Thursday, March 2, 2017

Make Mine Mystery



I Know, I know I always send something for the holidays but in this case I thought about something that would be helpful and useful to future authors is a few handy definitions: Synopsis vs. Blurb or Back Cover Copy (BCC) vs. Query:
·  Your blurb is your back cover copy (aka BCC) and quite a few authors I know (including me) use some version of it for the body of their query. Generally the word count on a blurb is no more than 300. They also tend to tie in their tag line (a one line, less than 20 words that teases readers about your book).
o    Tag line for Chilled to the Bones on the front cover:  Secret codes, murder, and lurking evil…
o    BCC/Blurb for Chilled to the Bones featured on back cover and version of this use in query:
Secret codes, murder, and lurking evil…
Adventure and a chilling ride through the small town of Setauket, New Your, where four high school friends find themselves embroiled in a historical mystery more than a century old. Secret codes, murder, and lurking evil lead them to the point of almost no return. A page turner from beginning to end.
o Synopsis ranges from 1-5 pages depending on what’s requested by publisher/agent. They ask for this because they want evidence you have a solid basis for your story and a complete story arc. While the synopsis for Chilled to the Bones was 2 pages (993 word count), I’ve since refined my latest project(s) synopsis down to about 1 page. The way I did that was use the following 11 questions to build it. For a short 1-2 pg synop, answer in one to two sentence lengths. For up to 5 pg synop, use 3-5 sentences to answer:
1.       Opening image—image/setting/concept that sets the stage for the story to come
2.       Protag intro/who’s the main character in 1-2 descriptive words and what he/she wants
3.       Inciting incident-what even/decision/change prompts your MC to take initial action
4.       Plot point 1-what is the first turning point? What action does MC take/make that changes book’s direction. Think “once you cross this line, you can never return”
5.       Conflict & character encounters—now in new life your MC meets new people, experiences new life, meets villain
6.       Midpoint-middle turning point, what happens that makes MC doe a 180 change in direction/emotion/in anything?
7.       Winning seems imminent but…why does your MC think they’ll win? How does villain stop them?
8.      Black moment—MC’s lowest point, what happened
9.       Climax—what happens in final blow out between MC and villain
10.   Resolution—HEA for us rom writers, tie up you loose ends (or at least the main ones for this book, if part of series)


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 Linda Lee Kane has a master’s degree in education, school psychology, people pupil services, and is a learning disability specialist. She has authored eight books; two are mysteries, The Black Madonna: A fast-paced action adventure and an exciting, exhilarating read. Murder, mystery, and intrigue keep you on the edge of your seat. Chilled to the Bones: An adventurous and chilling ride where four high school friends find themselves embroiled in a historical mystery more than a century old. Secret codes, murder, and a lurking evil presence lead them to the point of almost no return. A page turner from beginning to end.
·         Blog: https://lindaleekane.wordpress.com/
·         https://www.lindaleekane8.com





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3 comments:

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I really dislike doing synopsis.

Linda Thorne said...

Very interesting. I really enjoyed the Black Madonna and then my grandkids loved one of your Christmas children's books. I've been so busy at work, I honestly forgot about St. Patrick's Day. I'm set up with my publisher now that I don't need to submit those synopsis reports to publishers. They were hard and time consuming. Unless my next book is bad, my publisher will publish it as part of my series. The problem is, I'm too busy now to finish writing it.

Morgan Mandel said...

You've offered some great information here, not only for beginners, but also for others like me who don't always remember everything I used to know.