Summary vs. Synopsis

The terms summary and synopsis are frequently used interchangeably. But are there differences between the two?

It seems there is a slight difference and which you decide to write will depend upon who you are sending it to and your ultimate reason for writing one.

A synopsis is a short (and concise) description of a book, while a summary is a lengthier condensed version. While the summary focuses on what happened, the main ideas, and facts, the synopsis is more subjective and reveals the underlying themes, meaning, and so on.

The goal of a synopsis is to help the reader or agent to decide if they want to read the full book. And, in the case of an agent, to determine if they want to pursue representation.

There are times when you’ll be asked to write both of these, so it’s a good idea to look at examples and/or find books which delve into the writing of each.

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Thank You

I spent some time this week writing Thank You cards for my neighborhood friends. We’d decided to have a Thanksgiving Tea and shower each other with appreciation. So, I put some thought into the exact reasons each friend was a unique blessing in my life.

The Tea was a special time together and the cards can be read again and again throughout the year, having impact over the months ahead. Encouragement for those facing difficulties and appreciation for each one playing an important part of my life.

I want each of you to know, also, that I appreciate the fact that you read my blogs. Sending in comments, or “LIKES” makes me aware of your presence and encourages me throughout my writing journey. 

I’m thankful for each of you!

The Value of Writing for an Anthology

Chicken Soup for the Soul books are just one example of a collection, or anthology. Even authors who have published ‘stand-alone’ books often write for anthologies, too.

Why?

For authors, publishing in an anthology offers a diverse and larger audience than having all their stories in one book. 

And~

An anthology, where several authors write on the same theme, offers readers a variety of perspectives and styles.

For myself, I wrote in two short story collections last year:  Desert Tapestry and Christmas Tapestry. Then just last week, I published in a Novella collection, Journeys of Forgiveness. 

As we are beginning our sales and marketing, I see that splitting the costs four ways, instead of bearing the costs alone, is another great reason to write in collections—at least part of the time.

When Being Distracted Is A Good Thing

For years, I’ve been preaching against getting distracted while writing.

However, if you are like me, you can get lost in your story and find yourself sitting in your office chair for hours before you move around. That’s not good for your back, neck, shoulders, weight—even your mind.

I tried setting a timer at intervals, but I just kept resetting it, rationalizing that I was at an important juncture and needed just a few more minutes…

Those minutes turned into hours and I found I was no better off than before!

That ding of the timer needed a call to action. And I found what I needed when I paired it with a purpose.

So now I use doing the laundry to get me out of my seat—hearing that the washer is done and clothes need to be put in the dryer, then the buzz of the dryer to coax me into removing them so another load can go in, and so on.

Of course that only takes care of one day of the week. For my other writing days, I write a list of tasks unrelated to writing next to my computer and set the timer at the desired interval. I find that being able to cross each item off my list with my favorite turquoise marker is all the reinforcement I need.

Some of the “tasks” might be “walk around the block”, “take a bathroom break,” or “call to make an appointment,” and so on. The point is not what one does, but just to get moving.

What do you do to get yourself away from your computer throughout the day???

Dig In!

Tammy’s new boyfriend is a researcher. Every time we have lunch together, Tammy is excited to tell me something new she has learned from Jason. A lot of this new information has been useful in her job as a freelance writer for a well-known magazine.

I’m not going to tell you that my knowledge is at all comparable to Jason’s, but I have been writing this blog once a week for six years. That means that more than three hundred blogs are in my archives. All are easily accessible on my website.

I have written on numerous topics dealing with writing: some informational, others meant to encourage beginners. I hope they have been interesting and helpful to all readers.

I invite you to poke around my website to see if there is something useful to you. I love to get mail, so certainly write with questions and/or comments. I have experienced quite a number of new followers, lately. If that is because what I’ve said is helpful, then I am truly humbled.

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

In the past two weeks, I have been getting Junk emails advertising—actually guaranteeing—40+ reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. The correspondence says they are fully compliant with Amazon’s rules and regulations.

Why the influx of these so-called review businesses? How much do they cost? Do they deliver what they promise? Do they really “comply”?

Well, the jury is still out on that one because I’m not sure I want to get caught up in something that just might be a scam.

If you have tried one of these. I’d be interested to hear about your experience.

Generally speaking though, I would make these few remarks:

It’s a waste of money to pay for a trade book review if you only intend to sell your book on Amazon. You will sell more books by generating more five-star reader book reviews.

For myself, I usually read short and to the point reader reviews, rather than lengthy professional ones. Those reviews mention things like character, plot, theme (which I am interested in as a reader) and less about writing style, editing, and so on.

And, remember, paying for a review is no guarantee that it will be any more positive than reader reviews.

Here’s a plan for finding those reviews which will be of most benefit:

*Go to Amazon and find several books that might be direct competitors of yours.

*Look at their category on Amazon.

*Find the bestsellers in each category.

*Read their reviews and see what review sources are listed.

*You may find some free blogger reviews and/or some free niche publication reviews.

Like I said, I am curious about the “new” paid reviews advertised out there recently. Please write in and share your thoughts.

Who Are You Looking For?

How do readers find authors whose writing styles are a perfect fit for their tastes?

     Some readers say they enjoy beautifully-written descriptions of landscape and weather, creating striking visuals and immersing them in the story’s setting. Others want little in the way of setting or character backstory to distract them. Plot and dialog are their focus. They want to dive right into the story.

    Is finding an author compatible with your tastes hit-or-miss? Or is there an easier way to discover authors you’d enjoy reading?

May I suggest?

  • Ask for recommendations from friends who are aware of your specific tastes.
  • Read book reviews.
  • Read authors’ descriptions of their own books in which they will often say, something like, “Fans of (author’s name) will love this book.”
  • Read books which have won contests that focus on the specifics you are looking for. 
  • Use the computer search bar, typing in key words.