Synopses–ugh.

Don’t you love, love, LOVE writing synopses?

Snort.

In my mind, if you do, you must be nuts! (JOKING!)

Honestly, I’ve only met one woman the entire time I’ve been writing who said she really liked writing the little buggers. (And yeah. She might have been . . . )

Maybe short story or non-fic writers have a gas writing them, but as a rule (my rule, anyway) people who write fiction over 50,000 words hate them.

Why? Because as a rule, a novel author can’t tell you her name in less than ten pages. 😉 How could she tell you about her great story in that space?

Maybe, if we stand back and look at the how, it’ll be easy. (Snort, again.)

Here’s some great advice from Writing the Smart Synopsis by Nancy J. Cohen:

Open the action with a hook. You already know this is crucial in your manuscript, but it applies to your synopsis as well.

Use action verbs. Your story should be engaging as you convey it to the reader.

Make sure the story flows in a logical manner from scene to scene.

Include your character’s emotional responses and stay in her head as you would in the story. Use transitions if you switch viewpoints.

Show your character’s internal struggle as well as her external conflict. What’s inhibiting her from making a commitment to the hero? What is causing her to doubt her abilities? What lesson does she need to learn about herself in this story? Motivate your character’s actions so her responses seem logical.

Explain the ending. In a mystery, this means you tell whodunit and why. In a romance, it’ll be your dark moment and the resolution of the romantic conflict. You’ll want to describe how your character has changed or grown from this experience.

Okay, that SOUNDS easy peasy (clears throat, rolls eyes) but it’s more than that.

  • Let your voice shine through. (And when it’s a long-winded voice, that ain’t easy.)
  • Include the tone of the book. (You don’t want it to sound humorous if it’s a dead serious suspense.)
  • Make sense. (That’s the hard part.)

The best advice from Nancy’s blog on writing the smart synopsis? “Let your critique partners read your synopsis.”

Believe me, it’s easier to see problems from the outside looking in than it is to see what you didn’t include, even though you think its there. And to make sense. 🙂

Please pop over to Nancy’s place and read the entire blog. She’s a real help!

A Hero to Come Home To

A re-blog from Marilyn Pappano.

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I’ve got my first review for A Hero to Come Home To (coming 25 June), and it’s the kind of review that makes an author jump up and down with joy!  First, it’s a great one!  Second, it’s a great one from Publisher’s Weekly!   Third, it’s a Starred Review  from Publisher’s Weekly!   They just don’t hand those Stars out too freely, so I’m absolutely thrilled to get this one!  Read on and share my happiness!

“Pappano shines in this poignant tale of love, loss, and learning to love again. Teacher Carly Lowry wants nothing more than to find peace after her husband, Army Staff Sergeant Jeff Lowry, is killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan. Two years later, what’s sustaining her is the Fort Murphy Widows Club, aka Tuesday Night Margarita Club, based at Fort Murphy, Oklahoma. On one club outing, Carly meets a man who captures her attention: Sergeant Dane Clark, who lost a leg in combat and who can’t quite believe anyone will want him again. Can the two overlook their losses and build a new life together? Pappano creates achingly real characters whose struggles will bring readers to tears. Well-placed secondary plots seamlessly set the stage for additional books in the series.”

And it got a STAR!!!!!

 

 

Disaster in Oklahoma

It’s springtime, therefore that means bad weather. Oklahoma has more than had its fair share over the last couple of days. If you haven’t heard the news about the tornado’s that hit us, turn on the news. Even national media have sent crews to Moore to cover the devastating damage.

It looks like a war zone out there.

I won’t post pictures. I’ve seen enough. Buildings and homes reduced to rubble. Vehicles tossed around like matchsticks. People and animals buried alive under the debris. Last night over a hundred people were pulled from what was left of their homes. Thankfully they were alive! I know a lot of prayers were answered.

However, others weren’t as lucky. So far, as of this writing, the confirmed death toll is 24. I pray this doesn’t change. But I don’t know if everyone has been accounted for or if there are people out there whom they haven’t found yet. Trapped. If so, I pray for their recovery.

There was another tornado on Sunday that struck the town of Shawnee. Lives were lost there, too. Homes and businesses destroyed. People’s everyday and ordinary worlds changed in a matter of minutes. Just like it did for those living in the Moore and Oklahoma City areas.

I don’t live anywhere close to the areas affected by Sunday and Monday’s tornados. Nor will I be traveling there. I have no skills that would help in the recovery efforts and I’d just be in the way. My heart is there, though. I’m praying for all the people affected, for those who are doing the search and rescue, and for those who are working hard to restore some of the services we each take for granted. i.e. electricity, water, phone, etc.

We can each still help by donating to the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and a multitude of agencies (including animal rescue) that will be there to help with immediate needs. I’m not going to list them here but you need to check out the validity of them. Unfortunately, there are people who jump at the opportunity to scam others out of their money during times like these and take advantage of those who can least afford it.

PLEASE keep all the people who have been directly impacted by the storms in your thoughts and prayers. Oklahoma appreciates you.

IT WORKED!!!

I posted a bunch of videos yesterday, and all you saw was the url to watch them. Thankfully, one of my Smart Women friends took pity on me and gave me instructions on how to do it right.
This is a test. We’ll see if I’m capable of following directions.

How about a little WRITING ADVICE from Holly West?

YAY! YAY! YAY!

Thanks a ton, Rhenna Morgan!

Please, check out her website/blog. She’s gorgeous and (more importantly) has a fantastic sense of humor.

Create a Private Writing Conference–Free!

 

Remember “ALL I REALLY NEEDED TO KNOW, I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN?” by Robert Fulghum? Well, I’ve decided that everything I need to learn is on Youtube.

Want (need?) to learn about writing and can’t afford a class or conference? Head for Youtube! I’m not kidding. You’d be surprised at what you can learn over there.

I haven’t always been a big Youtube user. Oh, one Halloween when I wanted to watch 13 Ghosts (the original one) I found it there. But that’s entertainment. I’d never thought about how I could really use it for my good before.

Then, the other day, I came across this video, shared by Jean Brashear. (Don’t you just love Jean?)

Jean-Brashear

I loved this video.

http://youtu.be/LQMbJ5XUR68

Thank you, Jean!

Next, a Smart Woman shared a video.

Since James Scott Bell is one of my favorite how-to-write authors, I watched.

JimBell

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVDeOIjsTs0&feature=share&list=UUcU1HR_Y-8NB3fVnT_G1oRA

Yeah, if you want to teach me something, toss in a little humor. So I watched this, another one of James’ videos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOSR9JcRHTk&feature=share&list=UUcU1HR_Y-8NB3fVnT_G1oRA

He’s got several on Youtube. Do a search.

I spent an hour listening to Stephen King the other day while I got ready for work. (I’m loving my iPad!)

Next I found THE TOP TEN RULES FROM FAMOUS WRITERS.

http://youtu.be/LLIGZEBmBUk

You really could make an entire writing conference by searching out videos over there.

Of course, Youtube isn’t just about learning to write. You can learn anything. (More than I want to know!)

Ten things to see in Ireland.

http://youtu.be/uT2BwbnszBY

How to train your dog.

http://youtu.be/9vlXqT13AVc

Container gardening.

http://youtu.be/AvRhvi7Hq6U

But this is a writing blog, and for all y’all who dream about writing and keep putting it off . . .

http://youtu.be/iiUUbIC_nck

So . . . do you Youtube? Ever thought about making your own conference by listening to the Big Boys speak? Ever want to learn something and pop over there for your education?

What’s your favorite Youtube?

Ps: Right now I’m learning from Elmore Leonard. 😉

http://youtu.be/Ub_09NgFjrA

Writing Conferences – The Ups and Downs

I’ve been extremely quiet lately. There’s a reason. I attended the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc’s (OWFI) conference May 3-5 in Norman, OK. Wow. What a rush! Not only did I meet with my first line editor, but also the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Wild Rose Press. I hung out with them on Friday night after the Famous Author’s Banquet during a Buzz Session.

Oh! Speaking of the banquet, I hit the ‘big screen’ by announcing the publication of my books last year, GRAVE SECRETS and ROMANCE-THE SPICE OF LIFE. DSCN0670_706

DSCN0673_709I wasn’t alone, by all means! Lots of OWFI members had books released last year. Our pictures were displayed along with the book cover and a short blurb about the story. Each author stood when their name was called by Alaska Yup’ik Storyteller Jack Dalton. Then we waved (enthusiastically, I might add) as the audience cheered us on. DSCN0674_710My good friend, Kathlyn Smith, did her best to get a good picture of me. Wasn’t meant to be, though. *s*

I also got to hang out with friends from the West Texas A&M Writers Academy as well as others from Amarillo, including: Jodi Thomas, Linda Broday, Phyllis Miranda. Jodi was one of the speakers, and let me tell you, she told us in no uncertain terms what it takes to make it. Yet, here I sit. Writing a blog and not writing on my story. The good news is I came up with another storyline while there. Woot!

So all in all, I got my money’s worth out of this conference. Will I go back in the years to come? You betcha’! This year there were four other members of Smart Women Who… attending the conference. 931229_10151632008947456_1977057717_n[1] T.D. Hart, Jackie King, Kathlyn Smith, myself, and Susan Shay. I think everyone had a fantastic time.

What about you? Do you go to conferences? If not, why in the world not?! Even though you may come home exhausted—I know I did—it’s a great opportunity to connect with other writers, pitch your story to an editor or agent, reconnect with old friends and make a ton of new ones. How can you lose?

You can’t.

OWFI Conference . . . I’m There!

Okay, it’s been way, way too long since I’ve been to a writing conference. (I’m in Norman at the Oklahoma Writers Federation Conference.) I’m having SO! MUCH! FUN!!!

I feel like a dog who can’t wag her tail fast enough. “Oh!” pant “Hi!” Wagging tail. “It’s so nice to meet you!” Pant, pant. Tail wagging faster. “This is so cool! Isn’t it?” Panting as fast as tail is wagging. “Don’t you love this?” Pant, wag, pant, wag. “Isn’t this the best speaker/breakfast/group/whatever?!?” Passes out from hyperventilation and tail exhaustion.

Okay, I’m not quite that bad, but do tend to run out of exclamation points when I talk! (lol)

I know you won’t believe this, but sometimes I don’t get to talk. (Yeah, they lucked out.) Writers love to tell stories, so they kind of pile up on each other. I have a whole scorpion story I didn’t get to tell last night.

Funny how much there is to learn at one of these places.  And how many people there are to meet.

I’ve gone to workshops I didn’t think I’d particularly like and been bowled over. So far, my favorite speaker has been Jane Friedman. Not that I didn’t love the others, but she was fantastic! And the fact that I had lunch with her (along with the other Smart Women who’re here) and we got to chat a while had nothing to do with it. 🙂

And I’ve met lots of nice, nice people, such as my very first editor, Rhonda Penders, who just happens to own my publishing company, WILD ROSE PRESS! She was so nice and had so many great stories to share. (And she has three sons, kinda like moi, so she’s good people!)

Jodi Thomas is also here. (I have a lunch-time workshop with her today.) While she was talking to Wild Rose Rhonda, Jodi told her, “Wild Rose isn’t a small press anymore.” And she’s right. (I think Rhonda is going to have a pillow made with that on it . . . or maybe T-Shirts.)

The only bad part? Days are kind of long at these things. (Giving us our money’s worth, though!) Workshops started yesterday at 9:00 a.m. and the Buzz Session I was in last night didn’t finish until after 11:00 pm. There was a lot of information flying around. I just hope I caught the part I needed. 😉

Everything is going so smoothly, it looks as if the conference runs itself. But having been in charge of a few conferences, I know how much head-banging work it is. (Thank you to whoever did this. Wow! Great, great job!!!)

How about you? Do you enjoy going to conferences?

What’s your favorite part?

(Mine? Meeting people! wag, wag)