Good things from WRITE GOOD OR DIE

Good things from WRITE GOOD OR DIE
photo from amazon (link below)

I don’t actually remember how I found this book, but I am sure glad I did! Author Scott Nicholson has put together a volume of 33 articles written by authors like Gayle Lynds, Kevin J. Anderson, M.J. Rose, Heather Graham, Douglas Clegg, Alexandra Sokoloff, J.A. Konrath, Harley Jane Kozak, Jonathan Maberry (and more) that has me sailing through the pages devouring all of it.

The chapters are grouped into sections on ART, CRAFT, and  BUSINESS and the whole book feels like I’m sitting at a coffee shop with these authors as they share insights and personal woes about writing.

One piece in particular that really resonated with me was the chapter on Discipline by Kristine Kathryn Rusch which changed what I did when I got to my desk today. Instead of giving in to the demon that wants me to check my email and facebook and twitter and then get up to eat something (chocolate covered doughnuts hubby hid in the fridge) and do laundry and nap and clean toilets and do ANYTHING as long as it isn’t actual writing, I instead asked myself, “What about this isn’t working?” And I powered through. It is amazing how our mind will play us like a puppet if we let it.

I wish I could say that I wrote all the things I needed to on this day, I can’t. I can say I wrote more today than I would have, given the push from the advice in these pages. So, that’s worth something.  At this time, the Kindle version is free, so it is DEFINITELY worth your time, even if it won’t cost your dime.

I leave you with this: plucked right from my garden and smelling up the joint something wonderful!

Micro-sizing the Synopsis

I’m all signed up for SCBWI – Los Angeles in August and OMG I am so excited about it! Are you going?

I’ve not allowed myself to attend any more conferences or enter any writing contests with my current manuscript because I was procrastinating on the final edits. I’ve dangled this conference like a chocolate pastry in front of me to compel some much needed work.

Guess what? I fell for it! Seeing the light at the end here it feels pretty freaking awesome. That said, I’ll be pretty scarce in the next few weeks as I keep my head down in my pages and do the sprucing of the words to make it all shiny.

you can do eeet!

So, SCBWI LA:  I signed up for a manuscript consult while I’m there and when I read up on the submission guidelines I saw this:

Submit only the first TEN (10) pages, even if it cuts off mid-chapter, plus a ONE-page, double-spaced synopsis.

ONE-page, DOUBLE SPACED Synopsis. Can it be true?  How does one perform such feats? I’ve got a two pager that was tough to manage, and that is single spaced. I cried big fat baby tears when I worked on the single page that was single spaced. But a single page double spaced? That’s like five words.

Say it ain’t so.

A synopsis isn’t a teaser. It needs to reveal the whole shebang. This isn’t like the one paragraph and smaller theme-based summaries, this needs to have the beginning, middle, and the end. And it needs to be snazzy.

So I mulled. I complained out loud. I grumbled that it could not be done.

And then I googled.

Which brought me to this blog which mentioned this little series of goodness that made me go here and blew my mind open to micro-synopsis possibilities.

How much of the shebang do you really need?

Taking the advice of Molly via Holly, (thank you ladies, and google!) I read all of the blurbs summarizing all the Newbery winners and started taking a giant step back to zoom out a tad more on my novel. And you know what happened?  I got my main story arc down to one page.

I also realized that I like to add lots of details that are, in fact, ancillary. (Even if they are awesome.)  I felt like I was de-juicing my manuscript.

It’s been an interesting exercise to approach the synopsis from this angle, so I thought I’d share.  Molly’s 4-part blog series is especially helpful when looking at creating the much needed set of synopses for your arsenal. I especially like how she describes them as if they were food.  ;)

Do you struggle with your synopsis?

Meet Author Susan Oloier +WIN a copy of FRACTURED

Meet Author Susan Oloier +WIN a copy of FRACTURED

Today I am excited to have my friend, Author Susan Oloier, visiting the blog! Susan’s new novel FRACTURED was released just this week and is enjoying a blog tour and giveaway to celebrate!  Follow the book tour here and enter the giveaway below.


When Anna Kincaid has a miscarriage, her world comes crashing to a halt. Grief overwhelms her life and she combats it with prescription medication. Her husband Lloyd does not see the event as tragic. In fact, not ready to be a father, he is relieved at the news. This creates a chasm in their marriage and splits them apart. Both Anna and Lloyd find themselves moving in different directions. Anna finds hope in a young, male colleague named Ben and comfort in narcotics. Lloyd loses himself in work. Will their marriage survive the miscarriage, or will it always remain fractured?

Reading about this story, readers learn quickly that it isn’t based on a happy event. Right away we meet Anna Kincaid and witness her experiencing the loss of her pregnancy. What inspired you to write this story?

FRACTURED came from my own miscarriage experiences in 2002. Initially, writing the novel was a way to cope with the pain of a loss few understood. But I quickly realized I couldn’t create a fully-developed story based on miscarriage alone, so it became more about a broken marriage precipitated by the loss of a pregnancy.

Tell me about the journey from idea to novel.

FRACTURED has been ten years in the making, Though it was not the first novel I wrote, it took a lot of time to get the first draft completed. Then life events took me away from novel writing: the birth of my two sons, my graduate degree, a teaching job, a gig as a magazine columnist, small publishing credits, and eventually a year-long road trip to visit the national parks in the lower 48 (another story that is already six years in the making). I’ve revised, rewritten, and edited FRACTURED though the years, I dusted the manuscript off again and worked to get it in shape for publishing.

What made you decide to go with Indie Publishing?

In 2006, my younger son was born with Trisomy 18, an often fatal diagnosis. When my husband and I were told he would likely die before he reached two months, I made a conscious decision to truly live my life in the moment. Then in 2011, my sister-in-law died in a tragic car accident at 36. These two moments, along with other major events in my life, made me fully aware that I may not have tomorrow. So why wait for the glimmer of hope from an agent of from publishers? I’ve racked up hundreds of rejections over the years even though I know I write well. An excerpt from FRACTURED was published online at, which validated what I already knew about my work. It’s a personal decision, and I chose not to wait for traditional publishing, especially in the face of an ever-changing industry.

Susan, thank you for being so candid about some truly heavy and
personal things in your life and your writing. Reading FRACTURED, one
can’t help but notice how real and honest you were in sharing the
experiences as they unfolded for Anna. I know many readers will relate
to Anna and her story because she is portrayed with such clarity and
The journey to publication is truly ever-changing.  Best of luck to you, and I hope you find success and lots of new fans through FRACTURED.

Coming soon in print from Create Space.

Follow Susan:
Twitter: @narrawriter


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