Nancy's Books

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Dreaded Synopsis

Writers need a one-paragraph synopsis of the manuscript for the cover/query letter and a one-page (or more, check guidelines for each publisher) synopsis for chapter books and novels. I find a synopsis anything but easy to write. Condensing the entire book into one paragraph or one page and retain the tone and voice of the manuscript is simply difficult. That’s not all. The summary should be intriguing, tantalizing, and irresistible in such a way the editor/agent wants to read the manuscript. A tall order, I must say.

One way to get an idea of what to write is to read blurbs on the jackets of books in a bookstore or library. Read lots of them. On-line, search publishers' websites and read book blurbs.
Let’s analyse a synopsis.
The goal is to introduce the characters and explain the basic overall plot in a few sentences. Begin with the main character. Who is s/he before the story begins? (If you don’t know this, interview your character to get to know him/her better).
What happened to create a problem for the character (inciting incident)?
What is preventing the character from attaining the goal? What made the plans fall apart?
What is the darkest moment, the time when it seems the character cannot possible achieve the goal?
What is the resolution? How does the character overcome the odds and prevail?
Next week, I’ll continue with information about writing a synopsis.
Call for Submissions for Young Writers:
I will resume providing this information in September.
Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
Diverse Books Contest If you write MG and have a diverse background, including (but not limited to) LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities, you may be interested in submitting a short story to We Need Diverse Books. They are putting together an anthology of children’s literature to be published in January 2107.

Phoebe Yeh, VP/Publisher of Crown Books for Young Readers/Random House, has acquired publication rights to this Middle Grade WNDB Anthology, working title “Stories For All Of Us.”

The anthology will be in memory of Walter Dean Myers and it will be inspired by his quote: “Once I began to read, I began to exist.” Every new story contribution to this anthology will be by a diverse author.

WNDB is proud to announce that the anthology will have one story reserved for a previously unpublished diverse author. WNDB will fill that slot via a short story contest. The winner will be included in the anthology and will receive a payment of $1000 US.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: The submission window is narrow, so if you want to submit you should start writing and polishing, but you can not send it in until April 27th 2015 when they start accepting submissions. The window for submissions is only open for 12 days (until 5:00PM EST on May 8th, 2015).
Short Story Rules

§ All submissions (short story or illustrated story) must be in English and never before published in any medium, print or digital.
§ Submissions must be no longer than 5000 words.
§ All submissions must be electronic and sent to the following email address: contest@diversebooks.org
§ All submissions must also be appropriate for a middle grade audience, ages 8 to 12.
§ If your submission is illustrated, it must be in a graphic novel format, but no longer than 10 pages.
§ Illustrations must be submitted electronically. Do NOT mail hard copy submissions to WNDB. They will not be reviewed, nor will they be returned.
Prizes
§ First prize winner will receive an award of $1000 plus their entry will be published as part of the WNDB Anthology to be released by Crown Books for Young Readers/Random House Children’s Books in January 2017.
§ Two runner-up winners will receive honorable mentions and awards of $250 each.

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