A Marketer’s look at Synopsis

This section is based on my book, “Silent Danger: A Training Novel” that was released by WCC Press earlier this month.

Susie and the My Book Therapy team do an amazing job of explaining craft and the synopsis, so if you’ve ever read their lessons and you think you don’t need this, keep reading.  What I’m trying to show here is how a synopsis is about more than summarizing your story. It also gets you in the marketing mindset and helps you start to think of unique angles you can take………….

Excerpted for “Silent Danger” Published by Writing Career Coach Press. Permission for one-time use granted.

Synopsis:

In a synopsis you have typically between 1-3 pages to do a bunch of things. You have to:

• Set up the scene

• Introduce the characters

• Tell the main plot points.

• Show the resolution

That can be a daunting task. Thankfully, editors know that and they don’t expect the summary to be as exciting as the manuscript itself, but you still need to show you have engaging craft.

Keeping in mind you only have about 300 words to describe a 60,000 word manuscript, look for ways you’d write a synopsis to better articulate the story and to also get the editors attention. To practice, try doing it on a book you read recently. Follow these exercises.

Exercises:

You need to introduce the main characters right at the start. Keeping in mind the character arc, how can you best describe the way the characters start in this book?

What are the key plot points during the course of the story? What is the primary plot? How do all of these things play out in the character arc?

Are there any specific requirements for the publishing house? How can you show that your book meets those requirements?

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If you have any questions on the book list or you would like to suggest some great books to read, contact use through our website at WritingCareerCoach.com.

— Tiffany Colter, Writing

What is on your must read list? And what will you do with it?

We are all writers and, I’d hazard to guess, voracious readers as well. No doubt you have a tremendous list of novels and books on craft piling up on your nightstand, end table, book shelf… passenger seat of your car…

But as writers we get more than entertainment from books, we get lessons. As the Writing Career Coach I also get lessons from business books, marketing lectures and online teachers.

This week’s blog is actually an excerpt from my upcoming book, “52 Weeks of Writing Success”. I decided to share this because whenever I work with writers or business owners I find that they are great on ideas, awful on follow through. This is all about helping you with follow through.

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When you’re reading a book, how do you apply your learning? Stop reading this right now and get a notebook.

Seriously, stop reading now. I’ll wait.

On the first page you’ll write down the titles of books you want to read. As you read them, you’ll check them off in the left margin. Seems easy enough, right! Now you have one place to list all the things you’d like to read. These are the titles of the books that you would like to read to help expand your understanding of building and creating a strong story, with excellent craft and a sustainable writing business.

Some will be books that I’ve suggested to you, others will be books that you hear about from friends and colleagues. Now, turn the page and write the tile of the book.

About 2/3 of the way over on the paper, write a line from top to bottom from the title line to the bottom of the page. While you’re reading the books, take notes on the key points on the left side of this line. This will help you keep your notes together as well as give you a central location to focus on what you need to learn, why, and where you’re going to find that information.

On the right side, write actionable steps that you’re going to implement immediately. As you implement them, check them off just like you checked off the books from the “to be read” list. Do more than read. Take action.

If you have any questions on the book list or you would like to suggest some great books to read, contact use through our website at WritingCareerCoach.com.

— Tiffany Colter, Writing Career Coach

6 Keys to success in your writing

I love May. It is a BEAUTIFUL time of year in Northwest Ohio. The evenings are still cool but the sun is warm. It is during this time of year that my business picks up, but my desire to work goes down. For those of us living in the north, the beautiful wreathing is counted in days rather than months. It can sometimes be hard to force yourself to sit behind the desk. That is why I wanted to share with you 6 success keys that I’ve used to maintain successful behaviors throughout the year [even when I want to play hookey!]

Follow up- Each day follow up with someone or something. In the early days of your writing this may be nothing more than following up with your crit partner or following up on your research for the new blog, but either way make sure you spend time each day following up on things. When you do, check it off your list.

Follow through- We make all kinds of commitments without thinking about the consequences. It is easy to make promises; it is hard to follow through. Each day find something on your commitment list and follow through on it. Did you promise yourself to edit 12 pages of your manuscript? Do it. Is there a query letter you’re afraid to send? Follow through. Did you decide to exercise 15 minutes a day or walk around the block, or speak kindly to your kids, or spend time in prayer. Follow through. When you do, check it off your list.

Be consistent- It used to says on shampoo bottles to lather, rinse, repeat. My grandma would say you washed your hair twice, “Once to get the dirt out and once to get it clean.” Seems redundant to me, but oh well. The point is to do things the same way each time and be consistent. Create a routine for yourself. Create reasonable goals. You don’t have to be predictable [I eat the EXACT same thing for breakfast every morning and have for 4 months], but you do have to have a routine so things aren’t missed and so your brain is ready for action. Another word for this is RELIABLE. Be someone a person can count on. When you do, check it off your list. [consistently]

Be accountable- I’d like to add, “To another person”. We have a way of conning ourselves and convincing ourselves WHY we weren’t able to do something,  but when we make up stupid excuses over and over to other people they will—hopefully—call you on them. You need to let someone you KNOW and TRUST know what your goals are. Then you need to let them see the list you’ve been checking off. After you’ve done that, have them check it off. [or you can, in the name of consistency. Wink.]

Be forgiving- You won’t make it every time. People will let you down. Your spouse may have to bail on the last minute and you’re stuck running the kids everywhere. In all of these circumstances, be forgiving. Forgiveness doesn’t mean that they become a habit, instead it means recognizing that the ideal isn’t always reality and not allowing that to cause division and strife. Show mercy.

Be done- Know that you need to have a beginning and an end to each project. When God created the universe the created evening and morning. A starting and an ending point. He is eternal and he could have made us like plants that are eternally ‘doing their thing’. However, God himself created DAYS and he did specific things on specific days, and then He rested. Do what needs to be done. Do what is reasonable to be done. And then be done.

Success isn’t a mystery. It isn’t a winning lottery number. It isn’t the man working himself to an ulcer at 32. It’s not a woman going to the ER with chest pain at 36. It is the person doing daily, reasonable, consistent tasks over time, again-and-again. Start making those check sheets now. Start recording what you’re doing. Check those 6 things off of your to-do list, then go outside. Rest. And live a life of all-around success.

Your Coach for the Journey,

Tiffany Colter, Writing Career Coach

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If you have any questions on the book list or you would like to suggest some great books to read, contact use through our website at WritingCareerCoach.com.

— Tiffany Colter, Writing

Reach Back and Reach Forward

I can remember in my early days of writing, not the early ones when I was 12 years old and wrote stories on a typewriter I bought at a garage sale. I mean when I made a full-time go of it in my mid-20s. I felt so alone, so isolated…so weird.

With the internet it is much easier for newer writers to find help. We realize that there are others out there who hear voices in their head and have reasonable conversations about murdering characters and destroying relationships. [All in the name of craft]

We have an incredible opportunity now to learn from other writers—are you taking advantage of that? “Well, Tiff, I’m reading this blog post, aren’t I?”

Yes, you are. But what are you doing with it? What did I blog on last time? Did you apply any of it? What about some of the other posts? Are you using what Susie, Rachel, Beth, Edie and others post on? Are you reaching forward in to new areas, reaching to new dreams? Or are you staying here?

[I know. Tough words, but I’m the coach. That is what you expect from me.]

And while we’re on the topic, are you reaching back? Are you inspiring others to chase after their dreams? Are you talking to other writers? Are you talking to your kids? Are you talking to someone who maybe wants to be a singer to not give up honing their skill?

Because here is the secret…

Because here is the secret to success. It is more fun with a group. When you are focusing on others you succeed without realizing it. When I started Writing Career Coach it was only because I’d seen what was possible when writers looked at their writing as a business. I saw that I could be more efficient, earn more, and be a full-time writer if I treated it like more than a hobby.

Other people liked what I had to say and started to ask me questions. I read more in order to answer their questions. I then started applying what I learned to judging writing contests and editing manuscripts. Then I taught people how to market their writing. And my marketing improved.

When you reach forward to the goals and dreams of those you respect your vision expands. The seeds of the possible are planted in your heart and grow.

When you reach back you find the joy in helping others. You find yourself challenged to answer new questions and try new things.

By doing both you find the fulfillment that comes from believing in yourself and believing in others. Writing is a team sport.

Go build your team!

If you have any questions on the book list or you would like to suggest some great books to read, contact use through our website at WritingCareerCoach.com.

— Tiffany Colter, Writing Career Coach