Combining tasks

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glynisj
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Combining tasks

Post by glynisj » May 14th, 2010, 11:24 am

I just got done reading the blog entry, The One Sentence, One Paragraph, and Two Paragraph Pitch which explained how to prepare for writing queries. For those of us that have to finish our book before submitting a query, is it okay to use the synopsis to our books? I hate the idea of having to write and then rewrite, especially when I have done so many rewrites after editing. I'm trying to find the corners I can cut without cutting off my nose to spite my face.

Glynis - Aspiring Author
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Bryan Russell/Ink
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Re: Combining tasks

Post by Bryan Russell/Ink » May 14th, 2010, 11:28 am

I'm not exactly sure what you're asking... what is it you want to use the synopsis for?
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HillaryJ
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Re: Combining tasks

Post by HillaryJ » May 14th, 2010, 1:22 pm

Parts of the synopsis will inevitably end up in the query. The synopsis included rundowns of key characters (who the reader cares about) and plot elements (what they do that's going to keep us turning 300 pages). The query has to also hook, carry the voice and show why your story might stand out from the other 300 submissions the agent is going to see that week (give or take). The synopsis goes more in-depth into the characters, conflicts, tension, world (if different from the norm) and includes the resolution.

The book - the quality of the writing and the compelling, original story - should of course be the emphasis of the writer. But writing is a very competitive world, and it's a business. Unless you have some lucky connection to a writer or editor who is looking for exactly what you've written, you have to do that extra work to get your manuscript noticed and, hopefully, sold. the whole querying/proposal/building a platform thing is inimical to many writers. But pushing yourself to do those things, and do them as well as you possibly can, will give you a much better shot at getting noticed that the authors who try to cut corners or think that, somehow, their debut novel will sell itself.

I know a lot of writers who say that love of the craft got the book finished, but persistence is what got it to the shelf.
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polymath
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Re: Combining tasks

Post by polymath » May 14th, 2010, 1:29 pm

On the assumption that "combining tasks" means the cosmos of manuscript writing, rewriting, and revisions and pitches, query, and synopsis writing as a combined synergistic entity, it is my opinion a best practice to combine them during prewriting and update them as a manuscript evolves.

I've read hundreds of pitches, queries, synopses, and their associated manuscripts. A signficant fraction lacked direction, like they didn't know what they were trying to say or had conflicting messages. Something happens to someone, and something happens to someone, and something happens to someone to no meaningful end. The dreaded And Plot. Theme and message are the meaning unifiers of a plot. From theme and message, any summary pitch length or manuscript in toto can be encapsulated.

I seek when reading or keep close in mind when writing one word or short term that connects to every facet of a manuscript's theme and message. Take, for example, coming of age hardships. Adulthood intitiation and apprenticeship, right? Trying on the privileges and obligations of adulthood without full adult responsibility for one's actions. Say the message then is minor youthful indiscretions are tolerated by society, but young adults are no less accountable for their actions than adults and maybe also no less emotionally vexed by similar circumstances. The difference might be a young adult experiences a troubling situation for the first time, where an older adult might have experienced it before. Apprenticeship, intitiation, consequences, rebellion, conformity, ageism, the sky's the limit for messages from even those narrow thematic boundaries.

The risk run of not having a clear concept of a narrative's thematic direction is writing a logical fallacy of unrelated, noncausal temporal and circumstantial happenstance chance, again, the dreaded And Plot. Causal relation begins with a First Cause that incites plot movement, an insuperable dilemma that upsets emotional equilibrium and builds tension. In the contexts of a First Cause are benchmarks for composing pitches and synopses and manuscripts.

I regularly use Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea for examples because it's the narrative I've read most frequently and vivisected most. One word encapsulates the story in part and parcel, salao, on the first page. "But after forty days without a fish the boy's parents had told him that the old man was now definitely and finally salao, which is the worst form of unlucky." Salao is a Spanish word meaning salted, a past tense conjugate of the irregular verb salar meaning to salt. Patently, salted is an idiom not familiar in that form to native English language users. The comparative commonplace English idiom is old salt, as in a useless old salt. Santiago's home community considers him no longer useful. The worst form of unlucky, indeed. From the context of the word salao, an enticing single sentence pitch can be composed, a longer pitch, an entire query, the manuscript itself. An old, down on his luck fisherman risks going fishing alone far out on the deep blue sea so he can prove he's not worthless. Okay, not the kind of pitch that would broadly appeal to younger adults, older folks facing being put out to pasture for sure.

My unanswered question, partly satisified by the narrative's evidentiary afterstory, did Hemingway feel he was worthless when he wrote it? What was he trying to prove? He still had some writing life left in him, in spite of all the negative criticism of Over the Hills and Through the Trees.

Mr, Bransford's theme and message in his pitches for Jakob Wonderbar are extractable from the motifs: corndogs, kids, spaceship, blast off into space, broken universe, home. Carnival-going middle graders in a cosmic classroom are capable of breaking the universe and redeeming themselves by fixing it. Kids can take responsibility for their actions too. Unintended consequences are as harmful as any means to an end. Take responsibility. I haven't yet read the novel, so I can't quite place the theme in a one-word or few-words thematic category, but "kids" implies the conventions of middle-grade literature are in play. Teaching and the paradigms of academic settings transposed by a field trip. Wait, a field trip theme? Okay. I'll go with that.
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glynisj
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Re: Combining tasks

Post by glynisj » May 15th, 2010, 7:09 am

HillaryJ wrote:Parts of the synopsis will inevitably end up in the query. The synopsis included rundowns of key characters (who the reader cares about) and plot elements (what they do that's going to keep us turning 300 pages). The query has to also hook, carry the voice and show why your story might stand out from the other 300 submissions the agent is going to see that week (give or take). The synopsis goes more in-depth into the characters, conflicts, tension, world (if different from the norm) and includes the resolution.

The book - the quality of the writing and the compelling, original story - should of course be the emphasis of the writer. But writing is a very competitive world, and it's a business. Unless you have some lucky connection to a writer or editor who is looking for exactly what you've written, you have to do that extra work to get your manuscript noticed and, hopefully, sold. the whole querying/proposal/building a platform thing is inimical to many writers. But pushing yourself to do those things, and do them as well as you possibly can, will give you a much better shot at getting noticed that the authors who try to cut corners or think that, somehow, their debut novel will sell itself.

I know a lot of writers who say that love of the craft got the book finished, but persistence is what got it to the shelf.
I was hoping to be lazy someplace but, obviously, I'll just have to plug away.
Glynis - Aspiring Author

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HillaryJ
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Re: Combining tasks

Post by HillaryJ » May 15th, 2010, 9:00 pm

I don't think that writing with the goal of publication is a lazy person's game. As a lazy person, I find this most upsetting.

Just think of how thrilled you'll be on that first request for a partial manuscript, a full - or when you receive an offer of representation...all the effort will be worthwhile.
Blog http://www.hillaryjacques.blogspot.com
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/hillaryjacques
CARNIEPUNK - http://books.simonandschuster.com/Carni ... 1476714158
as Regan Summers - The Night Runner series from Carina Press

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