Justine: Hook, (Log)line, and Sinker…er, Synopsis, pt. 3

Even the title

Even the title “Jurassic Park” is its own form of high concept. Poster (c) 1993 Universal Studios

So, I’ve got a logline and synopsis…the last thing I’m missing is my high concept (the hook).

I dread this.

Well, let me clarify. I dread this for Three Proposals. I’ve had no problems coming up with high concept ideas for the other stories that are swimming around in my brain. But for this one? Ugh. It’s been a struggle.

For the uninitiated, a high concept is a way to convey the story in a few short, easy to recognize ideas that hook the reader (or listener). Here are some examples: Continue reading

Justine: Hook, (Log)line, and Sinker…er, Synopsis, pt. 2

justine covington, eight ladies writing, synopsis writingWelcome to Week Two of how to write awesome pitches (’cause conference season is soon upon us!). Last week, I covered how to write a log line. This week, it’s the dreaded synopsis.

As most of you know, a synopsis is a short version of your story, a sort of 10,000 foot view. When agents and editors ask for a partial and a synopsis, they’re looking for two things:

  1. Can this person write (they’ll determine that from the partial), and
  2. Can this person plot (is their story a series of unfortunate events, or is there some smokin’ GMC going on?)

To many people, writing the synopsis is incredibly intimidating. You think about all the great story pieces in your book that you’re sure the agent/editor needs to see. Well, they don’t. Continue reading

Justine: Hook, (Log)line, and Sinker…er, Synopsis

writer fears, eight ladies writing, justine covingtonIt’s that time of year here at Eight Ladies Writing – RWA Nationals is upon us, just a few months away – and it’s time to start perfecting (and memorizing) our pitches.

Actually, for me, it’s more than my pitch. It’s my logline (which I’ve struggled with), my synopsis (which I’m pretty happy with), and my “high concept” (which I don’t yet have for Three Proposals).

Over the next three weeks, I’m going to break down how to write each of these, using Three Proposals as an example. This week, I’ll start with the logline.

The history of the logline is interesting. It started Continue reading

Nancy: In Praise of the Brief Synopsis (and How to Write Yours)

Tell me your story...in a few words.

Tell me your story…in a few words.

For most of us writers, there comes a time in our lives when we have to face the music, pull up our big-person pants, and take on a terrible task: writing a brief synopsis of our work. This is not to be confused with the long synopsis (5-10 single-spaced pages). This is the brief synopsis. One to two single-spaced pages. About 500-1,000 words. In which to summarize your 100,00-word work of genius. Yikes.

Today I’m going to discuss how to make the brief synopsis your friend. Okay, friend might be a bit strong. But it’s quite possible it’s going to be a necessary evil at some point in your writing life, if you plan to submit work to agents or editors, or to enter your work in contests. So I’ll share some ‘synopsis hacks’ that can make the process less painful, and possibly even worthwhile. I’m even going to suggest Continue reading

Elizabeth: Learning by Judging

judging-youElizabeth here, filling in for Kat today.

Like several of the other 8 Ladies I have been spending time recently judging contest entries. The process was an interesting one. The stories I judged were paranormal romances so it gave me the opportunity to read things I wouldn’t normally have chosen. It was also helpful from a writer’s perspective. Problems I might not have seen in my own work were easier to identify in someone else’s story.

After making it through the twelve entries I had to judge, I noticed a number of recurring issues that pulled me out of the stories as I was reading them. So, for those of you planning to enter any writing contests in the future (or planning to submit your work to an agent or editor), here are some suggestions to consider before you hit that “submit” button: Continue reading

Nancy: Surviving the Synopsis


If you are a fiction writer who hopes to become published, chances are you’re going to have to write a synopsis of your story. In fact, since many published writers sell their next book/books to their editors via a synopsis, chances are, if you stay in this game long enough, you’re going to have to write a lot of synopses of a lot of stories.

You can let this fact drive you to distraction or madness or drinking, or you can choose to make peace with the synopsis process, which tells you something about how I’ve spent my writing time this past week. First, as I’ve been heads down in one manuscript for so long, I needed a little refresher about synopsis best practices, so of course I turned to the InterWebs. And was immediately inundated with Way. Too. Much. Information. So, next, I dug through some old notebooks and rediscovered some sources I’d found helpful in the past, Continue reading

Elizabeth: The Dreaded Synopsis

iStock_000024086772LargeAlthough I haven’t quite (understatement) finished Act II yet, I took some time out this week to work on my synopsis.  It had been quite a while since I drafted it for a class assignment, but I’m working on a contest entry that requires a synopsis as part of the first 35 pages, so I had to dig it out and dust it off.

Although my story has gone through a variety of changes and iterations during the last several months, I was surprised to see how closely the synopsis follows the story as it stands today (yay!). It definitely needs work, but at least I don’t need to start completely from scratch.  As a plus, working on the synopsis has jump-started a few ideas for Act II, so this has been time well spent. Continue reading