Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Help for the Synopsis Impaired

A Running in the Dark post

Back in '06, I went to my first RWA conference. Out of all the lectures, the one I enjoyed the most--after the Sharon Sala lecture--was "Blockbusting: putting the joy back in writing" by Laurie Schnebly Campbell.

I met her during Nationals and immediately stuck my hand out. I also asked what caused her to shift her focus to craft of writing and she said,

Shoot, this is gonna sound like SUCH a cop-out...but I'll tell you what keeps me teaching all these different classes is the feeling it gives me to empower people.

That probably happens the most directly in my "Block-Busting: Putting The Joy Back In Writing" class, but I've seen it happen in half a dozen others as well -- when somebody gets that light-bulb moment of "Hey, I can do something I never thought I could do!"

I just LOVE that feeling--it's why I started writing romance in the first place, that desire to REACH people with my words, and I've discovered I can do it a lot more directly and personally with online classes than with romance novels.

Her latest book, Believable Characters: Creating with Enneagrams currently has four five star reviews on Amazon.

Laurie was kind enough to join me in talking about the dreaded synopsis. She'd love to get your opinion, and in exchange, if thirty people comment, she'll enroll one lucky person in her August class for free!

Hate Synopses? It’s Not Your Fault!
by Laurie Schnebly Campbell

First, I’ve gotta thank Jodi for inviting me to blog--and tell you about the coolest way to meet someone! At RWA National I walk into my first workshop and take a seat halfway back, and immediately the woman next to me introduces herself. (You can guess who she was, right?) It was such a treat to run into friendly company...and to discover all the fun I’ve missed on the Noodles blog.

Now, onto the actual topic. The synopsis. Seems like whenever I mention that I’m gonna talk about synopsis writing, all my writer friends turn pale and mutter about how they HATE doing synopses.

The thing is, a lot of ‘em feel guilty about that. They feel like if they can write a great novel (which they can), they shouldn’t have any problem writing a great synopsis.

But the fact is, it’s not their fault. And it’s no wonder so many great novelists have trouble writing a synopsis--because it requires completely different skills from writing a book.

Think about it. If you can write a computer manual, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can write a one-act play. If you can write a poem, that doesn’t mean you can write a cookbook. Same thing is true with writing a novel and writing a synopsis...they’re completely different jobs.

I used to think I was incredibly gifted because I DIDN’T have a hard time with synopses, until I realized that was only because I already knew how to write ads. (I could write a great synopsis; I just couldn’t write a book! )

That’s when I realized, though, that the techniques for writing a successful synopsis are the same as for writing a successful ad. And those are what we learn in “Tips From Madison Avenue: The Selling Synopsis.”

Which leads to my question for YOU -- what do you hate most about writing a synopsis? What knowledge (other than a fairy godmother saying “don’t worry, sweetie, I’ll write it FOR you”) would make you think synopsis-writing isn’t that bad after all?

I love knowing what writers think about synopses...and if at least 30 people reply, one of ‘em will win free registration to my August workshop!

An advertising copywriter for 25 years, Laurie Schnebly Campbell was delighted when one of her Silhouette books beat out Nora Roberts for “Best Special Edition of the Year.” Information on her August 3-28 synopsis workshop is at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SynopsisInc.


If you'd like to explore Laurie's other classes, visit her website, booklaurie.com

64 comments:

briaspage said...

Excited about the new set up Jodi!

I'd like to be able to ditch the small stuff that feels big to me...the little voice in my head that says "Yeah, but you NEED that in there" when I'm fighting to take it out of the synopsis.

I'd like a big, magic knife that slices my manuscript down to synopsis size. Wouldn't that be wonderful :)

bria

Ansha Kotyk said...

I actually enjoyed writing my synopsis. Does that make me a bad writer? Eh, maybe. :) This is my first novel so perhaps I'll learn to distrust the evil synopsis in time. :)

jodi said...

lol, Bria, thanks for coming over. I'd like that knife, too. :)

jodi said...

It could be that you're simply a unique individual Ansha :)

Cambria Dillo said...

I have to admit I haven't gotten to the stage yet of writing a "real" synopsis for a submission. I mostly encounter the synopsis in the beginning of my writing stage when I'm plotting (and I use the plotting term loosely). But everyone has me scared to death of the darn thing. There are so many differing opinions of how long it should be, whether or not it should be written in the tone of your book, should you concentrate on the plot or the romance...and it's enough to make my head spin. I'd like to find a non-scary approach from the get-go so I don't have to worry about sleeping with the light on when it comes time to send it in.

P.L. Parker said...

Writing a synopsis is so hard. I feel like either I'm over-writing, or cutting out too much. Losing either way. Just doesn't ever sound the way I want it to.

Patsy
P. L. Parker

Cambria Dillon said...

I have to admit I haven't gotten to the stage yet of writing a "real" synopsis for a submission. I mostly encounter the synopsis in the beginning of my writing stage when I'm plotting (and I use the plotting term loosely). But everyone has me scared to death of the darn thing. There are so many differing opinions of how long it should be, whether or not it should be written in the tone of your book, should you concentrate on the plot or the romance...and it's enough to make my head spin. I'd like to find a non-scary approach from the get-go so I don't have to worry about sleeping with the light on when it comes time to send it in.

Cambria Dillon said...

Err...sorry. Not sure why that posted twice. I blame it on my iPhone.

Cam

Kaycee James said...

Loved the post and the new setup. I think I'm going to buy Laurie's book. It looked very helpful from the glimpse that Amazon let me have. :-)

No need to put me in the class. I'm nowhere ready to write a synopsis. But, hopefully, I count towards the 30 people. :-)

Kaycee James said...

Oops. I meant to say "put me in the drawing for the class." I really need to read my post before hit submit. :-)

Mary Ricksen said...

I have to admit I am a bit behind on the synopsis writing.
It reminds me of the book report from grade school and my brain goes back to Nancy Drew. I wasn't good at book reports. I just liked reading the book.
Even when I started to write seriously, the synopsis was low on my curve.
I'm with Beth, just chop the manuscript down to synopsis size.
Whose idea was it to have to write the darn things anyways? (grin)

Margaret Tanner said...

Ooh writing a synopsis. Nearly as bad as having teeth pulled. I wish I had the gift, and I think it is a gift to be able to write a great synopsis. I have to really strugge with, and agonize over mine.
Regards
Margaret

Angeleque said...

I just wanted to drop in and say hi to Laurie. When Jodi said she was here, I had to say hi (you don't need to enter me in the contest). And I can't wait for class next week.

-Angeleque-

Jennifer Leeland said...

I HATE synopsis writing. I don't know why. Perhaps it's because if you take out all my -ly words I feel a little lost. LOL.
I'd love this.

Klara said...

Hey Jodi, thank you for setting this up.
I dread the synopsis,I think because there is no one way to do one. My MS is done and I still have not submitted because of the synopsis.
I have reworked it a dozen times and read so many articles and each one says something different. So I always wonder if it is good enough:)I like bria's magic knife too. Klara Kline

Emily Ryan-Davis said...

With my last project, I came to the conclusion I hate synopsis because they require me to backpedal out of the world of the book and look at it from the outside in instead of the inside out. I live inside-looking-out during the creation, so backing away to look at it objectively is the first step in letting go.

I should note I typically write the synopsis after I finish the book!

Thanks Jodi for posting about this on Divas!

Lucy Woodhull said...

I'm one of the freaks who likes them! Ha! I enjoy how they help me boil the action down--they help me write the blurb and query letter. In fact, a critique of my last synopsis helped me find a little hole in the novella itself.

I guess my question would be - what is the most common mistake that's made with synopses?

Thanks!

Alice Audrey said...

My biggest problem when I write a synopsis is "truth in advertising." Exactly how close to the actual book do I have to come? Does it matter if the synopsis smooths out the wrinkles?

Tricia Schneider said...

If I write an outline for my story (sometimes I do, sometimes I don't), I usually use that when writing the synopsis. If I don't have an outline, I do find it's much more difficult. I never thought of writing a novel and writing a synopsis as two different sets of writing skills. It makes alot of sense to see it that way. Interesting.

Estelle Harte said...

Synopsis writing is torture for me. By the time I include what I feel are all the necessary plot points in the fewest words possible, it reads like a technical manual and all the voice is gone. I should mention that my only synopsis experience has been where I was limited to two pages for a story of about 60k. I'm hoping they get easier the more you write. :) Thanks for sharing with us, Laurie.

Renee said...

I think the right question for me is, what do you like about writing a synopsis? The answer, NOTHING!

I don't know what it is about them, but I hate them. I can't seem to get the proper information in the proper manner.

Laurie Faelan said...

Hey, Jodi, it was great to meet you at Nationals!

I've only written two so far but the worst part is trying to get in everything necessary without going overboard and putting in too much. Also, making the story sound interesting is hard - injecting my voice.

I think if I could do those two things, I wouldn't mind writing a synopsis.

Laurie, the synopsis class sounds wonderful!

Carol Ann said...

Hi Laurie, Let me stick out my hand and introduce myself. I'm Carol Ann Erhardt, the President of Central Ohio Fiction Writers and I'm looking forward to meeting you in January at our workshop!

Now, synopsis writing. Ugh! Hate them. I write romantic suspense and inspirational romantic suspense. I have trouble picking out the best parts of all the plots to make sure there is an even balance. I love the suspense and that shows through. Thus, books which get 5 star reviews get rejected from big houses on basis of my synopses. I need HELP.

jodi said...

HI Laurie Faelan (I had to put your last name in, lol) It was great meeting you, and thank you for coming over to check me out. :)

Vicky said...

I'm pretty good at synopsizes, I don't know what that says about me either. :) Good post

Janie said...

In writing a synopsis, I have trouble deciding which plot points to include and which ones can be skipped. I've heard that the editor/agent wants to know about the H&H conflict and romance and how those progress but unless I'm limited to a one page synopsis where I have to leave out most of the action, I'm not sure how much is just right.

Robin Gianakopoulos said...

Waving to Laurie, here! I'm definitely interested in that synopsis class - you're such an awesome teacher! My synopsis either ends up the length of War And Peace or seems too short to really tell the story.

I'm excited that you're coming to Columbus to teach our COFW workshop. Can't wait!

Linda Banche said...

I hate having to condense my story into a minimum number of pages. An agent wanted me to condense my 95,000 word novel into one page. I did it, but figuring out what to leave out was hard.

I'd like to know what to leave in and what to take out. I want to leave it all in!

Sandy Wickersham-McWhorter said...

Gleanings from RWA chapter articles and attending workshops have helped me write a much better and shorter synopsis. Like one commenter, I put every little plot point in the first one I wrote and had 40 pages!!!!!!! Notice all the exclamation points? I wated so much time writing that thing. Later I cut it down to 20 pages and never sold the book. I cut it to 10 and never sold. It's now down to 6 pages--after I learned to introduce each character briefly and put the GMC for the hero, heroine, and bad guy, hit the major plot points, and then tell the ending. I can write 2-3 page synopses now. I have found that if I write the synopsis before the book it is shorter and more succinct. Are they the best ever? Nope! Cause like with Carol Ann, the books I've published with the Wild Rose PRess and White Rose Publishing have gotten rave reviews, 4, 4.5, and 5 Book\Star reviews, yet not one of them sold to a regular publisher. They say they love the concept, or characters, etc, yet they never buy them. I think I need help also!

Brynna said...

Writing the synopsis isn't that difficult for me probably because of my journalism background (like you said about ads). However, that doesn't mean my synopses are compelling or even any good at all. You make perfect sense about them being two different skill sets; the same is true of journalistic writing as opposed to writing for an English class. Great blog! Thanks so much for being willing to share your knowledge with us. Those ah-ha moments make teaching worthwhile, don't they? :)

Julie Robinson said...

Hi Laurie,

I've had your book on my Amazon wish list since July 11 when I first discovered while browsing. I want to go beyond archetypal characteristics to more down-to-earth personality, which the enneagram leans more towards, IMO. Combining both the enneagram and the archetype would give a more rounded character and thus more believable, or one the reader can empathize with.

Congrats on the release of your book.
Julie

Julie Robinson said...

Oh, and thank you, Jodi, for having Laurie. As for the synopsis, I'm with Cambria on that one! She could have written my thoughts for me!!
Julie

JC Coy said...

I'd rather be beaten with a small stick than write a synopsis. And that's why I'm already registered for this workshop. Can't wait for some synopsis writing pain relief, lol.

Skhye said...

Laurie worked on a synopsis for me. Yes, I paid for help! LOL But when I saw what she did, I wrote a synopsis for a different story and got a contract with the first submission! Talk about empowerment. Take her classes. I actually LIKE writing synopses now. Maybe that's because they get me somewhere... ~Skhye

LaTessa said...

Hi Laurie, nice "seeing" you here. I've taken both your synopsis classes and I am now much better skilled at tackling the dreaded synopsis.

In fact, the I used the synopsis I created in the workshop for a contest entry and recieve very favorable responses to it.

And congrats on your book release. I just finished your enneagram class as well, and enneagrams, along with a little bit of archetypes, is now the way to go for me with it comes to both character and story creation.

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

Oh, good heavens, I thought I was gonna show up bright and early Wednesday morning (well, heck, 9am COULD be considered early) and find a few comments -- then, WHOOSH, it turns out they've been coming for ages already!

But, wow, I'm drinking in all these observations...both the Likes and Dislikes about synopsis writing. Answers are coming up, as soon as the dreaded (yep) advertising job slows down.

Laurie, tickled at seeing people I've already met and people I'll GET to meet soon!

Hannah said...

OHh I hate them! Suckopsis, I call them. I can write them after the book is done and then it's like a brief outline. But writing them before? Euuuwwww.

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

GREAT COMMENTS

Bria says: "ditch the small stuff that feels big to me"
PL says: "either I'm over-writing, or cutting out too much"
Margaret says: "Nearly as bad as having teeth pulled."
Tricia says: "If I don't have an outline, I do find it's much more difficult."
Renee says: "I can't seem to get the proper information in the proper manner."
Linda says: "I want to leave it all in!"

Just scanning what people have said so far -- there are so many observations that have me thinking "yes yes YES!"

And it looks like we're sure to make 30, because already I'm counting 29 from Alice, Angeleque, Ansha, Bria, Brynna, Cambria, Carol Ann, Emily, Estelle, Hannah, Janie, Jennifer, Joan, Julie, Kaycee, Klara, LaTessa, LaurieF, Linda, Lucy, Margaret, Mary, PL, Renee, Robin, Sandy, Skhye, Tricia and Vicky...you guys are an amazing group.

So I'll line up the names alphabetically and have my son -- you past-class folks remember the computer nerd, right? :) -- use his Random Number Generator to pick whoever wins free registration to "Synopsis Tips From Madison Avenue," then announce that tonight. Fun stuff!

Laurie, with individual comments coming up

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

LIKING SYNOPSIS

Ansha says: "enjoyed writing my synopsis. Does that make me a bad writer?"

Absolutely not! It's the same as if you enjoyed hitting a hole-in-one, or creating a quilt, or baking chocolate-chip brownies...you have another skill you enjoy in addition to writing novels.

And it's handy that those skills work well together -- although there are probably writers who love incorporating their skill at golf or quilting or baking into THEIR novels.

Laurie, now wishing for brownies...

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

WHAT TO INCLUDE

Cambria says: "There are so many differing opinions of how long it should be, whether or not it should be written in the tone of your book, should you concentrate on the plot or the romance"

Carol Ann says: "I have trouble picking out the best parts of all the plots to make sure there is an even balance."

Janie says: "I have trouble deciding which plot points to include and which ones can be skipped."

You're right, that's tricky.

But the reassuring news is, you can find the answers regarding balance and everything else -- it's all about identifying your target market. (Which we get into during class.)

The even better news is, market research is one of the most fun jobs you'll EVER have as a writer!

Laurie, wishing they were all that much fun :)

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

ENNEAGRAMS ON AMAZON

Kaycee says: "I think I'm going to buy Laurie's book. It looked very helpful from the glimpse that Amazon let me have. :-)"

Julie says: "I've had your book on my Amazon wish list since July 11 when I first discovered while browsing."

Oh, gosh, I'm so glad they're offering glimpses! Back when the book first appeared they wouldn't let you peek inside, and I hated that -- but haven't wanted to go back and check for fear it'd just make me mad all over again.

And the fact that it's find-able while browsing? VERY cool; I'm delighted to hear that! Makes me want to go, er, browse...

Laurie, who's gonna finish working for noodles first!

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

WHOSE IDEA

Mary says: "Whose idea was it to have to write the darn things anyways? (grin)"

Boy, can you imagine if some editor or agent popped up here and said "Me, it was all MY idea" -- within two hours I bet they'd be under attack from all over the world!

Laurie, wondering if two hours is overly long...

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

SYNOPSIS CLASS

Angeleque says: "can't wait for class next week"

Joan says: "I'm already registered ... for some synopsis writing pain relief, lol."

Skhye says: "I actually LIKE writing synopses now. Maybe that's because they get me somewhere..."

LaTessa says: "I've taken both your synopsis classes and I am now much better skilled ... very favorable responses"

You guys, this is so cool -- I love seeing endorsements from past AND future class participants! And congratulations to Skhye and LaTessa for those successes. :)

If anybody is interested in the class and winds up NOT winning it tonight, you can click the link at the end of my post for a website that'll give you the scoop...but the short scoop is:

"Discover advertising techniques for making people want to buy YOUR product -- whether it's a mansion, a manicure or a manuscript. On yahoogroups, $30 from August 3-28."

Laurie, wielding that trim-it-down-to-essentials knife

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

-LY WORDS

Jennifer says: "if you take out all my -ly words I feel a little lost."

Good heavens, if anyone told you "don't use any -ly words in a synopsis," that was bad advice. It's FINE to use 'em, same as you would in any other piece of writing.

Sure, you don't want to go overboard with adverbs in every sentence or even every paragraph, but no way do you need to take out every single one!

Laurie, posting freely rather than guardedly :)

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

NO ONE WAY

Klara said: "I dread the synopsis, I think because there is no one way to do one."

Oh, gosh, that's actually one of the slogans for the class -- "There IS no One Best Way to write a synopsis."

Which is a good thing, because that'd be like having only One Best Way to write a novel...think how few books we'd have to read, if there were only one way of getting 'em done!

I tend to prefer Rules to Freedom, myself, and used to wish my editor would just say "Laurie, write me a book about this-this-this." Only, drat it, she never WOULD say that. So I took up Sudoku, which is a lot more satisfying in terms of having only one solution. :)

Laurie, who was sorry when some expert said neither Sudoku nor crosswords prevents Alzheimers

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

LETTING GO

Emily says: "backing away to look at it objectively is the first step in letting go."

That IS hard, isn't it. There's no way of making it easy to let go...well, except letting some time go by. Which is hard when we want to see our work out there in the bookstores!

The best tricks I've found for letting go are to start planning the next book BEFORE the current one is finished, like when you're on the second-to-last chapter.

And if you're lucky enough to get some contest entries for judging right around the time you're ready to type "The End," putting on your judge's hat makes it a lot easier to think objectively when you return to your own work.

Laurie, figuring it's nice to get a bonus for judging!

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

EASY & MISTAKE

Lucy says: "I'm one of the freaks who likes them ... what is the most common mistake that's made with synopses?"

Vicky says: "I'm pretty good at synopsizes"

Brynna says: "Writing the synopsis isn't that difficult for me"

We need a synopsis-lovers club for Ansha, Lucy, Vicky, Brynna, me and everyone else who thinks they're fun!

As for the most common mistake, almost always, it's that the synopsis doesn't tell the editor or agent what they need to know. There are several specific things they DO need to know, but the most important one is "why do I want to read this book?"

That's why we need to think like advertising writers...because they ALWAYS know why you need the product they're writing about. :)

Laurie, hoping our first club meeting will involve brownies...

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

TRUTH IN ADVERTISING

Alice says: "Exactly how close to the actual book do I have to come? Does it matter if the synopsis smooths out the wrinkles?"

We get into that during class, but the short answer is that it's FINE if your synopsis isn't an exact reflection of the actual book. As long as you convey the basic elements, nobody's gonna quibble about a few wrinkles here and there!

Laurie, liking that "truth in advertising" concept :)

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

VOICE

Estelle says: "it reads like a technical manual and all the voice is gone."

LaurieF says: "making the story sound interesting is hard - injecting my voice."

Oh, shoot, yes...people worry a lot about their voice in a synopsis.

But that's the last thing a writer needs to worry about -- literally. After the struggle to get the right elements in there, we always end the class with the application of voice...and by that point it's not nearly as hard as it sounds!

Although, shoot, I'm wrong when I say it's literally the last thing to worry about -- because there's still that pesky matter of proofreading and addressing the envelope. :)

Laurie, who's never yet dropped an envelope in the mailbox without flinching

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

OHIO WORKSHOP

Robin says: "I'm excited that you're coming to Columbus"

Carol Ann says: "looking forward to meeting you in January at our workshop"

Me, too! It's always such a treat, going someplace new and discovering people I've only seen online. That's probably the most fun thing about National. :)

Although if anyone has any tips for surviving January in Ohio, this lifelong desert wuss needs to hear 'em!

Laurie, suspecting I might have to borrow a coat from some recently-moved Midwesterner

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

BEFORE OR AFTER

Sandy says: "if I write the synopsis before the book it is shorter and more succinct."

Hannah says: "writing them before? Euuwwww."

Writing the synopsis before writing the book is a controversial idea. (Well, duh! :)

I personally think it's a handy technique, because that way you don't need to worry about getting distracted by all the wonderful details you haven't yet discovered...you can just lay out the story and be done with it.

But some people say "if I write the synopsis, I have no surprises left to enjoy while writing the book." Frequently, though, when they try it they decide it's worth the tradeoff. Because the synopsis is so bare-bones that there's still plenty of room for wonderful discoveries!

Laurie, figuring it's like the plotter-pantser debate in that some writers will try changing their methods and others will stick with what they know & love

Dawn Atkins said...

I hate writing synopses, but Laurie's down-to-earth suggestions calm the waters like nothing else. It's like having to tell your story to someone you're calling from a pay phone and you can only afford three minutes...or maybe writing a telegram. Every word must count. Taking chicken soup and turning it into bullion...Toa champion overwriter like me, that's aaaaaggooonnnnyyyy.
Dawn Atkins, who's thankful people like Laurie LOVE to write synopses
dawnatkins.com
dawnatkins.blogspot.com
HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, HQ SuperRomance, 11/10

Bart said...

My first novel I wrote the synopsis after I finished the book. It was hell. My second novel I wrote the synopsis BEFORE I wrote more than a few chapters (Ok, six,) but afte I'd gotten to know my characters, their world and what was going on. It was actually fun!

Bart Palamaro

Julie Robinson said...

"Laurie, who was sorry when some expert said neither Sudoku nor crosswords prevents Alzheimers "

You mean it doesn't!!! So I've been wasting my time working all those crosswords instead of writing! sheesh!!
Julie

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

PAY PHONE

Dawn says: "It's like having to tell your story to someone you're calling from a pay phone and you can only afford three minutes"

Ooh, I like that analogy! Because back in the days when we DID use pay phones, we all survived just fine. :)

Laurie, now hoping nobody will say "nope, I ran out of coins and died on the spot"

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

ACTUALLY FUN

Bart says: "after I'd gotten to know my characters, their world and what was going on... It was actually fun!"

Okay, this counts as a vote for writing the synopsis midway through the book -- nice compromise for the people who can't quite switch all the way from Before to After or vice versa.

Laurie, who's always liked the term "plontsers" for those when it comes to plotters vs pantsers...except I wish the word SOUNDED prettier

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

ALZHEIMERS

"neither Sudoku nor crosswords prevents Alzheimers"

Julie says: "You mean it doesn't!!! So I've been wasting my time working all those crosswords instead of writing!"

Well, drat, maybe so. But the study I've always loved is the one where the tested all these nuns who'd spent 60-some years together in the same convent, figuring their environmental factors were all similar.

Turns out the ones who DIDN'T get Alzheimers were those who'd written the most comprehensive answers to their original entrance exam.

For instance, they were asked something like "where did you grow up?" Some answered "a farm in Alberta." Others answered "on a farm in Alberta with my parents, my older and younger brother, and our three dogs. We used to play baseball every spring, and (so on)."

So that SURE speaks well for people who enjoy writing -- which I'm guessing is all of us here!

Laurie, still enjoying Sudoku anyway...

Julie Robinson said...

Thanks for the smile . .
and the motivation.
:-)
Julie

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

FREE CLASS

Don't tell my son, but I found the random-number website he uses and it's not nearly as complicated as he made it sound. :)

So we had 32 people posting, and the winning number is 5 -- which, when the names are alphabetized, means the free synopsis class goes to Bria. (Who, gosh, was the first poster of the bunch...what are the odds?!)

Anyway, if anyone ELSE would like to take that homework-optional class, just let me know and I'll send you the scoop.

No need to post here; you can email the address on my website -- BookLaurie dot com, which I chose because I want people to Book Laurie for workshops. (Easy to remember, huh?)

I'll check back for any other questions later tonight, but meanwhile thanks to ALL of you for a fun day of Working For Noodles!

Laurie, looking forward to seriously jumping into synopsis techniques as of Monday

jodi said...

Wow! It's been a cool day, and thank you Laurie for helping out with such comprehensive and wonderful answers.

Thanks to everyone for coming, and I can't say enough good about Laurie's workshops.

Congratulations, Bria!! WAY TO GO!!!

Donna B said...

Synopsis - do I really have to write one? Whine, whine, whine....well, only if I want to sell the three novels I have finished that are Women's Fiction and need an agent. And you can't get an agent without a killer synopsis because they're all so swamped if the first paragraph doesn't grab them then I'm sunk! How do I squeeze the highlights of 250 pages into 2? How do I show motivations and conflicts and what makes my story great in just a couple pages?

Oh great guru of the synopsis world, tell me how...

Laurie Schnebly Campbell said...

HOW TO...

Donna says "How do I squeeze the highlights of 250 pages into 2?"

If it sounds impossible, take heart -- it's VERY possible. Look at all the people who've done it!

There are thousands of people out there right now who think "gee, I wish I could write a book but I'd never be able to do that." In fact, some of US have probably felt that way at times.

And yet we do it. We learn how. We struggle and we persevere and we not only get the first book done, but we go on to write a second. A third. A fourth...

The same thing is true with writing a synopsis. It absolutely CAN be done, and it's not nearly as hard as it sounds! But meanwhile, isn't it nice to know you're not alone in dreading the prospect?

Laurie, guessing maybe 85% of today's post-ers have been (or are still going through) that "aaaack" process

Alice Audrey said...

Congrats Bria! lucky bug.

Desiree Torres said...

I've only recently started writing again. Kids and life kind of took over and I put it on the back burner for awhile. I have a novella that is complete now and I'm struggling with the synopsis right now. I've even been questioning my writing ability I'm having such a hard time with it. I'm not sure what the problem is. It just doesn't have any life to it.