Sherryl's Readers' Forum

Dear friends, This is the place for you to share your thoughts about my books as well as your tips on writing. Please don't use this as a forum to discuss works by other authors, pro or con. There are plenty of places you can go for general book discussions. I'd like this to be a friendly place where you can get to know others who enjoy my books. Stir up a little controversy if something in a book bugged you, as long as it's done in a reasonably gentle way. Feel free to ask questions of me and each other. I'll sign on as frequently as possible to answer your questions. Okay, then...jump in anytime. Sherryl


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Sherryladmin
Member since Mar-19-03
41 posts
Apr-11-03, 11:00 AM (EST)
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"The dreaded synopsis"
 
I've been promising for a bit now to talk about the dreaded synopsis, so here goes. This is not an absolute, have-to-do-it-this-way thing. In fact many publishers ask for and are happy with only a few pages summarizing the major plot points. I can't seem to do it that way. Here's what I do. I think through my main characters, the conflict, and then sit down as if I'm starting to write the book. I write whole chunks of scenes, complete with dialogue and at least some description. These are relatively short scenes, mind you, and the whole synopsis is usually between 20 and 25 pages, with scenes from the beginning, hopefully the middle, and the end. By the time I've spent the time to do this, I know my characters' voices, I know the tone of the book, AND best of all, I have a structure for the book. It also makes it a bit more fun for my editor to read, more like a short story than a synopsis. Yes, this takes more time, but I find it a huge advantage when I sit down to write the book. Not only do I truly know the characters, but when I break apart the synopsis, I have chunks already written from throughout the book and need only build the bridges between them. Yes, some scenes wind up getting moved as I write. Some even get eliminated, which breaks my heart...I hate wasting an already-written scene. This also seems to help me avoid that "sagging middle" problem, as well. If you're not doing well with the traditional this-happens-and-then-that-happens style of synopsis, give this way a try. You may hate it, or it may be just what you need to get a real jump-start on your next book.


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Marie
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Apr-15-03, 01:25 PM (EST)
 
1. "RE: The dreaded synopsis"
In response to message #0
 
   Sherryl: Do you actually use the synopsis text for the book and build on it or do you start all over? I went back and read my synopsis for the book I am writing now and there is no doubt that I have change it some. Like you, the setting and charaters are becoming much more clear. A few names have even changed to suit the charater better. I am going to have to rewrite the synopsis but I figured at this point I might as well wait since I do not have an editor or agent pressing me. Good idea or bad? I am staying true to the events that shape the story so I have gone down a totally different road...yet! Thanks, Marie


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Sherryladmin
Member since Mar-19-03
41 posts
Apr-19-03, 01:31 PM (EST)
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2. "RE: The dreaded synopsis"
In response to message #1
 
Marie...I generally keep the same scene and expand it. The initial draft in the synopsis is almost a synopsis of the scene itself. I add in more dialogue, more details, maybe even a few twists and turns. Then, on my final draft, I expand even more. I also "push" scenes along as I write. In other words when I first break apart the synopsis, I may envision a particular scene as occuring in Chapter Five, but as I write it may wind up becoming Chapter Six or Seven. Just this morning I took a scene I thought belonged in Chapter Seven and bounced it all the way to Chapter Thirteen, now that I have a better idea of what needs to come in ahead of it. I actually love when that happens because the bridges between chapters get closer and closer together and pretty soon, hurrah-hurrah, no sagging middle!!


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Michael Howell
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Jun-24-05, 03:40 PM (EST)
 
3. "RE: The dreaded synopsis"
In response to message #0
 
   Sherryl, Hello! My name is Michael Howell. I am curretly stationed in Baghdad, Iraq until the end of the year. I have started two different types of books. I am a hopeless romantic (weird for a man, huh)! I have read thousands of books in my 39 years and have decided that it is time to try my hand at writing myself. I have so many ideas for stories. I have two books started. The first is a homicide novel and the second a romance type book. I see my romance novels along the same genre as "Along Came Trouble". I can relate well to Tucker. I am a police officer in my civilian job in the US. Hence, the homicide novel and the ties with Tucker. I am very interested in trying your synopsis theory as well as hearing how you began you rbook writing career. If you would not mind sharing some emails with me concerning some specifics, please do so at michael.howell1@us.army.mil Thanks for your time! SGT Michael Howell Iraq


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