Writing the Mystery Synopsis

It’s Labor Day here in the USA and any writer will tell you…writing a synopsis is hard labor. After checking multiple author websites, and my own writing manual (free PDF here) I have refreshed my memory on exactly how to organize one. These tricky summaries of plot are basically story outlines in sentence form.

No subplots. Few characters, just the main one (or two). Include all major plot twists and/or turning points and spell out the ending with a super spoiler. Also, make the first sentence a sensational hook. And, use the voice of your book, so if it’s comic, write a funny synopsis. If it’s dark, write a spooky one.

That’s my best advice plus a wing and a prayer. Why am I putting myself through this grueling process? I want to get eyes on my work and Pitch Wars! has agents, editors and authors looking at synopsis and first chapter near the end of September. The window is only open for a few days. There’s still time, but not a whole lot of it.

Today I’m working on the synopsis with an eye toward sending it to my Michigan Sister in Crime Pitch Wars! partner, Zoe. We have already vetted each other’s first chapters. 🙂 Believe it or not, writing the synopsis is harder. Particularly when you have to do it all on one page, which is what Pitch Wars! asks for.

Lucky for me, Al has the day off and he’s barbecuing dinner.

Creative Juice

Just signed up for this year’s Rochester Writer’s Conference put together by DWW member Michael Dwyer. Michael does so much in the Michigan writing community: he is set to sponsor a writing contest, runs an open monthly workshop, creates an annual conference.

Having so recently had a taste of what it takes to make a conference go, I really don’t know how he does it. I had a ton of help, but he organizes the entire thing himself. I was a RWC speaker last year and saw from the inside Michael’s impressive organization skills. He’s lined up a great roster of interesting workshop leaders and I cannot wait to be a student again.

One of the key aspects of my personality is that I love learning. I’m glad my love of learning has continued this far down the road of my life. I know I’ll never know it all, but I shall be inspired and enlightened. There’s nothing like a room full of writers to get the creative juices flowing.

Writing Contest

I love entering writing competitions. In fact, I’m polishing up an entry for one today. I have written a draft, put it away for a week, taken another look, revised, polished, and after one last read this morning, I’m going to send it. I am done with the nail biting “Is it good enough? Will I be a contender?” phase and am on to the growing sense of possibility and elation. That emotional mix will hit its peak when I mail the entry. If I actually win? That’s an even better feeling, like living in a skin made of Champagne, bubbly everywhere.

If you want those feelings, and a possible win to put in your queries & on your bio, there’s another writing competition in my own writer’s organization: Detroit Working Writers. If I wasn’t in charge of it, I’d enter. It’s open to all Michigan writers and DWW members no matter where you live. We have five wide open genres. For example, you could send a screenplay or a stage play in the “play” category. For fiction, you can send a chunk of a novel, a short story, or even micro-fiction in any genre. There is truly something for every writer. (Except porn! Please no porn!)

We have five talented, multi-published judges, each of whom will adjudicate their own area of expertise. Best part are the cash prizes. Lots of them! First, second, and third place in all five categories. But time is ticking. Our deadline is July 15. Winners will be announced at our From Passion to Profession conference in September. You don’t have to be there to win, but you should come! 

See our website for more information and entry forms. Get writing and Good luck!

Little Writings

My writing room is almost ready to move back into, but a few major things need to be completed first. My desk is in there. I could write in there. But it feels to strange with half-built bookcases on the floor. So I wait. And I write in my family room.

I’m not working on my novel. It’s too big and feels like it needs to be tucked away from the chaos. But I am writing–an essay for a Chicken Soup story. I wasn’t really thinking about it but the words started coming anyway, so I’m writing them down in a  notebook. I do love the shorter form essay sometimes. A nice change.

If you live in Michigan, you can practice your short forms for cash prizes from my writing group, DWW, short for Detroit Working Writers. There are five categories of writings–something for everyone. I’d have to double check, but I think we pay out about the same as the Chicken Soup people. Our first prizes (there are five of them!) are $100. We also have second and third place cash prizes. So be it short story, poem, essay, or just about any other genre, if you life in Michigan, you can enter.

Why not take your shot? I am!