29 August 2017, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part x150, It’s Finished, Synopsis
Announcement: Ancient Light is delayed due to the economy. You can read more about it at http://www.ancientlight.com. Ancient Light includes the second edition of Aegypt plus Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness. I’ll keep you updated.
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I’m using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I’ll keep you informed along the way.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
- Don’t confuse your readers.
- Entertain your readers.
- Ground your readers in the writing.
- Don’t show (or tell) everything.
- Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
All novels have five discrete parts:
1. The initial scene (the beginning)
2. The rising action
3. The climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement
I finished writing my 27th novel, working title, Claire, potential title Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse. This might need some tweaking. The theme statement is: Claire (Sorcha) Davis accepts Shiggy, a dangerous screw-up, into her Stela branch of the organization and rehabilitates her.
Here is the cover proposal for Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I started writing my 28th novel, working title Red Sonja. I finished my 29th novel, working title School. I’ll be providing information on the marketing materials and editing.
How to begin a novel. Number one thought, we need an entertaining idea. I usually encapsulate such an idea with a theme statement. Since I’m writing a new novel, we need a new theme statement. Here is an initial cut.
For novel 28: Red Sonja, a Soviet spy, infiltrates the X-plane programs at Edwards AFB as a test pilot’s administrative clerk, learns about freedom, and is redeemed.
For novel 29: Sorcha, the abandoned child of an Unseelie and a human, secretly attends Wycombe Abbey girls’ school where she meets the problem child Deirdre and is redeemed.
First, you write and write and write until you are competent and someone finally accepts one of your novels for publication.
Second, you keep writing.
Third, you market.
Fourth, you keep writing with the hope your marketing and your writing will finally come to fruition.
Fifth, you market.
Here is a list of the primary information I develop for a completed novel. I’ll put some explanation beside the sections. As we discuss them, I’ll fill them out for my newest novel.
Title of Work:
Deirdre: Enchantment and the School
L. D. Alford
Type: Either Screenplay or Book
Length: Either # of words for books, or # of pages for screenplays
Keywords and Market Focus:
Fiction, friendship, Wycombe Abbey, school, boarding, education, training, boyfriends, Eton, diva, skills, shooting, fencing, fae, fairy, Britain, spy, goddess, Dagda, magic; will fascinate anyone interested in friendship, boarding schools, magic, and the fae—will appeal particularly to those who enjoy mystery and suspense novels.
Author Bio: Approximately 120 words
The finest entertainment in literature is an escape into a real and inviting culture—so asserts L. D. Alford, a novelist who explores with originality those cultures and societies we think we already know. He builds tales that make ancient people and times real to us. His stories uniquely explore the connections between present events, history, and the future—he combines them with threads of reality that bring fiction alive. L. D. Alford is familiar with technology and cultures—he earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Pacific Lutheran University, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Boston University, a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Dayton, and is a graduate of Air War College, and Air Command and Staff College. He is widely traveled and has spent long periods in Europe, Asia, and Central America. L. D. Alford is an author who combines intimate scientific and cultural knowledge into fiction worlds that breathe reality.
Synopsis: Approximately 500 Words
Deirdre Calloway is a wild and dangerous girl. She’s never had a friend, was sent to boarding school at Wycombe Abbey to be finished, and has a penchant for fighting that has earned her a dubious reputation and record. Still, she is small blond haired and appears the exact opposite of her reputation. Did I mention, she has never had a friend? That’s all about to change.
Sorcha Weir has hair as black as pitch, and a face as sweet and delicate as a fae creature. Mostly because she is the offspring of a man and an Unseelie fae. She has been secretly attending Wycombe Abbey by using fae glamour to make her appear to be a proper student. She escaped from the juvenile prison at Aylesbury and secretly made her home at Wycombe. She has everything planned to learn, graduate, and continue her education. All she has to do is keep her attendance and presence a secret.
Sorcha has everything planned because no one can tell she is not a proper student—until she meets Deirdre. On the first day of classes, Deirdre notices Sorcha’s existence and sees through her glamour. This is one of Deirdre’s unusual skills. The problem is that Deirdre has never achieved anything in terms of personal intimacy except through fighting, and Sorcha has always lived a rough and tumble life. To protect her great secret, Sorcha attacks Deirdre. Deirdre doesn’t fall for the usual brawling tricks, and bests Sorcha. Now all of Sorcha’s goals are at risk. Her only hope to either banish Deirdre or befriend her. On the other hand, Deirdre is oddly attracted to those she defeats—an unpleasant result of her personality.
Deirdre is halted from fully taking advantage of her conquest by the intervention a teacher, Deirdre’s relative Lune Bolang. In any case, Sorcha seeks out Deirdre to either banish her or become her friend. Deirdre’s reaction is completely unexpected. Deirdre offers to keep Sorcha’s secret, to share her clothing, and her room.
Sorcha and Deirdre begin an odd friendship bound to Luna Bolang. Ms. Bolang doesn’t seem to know anything, but maybe knows everything. She encourages Sorcha and Deirdre to join the fencing club. She forces Deirdre and Sorcha to participate in electives.
These electives are patently unusual: fencing, shooting, making friends, associating with the tea-party class, meeting boys, learning about magic, meeting the fae, and seeing angels. There is much more in store for Deirdre and Sorcha. To keep Sorcha’s great secret and for Deirdre to remain at Wycombe and away from Deirdre’s past and her mother, the girls must acquiesce to Luna Bolang’s requirements.
Why is Luna Bolang at Wycombe as a teacher? Why the odd electives and study? Why the teaching about magic? What does Luna intend for Deirdre and Sorcha, and why is Ms. Rowley, the history instructor involved in magic? The fate of Deirdre and Sorcha lies in their own hands. The fate of friends, associates, and others will also become their responsibilities.
The synopsis is perhaps the most important part of any marketing material. This and the first chapter are usually the first look a prospective publisher or reader has of your novel. This synopsis also becomes the primary focus for your back cover or inside flap material. I’m not kidding when I write that my publisher was looking for just this type of information for their press release and for the cover of my published novels. As a writer, this is always very important information.
How you write it is as important as what you write. If you notice, the first paragraph sets the stage of the novel through the protagonist. You don’t have time and space to write a complete setting or a complete character. In 500 words, you only have time to sketch the characters, and you need to sketch them well. If possible, you want the person who reads your synopsis to want to also read your novel. You want to grab them by the throat and excite them about your writing and your work.
In these first two paragraphs, I give you the protagonist and the protagonist’s helper. I outline them so you can see them in your mind’s eye. I give them a little flesh so I can then provide a very shortened version of the first scene of the novel. The first scene sells your novel to a reader—the first scene also sells your novel to a publisher. The first scene sets your setting, characters, the telic flaw, and begins the revelation of the protagonist and the revelation of the plot. You need to catch these most important features in just a few words, then you need to drive the readers of your synopsis into the plot.
The plot of this novel is all about the interaction of the teacher Ms. Bolang with the protagonist, Deirdre Calloway and the protagonist’s helper, Sorcha Weir. You don’t have to go into excruciating detail, you don’t have the space for that. You do need to touch the plot and leave your reader wanting more. In this synopsis, I used questions to tempt the readers and tip them off about the rest of the plot.
Here is an example of an even shorter synopsis:
Plot Summary/Marketing Hook: * 200 words or less. Here’s your chance to “sell” a reader on the plot of your book!
Deirdre Calloway is a wild and dangerous girl. She’s never had a friend and has a penchant for fighting that has earned her a dubious reputation and record.
Sorcha Weir has been secretly attending Wycombe Abbey by using fae glamour to make her appear to be a proper student.
On the first day of classes, Deirdre notices Sorcha’s existence and sees through her glamour. This is one of Deirdre’s unusual skills. Sorcha’s only hope to either banish Deirdre or befriend her.
Sorcha and Deirdre begin an odd friendship bound to a teacher, Luna Bolang. Ms. Bolang doesn’t seem to know anything, but maybe knows everything. She forces Deirdre and Sorcha to participate in patently unusual electives: fencing, shooting, making friends, associating with the tea-party class, meeting boys, learning about magic, meeting the fae, and seeing angels. To keep Sorcha’s great secret and for Deirdre to remain at Wycombe and away from Deirdre’s past and her mother, the girls must acquiesce to Luna Bolang’s requirements.
Why the odd electives and study? What does Luna intend for Deirdre and Sorcha, and why is Ms. Rowley, the history instructor involved in magic? The fate of friends, associates, and others will become their responsibilities.
Notice that in this shorter synopsis, the protagonist and the protagonist’s helper are still sketched out. The initial scene is given a sentence. The plot has much more, because the most important point is to tempt with the initial scene and hook with the plot. Again, I used questions to provoke interest and excitement.
Concept of the Work: Approximately 250 Words
The concept behind Sorcha is to show a truly flawed person who initially won’t take responsibility for her actions and bad judgement. The novel shows the transformation of a person of bad judgement, taste, and personality into a powerful and useful person.
A secondary concept in the novel is love and pursuit of love by gentlemen for a lady who isn’t used to anyone loving her and another woman who has never been loved because of her personality.
Registration: WGA, ISBN, or Library of Congress, Write the number.
Other Information: If you have more work, a website, anything interesting and professional, especially any awards or recognition.
Essie: Enchantment and the Aos Si www.HearthGoddess.com, a matron rescues and educates the Queen of the fae.
Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer www.GoddessofLightNovel.com, a math genius girl gets a boyfriend and becomes a Japanese goddess.
Valeska: Enchantment and the Vampire www.GoddessofDarkness.com, a British agent accidentally becomes involved with a vampire.
Khione: Enchantment and the Fox www.GoddessNovel.com, a graduate student discovers a demigoddess in modern Boston.
Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon www.AksinyaNovel.com, a Russian princess calls a demon to protect her family.
Dana-ana: Enchantment of the Maiden www.Dana-ana.com, the mystery of Dana-ana Goewyn.
Hestia: Enchantment of the Hearth www.EnchantmentoftheHearth.com, the misadventures of archeologists in modern Greece.
Antebellum www.AntebellumNovel.com the mystery of a house that has been missing since the American Civil War and the girl who is called to it.
The Second Mission www.TheSecondMission.com is a historical fiction novel about ancient Greece published in 2003 by Xulon.
The Chronicles of the Dragon and the Fox is a science fiction series published by OakTara Fiction
The End of Honor (published, July 2008) www.TheEndofHonor.com
The Fox’s Honor (published Oct 2008) www.TheFoxsHonor.com
A Season of Honor (published Nov 2008) www.ASeasonofHonor.com
Ancient Light is a suspense series published by Broadstreet, Eleutheria, September 2014 in a three-in-one www.AncientLight.com.
Aegypt (second edition published by OakTara Fiction, 2014) www.Aegypt.com
Sister of Light (published by OakTara Fiction, 2014) www.SisterofLight.com
Sister of Darkness (published by OakTara Fiction, 2014) www.SisterofDarkness.com
More information is available at www.ldalford.com
L.D. Alford has more than 40 technical papers published in international journals on flight test, military policy, flight safety, space, and cyberwar. His military aviation writing is featured as Military Aviation Adventures on www.wingsoverkansas.com.
No one would expect Shiggy Tash to be anything more than a ditz. She’s even blond, but she may be the most dangerous person in British Intelligence—particularly to British intelligence.
Shiggy doesn’t believe in the supernatural. She’s living in a supernatural house with supernatural guardians, and meets all kinds of supernatural beings. Perhaps she needs to make a second appraisal.
What fun. A failed British agent with poor judgement who happens to be a cursed warrior. Is there any hope for Shiggy?
- No more than 3 sentences about the content of your manuscript.
Shiggy Tash finally meets her match in Sorcha Davis—Sorcha has a large stick, knows Shiggy’s every thought, and has convinced the village that Shiggy is recovering from a brain injury.
The world of British Intelligence meets the supernatural in an entertaining tale of rehabilitation, love, and spying.
Shiggy Tash is the most dangerous person in the world to British Intelligence—she happens to be a member, slightly out of control, and in need of a good trainer.
- One sentence about successful works similar to yours.
Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse is a unique novel with nothing very similar—it is an idea and a theme wholly unto itself.
- No more than 2 sentences about yourself. (use 3rd person)
- D. Alford is a novelist whose writing uniquely explores the connections between present events and history—he combines them with threads of reality that bring the past alive.
Dr. Alford is a scientist and widely traveled author who combines intimate scientific and cultural knowledge into fiction worlds that breathe reality.
- No more than 2 sentences that include “other,” i.e. any reasons, relationships, or other factors that might make your work more attractive.
Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse continues the supernatural themes introduced in L.D. Alford’s Enchantment and Ancient Light novels. It is a standalone novel.
Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse is exciting fiction from the celebrated author of Essie: Enchantment and the Aor Si, Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer, Valeska: Enchantment and the Vampire, Khione: Enchantment and the Fox, Dana-ana: Enchantment of the Maiden, Hestia: Enchantment of the Hearth, Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon, Antebellum, Centurion, Aegypt, The End of Honor, The Fox’s Honor, A Season of Honor, Sister of Light, and Sister of Darkness.
I left in the information for Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse. I’ll write and put in the information for School over the next few weeks.
fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic