Synopsis that Hook and Sell
Okay, I confess I’m a Pantser or an Organic writer ( I like this term very much)
Both terms mean that I get it done flying by the seat of my pants OR you could say; on a wing and lots of prayer!!! And believe me that is what I’m doing right now as I write this blog because believe me—blogs and I really don’t get along. But we all have to do what we aren’t good at sometimes and sooo here I am trying to explain my process on Seekerville—you poor poor people. Please bear with me!
As a pantser it is no surprise that I, like most writers HATE to write a synopsis. Right, no surprise there. But guess what!!! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to write long blurbs! (or I guess you could call it a one page synopsis if my blurb runs long J)
Crazy sounding but true! (I also sometimes have a problem with controlling the need to use exclamation marks!) But really, moving forward here—truth is there is just something about coming up with a blurb of my book that turns me on—and that is what I want the thing to do to my editor and everyone else who has to view those paragraphs before the book is bought.
See, if you can do that, inspire your editor to see the voice and excitement of the book then she can see the marketing potential of it…and that is the most important thing. They won’t buy something they don’t think they can market and sell. So pump up the volume and get excited!
Now, not all books sell on a short synopsis. Sometimes longer synopsis are required, I still write my short blurb first, get that excitement flowing and then use it as my outline and simply expand it. Trying hard to keep the excitement and flavor of that quick 3 or 4 paragraph blurb.
As an example I’ve included the very short blurb that sold my first 1800’s novella AN EVER AFTER SUMMER which will be in A BRIDE FOR ALL SEASONS anthology collection with Margaret Brownley, Mary Connealy and Robin Lee Hatcher coming June 18, 2013
Texas 1870 July
A born killer, Melvina Eldora Smith killed three people before the age of one: her mother giving birth, her father of a broken heart, her drunk uncle in front of a bar with a runaway buggy—her father and her uncle she’s not sure about, but Ellie’s aunt Millicent assures her all three deaths were Ellie’s doing. At the age of nineteen, determined to leave her bad luck behind, Ellie answers a Wife Wanted Ad from a lonely widowed rancher looking for love and a Godly mother for his baby...
Widower Mathew McConnell’s Wife-Wanted ad leaves no room for misunderstandings—Widowed rancher looking for practical woman to keep house and be a mother to his baby girl—Bible believers need not apply. Mathew and God had parted ways the day Sophia’s mother died. Heart hardened, this is purely business, and he isn’t interested in a Bible believing, frilly woman trying to soften him up talking about God’s goodness!
Thanks to the meddlesome owner of the Hitching Post Catalogue, Mathew, desperate for a mother for his infant, doesn’t know what to do about the beautiful, Bible thumping mistake who gets off the train.
Ellie believes her bad luck has turned and its God’s plan all along for her to end up in Mathew’s life...and she aims to prove it to him—if her good luck holds out and she doesn’t kill him first!
There you go, a quick fast paced blurb. But—though small what did it tell you?
It told the hook. It told the tone of the book, that it would be a fun story. It gave a flavor of my voice (as yours should showcase your voice). Word choice and hook are very important in getting that across. It also told you the goal and motivation of your hero and heroine. And it also told you the conflict of the book and how it comes between them to keep them apart. And then, it told you the ending…sort of anyway, with the last sentence! But that last sentence also promises fun and adventure along the way.
The behind the scenes of this blurb: After a day of struggling to come up with something this blub came to me in a matter of moments but only after I came up with my heroine’s name. (sometimes it just takes a trigger) Melvina Eldora’s name triggered my imagination and boom there it was. Does that happen every time—no. But when I give myself permission to have fun with a story no restrictions or worries about all the details that go into a longer synopsis my creative mind usually comes through quickly!
The keys: Don’t stress. Enjoy yourself. Let yourself go.
Okay, so that’s how I do it. I checked out some awesome blogs here in the archives of Seekerville and boy did I find some great detailed ones here. As a Pantser this is the process that works for me and has sold for me since my first sale. I hope it sparks some ideas and helps someone out there J to do the same.
I have a book out this month (May) Her Unforgettable Cowboy from Love Inspired it’s book 1 of my new Cowboys of Sunrise Ranch and next month (June) my first with Thomas Nelson Publishers in the mail order bride collection A BRIDE FOR ALL SEASONS. I hope you’ll check them out.
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