressed I look behind her at the lengthening shadows.

“What did you find?” Max asks, looking at me, but not turning his back on Dee.

“Well, they are there.”

“What?” Dee shouts, shocked. “You talked to them?”

I nod. “And a guy who offered us help.”

“Who?” Max asks, eyes narrowing in suspicion.

“Well,” I say. “That’s the problem. His friends are at the Tate Modern and he said they would escort us to the WHO. He…

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