...  Publishing New Writers

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 June, 2004


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The Next Step: The Synopsis

by Sandy Tritt


So you thought writing a novel was hard, huh? Try boiling that novel down to 500 words. That’s what a synopsis is—a mini-version of your novel that captures the essence of your plot, setting and characters in an intriguing way. That’s enough to make even the hardiest of writers run for cover. Now do you want the bad news? Some agents/publishers prefer a one-page synopsis; others want a more detailed, five to ten page synopsis. My suggestion? Create a daggone good two-page synopsis and be done with it. (See Section Seven for a sample synopsis).
How? If you’ve used the Novel Summary Worksheet in Section Eight, you pretty much have your synopsis done. (If you didn’t use this worksheet in the planning of your novel, do it now. It outlines your synopsis for you). In the first paragraph of your synopsis, you must establish the main character(s), the setting (both time and place), and the focus of your story (use either your focus statement, or, in a character-driven story, you can use the character statement). From there, list only the highlights—what it is that takes your character or your plot from the opening of your novel to the resolution. Do not introduce subplots or anyone other than the major characters. Present major occurrences in chronological order and KEEP IT INTERESTING (easy to say, huh?). Most importantly, spend a paragraph on the climax and another paragraph on the resolution. Make sure you include how the character has changed or has been affected by the outcome in a character-driven novel, or how the situation has been changed or resolved in an action-based novel.

Here is a list of suggestions:
• A synopsis should always be written in present tense, regardless of the tense used in the manuscript.
• A synopsis should always be written in the omniscient point of view. If your manuscript is written in first person, you may mention this in the synopsis, but still write the synopsis in third person, omniscient point of view.
• The first time you mention a character, put his name in ALL CAPS.
• Always refer to the character by the exact same name (not John in one paragraph and Captain Starkey in the next).
• Most professionals prefer to see the synopsis single spaced. Check the agency or publisher you are querying, and if no preference in spacing is noted, use single spacing here and double spacing on any chapters you send. Exception: if your synopsis exceeds two pages, double space.
• Be sure to use the full title of the manuscript, either centered in title format on the first page of your synopsis, or placed in the upper left hand corner, preceded by the word “synopsis.”
• Be sure you have no spelling or grammatical errors in your synopsis.

After you’ve written your synopsis, let it sit for a couple of days, then come back to it. Does it make sense? Does it flow? Is it interesting? Allow some trusted friends (preferably friends in the writing business) take a look at it. And then relax. Once you’ve written a synopsis, you are truly a writer.

(from Section 5, Workbook)

Want more great tips and techniques? Our Inspiration for Writers Tips and Techniques Workbook is now available. Expanded tips, more topics, reproducible worksheets, exercises to practice what you learn and much more--check it out! Free shipping anywhere in the United States.

(c) copyright 2002 by Sandy Tritt. All rights reserved, except for those listed here. September be reproduced for educational purposes (such as for writer's workshops), as long as this copyright notice and the url: http://tritt.wirefire.com are distributed with the pages. For use in conferences or other uses not mentioned here, please contact Sandy Tritt at tritt@wvadventures.net for permission and additional resources at no or limited charge.

   Keep writing!

Sandy Tritt

Inspiration for Writers tritt@wvadventures.net























Writing for Children

by Winona Rasheed

So, you have your pencil in hand and writing tablet ready. What do you write about? How do you begin? Where do your ideas come from? What audience do you write for?
Writing for children is exciting, rewarding and challenging. You can find great ideas in everything to enlighten a child and brighten their spirit.
From nature that surrounds us, to the environment we live in, there is a fascinating story to be told that can delight a reader, or a listener.
From writing stories using information from our own experiences, or by jotting down ideas from our own imagination, all plays a vital role in writing for children.
It is a fact; books are an important faction in a child's life. Starting from an early age. Books teach skills that are important to a child's mental and social development. Skills such as, reading, thinking, communicating, and listening.
When you write a story, you are giving them a chance to escape this not so perfect adult world that is already mind-boggling and chaotic to the mind of a child.
That's what writing for children is all about, giving them something that they can relate to and identify with, and telling it in a humorous way.
The story you write, rather it is a fantasy, fairy tale, or informative nonfiction, could influence a child's life in a positive manner. Giving children, characters and situations that they can look-up to and benefit from. Stories that teach, and not give a preachy tone of voice. Where the main character is the hero and in the same age bracket as the reading/listening audience. Characters learning to solve problems, interacting with others, learning right from wrong. All can be told in an enriching, humorous, educational story. Making reading and learning, exciting and fun.
There are different types of books to write for in the children's genre. There are picture books, early readers, chapter books, middle grade books, and books for young adults. As the child grows, so does the content of a good storybook.

Page 2, Writing for Children

From word length, to descriptive writing in the plotting and theme, all are very creative and challenging for the writer.
From concept books, to intriguing fairytales and fantasies and informative nonfiction, a delightful story can be written that the reader/listener can relish for a lifetime.
I enjoy writing for children. I'm sure if you give it a try, you will love writing for this genre too.
Need more information?
Here are some useful sites to help you get started.

1. Cory Green Story Tips, by Stefi

2. Recipe for Writing a Story
Story tips


3. What Makes A Good Story, by Aaron Sheppard
Good rules to know


4. Information on all aspects of writing for children.
Free issue of Writer's Digest

Winona Rasheed


Critiquing Special

  • Limited time special, one cent per word.  Just mention Publishing New Writers  Newsletter (June, 2004).

    Critiques by Sandy Tritt

  • Unlike most editors, I consider my role to be a mentor or a coach. Instead of just telling you what is wrong, I explain how to correct the problem, and I work with you to teach you how to write effective prose. More than 50% of my business is repeat business, and I relish establishing long-term relationships with other writers.

  • Treat you with respect and compassion. All criticism will be of the "constructive" sort. My purpose is to improve your writing, not to destroy your confidence.

  • Mark your manuscript, correcting grammatical and spelling errors and suggesting alternative wording where appropriate, line-by-line.

  • Highlight areas that are especially well-written, so you will know where your strengths are.

  • Where appropriate, offer suggestions for plot development, character development or other areas that could be strengthened.

  • Return a two-to-four page written analysis of your work. This will include evaluation of: plot, setting, characterization, dialogue, special effects (flash forwards, flashbacks, etc.), voice, point of view and any other areas particular to your work.

  • If appropriate, recommend reading or resources to strengthen your areas of weakness.

  • Answer any questions you  have via email.

  • Provide my telephone number for a personal follow-up, if you desire.

For Sandy's success stories, see http://tritt.wirefire.com/Manuscript_Critique.html

Write Sandy at tritt@wvadventures.net

(See Sandy's article above.)

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Publishing New Writers,

June, 2004 (no. 506)


Publisher: Bruce L. Cook, P.O. Box 451, Dundee, IL 60118.  Fax (847) 428-8974.

Submissions /comments  cookcomm@gte.net.

Links are welcome.


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The Big Book Market

by Bruce Cook

We writers are gathered around the publisher’s trough, hoping our manuscript will get the nod. We are there in the hope that: 1) our manuscript can be read by many and 2) someone will pay us. As realists, we often opt for the first when we publish online. As for number 2, the admonition that we write only for pay tends to fade away with maturity. Eventually we accept our fate.

But we do want to break the cycle. We would do anything, it seems. An e-book will do, but nobody will buy one until the computer gets a floppy screen. We have learned to hate the old Vanity Press system, and with reason. Now there’s Print on Demand (POD), and for all its drawbacks, it is not a rip-off. But, even if we somehow manage to produce our own book, there’s still the bookseller. If the bookstore doesn’t stock the title we are floundering once again.

After all, publishing, like most other fields, has monopoly companies which do not encourage new entrants (at least, not the little ones). After all, the big chain booksellers like Barnes & Noble and Borders will only purchase books from a distributor. So, like it or not, to enter the “big market” we have to pay the big bucks for an account at Ingram, Baker and Taylor, etc.

Alas, there is no guarantee the book will sell even then. The next thing is to promote the book to booksellers (through R.R. Bowker, another monopoly), or hope against hope that their first order, of 6 books, will produce enough sales for them to request additional copies of the book. For, if the book doesn’t sell, the distributor has no need for it. Case closed.

Let’s recap. When we can’t sell our manuscript to a publisher, we’ve been turned down by an acquisitions editor who may or may not have read the proposal. When we can’t sell an e-book, the problem is trying to get people to read books on a computer screen.  When we can’t sell our POD book, it’s the distributors and booksellers who are blocking our success.

But there is hope on the horizon. Barnes & Noble is joining a major POD publisher. If this occurs, we will have a way to get into the marketplace without paying the monopolist distributors, and that is good. (That puts us into the correct level of competition – attracting a buyer, and that’s fair enough.)

Now we might object to Barnes & Noble, for they are using their own monopoly status to remove our independence in selecting a POD publisher. Buy purchasing or affiliating with one, they are setting the stage for the destruction of the others. Just like Wal-Mart, Kinko’s, and Microsoft, the big monopolists rule. In this case we’ll even have a new monopoly, the POD company selected by Barnes & Noble.

Shall we fight the bookseller as our enemy? For example, we could wait for the floppy computer screen and start a Napster for new writers, sharing titles online? Or shall we swallow hard and join them. Remember our goals. Readers. Compensation. For all its faults, the Barnes and Noble solution gives us the best of both worlds. The rest is up to us!


God Created You: A Guide to Temperament Therapy

New AuthorMe Paperback...   (Released June, 2004)

By Dr. Rick Martin

From chapter 2... "How a person behaves is a combination of temperament, living in the strengths and/or weaknesses of their temperament environment, decisions they have made or not made, conclusions they have drawn about right and wrong, their relationship with God or the lack thereof..."


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