Friday, March 26, 2010

Synopsis update

Okay, so the synopsis is now complete!

Thank God.

It took 4 attempts, 3 severe edits by Paula, before I got the damn thing right. And now it bloody well shines :)

I re-read my first attempt and it made me cringe. Even I wouldn't have asked to read the manuscript had someone sent me that synopsis. Funny, cos at the time I was sure it was a knockout. Proves how much I know.

Oh Dr Young, you think you know all there is to know, don't you..?

Turns out I barely know where my next full stop is.

Anyway, the synopsis is done - well, let me clarify. A synopsis a little over 8 double-spaced pages is done, and now Paula is asking for me to shrink it down to 2 pages, and even 1 page. This request made me go fill up my glass with scotch and take a hefty drink.

Two pages is bad enough; how the hell am I supposed to shrink this thing currently 8 pages, something that was a struggle to limit to 8 pages, down to 2 pages?  Or even 1 page? One page!

I think I need another drink...

The idea is to have a couple of different length synopsis ready to go should an agent request a 2 page one, or even a 1 page (shudder) one.

So it's with a groan that I haul myself back to the keyboard..... Will aim to get the 2 page version done this weekend. The 1 page, well, we'll see...

Meanwhile, the research into the most suitable agents continues...

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Great Australian Booklist

Good ol' Chuck McKenzie has been at it again, stirring that brain of his and finding within it this bloody brilliant idea. And thanks to his cohorts (Gillian and Nyssa), the idea has become a reality:

So you're after a book that's published in the US or UK, but which is unavailable to purchase in Australia due to parallel importation restrictions? Maybe your local bookseller isn't stocking the desired range of exciting Aussie small press publications? Or perhaps that novel you've been looking for is long out of print? What can you, as an Australian reader, do to get your hands on the books you want to read?

Readers may use the Great Australian Booklist to nominate 'wish lists' of overseas, local small press and out of print publications, which will then be made available to Australian publishers, distributors and booksellers, to be taken into consideration when purchasing copyright, choosing titles to republish, or stocking shelves.

With this register, book-buyers and the Great Australian Public will benefit by having their say in our industry. Simply nominate all the books you wish you could get hold of, but that your bookshop doesn’t stock, or if it's already up there, use your voting powers. Share your idea on facebook or twitter, and get others to vote for it.

Support the Australian bookselling industry: nominate here today!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Novel Progress: 809 Jacob Street

I thought it might be worthwhile keeping a regularly updated record of this journey from finished novel to published novel, for my own sanity, and in case it helps others on this mad and hectic road to publication (I doubt that it will, so let's just go with saving my sanity).

So where are we up to? Well, I have a shiny manuscript all ready to go - a supernatural thriller of approximately 96,000 words.

This manuscript has been through the wash half a dozen times, been pulled apart by Paula, and slowly put back together again by me. The end result (final edit completed on the 6th of March, 2010 - boy did I have a scotch of two on that day!) is something I'm immensely proud of. It's a far, far better novel than when I first wrote 'The End.' Or even the second time I wrote 'The End.' Or the third time, the fourth, fifth......

My favourite character is still the old homeless bluesman, Joey Blue. Him and his pesky fly thoughts... He's such a poor chap, but he's the one who keeps feeding his demons, no one else. And not even I knew he had that song in him when this journey began:
Barstool eyes, in a dark-lit bar,
Juked-up wails of a jukebox cries,
to drown the despair that seeps from his soul....

But that's Joe for you.

So what's next, then? Well, I have just finished the second draft of my synopsis after Paula tore the first draft to shreds (thanks again, Paula :). She is going over it, no doubt with fangs and claws ready... But that's good, 'cos I want this to shine. Writing a synopsis is hard work. How the heck do you condense a whole novel, all ~96,000 words, into a couple of pages?? With a lot of groaning, that's how.

There are a lot of useful resources out there though, offering tips on writing a synopsis. Check out the following:
How to Write a Synopsis (Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent)

The Synopsis (BookEnds, LLC - A Literary Agent)

How to Write a Synopsis ( - Mark Gilks)

Writing a Novel Synopsis (Fiction Writer's Connection)

Writing a Synopsis from the Ground Up ( - Dee-Ann Latona LeBlanc)

Once the synopsis is done, I still have to write the cover letter. Boy oh boy, I'm beginning to think that writing the blasted novel was the easy step!
Meanwhile, the research into suitable US Agents continues... This is vitally important, as I want to make sure my novel reaches the right agent.
I tells ya, when I submit 809 Jacob Street that first time, even if I get a rejection, that's going to be a huge thrill - although I imagine that by the 20th rejection, the thrill would have probably faded...