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Synopsisizing

I know that’s not a word. But, I have to share an accomplishment and a new dread. Creativity - copyright 123rf profile Veeranat Suwangulrut

First, the accomplishment: The never ending novel is edited! I decided to take some time and just work my little buttocks off and finish it up and I did! It actually wasn’t quite as much work as I was anticipating. So… bully for me! Yay!

Second, the dread: I have to write a synopsis. Everywhere I turn says this is a tough prospect. It actually wouldn’t be all that hard – heck, I’d be done already – if there were more clear-cut rules on writing a synopsis. Apparently, there are two schools of thought on this subject:

A. Write a synopsis that is cliff-hangery and exciting and shows off your mad writing skillz (with a z.)

B. Write a synopsis that is a dry list of all the major plot points and character arcs.

Honestly, I can do “B” because I already have that. It’s what I’ve been working off of as I write. I’m not a big drafter, so that’s pretty much all I lay out before I write a book. But, come on. Boooooring to read. Like super boring. Mega boring. don’t even want to read that again.

So, here I am, trying to take a super dry list of what happens in my book and shove it into two pages, while keeping it interesting and indicative of my writing style. Wait, did you hear screaming in despair? No… that didn’t come from me… did it?

Just kidding folks. It’s not all doom and gloom. It’s just a new skill that I have yet to master. Like my exercise instructor says, it’s a new challenge. So far, I have found these links the most useful:

The Editors Blog

MarissaMeyer.com

I’m still trying to find some good examples of completed synopses. There are a lot out there or movies and TV shows, but it appears that they are a bit harder to find when it comes to books. Does anyone have advice here? I’m sure I just haven’t searched deeply enough, but I’m being lazy. Any advice or ideas are welcome.

Okay, back to the salt mines with me! Cheerio, friends and writers!

02/02/15 Update: I asked for some advice from the good folks at Ditch Diggers and the hosts, Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace gave great advice and the guests Kameron Hurley and Chuck Wendig also gave some fantastic advice. This is NOT a clean podcast, but I really appreciated the tips and info they shared. Here’s the link.  (They synopsis tips start at around 1 hr 10 mins – right around when Chuck Wendig says “The synopsis is always a cruel lie.”)

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Return to Writing

Happy New Year and all that jazz! Last year was pretty great, this year will hopefully be even better.Dahli Clock

I’m back to working on my novel. I thought I was done editing it, I really did. I read the whole thing aloud and changed words around, added sentences, deleted and rewrote paragraphs. But the ending was unsatisfying to me. It felt like a short story ending. I also felt like it was the end of that particular story, so I let it go.

Since then I have sent the story out to a few agents. I got a couple of form rejections and one really great letter that humbled and instructed me. The agent said that my novel didn’t “grab” her. Since I was able to send her actual pages of the book instead of just a letter with a short blurb about the book, this hit home for me. I re-looked at the beginning, which I had done some last minute editing on before I sent it to her. I had also submitted this beginning to an agent contest earlier last year-which I did not win. So, even though only a couple of people rejected the story, those people are two professionals that I would really like to work with.

So here I am, back to pounding away at the story with a hammer and chisel. I feel like I have the beginning set up better. I think it’s one that will grab and entice readers. While doing this complete re-write of the beginning of my novel, I realized I needed to edit the whole book.

Again.

I’m going to have to up the story tension and… this is what really freaks me out… I’m going to have to change the ending.

This all means I’ll need to do another read-through when I’m done with the story edits. This is what I hate, hate, hate about editing. I wish I could just barf my story onto a page and have it be all bright, shiny and perfect. I wish someone would just swoop it up and publish it. I wish I was a child prodigy with billionaire parents too… so… yeah.

One great thing that has come out of all of this is that I’ve never had the patience to go through and keep editing in spite of set backs. I have two other novels that went nowhere in the editing process. So, maybe I’m learning some great lessons here. Maybe it’s only taken me ten years or so to learn how to finish a writing project.

Speaking of endings, I’m not sure how to end this post. So, here’s Jack Kerouac:

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”

A Pilgrims Progress

Admittedly I am not a Pilgrim. I don’t think my family has been in America long enough to have been Pilgrims. Certainly not on my dad’s side, anyway.

Even so, I was thinking about Jane Austin and Little Women, because I have to collect quotes for a client, and I thought of Pilgrim’s Progress, which I recall being referenced over and over in that book.

My book progress is what I’m really here to talk about. I was at 37,307 when I started today. Now I’m at 39,329. That’s a sold 2,022 words written so far today. I want to get to at least 40,000 this week, so I’ll try working on it more later.

*This just in: I am now at 40,066 words on my novel.  That means I’ve written 5,323 words so far this week!  Yay!  I think that gives me leave to play this:

Although I’m not going to wear a unitard like that one.  So, don’t ask.  I couldn’t pull off his fabulous chest hair.

Friday Already?

This is madness.  I look away for one minute and a whole week goes by.  What have I been doing all week, you ask?  Not writing much, unfortunately.  On Monday I was up to 37,021 words.  Today, before I start challenging myself to get some darned writing done and stop editing and pondering, I am at 37,307 words.  Time to roll up the ol’ sleeves and get some writing done!  See you on the other side.

 

Word Count Update

So, in my effort to add words to my manuscript, I managed to edit out words.  Good going on my part, right?  But, I did actually write more words in the end, so that’s got to count for something.  I started out at 34,743 words and ended at 37,021 words.  That means I added 2,278 words between yesterday and today.  Not quite my 1,500 word a day goal, but close.  If you count the writing I actually get paid for, I wrote way over that.

It’s so gorgeous outside, I wish I could have an external office.  It’s my dream to one day have a house that I own, and for that house to have a little shack in the back.  I want to redo the shack and make it a tiny library/office.  In my dream home, the shack would have plumbing so I didn’t have to go into my home for bathroom breaks, and I’d just be out there, writing and watching things grow, rain fall, plants die, squirrels come and go, and more.  My dog would sleep at my feet as he’s doing now, and I would just create all day long.  Le sigh.  In this shack there would also be a super comfy chair, and two walls lined from floor to ceiling with bookshelves.  I could take down a book and read it in my comfy chair, my dog in my lap, and a lamp burning bright.

I’m pretty sure if I had such a place, I would never leave it.  I would get a mini fridge and a hot plate and eat out there, I would get a cot and sleep out there, and my husband would hate it.  So, we’ll see if there’s a tiny writing shack in my future.

I leave you now with something my good friend and actually published author, Jess Haines, tagged me in on Facebook.  She knows me all too well:


And from there I got sucked into this:

That’s all, I promise. I’ll post more tomorrow.

It Has Come to This

I thought that title was pretty dramatic, and today has been a pretty low drama day – besides bathing my dog who has been itching himself like a crack addict with his medicated shampoo, and then being stopped in the street as I walked him by a lady looking for her lost dog.  Also finding out that three of my favorite podcasts need dinero right now in order to last through 2014.  Besides all that, it has not been a dramatic day.

This is my dog

This is my dog

This is who my dog reminds me of when he's itching the crap out of himself

This is who my dog reminds me of when he’s itching the crap out of himself

But enough.  Le’s talk words.  Let’s count said words and see what we’ve got.

As of the beginning of last week I was at 25,858 words for my young adult, dark urban fantasy novel tentatively titled “Hunting Annabelle.”  As of Sunday night, my word count was at…(drumroll) 31,939 words.  This means I wrote 6,081 words last week!  That’s almost the 7,000 words I was dreaming of writing every week.  Yay!

So, in the spirit of trying to write 1,000 or more words a day, my wordcount for today is 33,558.  This is 1,619 words written today.  Jolly good, what?

Now, because I know it’s probably pretty boring just to hear word counts and not what the words are all about, I’m going to give a little, teensy hint.  This story’s protagonist is a teenager with an eating disorder and an addiction.  Three of her best friends have recently been in a disaster.  One lost his leg while the other two are missing.  Our heroine has to overcome her own issues to find and rescue her friends.  The setting is modern-day Los Angeles, with a twist, since it’s fantasy and all.

So there you go, the sneak peak that was no peak at all.

Back on the Horse

So the last couple of days have been pretty busy, but not for my fiction.  Oh well.  Today I wrote!  That’s an accomplishment!   I had to turn off the word count sign on my word doc to be able to concentrate.  For some reason today I’m having a hard time getting stuff done.  I think I can blame my dog for part of that.  He kept waking me up and now I’m tired.  But no matter!  I have overcome all adversity!  Here is my word count 29,086.  I was at 26,728.  That means I wrote 2,358 words today!  Not bad.  I had a slow start and was having a hard time staying in the story, but it took me somewhere interesting, so that was neat.

Now, it’s back to my real job with me!  Gotta meet those deadlines, baby!

I leave you with some fun stuff I’ve found over the last days:

First: The Oatmeal’s thought s on Columbus Day – or can we just call it Bartolome Day?  or Indigenous People’s Day?

Second: I have a blog about my failures and successes in cooking.  I just started it and the first post – on cooking wolf fish – is scheduled for tomorrow morning.

And, finally, this video – because my mom showed it to me, which makes it even more funny in my book:

Picking Away at the Novel, Little by Little – Plus Mice

Last time I posted was October 2nd.  My word count was at 25,056.  It’s been five days and I’ve hardly had time to work on the novel, except to edit and add just a few words here and there.  So, right now I’m at 25,858.  That means that last week I wrote 3,379 words total.  That’s not too bad, but not where I want to be.

There are some explanations for my crappy last few days – one is that I got busy on paying projects.  Another is that I am taking some classes and I needed to focus on them for a couple days.  But my final excuse is both gross and entertaining.  That is, when I decided to put my laundry away in the drawers which lie beneath my bed, I found dog food and mouse droppings in my drawers.  That’s right.  No mouse was in the house, but his droppings were snuggled in between my clothes and my husband’s clothes in every drawer beneath our bed.  Yum.

This event inspired a frantic cleaning and search through our bedroom and our home.  The search was for naught, however.  There was no mouse in the house that we could find, and its nest appears to have been our drawers alone.  So… I don’t really know what to do, but I am super paranoid and see mice feces in every dust bunny in our home.  I stepped on a fuzzy dog toy in the middle of the night on my way to the bathroom and almost freaked out.

So, this is an request to all mice that may deem our home a great place to live.  I agree with you, tiny rodents, it is a pretty great place to live.  But please don’t come here for a vacation, don’t create your home here, and definitely don’t retire and die here.  I will likely scream and get my husband if I discover you before the cat does, and my husband will capture you and take you a block away to a great looking bush, then release you as he has done with mice in the past.  Our neighborhood has many cats between that bush and our home, so don’t come crawling back here.  Stay away, oh mousey, stay away.

run-you-fools

Barely Conscious

I can’t believe I spelled “conscious” right.  I always have an impulse to spell it “couscous.”  Anyway, good morning.  I’m exhausted.  I was working at my real job till 2:30 am, so now it’s back to the ol’ grindstone.

I think one of the things which make it easy for me to justify not writing on my fiction is that I already accomplished a professional writing career this year.  I get paid to write on the daily.  But, I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment because here I am again, getting up earlier than I feel is sane, working later than I should, and hoping to get that contract that will change my way of life.

Anyway, onto word countage. I kind of cheated because I had an extra 30 mins yesterday where I was waiting for someone, so I did my editing and a bit more writing then. But, because I need to get to my paying job, I’m counting those words as part of today’s. My word count is now up at: 25,056, which is 1,221 more than yesterday’s 23,835.

I’m signing off now. I have to write about 5k words for work today, so… yay!

I leave you with a video about saving an adorable dog:

Counting Down

This morning I woke up early to get writing.  My “early” isn’t actually early to a lot of people, but it was cold, rainy and dark, so that’s early to me.  My husband lay sleeping, my dog lay itching (he has an allergy that’s driving everyone crazy – we’ve been to the vet and I’m hoping his meds will kick in) and I set three alarms to get up.

It was so dark, I almost failed to put on matching socks.  But, even glasses-less, in a dark room, I managed to avoid that faux pas.  It seems silly to worry about that – because I work from home, but the problem is that I’ll wear them all day, then forget and wonder where the matching socks to those sock’s mates are.  Then I’ll shove those sock’s mates into the back of my sock drawer, and after laundry day I’ll wonder why the sock monster ate my socks.  It’s a vicious cycle.  So, it was important to me to sort this sock situation out.

They match!  I am saved!

They match! I am saved from the sock monster.  Phew!

After my coffee, playing with my dog who FINALLY stopped itching and went to sleep behind my desk chair, I started by editing what I had last written.  Then, I moved forward.  I am working off of an outline for the first time of my life, and while it’s actually very helpful, there are still a lot of points I am working out as I go along.  I think the story will end the same as on the outline, and I am consistently revising it to make sure the new aspects are noted, but I have a habit of writing what comes next into the doc on which I’m writing the story itself – kind of outlining as I go.  So, I always have to make sure I note anything significant in my outline, and I make sure to copy and paste the part coming up next that’s on the outline into the story.

I cut those words out when I did my first word count of 22,479 (yesterday’s total word count).  Today I cut them out again and I got 23,835 – a total of 1356 more words tacked on to the story.   Yay!!  It took about an hour and fifteen minutes to reread what I’d written before (probably about 300 words) and then write the additional 1356 words.  So, I’ll try to either get a ton of work done today so I don’t have to get up early tomorrow, or get up early again tomorrow and write again.

On a completely separate note, what’s with the government shutting down?  Jeez, people.  Get it together.  I like our National Parks and our museums.  I like that people are employed by the government – some of them are actually passionate about their work.  Make some decisions and get on with it.  I am not a big government supporter/protester/anarchist/republican/democrat/liberal or anything.  One of my reasons for feeling that sometimes we just have to make a decision and move on is… you can always change something if you think it’s wrong!!!  Why not review policy every couple of years or something and see if it should be changed.  That way we don’t have to make giant, momentous decisions and shut down anything that the public might hold dear.

Sorry, I don’t really read the news, but the Google Doodle today told me about what happened and I couldn’t help but make a comment.

Back on topic: I hope I make it to the writing desk tomorrow!

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