Writing a synopsis

I’ve heard that writing a synopsis can be harder that writing a novel. While that is obviously not true (writing and revising A Kiss and a Curse took over a year and the synopsis has taken a couple of days), it was difficult to condense the book into two pages of the best words to showcase the story and grab the reader. I wrote out what the story was about from beginning to end by stating the facts. It was a boring condensed version of the book. Then a member of my writing group reviewed and rewrote it with depth and emotion. Now it’s a story I would want to read. Thank you, Lana. And thank you Monelle for reviewing, editing, getting to the core of my story, and leaving me a few of my own words.

76 Rejections and counting, My path to publication

I think I’m getting closer to having a book accepted for publication. After a writing history of 76 rejections, it’s about time. My first submission was in September 1996 and was a cute story about the sounds a child hears in the night. At the time I had a two year-old daughter and one due any day. That was almost thirteen years ago.  The year I turned 30, I desperately wanted to be published. Just once and I’d be satisfied, I told my husband. That’s when I knelt down and prayed and then got up and worked on revising a short story I submitted to the Friend magazine. When I received the acceptance in the mail with “Contract Enclosed” stamped on the envelope, I cried for joy. By then I had 12 rejections, and I had joined a writer’s group. They have helped me to improve the craft of writing, have rejoiced and commiserated with me, and have become my friends. Since 2003, the Friend magazine bought two more of my stories. And with the recommendation of  a member of my writing group, I’ve become a regular contributor to a local magazine, Treasure Valley Family Magazine.  I’ve written more short stories, picture books, a middle grade novel, and a YA novel.  The YA novel, A Kiss and a Curse,  is a Sleeping Beauty re-telling based on the point of view of Juliana, the lady-in-waiting, a character who loses everything with the prick of a spindle. I’ve had positive response and rejections for Juliana. I attended an SCBWI writing conference in Boise in September of 2007. The visiting editor reviewed the first ten pages then and has since read the entire manuscript and offered helpful suggestions for revisions. After the SCBWI conference in September 2008, the visiting editor requested I send the manuscript to her by e-mail. She’s had it for about a month now. So, I decided it was time to query an agent.  The first agent sent me a rejection based on a query letter only. The second agent requested the manuscript and responded that he wasn’t head over heels but it was well done and recommended I submit to another agent in his agency. The third agent declined reviewing more than the first ten pages and responded that I am a strong writer and have a commercial concept, and then gave me two more recommendations of agents at different agencies. Yesterday I e-mailed one of the agents.  I hope to find an enthusiastic agent and editor soon. Because believing is what makes it real.

Writing and publishing is like pregnancy and childbirth.

WARNING: If you are squeamish about writing, publishing and/or childbirth, you may want to skip this blog.

Writing and publishing is like bringing a child into this world. Conception is the most fun. And the rest is work, pain, and waiting. When the initial idea for a story develops, I’m thrilled and can think only about plots, subplots, characters, and researching my idea. Then I have to do the rough draft which is painful for me. There are days when the story flows, but most days require me to sit down, concentrate, and write until I’ve fulfilled my word goal. Most of the time I’m thinking that I’m a horrible writer, that I have no idea what I’m doing, that the story will be awful. Then when I’m finished with the rough draft I’m pleasantly surprised by some of the writing. I love revising most of the time. Some days  I have to make myself sit down and work, but then I get into the story and the characters and it’s like working with a puzzle; I can manipulate it until all the pieces fit. Once the story is edited many times with the help of my awesome writer’s group, I submit  to an editor and/or agent, thinking it is as close to a perfect baby as it can get. That’s when I start dreaming about my baby and the way my life will change when the baby is brought into the world. But then it’s a waiting game. Unlike a baby, there’s not a due date. Although with a baby the due date is never accurate and there’s a lot of wondering and false labor.  So, any day now I’ll hear from an editor and/or agent and it will be good news or bad news. A suggestion for revision or recommendation to submit to someone else or a flat-out rejection. Someday when I know the due date of my book, I will be able to share the thrill of publication. For now, I know that aside from conception, when that baby is pushed out and lying on my belly, there’s no greater joy.