Editing Tip #132 – The Dreaded Synopsis

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Great practical advice for facing the brain-draining process of synopsis writing.

While it’s nice to think that once you’ve written and edited your magnus-opus, your editing work is done … think again.

Time to Write Your Synopsis

If an agent or publisher doesn’t get a “taste” for your writing in the query letter (which calls for a paragraph summary of your entire book and often a 1-pager to attach) or “hooked” on your story, then you’ve lost a great opportunity to have them ask for your coveted manuscript.

Now, I must be upfront with you about this: I am NOT a master of editing Synopses.

In fact, I still struggle with writing my own but I have a good perspective for books I’ve edited for my clients. I can see when they’re adding too much back story, if their hook actually grabs readers, and if they’ve left out anything important (because they don’t want to spoil the story – trust…

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Sales Model of an Indie Author

Excellent advice about building your author platform and promoting your books.

FELIX THE FOX MYSTERIES

writing

This article was originally posted on my Quora blog. I’m posting and summarising my experiences in writing and marketing my novels, both as notes to myself and as advice from the trenches for other budding authors.


One of the worst aspects of becoming an author, is marketing your own book. I mean, if I was some kind of extrovert, I wouldn’t have chosen to sit alone in a dark room for hours, typing by myself – would I?

But this is the life of an indie author. And, increasingly, of traditionally published authors as well. Unless your last name is Rowling, King, Martin etc., you just don’t get “little people” to do it for you. Most publishers actually would prefer you come with fans, before picking your title up.

This post is about reaching an audience – namely, my novel sales model, both current and planned.

It’s going to be a…

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Ten Fantasy Read-em Agains

books             But enough about television/movies …

Let’s talk books – my original media preference. My first fan letter was to an author, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, to be precise. My mom and I were so caught up in her book, House of Zeor, that we wrote the letter together. The Zeor series remains a particular favorite – and probably the original spark for my love of the bro-mance genre. Brothers in arms. A duo standing back to back to take on all enemies. And my immediate rejection of a perceived betrayal of that kind of dynamic. (Yes, yes, I promised not to talk about tv, but NCIS, you know who you are.)

So, proceeding from that book, which I probably read at much too young an age to satisfy most parents, here is a list of Ten Fantasy/ Sci-fi books that I can – and do – read again and again and again. Do with it what you will. The other half of my reading obsession genre (Mystery and Suspense) shall be covered in a future blog.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Fantasy/sci-fi. Brilliant characterization. Utterly surprise ending which doesn’t disappoint even though I’ve read it 35 times before.

Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold. Fantasy/sci-fi. It’s the middle of her Vorkosigan series, but my favorite of the bunch. Because Miles – Miles, you are a brilliant, driven idiot. And I love you. If you are looking for a very different type of hero, read these books.

Dune by Frank Herbert. Fantasy/sci-fi. A classic of high level, media res writing. We learn about this universe through Paul’s eyes, and it isn’t always clear. But, man oh man, what a universe. And what a character.

The Bloody Sun by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Fantasy/sci-fi. One of the many I could recommend from her Darkover series. Great world building. I’ve always loved a little magic.

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Fantasy. Enough said. I read it every few years.

The Barque of Heaven by Suzanne Wood. Sci-fi/Stargate. The only  media tie-in Stargate novel that I ever recommend. Written by a fan and fellow fan-fic writer, this is the one that gets the characters exactly right. And the adventure is marvelous, the ending only slightly ruined by her publisher.

Jhereg by Steven Brust. Fantasy. Brust created an amazing world and peopled it with elves (in the truest mythological sense) and humans and made their relationships intricate and complex. And ridiculously steeped it all in history and myth and gods and sorcerers. And did I mention that our hero is an assassin?

Agent of Change by Sharon Lee and Steven Miller. Sci-fi. A recently discovered absolute favorite. The Liaden Universe created by these two is fantastic. Each ‘partnership’ that I discover in this universe holds new and different – and equally compelling – characters. But I think Val Con and Miri will always be my favorite.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein. Sci-fi. The multi-verse of Heinlein is a huge and weird and wonderful place, but this novel will always be the heart of it for me. The pragmatism of the Lunies is one reason. The other is most definitely Mike.

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey. Fantasy/Sci-fi. The Pern series is another classic that should be standard reading for a fantasy fan. This is Lessa’s story. Lessa and Ramoth. And I defy you to name a better, more heroic, more captivating “strong female character” in this genre. She’s not perfect, but she does what is necessary. And – dragons!!

What? That’s ten already?? But, but, *looks around at all the fantastic books in piles around my feet*. I can’t leave all these others out!

I predict a series of blogs coming up.

What are your Fantasy/Sci-fi favorites?