Tag Archives: writing life

The Perils of Summarizing an Incomplete Manuscript

Laura Ayo

Here’s my take on how to write a novel synopsis for a work in progress (and an explanation for what I’ve been doing earlier this week.) Enjoy.

Middle-aged author wannabe Laura can’t wait to attend a writing conference to learn more about her craft. After discovering she must bring a synopsis of her work in progress with her, she struggles to summarize her book because  she isn’t really sure yet how her novel will end. Fueled by a deadline for when the summary must be turned in, she digs deep to get to truly know her characters and understand their goals and obstacles to achieving them. Along the way, she discovers a group of fellow writers struggling to write their own summaries for the conference. Together, they bounce ideas off one another, lending advice and encouragement to each other as they work to finish their pieces. Though riddled with interruptions by the demands of her career and family, Laura completes the synopsis before the deadline only to learn it can be no longer than 250 words long. Hers clocks in at 282 words. As she rushes to edit the summary with the deadline looming, she discovers she has mad editing skills. She turns in the summary with 50 minutes to spare and celebrates with her writing friends. Bolstered by a newfound belief that she may just have what it takes to one day become a published author, Laura decides to share in a blog post her insights about what she learned about synopsis writing in the hopes of inspiring other aspiring authors.

Practical Prompt 3-11-19

If a scene isn’t coming together, try using a bulleted list to help you work through it. Include character action, introspection and motivation, as well as interactions with other characters or your setting. Focus on creating a step-by-step list of how one thing leads to the next. Don’t worry about writing complete sentences at this stage of the process. The goal here is to figure out the sequence of events and how your character reacts to or is affected by those events. Once you have a solid list of things to highlight in the scene, work through those bullet points by turning them into prose.

Celebrate Your Success with Write by Midnight

Write by Midnight wraps up today and we hope the past month has helped you create daily habits to sustain your writing through the completion of your manuscript.

In addition to our regular posts, be sure to check back with us on the last Monday of each month for our Write by Midnight Pep Talks that include tips and inspiration to help you keep your momentum going.

Until then, here’s how each of us fared with this year’s challenge.

Laura Ayo

Laura: Because I was working on a new manuscript during this year’s Write by Midnight session, my goals were to “work on” the project every day in February. Generally speaking, my method consisted of a two-part “plan then write” formula. On one day, I would plan a scene during my designated “writing” time. My planning process included figuring out what needed to happen in the scene, what obstacles and/or growth the characters experienced in the scene, and basic research since my new WIP is a historical fiction piece. Sometimes, the planning process involved talking through what needed to happen next with my writing friends. They are consistently a source of support, encouragement and solid advice. Then the next day, I used my writing time to write that scene now that it was clear in my head. Sometimes, the writing of the scene took me two to three days. As soon as one scene was completed, I repeated the process. Plan, research, discuss, write, repeat. I’m happy to report that I completed five scenes by using this method. But more important, my story stayed in my head every day during the month.

Stacey Kite

Stacey’s been on fire with her writing, so she’ll check in with us later to share her thoughts on Write by Midnight.

 

 

 

 

Megan Norris Jones

Megan: Write by Midnight was hugely motivating for me this year. I started the month at a good place in my manuscript where I had all (or most) of the plot snarls worked out and a clear outline all the way to the end of the manuscript. That preparation made it much easier to pound out higher word counts and to take advantage of short writing periods. I set a goal of writing 14,000 words to finish my manuscript by the end of the month. I wrote 11,330 words and made it to the end of my manuscript with an entire week to spare. I used the extra time at the end of the month to plan out my revision and set goals for next month.

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

Naomi: While I didn’t always greet my 5 am wake -up call with a tender nod to the morning, I did manage to write for all but six days out of February. I gotta say, being in cahoots with other writers was a massive energy surge for me this month and I got excited about two projects that had been collecting dust! One of my main goals for this year’s WBM was to revise 1/3 of the YA manuscript I finished a while back (Ok, fine, I’ll be honest. A long while back!) Some days were definitely more productive than others and I confess I didn’t quite meet my goal. I’d like to believe my less productive days, ones where I only managed to revised a single paragraph for instance, still propelled me forward. Everything we do counts. It is believed that Vincent Van Gogh once said: “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” It’s a great reminder. Because piece by piece things are coming together.

We’d love to hear from you about your Write by Midnight experience. Tell us how you did, what you learned, what you’d like to see from us next year and what your writing goals are for the month of March.

Write By Midnight Tip 2-27-19

With one day left in Write by Midnight, you’ve hopefully got your writing routine down pat by now. But that doesn’t mean you couldn’t use a change of scenery to help you finish the month strong. If you’ve been writing in a home office, try heading to the kitchen table or a porch for today’s writing session. Or better yet, leave the distractions of household responsibilities for later and take your writing to a public space. If you often write in a cafe, try a library, park  or even the comfort of your own home today instead.

Writing at a different time of day can also be a welcome change. Try writing during your lunch break or during your commute. If those aren’t options, set aside an hour during your normal evening routine to write instead of watching television or even reading a good book. Or, wake up an hour earlier tomorrow to end Write by Midnight on a high note.

Write By Midnight Boost 2-22-19

As we head into the final stretch of Write by Midnight, don’t get frustrated if you’re struggling to get words on the page every day. Sharing your difficulties here and with other writers who have been there can help you gain insight into what might be holding you back. Let the WriteOwls community offer strategies to help you get back on track. Likewise, if you’ve been rocking Write By Midnight, now is the time to share the secrets to your success. Hearing about your accomplishments is always motivating.