20 July 2018, Writing - part x560, Developing Skills, Marketing Materials, Short Form, Last Sentence Synopsis
Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but my primary publisher has gone out of business—they couldn’t succeed in the past business and publishing environment. I'll keep you informed, but I need a new publisher. More information can be found at www.ancientlight.com. Check out my novels--I think you'll really enjoy them.
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I'm using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I'll keep you informed along the way.
Today's Blog: To see the steps in the publication process, visit my writing website http://www.ldalford.com/ and select "production schedule," you will be sent to http://www.sisteroflight.com/.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
1. Don't confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don't show (or tell) everything.
4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of a novel:
1. Design the initial scene
2. Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
a. Research as required
b. Develop the initial setting
c. Develop the characters
d. Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
3. Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
4. Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
5. Write the climax scene
6. Write the falling action scene(s)
7. Write the dénouement scene
I finished writing my 29th novel, working title, Detective, potential title Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective. The theme statement is: Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.
Here is the cover proposal for Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I am continuing to write on my 30th novel, working title Red Sonja. I finished my 29th novel, working title Detective. I’m planning to start on number 31, working title Shifter.
How to begin a novel. Number one thought, we need an entertaining idea. I usually encapsulate such an idea with a theme statement. Since I’m writing a new novel, we need a new theme statement. Here is an initial cut.
For novel 30: Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.
For novel 31: TBD
Here is the scene development outline:
1. Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
2. Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
3. Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
4. Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
5. Write the release
6. Write the kicker
Today: Time again to look at marketing materials. I just finished a new novel—actually, I finished it a few weeks ago, but I’ve been working on the marketing materials. I always develop the specific materials first, then the condensed materials for my currently defunct publisher, and then the cover. You can see above, I made a proposed cover. I put this information on the internet at www.LumiereNovel.com.
Here is my proposed cover:
Marketing materials are a must. I’ll be straight up with you. I know most people have not completed their novels. Some of you might have. You might be still working on your editing and proofing. You might be still perfecting your novel. All of that is important, but none of it matters if you don’t have a plan for marketing your work. Marketing means you have some plan and know what a publisher might want to know about you and your work. I gave you a format with examples from my own novel. I showed you the “long form.” If there is a long form, there must be a short form. That’s what I will give you next. Here is the short form for my novel Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective.
Title of Work:
Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective
L. D. Alford
Type: Either Screenplay or Book
Length: Either # of words for books, or # of pages for screenplays
Keywords and Market Focus:
Fiction, detective, supernatural, fae, fairy, romance, intelligence, Britain, United Kingdom, MI6, magic, New Scotland Yard, goddess, Dagda, organization, the Crown; will fascinate anyone interested in mystery, detectives, and the fae—will appeal particularly to those who enjoy mystery and suspense novels.
Can you describe your novel in a sentence? Or perhaps the question should be, can you get the basic gist of your novel into a sentence? More importantly, can you get a reader excited about your novel with a sentence? I’ll give you three tries.
Actually, I expect you to be able to give me a valid expression of your novel with each of three sentences. I also expect for you to make me interested enough to read your novel. If you can’t do this, I suspect you can’t write a novel either, but I know you can do this—I’ll help guide you through writing a sentence synopsis. Here are examples from my novel, Azure, below.
1. No more than 3 sentences about the content of your manuscript.
The Lady Azure Rose Wishart applies to New Scotland Yard as a supernatural detective—she has to explain exactly what a supernatural detective can do, but that’s just part of the details.
The Lady Azure Rose Wishart finds her match in the puppy love of Lachlann Calloway—she doesn’t need any kind of love especially from a boyfriend, but now she’s stuck with one.
The Lord Chancellor of the Book of the Fae wishes to regain her estate, become a supernatural detective, and make her mark on the aristocracy—pretty cheeky for a sixth form head girl.
Again, we start with the protagonist. In this case, the protagonist gets more description. Notice, the description of the protagonist is almost entirely centered on the telic flaw of the novel. She wants to regain her estate is the motivation for the telic flaw. The supernatural detective is the actual telic flaw (rather to solve the supernatural crime). The mark on the aristocracy is not really one of her primary motives, but to get back at those who put her in the position she is in, is a primary motivation.
We play the independent clause again with an em dash (double hyphen). Remember, in fiction today, we don’t use the semicolon. The first clause implies some questions for the reader. The first is the description: the Lord Chancellor of the Book of the Fae—that statement alone should get some of my potential readers salivating. The obvious question here is: who’s that? The next is: how did she lose her estate. The third is: what is a supernatural detective? The last is a throw away: how will she make a mark on the aristocracy?
The point is that the potential reader knows in a well-crafted novel, the author will answer these questions—or the author better answer these question if her or she brought them up. That’s the point of tantalizing your potential readers so they want to read your novel.
The final statement is supposed to grab hold of a different audience altogether. I don’t write Young Adult novels, but I do want my novels to be hip and readable by teens to adults. The last statement is really descriptive more than anything. It points to the age of the protagonist. Some readers like older characters, but not most. Most readers like characters of indeterminate age or of youth. Youth like especially to read about youth, and most older readers do not and will not acknowledge they are no longer young. This is a fault/feature of our culture and people who read.
In this last sentence synopsis, I want to refer to my character as youthful, she is nineteen, British (or British school system), sixth form is the last year before advanced education, and to her character, cheeky. I think these will attract the most readers and their attention.
In any case, let’s conclude. When writing a mini-synopsis (sentence synopsis), start with the protagonist, blend in the telic flaw of the novel (protagonist), and imply or directly state questions (usually the problems resolved in the novel).
This isn’t as hard as it might look, and I know new stuff is intimidating to people, but with this information, you should be able to craft a great mini-synopsis.
We’ll move on to section 2 next.
2. One sentence about successful works similar to yours.
Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective is a novel along the lines of Sherlock Holmes, except it’s about a woman, and her Watson is a smart young Wing Commander.
3. No more than 2 sentences about yourself. (use 3rd person)
L. D. Alford is a novelist whose writing uniquely explores the connections between present events and history—he combines them with threads of reality that bring the past alive.
Dr. Alford is a scientist and widely traveled author who combines intimate scientific and cultural knowledge into fiction worlds that breathe reality.
4. No more than 2 sentences that include “other,” i.e. any reasons, relationships, or other factors that might make your work more attractive.
Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective continues the supernatural themes introduced in L.D. Alford’s Enchantment and Ancient Light novels. It is a standalone novel.
Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective is exciting mystery fiction from the celebrated author of Deirdre: Enchantment and the School, Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse, Essie: Enchantment and the Aor Si, Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer, Valeska: Enchantment and the Vampire, Khione: Enchantment and the Fox, Dana-ana: Enchantment of the Maiden, Hestia: Enchantment of the Hearth, Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon, Antebellum, Centurion, Aegypt, The End of Honor, The Fox’s Honor, A Season of Honor, Sister of Light, and Sister of Darkness.
In this introduction to the short form information, we are building short pieces to describe you and your work. The use of this information is similar to the use of the long form. The short form is specifically getting the author used to writing a tight, exciting, and interesting blurbs about their own writing.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites:
fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic