Stepping into the forest of my mind

Stepping into the forest of my mind
Just as every journey begins with a first step, every story begins with the first word.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Need for a Book Synopsis to Clear the Brain

Journaling about Spring
Did you ever get to the point that you’ve been looking at the same material over and over and perhaps it was time to step back and analyze it?

            I’ve gotten to that point, and I think that a book synopsis is just the thing to clear my brain to see the manuscript as a whole, to see the turning points and character growth.  To see what I have learned attending college for ten of my children’s growing up years. 

            There’s so much information online about synopses.  I started with a post by Laurel Cohn which gave me general guidelines to set up a book synopsis, like keeping the word count under 500.  But what to include…

            I stared at my 14 chapters until my eyeballs fell out.  I knew I still needed to divide some of the latter chapters.  Finally, I decided to describe a few turning points in the synopsis and assure the publishers that I did complete my bachelor’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania.  Then I asked my good friend Jennifer M. Eaton to look at it.  As an experienced Y.A. novel writer, she knows about synopses. 

She asked me one important question.  “Where’s the humorous voice?” 

Leave it to the experienced writer to see through my thin veil of knowledge.

Simple solution:  Describe the college journey through my humorous voice in the synopsis.  Sounds easy.  It’s not. 

Luckily I had made topic sheets for each chapter so I knew at a glance where I had covered what in my memoir.  I found the anecdote about driving the children to the dentist for checkups and trying to tell them about the psychology I was learning.  This helped me study.  However, Pavlov’s dogs were easier to train.  The children kept pushing each other in the van and interrupting me.

I made study tapes for courses to listen to at the children’s swim meets, but then my ear jack disengaged and everyone heard about the horror of Holocaust during the dive competition.  My husband told me I wasn’t allowed to bring the study tapes to the kids’ events when he was present.  I combed the topic sheets for other gems to relate what I hoped was my humorous voice in the memoir.  
Why all this angst about writing a book synopsis at this time?  HarperCollins is seeking submissions and no agent is required.  They want adult fiction, romance, young adult fiction, memoir, illustrated non-fiction and more.  You can find details here 

A bit more tweaking of the memoir and I’ll be searching for some beta readers.  Would anyone like to read a portion of my memoir or the whole thing?  No rush…unless HarperCollins comes to call.