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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.
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.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
All novels have five discrete parts:
1. The initial scene (the beginning)
2. The rising action
3. The climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement
The theme statement of my 25th novel, working title, Escape, is this: a girl in a fascist island nation will do anything to escape--a young cargo ferry pilot not following the rules crashes on the island.
I'll make a slight digression because I'm developing advertising and publisher materials for my newest completed novel, Lilly. Here is the cover proposal for Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer.
The next step is to build the marketing information you will use to present your novel to publishers and to the public. Here is an outline:
Title of Work:
Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer
L. D. Alford
Type: Either Screenplay or Book
Length: Either # of words for books, or # of pages for screenplays
Keywords and Market Focus:
Fiction, Washington State, Tacoma, Spanaway, Seattle, Computer, Pacific Lutheran University, Hacker, goddess, sushi, Redemption, kami, Japan, Shinto, torii, Shrine, engineering, math; will fascinate anyone interested in the spiritual, mystery, and suspense—will appeal particularly to those who enjoy historical mystery and suspense novels.
Synopsis: Approximately 500 Words
Dane Vale saw the girl come into FastMart about once a week. She was filthy and always looked hungry. She bought food, not with dollars, but with FastMart bucks you earned from purchases at the convenience store. She always used a different account and phone number, but because her password was correct, he didn’t think much of it. That changed when she used the phone number and password of another customer in line. Dane had to rescue her. That was Dane’s introduction to Lilly Lin Grant.
Lilly Lin was a genius. She was only sixteen, but had a full ride scholarship to his University. It oddly didn’t include room and board. For some reason, she suddenly was signed up for every advanced level class Dane was in. For some reason, she followed him everywhere he went on campus. Dane’s sister, Phelia, said Lilly was infatuated with Dane. He didn’t know much about women at all—he couldn’t understand why the genius, Lilly Lin wanted to hang around with him.
There was much more to Lilly Lin than met the eye. She could hack as easily as a person could type. She wrote software at the assembly code level. She made her own operating system and tricked out her junk laptop. Dane traded Lilly three squares for her operating system, computer enhancements, and her class notes. She shared her Spartan meals with an old homeless Japanese man. Since Dane helped Lilly get a job at the FastMart and fed her, he was suddenly part of Lilly’s gift of offerings. The old man appeared in the evening near a Shinto torii that Dane could never find without Lilly or during the day. Dane wasn’t certain if the man or the torii really existed.
The old man invited Lilly and Dane through the torii—they entered a Shinto shrine that could not be part of the world in Seattle. The old man claimed to be a Japanese kami, the Japanese god of metal. He was tired of existence and confused by the modern world. He had brought his shrine to Seattle because he hoped to find purpose in a new place, but there he only found unbelief and a young woman who would bring him offerings. He wanted Lilly to assume his duties as kami and Dane to become the kannushi, the priest of the shrine.
Dane and Lilly found themselves in possession of a Shinto shrine. Lilly discovered she had powers over metal. Dane was responsible for the shrine itself. The old kami was gone, but Lilly and Dane now face the pantheon of Japanese gods and goddesses who are skeptical of a human made a goddess with her inexperienced kannushi. They must use their new-found powers to keep the shrine successful and purposeful in spite of its place. Dane must also contend with Lilly who is infatuated with him and now endued with memories and ideas from a different culture. He was struggling with her attention before—now she demands much more from him.
Concept of the Work: Approximately 250 Words
Registration: WGA, ISBN, or Library of Congress, Write the number.
Other Information: If you have more work, a website, anything interesting and professional, especially any awards or recognition.
With a synopsis, your first job is to impress the publisher. The second step is to impress the potential reader. The publisher is harder than the average reader. Because it is so important, we'll get a little more in depth about writing a synopsis.
Introduce the characters and the plot, give the reader (publisher) something to get them excited, then close the deal with a promise of more to come. The closure doesn't need to give away the climax--it doesn't need to complete the plot--it needs to promise the reader that if they continue to read the novel, they won't be disappointed. You want a publisher to be interested enough to read the novel. Once the novel is published, you want a potential reader to pick up the novel and give it a test drive. The closure isn't the most important part of the synopsis, but it is your last chance to sell your novel.
Building a good closure is like crafting a good end to a novel--complete the plot, but promise more. Finish the synopsis but promise more. The promise more is very important. As I mentioned, the synopsis should excite, the closing should entice. Look at the last paragraph of my synopsis for Lilly:
The old kami was gone, but Lilly and Dane now face the pantheon of Japanese gods and goddesses who are skeptical of a human made a goddess with her inexperienced kannushi. They must use their new-found powers to keep the shrine successful and purposeful in spite of its place. Dane must also contend with Lilly who is infatuated with him and now endued with memories and ideas from a different culture. He was struggling with her attention before—now she demands much more from him.
The closure tells the reader that Lilly and Dane must contend with the Japanese pantheon. It tells the reader that they must make their shrine successful. Finally, it leaves a tantalizing glimpse of the problems Lilly is causing Dane. There is much more to the plot and the novel than the synopsis covers. This will build mystery and interest in the reader. Perhaps the publisher will be intrigued enough to read the novel--a potential reader might pick it up and read the first page. That's the best you can hope for.
At this point everything I'm doing with and for this work is about marketing to a publisher and building a website.
For more information, you can visit my author site http://www.ldalford.com/, and my individual novel websites: