Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Vote Now and Save My Peace of Mind

I’m nearing the end of this round of revisions for my work-in-progress, Common Ground. Then I have to go back and think over my contest results and comments and see if there is anything I want to change, add in a few things that have come to me as I’ve crawled along, make sure a couple of threads were neatly knotted and then I’m going to be ready to send it out the beginning of March.

What? Wait!

Of course, there a couple of things I need to add to my Before-I-Submit To Do List. Write a synopsis. Write a query letter. Prepare for a reading myself and three other members of the Saskatchewan Romance Writers are giving at the Central Library entitled: Romancing the Word: An Evening with Saskatchewan Romance Writers.

Strangely the library reading is the least of my worries and I have bingo to thank for it. I worked a bingo the other week for my son’s wrestling club. My first bingo ever. After a brief five minutes of instructions for selling: 12 packs, 9 packs, first bingo cards, jackpot cards, tag cards, disappearing bingo cards, star cards, g-balls, red bonanzas, and tear-away tickets I was sent out to look for people with raised hands along with the comment “I’ve never seen it this busy.” Oh, goodie. The first lady I ‘helped’ got mad at me. The first time I had to check a bingo the caller couldn’t hear me so I had to yell louder. I ran out of cards. I ran out of tickets. I counted back change to one lady who looked like she was going to say something and then grabbed the change, stuffed it way and muttered thanks. It was the use of the word ‘thanks’ that tipped me off. I went to the lady in charge and told her to let me how much they were out at the end of the night and I’d write her a check. That was in the first twenty minutes and so it went on for six more hours. At least the reading only lasts for ten minutes.

So I’ll need to write a query letter, also my first one ever. I have some ideas regarding my letter and have written a couple of blurbs to get me started.

Option 1

Lily Wheeler loves her life as a small town teacher. Until one of her students is randomly brutalized by a prominent gang member and her not-if-you-were-the-last-man-on-earth ex returns and her world collapses into a minefield of trouble.

Now it’s up to a teacher and a cop to battle past the attraction pulling them under and to save a boy from one of the country’s most brutal and vicious men.

Or Option 2

When gang violence infects small town Aspen Lake, a teacher and a cop must aside the past to save a way of life.

Or Option 3

When gang members terrorize a student, a small town teacher must forgive a decade’s old betrayal and accept help from the one man who threatens her heart.

Or Option 4

In the face of incredible odds, a teacher vows to protect her young student and brings the wrath of a violent gang down upon small town Aspen Lake. Now the man who broke her teenage heart may be the only one who can keep them alive.

Then there is the synopsis. All I can say is more on that in two weeks time, as I’ve no idea what I’m doing. I do know I have decided to think of it as an opportunity to learn something new. I’m not going to set it up as something dreadful or scary or hard. I’m going to view it as a challenge but also as achievable. Janet, are we still on for Synopsis February?

Let me know what you think of my blurbs. Please vote on which one you like best. Feel free to offer some advice or recommend resources or links on writing a synopsis. I'll be busy revising the last three chapters.


Yunaleska said...

For me, option 1 seems a little longer than the rest. In order of preference (favourite at the top) I like


(I loved number 4, but for the genre perhaps felt 3 is a bit shorter and snappier).

Janet said...

BINGO! As a past member of various service groups - and a teacher who had to assist with fundraising - all I can say is "I hate bingo." I feel for you - and know exactly what you went through. I used to get to the hall early and position myself at the Nevada Ticket booth so I wouldn't have to go out on the floor. Horrible. Then, I'd seethe about all the parents I witnessed spending way too much cash while their kids came to school most days without proper clothing and a decent lunch. Yeah, don't get me started.

The only thing I hated worse was working the food booth at the summer exhibition. Yuck!

Now, to your blurbs. I, like Yuna, love number 4. And I think with some tweaking, you could bring it more in line with the genre you're writing.

Number 1 has some possibilites (it's too long for a blurb). Have you considered just modifying the 2nd paragraph?

"A teacher and a cop battle past the attraction pulling them under to save a boy from one of the country's most brutal and vicious man."

I think that blurb contains both elements of your story - the romance and the suspense.

But - I don't hear your voice in any of these blurbs (sorry). I want the sassy, chick-lit voice to come through in these - so that an agent, just by reading the blurb, knows she's in for a sparky heroine and a snarky hero. Just my opinion :)

OK - I take that back - your voice rings true in the first paragraph of the first blurb. The 'not-if-you-were-the-last-man-on-earth ex" is what will get the attention of an agent.

Yikes, this is getting long. Are you planning on re-working any of these today? Are you going to post some other options in the comment section? I'll come back and check. I know you can rock this - you are the Blurb Queen in my book. And I also know how hard they are to write after you've been invested in the entire book for so long.

I'm sending you a synopsis link to get you started - and I'll also chat with you about Synopsis February. Talk soon - and good luck.

Anonymous said...

I liked number three blurb best. But like the other ladies, four is really good too.
I'm not good at blurbs, so I'm impressed you came up with four.

Lu said...

First of all, kudos for coming up with four blurb options!!!

Speaking as someone who is horrid at this, and gets sweaty just thinking about it, here's my take. #2 is too generic. #3 is better, but it tells me nothing about the individual characters. If you could combine #4 with the sass of #1, you'd have a winner. IMO.

And I buy the book.

Good luck!


Karyn Good said...

Hi, Yunaleska. Okay, I'm going to come back with a reworked number 4 and make it snappier. Stay tuned. Thanks for your input!

Karyn Good said...

Hey, Janet. I know exactly what you mean about bingo and the blurbs. Something sassier! Back to the drawing board. I shall return.

Thanks, I'd love it if you sent me a link! And thanks for the encouragement and the compliment :)

Karyn Good said...

Hi, Anonymous. Thanks for weighing in! The one thing I liked about number 3 was the length and the stronger wording.

Karyn Good said...

Hi, Lu. Thanks for the help! I'm going to see what I can do to sass things up while combining 4 and 1.

Thanks :)

Jana Richards said...

Hi Karyn,
I hear ya on the bingo. I think I told you about working bingo back when smoking was still allowed in the bingo halls. I'd have to come home and shower and wash all my clothes after every shift. Yech!

Anyway, back to the blurbs. Very good job. All four are good, but my favorites are 3 and 4. I have to tell you though, that when you sell you'll probably have to prepare different blurbs at various lengths: One real short one about 25 words, one that I think is about 350 words and one that it about 500 words (I'll have to get back to you on those exact lengths). My first two epublishers required me to come up with these 3 lengths. They are mainly used for different kinds of promotion; the middle length is back cover blurb copy, and the longer length I believe is sent out to reviewers. The short one comes in handy as pitch when you are promoting your book. The Wild Rose Press only asked for the middle length but I came up with a short one on my own for promotion purposes. I'm not sure what larger publishers require.

Good luck with your synopsis. I'm sure you'll do great.


Anita Mae Draper said...

I'm going to answer before I read any of the other comments so they don't influence my decision. Then I'll come back if I've changed my mind...

I keep wavering between 3 and 4. I think 4 gives the most detail but I like the way 3 is so concise.

Good post, Karyn. BTW - I wasn't worried about the Library Reading before I read this ... should I be? LOL

Karyn Good said...

Hey, Jana. Yes, one thing to be thankful for: the smoke free environment!

Thanks for the heads up. I can see how the various lengths would better serve different situations. I look forward to having to write the longer ones. At least for the shorter one option three and four seem to be heading in the right direction.

I'm looking forward to attempting a synopsis. I am. Really. I'm almost positive.

Karyn Good said...

Hey, Anita. Three and four it is. You are in the majority!

LOL, no you shouldn't be worried. You are going to do wonderfully! It's just public speaking is not my favorite thing!

Karyn Good said...

I thought of a new one:

What do a small town teacher, a teenage target, a returning bad boy gone good, and a vicious gang member have in common? Surviving each other.

Although I have no idea if it works or not.

Hayley E. Lavik said...

Hi Karyn, I don't have much time to dig deep into this (although if you want more thorough feedback over at the SRW blog at some point, I will definitely take the time then) but I thought I'd share a few reactions.

Of these four, I'm wavering between 3 and 4 like many others seem to, as they find a good balance between inciting incident (gang violence) and the romantic plot. Four is a bit complicated, easier to make sense of since I know what you're working with.

Overall though, I'd honestly say none of these provides me with a hook. They could be any teacher/cop/gang plot, rather than crackling with your exact story. As Janet says, your voice is still absent, and there's not yet that unique something that a reader can latch onto and say "I have to know how this story turns out." I think you've got some good starts here, you just need to push it further, dig deeper, and really scrape to the core of the story.

JoanneBrothwell said...

Hi Karyn, I would have to say I read these four over and over and had a hard time picking. I think I liked #4, but like Janet said, there is something sassy about #1 that appealed to me. I like Hayley's advice (wow - smart woman!).

As for Bingo, so far I have managed to avoid such wretched pleasures. I'm sure it's only a matter of time!

Good luck, and I really want to read it!

Karyn Good said...

Hi, Hayley. Thanks for your input and for your suggestions. I'll keep working on it and see what I can come up to better entice and tantalize.

Karyn Good said...

Hey, Joanne. I shall return to the drawing board and take in all the comments and suggestions and see what my tired brain can come up with. Thanks for weighing in!

Ah, bingo. As a parent, you may be right - working bingos could be in your future :)

Anne Germaine said...

I always hear about how editors are looking for strong characters, so I vote for #4. You start with the characters and then comment on how they are affected by the plot. "Teacher", "students", "gangs" and "man" are the words that pop out in 4. In 3, "terrorize" and "betrayal" pop out.

Sorry if that sounds's been a long day!

Karyn Good said...

Hi Anne. No it doesn't sound odd at all and it makes sense to me. Thanks for pointing out the words that stood out to you and that pulled you in.

All the comments today have given me lots to think about. Thanks for your help!