Thursday, November 19, 2009


Today is synopsis day.

You know, a synopsis--that thing you are supposed to write up before you start actually writing your book. It is "the short version."

One kind of synopsis can be for the whole book--kinda like a book report summary. Then there is the chapter by chapter synopsis. That is from 10 to 30 pages and is the really condensed version of a Reader's Digest Condensed Book version of the book. That is the kind I need to write.

It's not like I am a total slouch. I did do some pre-planning for this book. After talking out the major premise of the book with #1 granddaughter, I wrote out a character description for each of my main characters, their wardrobes and -- well -- their stuff. I roughed out the first scenes of the book, made up a time-line and did the preliminary research (there is that word again. Refer to my last blog posting.) I made a rough outline. Not bad for a start.

Since then, I discovered that one of my subplots would not work because the science does not support it. Also, I have added two ongoing characters, one of them major.

Did I mention this is at least a trilogy, and probably a quadrilogy? You ask: you mean you do not know? Answer: yes and no.

You see, I had one of those wonderfully inspired moments a few months ago. The muse was really with me. I took all my characters and scenes that I planned to use for the entire series and worked it all out in my head. It came together beautifully. Masterpiece!

I know that when that kind of inspiration comes along, it is important to write it down while it is still fresh in my mind. I know that.

Did I do that? No.

How could I forget my beautiful brain-child? But, I have. Was that scene going to be in book two or book four? I do not remember. Bits and pieces have fallen by the way.


So, now it is back to the "drawing board", so to speak. I need the synoptic version of each of the chapters in each of my books--all of the synopses--so that I can print it out and put it on a bulletin board to keep in front of me as I work out the fine details.

Synoptically yours--

Monday, November 16, 2009

Research By Any Other Name...

I find that a lot of what is involved with writing this novel is research. Sage advice on effective novel-writing practice seems to be this: do all the research first so that once the writing starts, the flow is not interrupted by the need to stop and research something.

That is a good plan--to a point.

What I have discovered is this: as the plot and dialog builds in the course of my writing, it triggers thoughts and questions that I never realized the story needed before I started writing that scene. Thus, I need to do more research. I do not find these pauses to seek out additional details to be a distraction that interrupts my writing flow. The results often add depth and detail to my story that motivates my writing.

Many people dread research, but do not realize how much of it they often do as part of their job or their life. Whether it known as searching the files, digging a little deeper, "let me check on it and I'll get back to you", or a myriad of other things, it is research.

To illustrate my point, I like this scene in Aurora Rescue between Cy and the F.B.I. agent, Lee Hardin.

Cy gets fed up (no pun intended) with the agent showing up every day or two to ask questions. He especially gets annoyed with being called "Kid." He decides to find out as much as he can about the agent, and learns some interesting details about the man's past. The next time Hardin slides into a chair next to Cy at the internet cafe and goes through a round of questions, the conclusion of the scene goes like this:

"Well, you got my phone number," said Lee Hardin as he heaved himself out of the chair, "So, if there is anything you think I need to know, you call me, okay, Kid?"

Hardin turned as if to leave, then he turned back towards Cy.

"You don't mind if I call you Kid, do you?"

Cy looked directly into Agent Hardin's eyes with a straight face and casually said, "Not at all, Cowboy. You don't mind if I call you Cowboy, do you?"

Cy felt a surge of satisfaction as he watched the older man's head jerk up and his back stiffen.

Then the agent relaxed his body and raised one corner of his mouth in his usual lop-sided grin before he responded.

"Sounds like you been doing a little investigating yourself, Kid."

Cy lowered his eyes to the computer screen and started to work the touch pad with his fingers.

"In my field, Cowboy, we call it research."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Dog Is In

In one of my sections of Aurora Rescue, the one titled "Chimney Rock", I introduced the character of the dog, Hunter. Hunter took an instant liking to one of my main characters, Marty, and chose to stick close to her rather than to his grumpy and demanding mistress, Maggie.

When it was time to leave this section, I originally planned to leave Hunter with Maggie. Hunter is her dog. But, one of my readers wanted to know, "What about Hunter? When am I going see Hunter again?"

So, I checked with my readers, and my technical expert, ol' Buck, my husband, and the decision was made to have Hunter continue in the book. In fact, one of my readers gave me an excellent idea for Hunter in Book Two, which is tentatively titled Aurora Rebound. So, Hunter has joined the cast of continuous characters (as opposed to my scene-specific characters).

After all, he really is a cute dog.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Aurora Rescue - The Novel

I decided it is time to blog the progress of my novel. You know, the "Great American Novel" we all plan to write? Well--hooray!--mine is halfway there.

I decided on a young adult novel. No foul language or steamy love scenes in my book, thank you very much. I ran my first idea past one of the best reading critics in the world--#1 granddaughter. She assured me that my first idea would not appeal to young adults. Then, she steered me onto the path of an idea that she thought a lot of young adults would enjoy. With these few suggestions from her, I came up with the plot and characters for Aurora Rescue. Forget the Good Housekeeping seal of approval--I got one from #1 Granddaughter.

She even gave some great technical advice. Who better to instruct Grandma on the difference between nerds and geeks? Who better to provide me with the best online sources for texting language short-cuts?

I recruited several readers to give me feedback. I told them from the start that the number one rule is that they were to give their honest opinion on my chapter surveys. I do not want "warm fuzzies" to boost my ego. I want honest suggestions on how to improve my characters, settings and plot to boost my chances of successfully finding a publisher.

Several of my readers stuck with me through the first section of Aurora Rescue and gave me great feedback. Then school started. I am down to two readers--one a teenager and one, well, a little older than young adult. Talk about a great brainstorming team!

I don't know if having readers who give honest feedback during the process of writing a novel, especially a first novel, is a suggestion authors include in the "how-to" books that tell us how to write our Great American Novel, but it sure is working for me.

Oh, and #2 granddaughter, a pre-teen, also thinks the book has promise.