Posts Tagged ‘Synopsis’

This Camel Day Is A Two Hump Hump Day.

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Wednesday. Midweek. And it feels like it. Sigh.

Work – the day job work – is stressful. The times are stressful.

I’m working on the synopsis for The Next Historical and for all who know me, you understand what that means. Yes.

Synopsis Hell

Mine are terrible. They make my agent cry. Though I think I’m getting better at faking them. As a pantser, (seat of the pants writer) all I can do is fake it in a synopsis written before the book. NOTHING I put in the fake synopsis will happen. None of it. It’s all fake because I have to write the book to find out what happens and what kind of story I’ll have. Confession: I resent the time I spend thinking up stupid stuff that will never happen once I’m actually writing. Someday I hope to be at a point in my career when I won’t need to sell with a synopsis.

It’s going to be ugly while I work on it.

So far, the vague story is a couple who are friends and have been involved with others and never particularly aware of each other that way. I say never particularly aware because I think that everyone thinks about it in re the people they know of the opposite (or desired) gender. But not necessarily in a way that makes you think it could happen. But we all think about it. Or am I a freak that way?

Think good thoughts for me. But maybe don’t mention if you’re thinking that.


Weekend Report

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Normally I would complain about a rainy weekend, but with water rationing being mentioned in the papers so often, I’m not complaining. In fact, I say, bring it on! More rain, weather gods. More rain. So, uh, yeah. It’s been raining a lot.

I’ve been working on proposal chapters for books to follow My Wicked Enemy and My Forbidden Desire. It’s hard work, but my agent and I have agreed that I am simply not a synopsis writer. I still have to do a really short one, but here’s pretty much what happens to me when I try to write a synopsis for a book I haven’t written:

I am totally at sea, with no idea whatever what’s going to happen. I don’t know what’s going to happen because I don’t know the characters because I haven’t written them yet. I make up some total BS that lacks any real conflict and is just lame. Plus out of order. As I explained to my agent, it’s like asking me to draw a picture of someone I’ve never seen. Result: total suckage.

I can write a synopsis for a book I’ve written. It’s no fun, but I can do it.

So, here’s what happened when I started writing proposal chapters:

My heroine turned out to be something completely different from what I had imagined. Her situation wasn’t at all what I thought. I guess I need to be specific. In the synopsis, she is a graphic artist who is completely human. Her only magic is latent. My vague idea was that through her interaction with the hero, her magic would become patent. The hero was going to meet her through some witch friends of hers but he wouldn’t like her because he’s a classical music kind of guy and she’s alternative rock. But something would happen to make his magic set off hers, and stuff would start to happen.

In the first paragraph of my chapter, she’s sitting at her kitchen table convinced she’s going insane. me: really? That’s very interesting. I wonder why? She’s having hallucinations. Me: Oh. What kind? Hallucinations about turning into some kind of creature. Me: Yeah, and she could be also have some of the mental powers that demons have.

In the second paragraph, this gets fleshed out and then guess what! She’s worried about how her parents will be affected when the SFPD calls to tell her that their daughter has died. Because, it turns out, she has three siblings who died at the age of 25. Me: Really? That’s very interesting, too. Obviously, she thinks she’s going to die just like they did..

In chapter 2, my hero is hanging around outside because me: Why? Because he’s an assassin and he’s supposed to kill the demon (that would be my heroine, though he doesn’t know it yet) he’s tracked to this apartment building. Me: Ok, what else? The mage Christophe shows up. Me: ohmygod, there’s the conflict for the whole dang book! Christophe has a deal with Nikodemus — I’ll work out the actual specifics but basically, that’s the plot thread that will move things foward.

Then at little later, my heroine says this to my hero; "I’m like you" Me: Oh! Oh! That means more than what it seems like. It means she’s an assassin like the hero and he’s going to have to teach her to be one too! There’s the basic conflict for the hero/heroine!

So there you have it. I could write synopses until I’m blue in the face, and I will never ever ever come up with what the book is about until I start writing. My heroine is still a graphic artist, and the hero is still a classical music kind of guy, and yes, her magic will be sparked off my his, but not in the lame boring way that was in the synopsis.


That’s just how it works for me. There will be many more discoveries and revisions and these may disappear or take a back seat, but it’s a place to start whereas my synopsis was not.


First the status post

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

I fail to understand how I can be NOT on deadline and actually feel like I’m busier and more stressed out than when I am. And yet, this is so. Possibly it’s because I’m no longer ignoring all the stuff I shouldn’t really ignore.


I think there’s something to be said for ignorance.

I found someone to re-do my website and I’m ponying up enough of the green stuff that this time it will be done without me needing to go in and fix (or ignore) stuff that isn’t right under the hood. A timely decision (not really) because my agent just told me I need to carefully differentiate my historicals from my paranormals on my website and blog. Ah, I was able to say to her, I’m having my website redone in the next month or so. The reason I said the decision was "not really" timely is that I started my search and query of designers back in October. I just don’t have the time to fix things anymore. Just don’t.

I took all my 2008 tax receipts out of the tax receipt box and stuffed them in a big old envelope which is now on my desk guilting me about not having put them in excel yet. I will I will!!

Paid bills. Some big ones. urk.

Wrote two (2) synopses in fewer than 10 days. Gack! Waiting to hear back from my agent on them as they will surely need revisions before they get sent off to NY.

Waded though masses of emails because of my bookmarks ending up on freebie sites. 833 requests which I am starting to deal with now (see below). A really, really surprising number mention they are book fans. Hey. Maybe I’ll sell a few books. Got my first request from Russia. I won’t be really excited until someone from China wants one. The Baidu bot crawls my site but I don’t know if I make it past the Great Firewall or not. Maybe I can get Marjorie M. Liu to check for me next time she’s there.

Waded through another mass of emails from my newsletter announcement that Scandal is officially out. I am giving away some books to subscribers only. A LOT of people opened that email. Not very many unsubscribes. I thought there’d be more from people who only signed up because of a previous contest. I’m glad to see them drop off. I only want people who love me on my newsletter list.

Organized more emails about my Critique Contest which is open to anyone. Leave a comment in the post below if you’re interested.

Got my Scandal bookmarks approved and ordered. They should be here shortly. Which means no more ignoring 833 emails about bookmarks. I decided to hold them until I had the Scandal bookmarks.

I did other stuff, too, but it’s way more boring than the stuff I already bored you with.

You’re getting off easy. I, however, did not.


Weekend Update

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

I completed a draft of the first synopsis for a book(s) to follow My Forbidden Desire and I’ve sent it to my agent for comment. I started a second one and have about three pages (need 5-10) that, amazingly, don’t seem to be total dreck. We shall see.

Other than that, I watched the Superbowl with my son and ate popcorn and cookies. Note to self: MUST go to gym tomorrow.

I have a bazillion other things yet to do; like send out a newsletter about Scandal and try to get my darn bookmarks done, paid for and delivered so I can start mailing them out to the people who’ve requested them.

Will try to get to all that soon.

But now, I have to get to bed. 4:25 am comes mighty early.


Synopsis Heck

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

I’ve been in synopsis heck lately. Today I think I finally wrestled the thing to the ground and have it pinned. I’m trying to write another one, but we’ll see. I have pretty much ZERO ideas. I have a working name for the hero. Well, maybe I have a glimmer of an idea, but I need to tie this one into the previous one somehow. I really need to spend some time with the notebook brainstorming this one.

I’m sure you’ll be shocked if I confess that I LOATHE writing a synopsis. I loathe it even more when it’s a story I haven’t written. For me, my story develops as I write and discover my characters. Therefore, the synopsis I send to my editor prior to a sale will bear little, if any, resemblance to the story I actually turn in. It’s just one of those things a writer at my level has to deal with. With luck, one day I won’t have to write a synopsis in order to sell. But not yet.

So, I have to do some brainstorming on this second story.

And finish checking the galleys for My Forbidden Desire.

I’m feeling kind of overwhelmed. Rats.


Well, since I’m up late anyway…

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Had a day job thing to attend to tonight. Finally that’s done. I’m working on the galleys for My Forbidden Desire. This weekend I need to finish the synopsis I’m writing for the story to follow MFD. I may write up a second one, too. Maybe if there’s time.

Last night I finished Suzanne Brockmann’s Dark of Night and I get to say I told you so! I thoroughly enjoyed this book and yes, La Grande SB did indeed pull off her Decker/Dave controversy. I am completely and utterly satisfied with the way things came out, which I won’t mention here since I’m sure there are many people who haven’t read it yet.

My son didn’t have any school Thursday and Friday. He is competent enough to feed himself; he can get himself a bowl of cereal or cook some eggs or soup — any number of things to stave off starvation. There is, therefore, no reason for the following exchange we had when I got home from work on Thursday:

Me: Have you had anything to eat today? (Because I know my son)

Soccer Boy: No. I’m starving.

Me: Nothing at all?

Soccer Boy: Well, I had some Pringles.

Me: Pringles? That’s it? Why didn’t you make yourself some eggs or have cereal or toast or something?

Soccer Boy: I don’t know. By the way, we’re out of Pringles.


And now I’m going to bed.

Tomorrow: Synopsis Heck.


Carolyn Good Faker

Friday, March 28th, 2008

Yesterday was a very good day. And today, why, it’s Friday, so that’s 2 good days in a row. Yowza! Today, I worked and worked on Chapter 16 and at the end, I was only up 400 words. Rats. I’m doing the book trailer plunge with this release, and that revealed a wee problem unrelated to the money I’m spending on it.

Of course I had to write a synopsis in order to sell My Wicked Enemy but other than the protagonists’ first names, that synopsis bears no resemblance whatever to the book I actually turned in. I knew that would happen. The whole time during the sale process for this book I knew the synopsis I had to slave over like a dog was written in disappearing ink. I told my agent, when she asked about stupid stuff I put in it, I don’t know! I have to write the book first! None of that stuff is going to actually happen. And yet, I had to provide a synopsis anyway, of some other book from some other universe. They gave me money anyway. Carolyn good faker.

So the problem is the book trailer people want a synopsis. And I only have a fake one. And a book trailer based on a fake synopsis? Bad. Bad indeed. But the next book is due May 1. I did not have time to spend 3-4 days bleeding out my eyeballs to write a synopsis. I paid those dues already, Bub! I am not agonizing over this while I pay them. Oh, no never. That’s just sick and twisted. So I whipped something together, mostly resisted the urge to edit and sent if off with the last round of edits copy of the book.

Which is most of the reason I’m only up 400 words. That means 1600 words tomorrow.

off to bed.


Why I write novels not short stories

Friday, March 16th, 2007

As previously mentioned, here, here and here, I’ve been working on the synopsis for Scandal. I sent the chapters and synopsis off to my wonderful agent who had me revise the synopsis. I did that. She sent it back again with some astoundingly spectacular edits and two questions for me to address. I have done that, and sent it back. Monday, unless — no, it’s too horrible to contemplate– Monday Scandal goes to editors.

People, her edits were amazing. I think she read the thing and just shook her head and said, ok lookit, the girl can write a novel but she’s effen hopeless with the synop. She didn’t make huge changes at all, I fixed the really bad bits, but she tweaked little stuff that totally made it awesome. Short writing is way different from long writing. But, gosh, I wish I weren’t so darn synopsis impaired.

What else? I’m tired. I had a fabu idea for a scene in Magellan’s Witch at the gym this morning. I had this scene that was only doing one thing and even worse, it was doing only one thing that did little, if anything, to complicate the story. A classic warning sign that the scene is boring and thin. Uh oh. Without help, that’s a scene that will need to be deleted or sent to the prose-surgeon later. And then your writer’s insurance premiums go way up. So I applied a little preventative medicine and as I pedaled away, asked myself what else this scene could do for me that would introduce both conflict and complication.

My hero is in an all night pharmacy trying to get a refill of a prescription for my heroine who is outside in the car very very ill. Goal of the scene: get the refill.

Let’s analyze. The hero and heroine are apart. He’s in a pharmacy getting a prescription filled. She’s in the car. He gets the refill, then he leaves, gets in the car and drives away. Ohmygawd. Yes. really. That’s how I wrote it. And I had like three or maybe five pages about that. Oddly enough, putting a wall of condoms in the store did nothing to sex up the scene. Rats.

But I knew this was not right. Here’s the notebooked changes:

The guy filling the prescription isn’t human. Ooohhh. And he works for the bad guys. Ohh. He knows my hero isn’t supposed to have the refill. And my non-human pharmacist is compelled to tell his bad-guy boss what’s going down.

Later in the day, as I was driving home from work the second time (don’t ask) I suddenly realized that my pharmacist recognizes my hero for what he is and gives him a traditional greeting of non-human respect. And proceeds to betray him, as indeed, he is compelled to do.

Then my heroine comes in the pharmacy, just as the two guys are going to do the non-human equivalent of throwing down. She’s ill. She’s not sure what’s happening to her (something major, I promise) and she then breaks the pharmacist of his enslavement to the bad guy. Totally unexpected by all, let me assure you.

I think there’s going to be some cops or something in there. Maybe. Then the ex-pharmacist drives the hero and heroine away, while the heroine reveals something to the hero that totally changes everything.

So, yeah, a non-human guy rescued from being a pharmacist for the bad guys. Now that’s exciting stuff.

Tomorrow when I actually write this, who knows what the H will happen. But it’ll be way more exciting than standing around in a Pharmacy.


The dragon has been slayed — slain? um, skewered or something

Tuesday, February 20th, 2007

I completely redid the synopsis for Scandal and tweaked the chapters and emailed them to my agent to see what she thinks.

In re Music and Lyrics (what a dumb title!) I still think there was no chemistry (the hot kind) between Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore, but I also laughed a lot during the movie and there is that naked torso to consider.


Igor, hand me that scalple

Monday, February 19th, 2007

Today was Fix the Scandal Synopsis Day, if by fix I mean start completely over. Which is exactly what I mean. I’m about three quarters of the way through and I think it’s way better so far. I just haven’t worked out the scope thing, the extra scandal to add. I have some ideas, but I need to notebook at the gym tomorrow morning to get clear on it.

I went to see Music and Lyrics this afternoon. Totally cute movie. Lots of great lines for Hugh Grant, really funny ones. Very enjoyable movie. Drew Barrymore was good, too. I’m not sure yet because I’m still in that post-movie 24 hour period during which I love every movie I see (except the remake of Planet of the Apes which is the worst movie ever made). I think there was perhaps a lack of chemistry between Hugh and Drew. But I went to the movie fresh off of wrangling with my hero and heroine in Scandal, and those two are angsty-edgy-hot which this movie was not, so maybe I was projecting. But I think it’s true. I feel compelled to note, however, that Hugh Grant has an awesome naked torso and I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to whoever thought of leaving the camera on a medium-close shot of Hugh Grant’s naked torso for a quite significant time. Thank you, also for his jeans during that scene, which were low riders. There was some female skin on view as well, but not Drew’s, so gentlemen so inclined would also have reason to thank designers who feel compelled to save the environment by using very small amounts of sparkly cloth.

Anyway, I am happy with my progress on the Scandal synopsis and hope to have it finished by tomorrow.