Learning from your synopsis

December 6, 2011 § 6 Comments

A few nights ago I was in a social setting and asked the question I dread more than any other: “What’s your book about?”

I hear those words and my heart starts beating wildly in my chest, my mouth dries up, and I adopt an unfortunate stutter. I could talk about my story, characters, and world for hours, but minutes? That’s much more difficult. How can I boil down a year of work, untold hundreds of hours spent prewriting, plotting, and producing these tens of thousands of words into a few sentences that won’t bore my audience to death or make me look like one of the millions of people out there who say they want to write a book? Sometimes I start by explaining the setting, but I’ve found that the majority of people don’t know what “steampunk” is.  This is further complicated by the fact that my story differs from most steampunk in that it isn’t historical fiction, it’s fantasy in an industrializing society. « Read the rest of this entry »

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Never tell me the odds

November 22, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, everyone and their brother wants to write a book. The more seriously I’ve taken writing, the more aware I’ve become of this fact. If you don’t believe me, just follow #amwriting on Twitter for a day. The Twitter-verse is absolutely lousy with people who are working on their first novel, memoir, poetry book, whatever. If you have any doubts about this, follow #amwriting for an hour and allow your comfortable ignorance to be washed away in a sea of tweets.

Or for another example: I love to follow literary agent Jennifer Jackson’s blog out of some sort of masochism in this regard. Jennifer Jackson does something she calls “Query Wars” wherein she reports the statistics for queries she’s received and the number of manuscripts she’s requested. (For anyone not up to speed on how the publishing world works, once a fiction author has a completed manuscript, they “query” agents with a one page synopsis of what the story is about and who they are.) For example, last week « Read the rest of this entry »

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