Monthly Archives: July 2012
This is the second of my ‘character interviews’, where I pose some questions to a character in one of my novels.
Name: Lily Collins
Age: 7 going on 37
Occupation: school student
1. What do you want to be when you grow up?
A lawyer, a politician, or a journalist. Maybe all of them.
2. What’s your favourite school subject?
English, or Science. No, English I think. Especially when we get to write stories. I wrote a really good one about kings and queens once, and my king was called Lord Viagra. Mum said I should choose a different name, but Dad said it sounded good. It made him laugh for some reason, I don’t know why. He also said the kingdom would rise in his honour… well, duh! He is a king, after all.
3. Who do you like best: Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny?
Well I do love chocolate, so I’m pretty pleased with the Easter Bunny, but I also love Santa because he brings me great presents like pink calculators and yearly planners. Plus, poor Santa has such a hard job, he deserves some recognition.
Hey, you forgot about the Tooth Fairy! I also like getting money under my pillow. But Mum says the Tooth Fairy has a new budget, so I only get fifty cents for each tooth instead of two dollars. The Tooth Fairy should really see an accountant, they help with money stuff, and Dad thinks the money that the fairy leaves could be tax deductable.
4. You have two little brothers, what do you think of them?
Sometimes I love them and sometimes they annoy me. Like Toby, he often wakes me up in the middle of the night when his teddy bear falls out of the cot. It wakes up Mum and Dad too, but they look terrible in the middle of the night so I try to help Toby sometimes so they don’t have to get out of bed and make grumpy faces. Jacob is good at drawing, but I got very angry once when he drew a martian on my pillow case in black texta.
5. Whats your favourite food?
I like sushi best. It tastes delicious and I like collecting the little fishy shapes they give you with the sauce inside them. I used to like chicken nuggets too, until I found out that they make them out of chicken boobies. Now I don’t eat them. Chickens need their boobies.
Thank you, Lily, for chatting with us today!
You’re welcome. I like talking very much.
Do you have any questions for Lily? If so, leave a comment! 🙂
This is the first of my new ‘character interviews’, where I’ll pose some questions to a character in one of my novels.
First up we have Cara, from THE LIFE MAKEOVER CLUB!
Name: Cara Collins
Occupation: Mother of three, wife of one (until Channing Tatum realises he loves me), taxi driver, personal shopper, chef, room service attendant, nurse, housekeeper (a bad one), artist (unpaid as yet), magician (I’m great at making chocolates disappear), human vending machine up until six months ago, and… what am I forgetting? Did I say I’m a mother?
1. What do you like to do in your spare time?
If I ever get any I’ll let you know.
2. What’s your favourite part of the day?
When I’m so fast asleep not even an earthquake could wake me up. No seriously, I love it when I snuggle with my kids before bed. It makes it all worthwhile. Sometimes.
3. What do you think is the hardest part of being a mother?
When you’re awake.
4. What do you do before going to bed each night?
I write my ‘To Do List’ (which can take a while), and my ‘Done List’ (which usually takes me about fourteen seconds), and transfer the ‘not yet completed’ items from the previous day’s To Do List to the new To Do List, and then add ‘Notepad’ to the Shopping List because I’ve run out of room on the To Do List. Then my son wakes up and after attending to him I forget what I was about to write on the new To Do List and then I usually pass out with the pen in my hand.
5. What scares you most in life?
Not having my husband and kids around. I know I complain sometimes, but really, they are my world and I love them more than life itself.
Thank you, Cara, for taking time out of your busy schedule.
A little birdie told me your seven-year-old daughter, Lily ,will be joining us for an interview on Friday!
Yes, that’s right. God help me.
Do you have any questions for Cara? If so, leave a comment! 🙂
A synopsis is a summary of a novel’s main plot points and characters, from the beginning right through to the end. Most agents and editors like to see one when assessing your manuscript for possible publication, so it’s something almost all writers have to do at some point. I’ve noticed many publishing professionals request a ‘brief synopsis’, which I take to mean about one or two pages at the most. Others may ask for a more detailed five or six page synopsis. But this is something many writer’s struggle with, me included.
How can you possibly take a 300-400 page story and explain it in only one or two pages?
I don’t claim to be an expert on this (far from it, although I do my best!), but here are some things I’ve learned while writing my own synopses. I’ve called it ‘The Russian Doll Method’!
Open your manuscript and summarise all the main plot points, as though you’re giving someone a running commentary on a TV show or movie they can’t see. Use present tense. Don’t worry about length at first, just get the main plot points down (big Russian doll), and add in a taste of your voice, so if it’s humorous, show some of the humour, if it’s suspenseful, add that element to the synopsis too, as long as you don’t leave any questions unanswered. A synopsis’ purpose is to tell a potential agent or editor/publisher what the book is about and what happens throughout the story, including the ending.
Once you’ve written the summary, go through and highlight the most important events affecting the main character/s in yellow. Then highlight the slightly less important events, but still a required part of the story, in another colour such as grey (just one shade, not fifty. Sorry, couldn’t resist;)). You might find that some events can be left out of the synopsis, for the sake of brevity.
Now start again, writing the synopsis focusing on the highlighted parts, and tightening up the sentences (smaller Russian doll). Check the length to see if you need to cut further, and if so, go through the highlighting process again (even smaller Russian doll). Also, see if some plot events can be combined into one sentence as an overall summary of the situation, so rather than:
John arrives at his grandma’s house and notices the door is unlocked. He searches all the rooms in the house, but finds them empty, so he walks out the back door and through the overgrown garden. She isn’t there either. He goes back inside and stands in the kitchen, scratching his head, then notices a half-eaten toasted sandwich resting on the table. He picks it up and finds it is still warm. Thinking his grandma might have been abducted only moments ago, John immediately calls the police. (forgive the crappy writing, this is just an example!)
Using the highlighted parts (which I’ve underlined instead because I don’t know how to highlight on this blog!), the paragraph could be changed as follows:
When John arrives at his grandma’s house it is empty, and her half eaten lunch is still warm. Terrified something bad has happened to her only moments before his arrival, John calls the police.
And if you had to cut it even further it could be changed to:
John calls the police on finding his grandma’s house empty.
Sometimes it’s easier to work this way, starting with a long synopsis and gradually breaking it down. If you end up trying this process, I’d love to hear how it goes for you – let me know!
How do you go about writing a synopsis, are there any valuable tips you’ve learned through the process?