On Writing & Publishing by Robin D. Owens

Personal notes on writing techniques, writing a novel, my writing career and threading your way through publishing a book.

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Location: Denver, United States

RITA Award Winning Author -- that's like the Oscar, folks! Futuristic/Fantasy Romance and Fantasy with Romantic Subplots.

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Monday, February 20, 2006


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Yes, I'm late, I stayed up late watching the Olympics, got up early and worked on the first scene of Heart Change that I want to include with my synopsis of same. Then worked on the (&$(#&)(%(%$*$#&$^!!!! synopsis (no it never gets easier).

A proposal (also called partial) is usually the first 3 chapters (or first chapter, or first 50 pages depending upon the agent/editor) and a synopsis that can be anywhere from a page to ten (also depending upon the request). I know some people who sell on a paragraph, and I must admit that the last book I turned in was a "blind" book, Berkley had no clue what it was getting, but now I'm back to synopses.

The chapters and synopses should showcase your talent. They should be as perfect as you can make them and still have your own, unique voice.

I'd rather do chapters than synopses, as you all know, and since I wasn't sure what would be required of me, I'd already written the beginning of Heart Match. I have TWO beginnings of Heart Fate that I will "meld" together, and the first scene (only 4 pages) of Heart Change that I wrote this morning. For me, this is to show my editor that I CAN still write after stilted synopses.

The synopses are the best I can make them and get them out at this time...but I'm not really willing to go through 3 more critiques to polish and polish and polish every word, turn of phrase, and the whole darn thing. They will go out more awkward than I really like, but there comes a time when polishing the thing takes hours and the brain bleeds, and may be as productive as changing a comma. So out they'll go, a trifle rough, WITH pages.

A synopsis is to let the editor know YOU can tell a story and have it hang together.

For those of us who write and find the story mostly hangs together after we type "The End," plotting can be a real challenge. But I've said this before.

Proposal = first three chapters, Synopsis, Query Letter (and no, I probably won't ever have a query letter here because I never did a cold query, always had a request to send a partial).

It's rare that authors are immediately asked for a full manuscript, usually partials are requested, then the full. And that's writer speak. "I was asked for a partial." "They requested a full!"

So best of luck today on all your submissions. May they not need any polishing.


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