Welcome to Ravenna’s Monday Mumblings!!
Honestly, and you can hate me for this, but I don’t dread writing a synopsis or a blurb.
Who knows the book you just wrote better than you? If you can’t summarize it in a couple of paragraphs for a blurb, or a page or two for a synopsis, who can? You’re the one who wrote the story. No one but you knows the plot, the characters, or the multiple nuances in the book any better.
Every day on social media I see authors complain about writing a synopsis or a blurb. So, in the spirit of trying to help, here is how I approach those two necessary aspects of each book.
1 – Keep Notes
Just what it says. Open a separate Word doc, or whatever program you use to write, as soon as you begin the new story, and keep all your notes in it. Your character sketches, details about the world, back stories that shaped your characters and brought them to where and when they are when the story begins, etc., etc., etc. Everything extra and informational goes in here. Some of it may never make it into the story, but that doesn’t matter. YOU know it. It not only helps you keep consistency throughout the book, but it gives you a framework for summarizing what this book is all about.
If you’re writing a series, doing this is invaluable, especially if you tend to write long ones. I don’t know about you, but I can’t keep a grocery list in my head let alone the entire world and all its details about a series.
Since you have that document open and are adding to it as you write, try writing the blurb BEFORE the story is done. You know how it’s going to end. Summarize it now. If it changes, you can always revise the blurb. But this way, you have it done when you’re ready to submit the manuscript. Copy, paste, voila!
A BLURB is meant to tease the reader so much that she has to buy the book to find out what happens. You want exciting action words, and an air of mystery or suspense.
Below is the blurb for RUTHLESS TEMPTATION – The Weathermen 11. The Weathermen is a long-running, twelve book series. My blurb is the same for each book as far as the hero is concerned. It’s only the heroine’s part I change for each book.
Madison Overton thinks she’s about to blow the lid off a scandal surrounding the Weathermen. Instead, she finds herself on the wrong side of Viggo Ingram, a man she can’t seem to stop fantasizing about. When he seduces her then gives her no choice but to spy on her boss for him, she’s torn between common sense and lust. But after Madison overhears information that causes her to leave her job and comes to work for Viggo, she finally realizes what he and his friends are trying accomplish.
Viggo is part of a group of friends financing the efforts to put a stop to The Madeline Project. The program now has a mind of its own, thanks to a virus called Tommy Twister. These men have power, resources, and money, but they’re as ruthless and possessive as the storms ravaging Earth.
They call themselves the Weathermen…
2 – Outline
I know. I don’t do detailed ones either. I’m talking outline at the most basic level, and then that’s usually because I’ve written myself into a corner. But if you get into the habit of making even the sketchiest of sketchy outlines, then revising it as you write, guess what you’ll have when the story is finished?
The SYNOPSIS. Because really that’s all it is. It’s an outline of the most important plot points plus the resolution. Yes, you give away the ending. The acquiring editor wants to see whether this story is cohesive, has the right ending for the genre, flows in a logical way, etc.
A synopsis, unlike a blurb, can be as bland and dry as you like. Your readers don’t see this. The acquiring editor does. It’s meant to give your publisher an overview of the story, nothing more. Hit the high points. You want to show the goals, motivation, and conflicts for the main characters in the story. If you already know those from your character sketches before you begin to write, and if you’ve keep notes while you’ve written the story, you already have your synopsis written.
Below is the SYNOPSIS for HARDWIRED FOR ECSTASY – The Weathermen 10 – which released on March 31st.
Emma Sawyer has taken a job in a new city for two reasons. One, it’s a chance to work at Yates Industries, headed up by CEO Atticus Yates. Two, she won’t return to Central for personal reasons.
After discovering the man who wined and dined her for three years was actually married, Emma is humiliated. Not only did most of the people who worked with her at the Fourth District police station in Central know their captain, Leland Clough, was actually married, but they had a lot of fun laughing at Emma’s naïveté behind her back. When Emma lands a job using the skills she learned in school, she’s all too happy to leave behind her boring work as a civilian in the police station, and the bright lights of Central.
Atticus Yates is everything she’d expect one of the infamous Weathermen to be. Gorgeous, charming, intelligent, and charismatic, he also flatters her from day one by asking her to be the lead on a pet project of his. He wants her to design a device that would track and uncover machine IDs and IP addresses.
It’s a daunting task, but Emma is grateful for the distraction. If she never hears Leland’s or his wife, Bonnie’s, names again it will be too soon. Unfortunately, she is unaware of the connection the Weathermen have with Bonnie Clough, and it takes no time at all for Atticus to realize the woman he just hired was involved with Bonnie’s husband in a personal way.
Thinking Atticus discovered her relationship with Leland and is upset about that, at first Emma is indignant when she’s summoned to his office. Her shame in dating a man she didn’t know was married is none of her new boss’s business. But within moments Emma realizes Atticus’s bad attitude has nothing to do with Leland and everything to do with Bonnie, plus his fear that Emma was sent to his company as a spy.
As the weeks pass, Emma learns how deeply Bonnie’s resentment of the Weathermen goes, especially after an article written under a fake byline appears in a small central online press. It doesn’t name Emma specifically, but it does say a person who used to work in the Fourth District police station now works for one of the Weathermen, and has been feeding him inside information. The article also accuses the Weathermen of trying to hide the location and real names of the hackers from Homeland Cyber Security – where Bonnie works.
As the Weathermen try to discover the source of the article, and keep the hackers from fleeing once again, Emma and Atticus become lovers. Emma easily falls in love with this man who makes her realize what true romance and passion is. Atticus can’t help but fall in love with Emma, who embodies everything he’s ever wanted in a woman.
But these two hurtle toward their HEA amidst more bad news for the Weathermen. One of the hackers quits and his whereabouts are unknown, on the same day Bonnie and Dave Perry, another person who isn’t crazy about the Weathermen, are both fired from HCS. Dave was outed as the one who wrote the article to try to discredit the Weathermen, but no one understands why. While Dave has been outspoken before about not wanting to allow the Weathermen to go vigilante on the hackers, he is also one of the original programmers of The Madeline Project. The Weathermen fear the worst, and step up their plans to get information from the hackers.
Atticus doesn’t want to face the future without knowing that Emma will be his, so he asks her to marry him, and she accepts.
The goals of both Emma and Atticus are outlined, the motivation behind them, as well as the conflicts keeping them apart, and then keeping them together. The ending is given away, and in this case, the set up for the 11th book is also given. Oh, and this all fits onto one page.
That’s it! Ravenna’s two simple tricks to having a blurb and synopsis ready to go by the end of the book. Take notes and outline. Try it next time, and see if those dreaded words aren’t quite so scary or daunting when it’s time to put them onto paper.