on the writing & reading trail

Posts tagged ‘synopsis’

Edit diary, reading

19 November

Arrived at the library before opening time. Returned a book I could not finish reading; interested in the subject in the broad, but found it too heavy on detail that got in the way of my vision of the characters and the surroundings. Will check my own work on the next sweep through to see if I’ve done the same. Probably not; more likely the reverse. While waiting, I found new colour to photograph. Don’t know the name of this wonderful red foliage but it looks well with the nearby jacaranda still in flower. Now there are both red and purple carpets, courtesy of our recent high winds and storms. No damage in our locality but much elsewhere.

Windblown carpet

Editing: Slow. Made quite a few changes, mostly chopping sentences where I’d already cut content. And the same old business of changing the order within both sentences and paragraphs as well as finding the passive sentences that an agent had mentioned were there. Didn’t change them all; kept some for variety, and deleted some. The following is a short extract from the prologue of Past imperfect.

Glasgow – mid-October, 1970: – Rushes of energy rippled through the girl’s body like it sometimes did at home when a storm was building. There, it was always safe under the house or in one of the rooms. Puzzled at feeling scared like this inside her grandmother’s flat, she tightened her fingers around her father’s hand and half-stepped sideways to sense comfort from her mother’s soft wool coat.

The old lady was almost spitting, her face contorted, ‘No . . . No, I won’t go with you. I’ve told you before I’m not interested in traipsing about. Certainly not to that godless place.’

The girl cringed inside, but showed no expression, as the grandmother’s dark eyes bored into her. Fretting at the dissension she wondered if the reaction was stronger because today’s visit was her choice?

She wanted, . . . needed, to see where her mother had lived as a small child; to claim some insight into her mother’s life before it had been swallowed by the depressions. Mother’s memory of those years was vague, and grandmother would only say, ‘It’s all best forgotten.’

The older brother and younger sister were fidgeting, standing by the door, ready to leave. They didn’t mind if grandmother stayed home or went with them but their sister let her breath out gently, and felt her father’s hand relax around hers as he ushered her towards the door. Mrs Brown, the housekeeper was holding it open for them.

Outside, life in the grey city hummed under a lowering sky. Happed up people huddled and hurried along streets and cobbled paths that were greased and dark with the smirr of morning rain. It could turn into an anything kind of day but hadn’t yet made up its mind; to sun, or stay with rain, or sleet, or maybe even drop some early snow.


Spent a lot of time rejigging the short synopsis (300 words) and playing with the idea of the elevator pitch. No short synopsis can embody the complexity of a family saga with a couple of sub-plots, but I did the best I could to show the over-riding conflicts for the two major characters. Next task will be to work on the longer synopsis.

Reading: Found another Dorothy Kroomson book, goodnight, beautiful. Now there’s an author who seamlessly does detail, both physical and emotional and I never want to stray. I’ve only started the story but it is powerful, about complicated personal and family matters. You can find out more about Dorothy at http://www.dorothykoomson.co.uk/before-the-rose-petal-beach-a-special-free-ebook-prequel-available/ I’m predicting that many people will be hooked if they take a look at this website.

Also started a book about brain health but may not keep going. It seems a bit out of date and I’ll jettison it if I don’t find any new material in the next couple of chapters. I can get updates on old information in later publications for sure. My fault, should have checked publication date.

Critiquing: It’s almost time to be pulling a chapter together for our next meeting, and to have the chapters piling in. I always enjoy this time of the month to travel far afield, literally and metaphorically. My chapter will still be with Alexander, in Kruger National Park on his solo flying survey, when he stumbles (can you do that in an aircraft?) on what may be an illegal elephant cull.


Edit diary (27 March)

Day 35 (March 27)

Goals for today:

Goal 1: Work on later chapters of Part One with a view to finishing the editing of the Part by my provisional deadline of 30 March – 3 days to go.

Progress: I worked on six chapters, from 13 -18, and made many minor changes. I’m happy with the result and believe that initial writing skills improved as the work progressed due to attendance at courses / workshops, along with paying greater attention to the mechanics of writing when reading valued books and most importantly the feedback from Writing Group colleagues.

Scots locations visited were Glasgow where Freya and her friend Kirsty gain experience in different nursing environments, and Galloway and Mallaig for Kirsty’s holiday.

Freya is emotionally affected when caring for an accident victim whose toddler was killed in a drunk-driving accident. In Mackay in Queensland the Dunbar family are preparing for a move to Brisbane. Alexander has enrolled for teacher training and continues his flying activities.

Goal 2: Critique a late submission chapter from one of the Writer’s Group members for Friday’s meeting.

Progress: Done.

Goal 3: Re-read and confirm / adjust comment on novel synopsis by a Writer’s Group member.

Progress: Done. She has done a great job. We all find synopsis writing challenging. Her story is ready for submission to the big wide world of the industry. Good luck.

Goal 4: Attempt to outline one of the intended short stories for competitions.

Progress: Wrote a series of paragraphs, fictionalising incidents relating to two spinster lady neighbours in Bangor County Down many years ago. Somewhere a germ of a story is there, it hasn’t found its way to the light yet.

City transport

Edit diary (9-12 March)

Days 17 – 20 (March 9-12, 2012)

March 12: Out of phase again – accompanied family member to early medical appointment, followed by a short time in the library for editing. I managed to complete a draft synopsis for Book Three. No success with a title, although I came up with many brainstormed possibilities. Not one is just right. I’ll be out of routine tomorrow as well for same reason as today. Hopefully there can be a return to momentum after that. I had a bit of fun scanning some of the time two of the main characters spent in Kruger National Park near the end of the whole saga. Can’t wait to get to the editing there – some glaring faults stood out. 

March 11: Bitty day without opportunity to get to manuscript. Some time with social networking. Followed a few new people on Twitter – interesting links for writers. Had a quick look at book cover providers even though not nearly ready for that yet.

March 10: No editing. Attended website building workshop in case I decide to

English: Elephant crossing the road in Kruger ...

Image via Wikipedia

do that soon. Interesting and helpful. Played with site ideas later in day.

March 9: Minor editing in am – started synopsis for Book 3 – still no title. Face-to-face networking over lunch and finding out about a local writers network group. Discussed progress on our novels.

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