Skip to main content

Featured Post

Writing from the Dark Side

Heh! I started out calling this blog post "Blogging from the Darkside" and then went to "Writing from the Darkside" and then went on to finally arrive at "Pubbing from the Darkside".  This little tidbit of information should be able to give you a little hint over what has been happening at the Oliver Homestead since I last posted.

Big News! I am part of a great collaboration with a collection of Writers who decided that if a romance book should be done, it should be done by us! Hence, the beginning of what is now know as Welcome to Serenity Harbor, Maine.

This is huge! This is ginormous! All of the books are set around the fictional coastal Maine town of Serenity Harbor. We didn't limit genre, only that their characters fall in love in Maine.

For me, this was a return to something that I love... well, yes... it was a return to writing. I've blogged a little bit about some of my struggles with illness that left with being unable to write for a whi…

Confession time....

I hate SYNOPSIS...

Okay, so there are a lot of writers out there who will sympathize with me. We take our hearts and spill them out into stories, only to have to condense those hearts into ten pages or less in order to sell the stories to the editors.

But these synopsis do serve a purpose other than to torture us. They let the editor know at a quick glance that all the required elements are available within the story. The editor can see that the story progresses at a logical pace and that the growth of the characters and the advancement of the storyline is enough to make it a satisfying read.

For years, I've been judging synopsis contests. In fact, I coordinated one for Maine RWA. And I continue to see the same things represented in synopsis time and again...

1.) If the story is a romance, then the focus of the story (whether it is a suspense, paranormal, futuristic, etc...) should focus on the growth of the relationship. It seems simple enough, but the concept of condensing a storyline down can sometimes overshadow the reason for the story in the first place. The reason for the attraction, the steps of intimacy... and in this case I'm not just talking about making love. I'm talking about the steps that need to happen in order for this to become a relationship versus a one-night-stand. I want to know what it is that brings them together and pushes them apart. In short, it's about them.

2.) Put your heart into the synopsis. You wrote the story for a darned good reason. No one sits down and undertakes the telling of a story without knowing that there is something that they want to offer to the reader. Make sure that you imbibe your synopsis with this heart. It's going to make the difference between a simple storytelling and a story that catches their attention.

3.) You have just a few short lines to capture the editors attention. Don't waste them. I've been to all kinds of workshops on synopsis. There are plenty of authors out there that will tell you that they know the "secret" to a good beginning for a synopsis. Ask a question? Start off with a bang? I would suggest that no matter what you start with the character who has the strongest struggle. There is usually one main character that is stronger than the other. Tell their story and tell what it is that they want most within the first few lines. Then, tell why they can't have it. Sounds like the ingredients for writing a good story? It should. It's the same elements only in a shorter format.

4.) Your voice, the one that you've worked so hard to develop and show should be evident in your story. Show it, glorify it, but don't shove it down their throats either. Good writing should prevail and the place for long, flowery prose is NOT in a synopsis.

5.) Lastly, check, double-check, and then get someone else to check your punctuation. You may believe it to be perfect, but just a few simple mistakes like hyphenated words without hyphens can be the thing that makes the editor put your synopsis down in the rejection pile.

Will I still hate writing synopsis ten years from now? Probably. Will I agonize over it if I write 10 or 100 more of them? Most likely. But just for tonight I've got all the answers.


You mean the synopsis is not a device created to torture writers?

What do you think are the chances of the industry adopting a standard?
Morgan Mandel said…
It's so hard to write a good synopsis because you have to decide what to include and discard from your story. Also, you want to make it seem interesting, not dull.

Because you already know the book inside and out, it's hard to tell what the reader understands or doesn't.

Morgan Mandel

Popular posts from this blog

Another Loss...

Another young person from our community passed away yesterday.

For me, all I know is the grief I feel that yet another life has gone way too soon. Maybe I'm getting old. I've seen far too much of this and it's heartbreaking every single time, whether they are related or not. We are community. We are family. In this case, he was family, but that doesn't mean anything when you grow up in a small place. Every child is your child. And every hurt they have is yours.

Out of this long list of young people that have left us too soon, there are so many left behind that still mark the holidays, birthdays and life events that they have missed. We struggle, knowing that the pain we feel is as much for ourselves as it is for them. We share our memories with others, many times through social media, so that their memory, their presence lives on around us.

Every day when my son leaves I tell him to be safe. He finds it funny that I still continue to do so, but if it's that one re…

10 Things I learned from Hosting a Guest on my Blog

Hosting on my blog is a new experience for me. It's something that I've thought of undertaking for quite some time, but until now I wasn't sure that I could do. Thursday, I hosted friend and fellow adventurer, Diane Amos, who talked about her path to publication with her latest Five Star book, Promise Me Forever. We talked about this for awhile before attempting it.

Neither of us was sure just what was going to happen, but in the end I was happy with the results. We ended up with 27 visitors for the blog and around 10 comments (I think). This may not seem like much, but considering that this is about five times the normal visitors/daily that I get I was pretty darned happy with it. There were a few things that I worked out along the way and I'll pass these tips on to anyone who may be interested in hosting or being part of a blog tour.

1. Decide the topic to be discussed keeping it to something that will be of interest to your blog readers. If you write a research bl…


We have the cover and that is a really good thing! Especially, since it's a really great cover!

This has been THE project for the last six months. Much of that time has been spent writing my part of the anthology, a novella called ONLY YOU. Another part of that was working with my friend and cohorts to come up with this great anthology! Why wouldn't you enjoy it?! It's filled with stories of love that are all set around the fictional Maine town of Serenity Harbor. Want to know which town Serenity Harbor is patterned after? We'll never tell... well, maybe we will!

Anyway, who can write better about love in Maine than a bunch of Maine Romance authors! I gave you a tantalizing tidbit the other day from my story. Poor Nate Cooper, he doesn't know what he's up against when he decides to take on Kara Simpson. Lucky for him, he's got the whole town behind him!

And what is this rumor of sheep wandering the streets of Serenity Harbor, Maine? Well, you'll just ha…