Tag Archive | Davinia’s Duke

Is a Synopsis Too Old School?

I’m teaching my synopsis workshop at CRW this month (June) and wondering if I’ll actually ever teach it again. Once upon a time, a synopsis was mandatory–you needed one to pitch editors and agents, and you needed one for just about any writing contest. Now the world is more about self publishing, and I’m there, too. But I still actually end up doing a synopsis.

Maybe it’s habit, maybe training, but I find a synopsis actually has a lot of use.

First off, it helps me when I get stuck or lost, which happens every book. I need to have something to remind me that ‘oh, yeah, that’s what I was thinking.’

I generally do the synopsis by hand, not computer. You just think differently with a pen and paper, and ideas can be a little more loose, and I can let my mind wander a bit. I don’t have to worry just yet about putting things together.

Then I need to to clarify my thoughts in general. Until it’s on a page, ideas are like vague mist–they dissolve way too easily. If I write it down, the ideas become solid, and the flaw also show up so I can fix them.

Which brings up the next thing–it is far easier to fix plot holes, and lack of character development, and an unclear theme, and weak motivations, and all the other structural issues in a synopsis. If I fix it there, I avoid massive rewrites. I may have to tweak the structure once I get writing, and it may drift a little, but I know the character arcs are solid, and so is the pacing.Davinia's Duke

I did this with Davina’s Duke, my most recent novella (which was awarded the Indie BRAG Gold Medallion for independently published books. I got stuck, remembered, oh, yeah, I don’t have a synopsis, and went back to figure out what the heck I was doing. Maybe some folks can keep that all in their heads…I certainly can’t. Once I knew where I was going again, I was able to pull the novella back on track and get it done.

And these days, if you are self publishing, you need marketing copy. Yes, you can hire this out, but that is one more expense. I’d rather develop, edit, revise and polish my own copy to make sure it is just what I want and need.

So maybe a synopsis is old school, but so am I. So I think I’ll keep doing them. Which reminds me, I’ve got to get one done for the novella I just started….

The indieBRAG Medallion

Davinia's DukeDavinia’s Duke–my most recent Regency romance novella–has been awarded the indieBRAG Gold Medallion. I’m delighted by this–it is my second independently published book to earn the medallion, which is awarded based on ten categories. This award is a boost for authors who publish independently–promotion is always hard to come by.

The other thing that is wonderful is the award encourages independent writers to make sure they have good editing, and good copy editing. Again, both those things can be difficult to come by. A good editor will improve the work without messing up the writer’s voice. A really good editor can also point out glaring problems that really do need to be fixed–pacing problems, plot holes, or just stuff that doesn’t make sense. Let’s face it, we all get lost in the woods at some point and need someone else to point out a better path.

Copy editors are then just as important–not only to catch the typos (the ones that hide from your eyes because your brain insists on making the correction in your head and not on the page), but to also finish untangling things that crept into the story.

I had very good editing from Leigh Kaye, and a great copy edit from Red Adept Editing, and a cover that fit the story from What the Hay Designs, which all goes to show that a book needs a team behind it, and not just a writer.

I also think that it is the writer’s job to first produce as clean a story as possible in the very beginning–and I used some beta readers just to make sure the story worked. My philosophy is that as the writer, I should know where the flaws exist to begin. If the early readers don’t catch them, then the magic act has worked. If they do catch the issues, then it’s time for revisions. And I like to get all those revisions done early. Because, guest what–yes, every new word on the page introduces problems for more plot holes and pacing issues and other mistakes. First draft is always first draft and needs another draft or two for some polish. However, the caution there is that it is possible to polish out the emotion on the page–so that’s where experience helps and some caution.

So…here’s to a nice, shiny gold medallion on the book, and to independent authors who publish their works! May we all strive for great stories with great characters.

My First Pre-Order — Davinia’s Duke

This is the first time I’ve done a pre-order….wheee, a new book coming out. It’s been some time. So what’s on pre-order?

Davinia's Duke: A Regency Romance NovellaA too perfect duke, a very imperfect lady…is it the perfect match or a perfect disaster?

A duke in need of a wife…

The dukes of Everley always marry at thirty–but the current duke has left choosing a bride far too late. Arriving at a country house party for a Valentine’s ball, he expects to find one suitable young lady to be the next duchess. He doesn’t expect to find the woman he once kissed in a garden–the woman who was the bane of his life for a season, and who might be the only woman who can save him from becoming a far too proper duke.

A lady in need of her own life…

Davinia has never forgotten that one kiss in a garden—but she has also been married, widowed, and intends to keep her niece from making the mistake she nearly made when she allowed the Duke of Everley to kiss her. But when the house becomes snow-bound, Davinia begins to realize there is a warm-hearted man under the weight of a title. Is it too late to correct past mistakes and rekindle a love she thought lost?

This was a story that took a long time–why do I keep forgetting that shorter often means harder. Everything has to be just so in a novella. Life got in the way…weather got in the way…and being away from a story means it takes time to pick it up again.

The story is due out July 23, right with the Beau Monde conference where I’m speaking. I still have a ton of things to do before then (like start on the next story, which I’m already researching and outlining). But it is fun to have a new story coming out!