7 July 2018, Writing - part x547, Developing Skills, Marketing Materials, How to Write a 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 haven’t put any of this information on the internet yet, but I’m building up to that.
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. What you need is a format for your marketing materials, and here it is.
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.
Author Bio: Approximately 120 words
The finest entertainment in literature is an escape into a real and inviting culture—so asserts L. D. Alford, a novelist who explores with originality those cultures and societies we think we already know. He builds tales that make ancient people and times real to us. His stories uniquely explore the connections between present events, history, and the future—he combines them with threads of reality that bring fiction alive. L. D. Alford is familiar with technology and cultures—he earned a B.S. in Chemistry from
, an M.S. in
Mechanical Engineering from Pacific Lutheran
University , a Ph.D. in
Aerospace Engineering from the Boston
University , and is a
graduate of University
of Dayton ,
and Air Command and Air War College . He is widely traveled and has spent long
periods in Europe, Asia, and Central America.
L. D. Alford is an author who combines intimate scientific and cultural
knowledge into fiction worlds that breathe reality. Staff
Synopsis: Approximately 500 Words
The Lady Azure Rose Wishart, in the sixth form, the head girl at Wycombe Abbey, and a capable detective. She is also the top girl, a scratch golfer, and lives with a couple of dubious acquaintances—one is most likely a vampire and the other a werecreature. Well, most likely. In any case, the Lady Azure Rose Wishart lost her estate but not her title. Because of that, she could be on the parishes’ charity list except she has a scholarship to Wycombe and the Crown pays for her other work. The Lady Wishart is driven to reacquire her estate and make her way in the world. She wants to be a supernatural detective.
We first meet her as she untangles a mystery for the New Scotland Yard. Unfortunately, this isn’t a true supernatural crime, but Azure (the Lady Wishart) solves it in no time, and she is now on New Scotland Yard’s payroll. Another few thousand mysteries, and she might buy back her estate. That’s her first problem, she doesn’t make enough to ensure she can ever win back her hereditary holdings. The second problem is just about to hit her squarely between the eyes—Lachlann Calloway meets her at a party.
It was truly an accident of occasion and invitation that brought Lady Azure Rose Wishart into the sights of the dashing Wing Commander Lachlann Calloway, but so is life. He immediately fell in love with the ravishing and dangerous Azure. However, Azure doesn’t have time for a lover or a boyfriend. She, of course, does everything in her power to discourage him. During their next meeting, she thoroughly embarrasses and chastises him. On their first date, he privately blows her cover and propriety. What Lachlann discovers is that his mother, a high level manager in her majesty’s intelligence operations, has black listed Azure from any intelligence work. This is curious, but he’s still in love.
Instead of being discouraged, as Azure would have liked, Lachlann gloms on to her like a social leech. She isn’t used to these types of entanglements. In any case, Lachlann is trying his hardest to entice Azure to love. She is trying her hardest to be rid of the puppy, Lachlann Calloway. Lachlann’s mother wants nothing more than for Lachlann to dump the unwilling Azure. Meanwhile, Azure, through New Scotland Yard, has uncovered a truly supernatural mystery.
With Lachlann’s help and encouragement, Azure proceeds to take a sledge hammer to the Crown’s supernatural intelligence structure—she has a mystery to solve. The Queen approves, Lachlann’s mother disapproves, and the others have been ordered to accommodate and work with the temperamental Azure. Azure’s goal is still the same, but not everyone else agrees. Will Lachlann’s love prevail? Will Azure win her estate? Will the truly supernatural mystery be solved? The real question is will Lachlann’s mother ever resolve herself to a potential daughter-in-law who is, in her own words, despicable?
How to write a synopsis. If you remember: a novel is an entertaining revelation of the protagonist. It is the protagonist who is the center point and focus of the synopsis. It isn’t the plot or the theme. If you go for the plot or the theme, you will never be happy with your synopsis. In fact, this is the way to the “book report” synopsis I mentioned yesterday.
Start with the protagonist. What makes the protagonist the protagonist? You don’t need to give us a description, not a complete description anyway. Show us what makes your protagonist different than all the other protagonists we know. In a way, we are setting the protagonist.
If you notice in the topic sentence of my first paragraph, I show you the protagonist. In fact, the first paragraph is all about the protagonist. This is the entire point. The novel is a revelation of the protagonist, you need to tell us why your protagonist is so important.
Don’t show us everything. You don’t give it all away, but show us what and who she is at the beginning of the novel. Who is the person you are going to reveal to us? Give us the big picture details and then transition to the telic flaw.
The telic flaw for Azure is the supernatural mystery she must solve to resolve the novel. The first paragraph just teases about this—she wants to be a supernatural detective.
The next paragraph brings in the antagonist or in this case the protagonist’s helper. Lachlann is the protagonist’s helper and the love interest in the novel. I recommend that for the second paragraph or soon after the introduction of the protagonist, you introduce the protagonist’s helper or the antagonist. The antagonist, in this case, is tied directly to the protagonist’s helper—the antagonist is his mother.
So, for any synopsis, the characters are the most important aspect. You will do well to bring them in, not in description, but in setting. Set the characters by telling us, yes “telling” us who they are. There is very little showing in a synopsis. Show if you can, but telling is the avenue of communication here. You don’t have the time and space to show.
Tell us about the protagonist, the protagonist’s helper, and the antagonist. From that point, we can move forward.
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.
What I will do is go through each step and give you my answers based on my latest novel. I did leave the top parts filled.
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