15 November 2018, Writing - part x678, Submissions, Query Letter, Mini-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: With your marketing materials including a 500, 200, and potentially a 2 page synopsis, you should be ready to produce a query letter. Almost every publisher wants a query letter for each submission. I’ll make that stronger, I have never made a submission with a query letter.
You should look on the internet for examples of query letters, but I’ll try to provide you a good example. The query letter is a typical letter whose body includes a hook, a mini-synopsis, a description of the novel with the word count, and a short publishing biography. Here’s an example:
Valeska is pretty nice girl for a blood-sucking vampire—she wants friendship and to read her books, unfortunately, she has become embroiled in events that might ruin everything and everyone she has come to love and desire. Valeska: Enchantment and the Vampire is a 124,890 word fantasy suspense novel. A short synopsis follows:
George Mardling was dying. His failed mission also spoiled the hunt of a destitute vampire, Valeska. It was the full moon—when vampires hunt human blood or become immaterial. He granted his blood to her; however, because George was a cross-bearer, she couldn’t just take it—his permission was required. George allowed her to feed. It didn’t make him a vampire—she gave him back his life, and somehow, his blood made her dependent on him.
George was an agent for the Crown—he went about his work again thankful for life. With the next full moon, Valeska hunted George—she could not do otherwise. They began a strange symbiotic relationship.
When George was recalled to England, he brought Valeska with him. The organization George worked for possessed a branch called Stele that protected Britain from the supernatural. Stele wanted to know what Valeska was and if she posed a threat to Britain. That’s when Leila and Scáth, agents of Stele became involved. Scáth was a being similar to Heidi, and Leila was something else altogether.
George must prove Heidi is no threat to Britain and Stele. The existence of Heidi, and the safety of the British people are now dependent on him.
I have three published historical fiction novels: Centurion, Aegypt, and The Second Mission, and three published science fiction novels: The End of Honor, The Fox’s Honor, and A Season of Honor. I have over sixty internationally published technical papers and a number of aviation based short stories published on www.wingsoverkansas.com. I write three blogs on writing. You can find out more about my writing and blogs at www.LDAlford.com.
Here we have a hook, description, mini-synopsis, and mini-biography. I’ll describe each in more detail. By the way, this is the improved letter I am trying.
Then comes the mini-synopsis. If you have your marketing materials, you already have a great mini-synopsis—just throw in your 200 word synopsis. This mini-synopsis likely needs a little work. The end needs to reflect the ending of the novel a little more. The problem is exactly what the mini-synopsis is supposed to achieve.
That’s what I’m still trying to figure out. From my understanding of the submission process, the purpose of the mini-synopsis is to get your potential publisher to read your manuscript. If the mini-synopsis achieves this, then you have succeeded. The problem is that you usually don’t get the right kind of feedback. It would be nice if with each rejection, the publisher would actually tell you why they didn’t like your novel. For example, read your query letter and to be frank, your genre or overall novel idea didn’t excite us. Or, we read your query letter with excitement. Your idea really appealed to us, but your novel didn’t meet up to our expectations from your letter. I mean, they don’t have to provide details, but just a little feedback to see how far the novel got would be helpful. Most of the time, you just get a rejection.
A little detail would be helpful to let you know if you have even picked the right publisher to submit to. I understand that they want to keep their options open. The best we can do is to look at the examples we have from publishers in their blogs and their ideas of query letters. That’s why I provided this link before http://casablancaauthors.blogspot.com/2010/05/pitching-originality-and-hook-hook-hook.html. There are likely more gems to be found in this blog about what publishers want and are looking for. Also, http://www.authorspublish.com/welcome-to-authors-publish/ is a good site for information on publishers and on submissions. They should give me a commission for advertising. This site offered a free book on submissions with timely information of publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts and submissions. I recommend you use these types of resources.
Back to the mini-synopsis. I’m trying to excite a potential publisher and a potential reader. This is the purpose of my mini-synopsis and the query letter. Some seem to be more successful than others. As I noted, feedback, any feedback is very helpful.
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