12 October 2018, Writing – part x559, Developing Skills, Marketing Materials, Short Form, Next Sentence Synopsis
Announcement: Delay, my new novels can be seen on the internet, but my primary publisher has gone out of business—they couldn’t succeed in the past business and publishing environment. I’ll keep you informed, but I need a new publisher. More information can be found atwww.ancientlight.com. Check out my novels–I think you’ll really enjoy them.
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 withhttp://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.
4a. Show what can be seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted on the stage of the novel.
- Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
These are the steps I use to write a novel including the five discrete parts of a novel:
- Design the initial scene
- Develop a theme statement (initial setting, protagonist, protagonist’s helper or antagonist, action statement)
- Research as required
- Develop the initial setting
- Develop the characters
- Identify the telic flaw (internal and external)
- Write the initial scene (identify the output: implied setting, implied characters, implied action movement)
- Write the next scene(s) to the climax (rising action)
- Write the climax scene
- Write the falling action scene(s)
- Write the dénouement scene
I finished writing my 29th novel, working title, Detective, potential titleBlue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective. The theme statement is: Lady Azure Rose Wishart, the Chancellor of the Fae, supernatural detective, and all around dangerous girl, finds love, solves cases, breaks heads, and plays golf.
Here is the cover proposal for Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective.
The most important scene in any novel is the initial scene, but eventually, you have to move to the rising action. I am continuing to write on my 30thnovel, working title Red Sonja. I finished my 29th novel, working titleDetective. I’m planning to start on number 31, working title Shifter.
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 30: 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 31: TBD
Here is the scene development outline:
- Scene input (comes from the previous scene output or is an initial scene)
- Write the scene setting (place, time, stuff, and characters)
- Imagine the output, creative elements, plot, telic flaw resolution (climax) and develop the tension and release.
- Write the scene using the output and creative elements to build the tension.
- Write the release
- Write the kicker
Today: Time again to look at marketing materials. I just finished a new novel—actually, I finished it a few weeks ago, but I’ve been working on the marketing materials. I always develop the specific materials first, then the condensed materials for my currently defunct publisher, and then the cover. You can see above, I made a proposed cover. I haven’t put any of this information on the internet yet, but I’m building up to that.
Here is my proposed cover:
Marketing materials are a must. I’ll be straight up with you. I know most people have not completed their novels. Some of you might have. You might be still working on your editing and proofing. You might be still perfecting your novel. All of that is important, but none of it matters if you don’t have a plan for marketing your work. Marketing means you have some plan and know what a publisher might want to know about you and your work. I gave you a format with examples from my own novel. I showed you the “long form.” If there is a long form, there must be a short form. That’s what I will give you next. Here is the short form for my novelBlue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective.
Title of Work:
Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective
Type: Either Screenplay or Book
Length: Either # of words for books, or # of pages for screenplays
Keywords and Market Focus:
Fiction, detective, supernatural, fae, fairy, romance, intelligence, Britain, United Kingdom, MI6, magic, New Scotland Yard, goddess, Dagda, organization, the Crown; will fascinate anyone interested in mystery, detectives, and the fae—will appeal particularly to those who enjoy mystery and suspense novels.
Can you describe your novel in a sentence? Or perhaps the question should be, can you get the basic gist of your novel into a sentence? More importantly, can you get a reader excited about your novel with a sentence? I’ll give you three tries.
Actually, I expect you to be able to give me a valid expression of your novel with each of three sentences. I also expect for you to make me interested enough to read your novel. If you can’t do this, I suspect you can’t write a novel either, but I know you can do this—I’ll help guide you through writing a sentence synopsis. Here are examples from my novel, Azure, below.
- No more than 3 sentences about the content of your manuscript.
The Lady Azure Rose Wishart applies to New Scotland Yard as a supernatural detective—she has to explain exactly what a supernatural detective can do, but that’s just part of the details.
The Lady Azure Rose Wishart finds her match in the puppy love of Lachlann Calloway—she doesn’t need any kind of love especially from a boyfriend, but now she’s stuck with one.
The Lord Chancellor of the Book of the Fae wishes to regain her estate, become a supernatural detective, and make her mark on the aristocracy—pretty cheeky for a sixth form head girl.
Again, we start with the second sentence synopsis with the protagonist. In this case, I go for the throat with one of the themes of the novel—the romance of Lachlann Calloway. Instead of hitting on the telic flaw of the novel, the supernatural detective story, I write a sentence synopsis keyed to a reader who might be more interested in the love and romance aspect of the novel.
I drive the excitement by providing some decidedly interesting implied questions. Why does Lady Azure find her match with the puppy love of Lachlann Calloway? Why would any woman or man not be interested to a degree in romance and love? I know in stories this happens all the time, but it mostly isn’t true. We are almost all interested in love and romance, but we usually don’t find our match in a negative fashion. The word match here is used in two ways: match as in fit and match as is opponent.
Again we have a second independent clause separated by an em dash (double hyphen). The second clause gives you the answer to “match,” and brings up more questions. Why doesn’t she want or need any kind of love? Why doesn’t she want a boyfriend? How is she stuck with one? These implied questions, I hope, excite and intrigue the reader to the point that they want to read the novel. This is especially true for a potential publisher, but in terms of marketing blurbs, I also want to express this excitement and tickling of the reader’s imagination.
I mentioned that these mini-synopses are different than the reviewer’s quotes. With a reviewer’s quote, we are also trying to engage the reader’s imagination and excitement, but in a little different fashion.
The reviewer’s quote is made from the standpoint of a reader who is trying to express exactly what intrigued them about the novel. It’s made from the outside looking in. The reader has read the novel and is letting other readers in on the fun. In a marketing blurb sentence synopsis, the standpoint is from the writer looking out. The novel is an unknown and the writer of the mini-synopsis is looking to tempt the reader into some degree of excitement or interest in the novel.
Are they really that much different? Not really, but if you look closely at them, I think you can feel some of the difference. Here, I’ll repeat the reviewer’s quotes:
The Lady Azure Rose Wishart plays golf, reluctantly finds love, adjudicates the Fae, fights with the Queen, and solves supernatural mysteries—what’s not to like?
Azure was called “despicable” by her boyfriend’s mother, Mrs. Calloway—it doesn’t help that Mrs. Calloway is the head of supernatural intelligence for Britain and has the ear of the Queen.
Can the Lord Chancellor of the Book of the Fae find peace, love, and wealth as a supernatural detective? Not if the Queen and Mrs. Calloway, the goddess of the Gaelic people have their way.
Each of these have a little different feel than the mini-synopses. They all start with the protagonist, but each with a little different focus. They each hit on a different theme or plot point of the novel. They each ask both implied and direct questions. And that’s where you can really find a structural difference. The reviewer’s quotes are less direct and bold—they are impressions of the novel. The mini-synopses are direct and lay out direct questions the reader found in the novel, but thinks the potential reader might find interesting.
That’s about it. I’ll get to the last tomorrow.
- One sentence about successful works similar to yours.
Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective is a novel along the lines of Sherlock Holmes, except it’s about a woman, and her Watson is a smart young Wing Commander.
- No more than 2 sentences about yourself. (use 3rdperson)
- 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.
Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective continues the supernatural themes introduced in L.D. Alford’s Enchantment and Ancient Light novels. It is a standalone novel.
Blue Rose: Enchantment and the Detective is exciting mystery fiction from the celebrated author of Deirdre: Enchantment and the School, Sorcha: Enchantment and the Curse, 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.
In this introduction to the short form information, we are building short pieces to describe you and your work. The use of this information is similar to the use of the long form. The short form is specifically getting the author used to writing a tight, exciting, and interesting blurbs about their own writing.
fiction, theme, plot, story, storyline, character development, scene, setting, conversation, novel, book, writing, information, study, marketing, tension, release, creative, idea, logic